Steve Weileman and the Ikkatsu Project seek to understand how Plastic Debris Affects Marine Ecosystems
Ikkatsu is a Japanese word meaning ‘all together, all as one’ representing the notion of cooperative unity, Ikkatsu is also the vision of seasoned adventurers Steve Weileman and Ken Cambell. The Ikkatsu Project, conceived in 2012, was designed to understand the complexities of issues surrounding marine debris, specifically that resulting from the 2011 tsunami that ravaged Japan. Their upcoming expedition will send the team to Alaska’s volcanic Augustine Island to survey its remote beaches for tsunami debris while collecting water samples for ASC.
Weileman and Campbell will depart June 22 and arrive at Augustine Island June 30. The island’s location at the mouth of Cook Inlet puts it in prime position to collect marine debris from the infamous tsunami. Because Augustine Island lacks rivers, no salmon runs mean no bears, which in turn mean no anglers or wildlife viewers. Coupled with the island’s namesake volcano as the most active in the Aleutian Arc, these factors make it one the least-visited islands in North America. Upon surveying Augustine for marine debris, also called flotsam, the team will paddle through harsh open water to Chisik Island and complete the expedition in late July.
Climate Science from the Roof of the World: Hari Mix's spring collecting data for ASC in the Himalaya
Hari Mix is a PhD Candidate at Stanford University and is climbing in the Himalaya as part of a team of researchers,TripleED, who are studying decision making in high altitude environments. Hari is collecting snow samples and lichen for two ASC projects while attempting to summit Lhotse and East Lobuche.
It all started with a coffee shop conversation…”Well, we’re looking to go to Everest this spring.” A few minutes later, I sort of needed to pinch myself back to reality, “Umm, you want me to go climbing?” As an earth scientist nearing the end of my PhD in Environmental Earth System Science at Stanford, I’ve been extremely lucky to travel for my degree. My research, which focuses on the evolution of topography, ecosystems and climate over the past 65 million years has taken me all over western North America and to Mongolia twice. But I’d just been offered the opportunity to climb Lhotse, the world’s fourth highest mountain, as a researcher with on a project studying the organizational behavior of commercial mountaineering expeditions. The Extreme Environments – Everyday Decisions (www.tripleed.com) research project focuses on how organizations operate in environments where the wrong decision endangers lives. As the high altitude member of our team, I spent the spring climbing embedded with a commercial Everest operation before making a summit attempt on nearby Lhotse without supplemental oxygen.
I’ve always been fascinated with the magnitude, beauty and balance of earth processes. This manifested most obviously in an obsession with big mountains that began when I encountered the Canadian Rockies as a child. So when I learned of Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation a year ago, it was a natural step for me. Passion for nature and stewardship of our wild places are inextricably linked. ASC plays a critical role as a matchmaker between scientists who desperately need data to better understand and monitor the natural world and those who love it most. Adventurers looking for a way to add learning and a sense of meaning to their trips need look no further—ASC’s helpful staff will make real scientific work an easy and integrated component of your next expedition.
Mark Thompson and his team collect data for ASC while skiing in Greenland
Mark Thompson is an avid adventurer with experiences ranging from driving Zodiacs in Antarctica to volunteering to work on a research program in Patagonia. This spring Mark and a group of close friends decided to embark on a ski adventure inEast Greenland to make some turns, explore this unique environment and participate in a research project to help the science community studying these areas. The team participated in the Water and Soil Collection in Permafrost Regions Project. Below is a recap of Mark's travels and what it was like to collect data while one a fantastic ski trip.
It was certainly unlike any adventure any of us had ever been on. The conditions we experienced posed many great challenges. Most of our 10 days in the field we experienced wet snow or rain, thankfully not much wind. The ground was 98% covered in heavy wet snow and made for slow progress which when not on skis you would post hole knee to thigh high. Wet slide avalanches were a non-stop phenomenon in all directions cascading like waterfalls from the sheer rock walls surrounding the Tasiilap Valley we were traveling. We did have a few partial days of sunshine that allowed us to dry out gear and explore around a bit.
After arriving in the village of Kulusuk and assessing what the conditions would permit we decided to continue with our original plan of visiting the Tasiilap Kua valley although the main fjord was still covered in ice. This meant we would need to drag our sleds about 10km through heavy wet snow to reach the valley. A combination of weather and ground conditions kept progress slow but we did reach the valley and make a base camp. Because of these challenges we weren't able to travel as far into the valley as hoped which would have us passing by the numerous glacial valleys needed for collecting samples. We were able to collect 6 samples during our trip, 3 water, 3 soil. Although the water samples collected were from the glacial valleys we did cross, It was difficult to determine whether or not it the water samples were from glacial melt or mainly snow melt. Additionally, snow coverage made soil collection difficult. The soil collections we were able to make were quite sandy and made up primarily of glacial sandy soils. I wish we could have done more collecting but as it turns out, at least this year, conditions in May in E Greenland make it extremely challenging.
The addition of the science aspect to our adventure was something that we all enjoyed and hope to participate in with future trips. Although not as fruitful as originally hoped, thanks for allowing us the opportunity.
Mark Thompson 2013
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