What is Episode 75 all about?
I’m pretty sure if you’re listening to this podcast, then you’ve at least daydreamed about visiting Antarctica. Maybe you are even one of the lucky few that have visited the land of white. Between flightless penguins, hunting whales, rugged mountains, and treacherous seas, Antarctica is as raw as it is beautiful.
Since Antarctica is notoriously grueling to reach and almost impossible to study, scientists have had to develop creative methods to answer scientific questions, especially when the question needing to be answered requires being all over the entire Antarctic Penisula at once for the duration of the “summer” season. How in the world does one accomplish such a monumental task? By partnering with the tourism sector. And how do you do that? Well, today’s guest, Allison Cusick, answers this question and so much more in this episode.
Allison grew up in the Pacific Northwest with a particular dislike for oceans and most bodies of water due to a near-death experience her mother suffered in childhood. Allison grew up with a fear of the oceans and had totally written off the field as a potential career path (yes, the irony). When it came time to pick a major in college, she researched how to become an astronaut since no other group of people travels more than them (makes total logical sense). However, when she took her first biology class, she had an ah-ha moment that determined the rest of her future. Following, she worked in neuroscience labs, took several field jobs, and traveled the world volunteering on and leading conservation trips. She eventually decided to leave fieldwork and landed a job studying phytoplankton. In 2013, she took her first expedition to Antarctica and her life was forever changed. Now, she’s a PhD candidate at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, a founder of the Fjord Phyto Project, a polar guide, and has been called a Polar Hero by Conde Nast Traveler. She even starred in Jeff Goldblum’s “The World According to Jeff Goldblum” series on Disney+.
Allison and I have such a fun time covering everything including her incredibly winding path that led to today, how she discovered oceanography after being terrified of the ocean all of her life, why her work studying Antarctica’s phytoplankton is vitally important to understanding the region’s entire food web, and what the science is telling us about what is going on in this part of the world.
Alright, everyone. Here is my conversation with Allison
Listen to this episode.
Watch this episode on YouTube.
Allison in the Field
Links & Resources
Fjord Phyto Project
IPCC Report: https://www.ipcc.ch/srocc/chapter/chapter-3-2/
Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC) was prepared following an IPCC Panel decision in 2016 to prepare three Special Reports during the Sixth Assessment Cycle
International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators: https://iaato.org/
Conde Nast Traveler: “On These Expedition Cruises, Guests Play a Critical Role” – https://www.cntraveler.com/story/on-these-expedition-cruises-guests-play-a-critical-role
The World According to Jeff Goldblum, Tiny Things Episode: https://disneyplusoriginals.disney.com/show/the-world-according-to-jeff-goldblum
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