Malaysian Polar Scientist, Dr. Siti Aqlima conducting research in Antarctica

A researcher at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) has been living in Signy Island, Antartica, on a 80-day’s research in the island.

A senior lecturer of Biochemistry Department, Faculty of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), Dr. Siti Aqlima Ahmad has been living in Signy Island, Antartica, carrying out a 80-day’s research in the island until March 20, 2017.

Her study, entitled ‘Diversity and Biogeography of Soil Bacteria Degrading Phenol,’ is being conducted at Signy Research Station, Factory Cove, Borge Bay, located in the island.

The research station with a latitude position of 60°43'0"S and longitude of 45°36'0"W provides a suitable environment for the study.

According to Yayasan Penyelidikan Antartika Sultan Mizan’s (YPASM) posting on its Facebook, one of the unique features of Signy Research Station is that its support variety of projects related to Southern Ocean ecosystems and climate change.

It is also rare to find any visitors in Signy Island, which, therefore, allows the study of microbial diversity to be conducted using soil samples at natural (undisturbed) and disturbed areas with ease.

Dr. Siti Aqlima, a recipient of YPASM Berth Support, arrived at Punta Arenas, Chile on December 25, 2016 from Kuala Lumpur, and continued her journey on December 27, 2016 to Signy Research Station onboard a British military ship, ‘HMS Protector.’

She arrived at the research station on December 31, 2016.

The research station has seven people working in it, comprising two British scientists, a scientist from Japan, Dr Siti Aqlima herself and three British Antarctic Survey (BAS) staffs.

Signy Island, a small sub-Antarctic island of 6.5 km long and less than 5 km wide, has permanent ice cover over a large part of the island which rises to 288m.

In summer, extensive areas of moss and some grasses are exposed, with numerous freshwater pools and lakes.

Signy Research Station is Britain’s sole summer-only station, and one of its smallest. The island’s abundant wildlife and greenery make it an ideal outdoor laboratory. – UPM

By Azman Zakaria

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Published: 13 Mar 2017

Contact details:

Office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research & Innovation) Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) 43400 UPM Serdang Selangor Malaysia

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