NAME: Trisha Korth
PROJECT: Antarctica/Exploration ICEBLOCK
= Exploration of the Ice, and Coastal Ecosystems of Benthic Life with Outreach into Classrooms for Kids.
SCHOOL: Warrington School
HOST ORGANISATION: NIWA
Trisha Korth has been an active tramping and outdoor enthusiast for more than 20 years. The wonder, power and interconnectedness of nature has always struck a chord in her. It led her to pursue a degree in Science, trek to Everest Base Camp, explore NZ's diverse tramps, work with Enviroschools as a facilitator and take up Primary teaching! When the opportunity for a Teacher Fellowship with a NIWA based Antarctic Project presented itself, it seemed the most logical thing to apply.
Under the Ross Sea ice lives an amazingly dense and diverse range of organisms, in one of the least modified coastal zones on earth. The coastal sea organisms are very slow growing and long lived e.g. some Antarctic shellfish live up to 80 years old. This makes them particularly vulnerable to changes in their environment, as populations are slow to recover or adapt. Ice dynamics inevitably have a major influence on the structure and function of these coastal seafloor communities. Surveys and sampling key organisms along the latitudinal gradient of the Ross Sea coast give researchers an understanding of these ecosystems and helps predict the impact of sea ice fluctuations, ocean acidification, fisheries and tourism. This is important work in helping preserve this unique ecosystem.
Trisha is currently gaining knowledge in coastal marine life and ocean acidification from scientists at NIWA in Wellington and Dunedin as well as reading material. Close links with schools are being made and technological tools being investigated so that educational outreach can occur prior, during and beyond Trisha being down on the BIG ICE.