An IE University professor in Antarctica

14/03/2011 - General

The IE University Professor of Biology, Pablo Tejedo, set off for Santiago de Chile in December to embark on a journey to the continent of Antarctica to carry out research work directed by Doctor Javier Benayas del Álamo from Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. The work focuses on assessing the environmental effects of tourism on this particular area of the planet, which is seriously threatened by global warming.


This initiative, launched by the Ministry of Science and Innovation, has brought together forty-eight research groups and one hundred and fifty researchers from seventy-four institutions, the largest contingent ever sent to Antarctica by Spain. IE University is represented in the campaign by Professor Pablo Tejedo, from IE School of Biology, who forms part of the project "Assessment of the environmental impact of commercial tourism on Antarctic ecosystems". The aim of the study is to act as a basis for the design of a monitoring plan to assess the long-term environmental effects of this commercial activity on the fragile ecosystems of Antarctica.


After a few days in Ushuaia, where he will interview professionals from the tourist industry specialised in Antarctic cruises, Professor Pablo Tejedo will board the Oceanographic Research Ship "Las Palmas", which will provide logistic support for the expedition on its way to the South Shetland Islands. Once there, he will complete the fieldwork stage of the project, and research work that forms part of the twenty-five projects developed by Spanish scientists and financed by the Ministry of Science and Innovation as part of the International Polar Year.


For a period of 20 days, from 16 January to 6 February 2009, Professor Tejedo will be visiting various locations to assess the effects of land visits made by tourists in Antarctica. During this time he will visit the Aitcho Islands, the area of Paradise Bay on the Antarctic Peninsular, Deception Island, Hannah Point and King George Island. Professor Tejedo designed the experiments that will make it possible to assess the impact of commercial tourism on Antarctic soils last year. Several professors from IE University were involved in this work, including David Melero, who helped build a sample-drying system based on renewable energies, and Jesús A. Gómez Ochoa de Alda, who proposed the use of Biolog plates to assess the changes to the microbial biodiversity of the soils in the areas subjected to greater volumes of tourists in Antarctica.



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