July 18, 2019 | 72° F

Rutgers summer trip takes 2 students to Antarctica

Photo by Rutgers.edu |

Taylor Dodge (left) and Rachael Young (right) met in an oceanography class, where they discovered their mutual interest in the effects of climate change. In Antarctica, Dodge will work with the Long Tern Ecological Research Program collecting crystal krill, while Young will study species that play a key part in the marine food chain

As part of an initiative to study climate change, the University hosts a summer trip to Antarctica for students interested in researching conditions at the southernmost continent. 

Taylor Dodge and Rachael Young, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences seniors, were selected in December to participate in the trip. 

Their classes in the School of Biological and Environmental Sciences sparked their interest in the field, said the pair in an interview with Rutgers Today. The duo met in an oceanography class taught by professors and marine biologists, Oscar Schofield, Scott Glenn and Josh Kohut, and were inspired by a documentary about Schofield’s work in the Antarctic. 

This summer, Young will spend 12 weeks at sea in Terra Nova Bay, researching a species called Euphausia crystallorophias — crystal krill — that thrives off the ice in the Antarctic and plays a key part in the marine food chain. She said she plans on deploying a robot glider into the sea to study the abundance of this creature, its locations within the sea and involvement in the food web. 

Dodge will travel to the opposite side of the continent, the west Antarctic Peninsula, which is the fastest-warming place on the continent. She will spend six weeks working on the Long Term Ecological Research Program, collecting krill and gathering data on the peninsula. 

The institute hosts several events every year to progress its efforts. These include conferences, workshops, research opportunities, public lectures and film screenings regarding climate change, according to the site.

During the summer, Rutgers — among 180 colleges and universities in the country — signed a pledge to continue following the Paris climate agreement, after President Donald J. Trump’s announcement that the U.S. would withdraw from the accord, according to an article by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The pledge, “We Are Still In,” gathered signatures from university presidents across the country.

The pledge says that “In the absence of leadership from Washington, states, cities, colleges and universities and businesses representing a sizable percentage of the U.S. economy will pursue ambitious climate goals."

During a Rutgers University Student Assembly (RUSA) meeting last year, the assembly passed legislation entitled, “Resolution to Support the 100 percent Renewable Campaign at Rutgers University,” which recommends that University President Robert L. Barchi commits "to achieving a goal of 100 percent clean, renewable energy no later than 2050," the Targum reported. 

“It’s 100 percent feasible for us to move toward 100 percent renewable energy sources, and we’ve been steadily reducing our nonrenewable energy sources since 2009,” said Dan Chulak, the University Affairs Committee chair and a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences senior. 

Erica D'Costa

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