PAIS/IODP Antarctic School 2019


Time: June 9-14, 2019


Location: IODP Gulf Coast Repository, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA


Organizing Committee: Denise Kulhanek (Texas A&M University), Trevor Williams (Texas A&M University), Larry Krissek (Ohio State University), Mark Leckie (University of Massachusetts, Amherst), Val Stanley (Oregon State University)


IODP-PAIS Antarctic School Report (PDF)

IODP has embarked on a campaign to investigate Antarctica, its ice sheets, and the Southern Ocean by coring and logging offshore shelf and deep water marine sediments. The first expedition, Ross Sea drilling with the JOIDES Resolution (Expedition 374), was completed in March 2018, and Amundsen Sea (Expedition 379) and Iceberg Alley (Expedition 382) will sail in early 2019. The primary scientific motivation for the new drilling expeditions is to investigate the stability of the Antarctic ice sheets under past warm environments to provide analog scenarios for ice retreat and consequent sea level rise under future climate warming. Ice and environment interpretations of Antarctic sediment cores are also crucial to improve climate and ice sheet models. To help address this, we are hosting a one week Antarctic School to provide an introduction to Antarctic paleoclimate research using sediment/rock cores.


The primary goals of school are to train early career scientists to:

  • Document and interpret lithological, chemical, and physical properties of Antarctic marine sediment cores.
  • Understand how interpretation of stratigraphy and depositional environments in the context of ice, climate, and source-to-sink processes can improve our understanding of past and future Antarctica.

The week-long school will include lectures and exercises targeted to a daily theme and hands-on activities using Antarctic sediment cores from the IODP Gulf Coast Repository (GCR) and the Oregon State University Marine and Geology Repository (OSU-MGR). The daily themes will include key intervals in Antarctica’s climate history, shelf and deep-water environments, and current “hot topic” research areas in Antarctic science. The hands-on activities will provide training for core description, measurement, and interpretation.


Icebreaker (Sunday evening):
17:30  Meet in hotel lobby for carpools to icebreaker venue (Blackwater Draw)
18:00  Arrive Blackwater Draw
18:30  Welcome, self introductions, and brief introduction to Antarctic School
19:00  Dinner
22:00  Final transport returns to hotel


8:30    Assemble at IODP
8:45    Lecture 1 on the morning theme
9:45    Coffee break
10:00  Lecture 2 on the morning theme
11:00  Exercise related to the morning theme
12:00  Lunch
1:00    Introduction to laboratories for hands-on activities
1:30    Group activities in four laboratories (macroscopic core description, smear slide analysis, physical properties and downhole logging, and chronostratigraphy)
4:30    Groups work to synthesize results and begin preparing PowerPoint presentation
5:15    Full group meets back for discussion of day’s activities
5:30    Bus to hotel


8:30    Assemble at IODP
8:45    Lecture and group discussion/activity (science communication and outreach)
9:45    Coffee break
10:00  Group work to finalize core description activities, interpretations, and PowerPoint presentation for the cores
12:00  Lunch
1:00    Group presentations
3:15    Coffee break
3:30    Final synthesis lecture
4:30    Final discussion
5:30    Bus to hotel

The Antarctic School will take place from Sunday, 9 June through Friday, 14 June and will be held at the IODP Gulf Coast Repository, Texas A&M University in College Station, TX. Texas A&M University at College Station hosts the IODP Gulf Coast Repository, home to the IODP Antarctic and Southern Ocean core collection, which makes College Station the ideal location for the Antarctic school. The JOIDES Resolution (JR) Science Operator is also based here, providing a huge knowledge base, access to equipment and software equivalent to what is on the JR, and free meeting rooms. College Station is quite centrally located in the U.S., and is one of the more reasonably priced places in the U.S. There are several direct flights daily from Dallas and Houston, as well as shuttle transport between College Station and Houston/Austin airports.


The school will kick-off with an icebreaker on Sunday evening, 9 June, and conclude with group presentations and final lectures on Friday, 14 June.

We will invite ~20 early career scientists (including graduate students and post-docs) to participate in the core school. This will include ~10 US-based scientists and ~10 international scientists, with some priority given to scientists working on core collected during recent Antarctic expeditions but who did not participate on those expeditions. Given the diversity of potential topics covered at the school, we envisage participants with a variety of specialties, including (but not limited to) sedimentology, paleontology, geochemistry, paleomagnetism, physical properties, downhole logging, and climate/ice sheet modeling. Travel support is available from US Science Support Program (USSSP) for U.S.-based participants and the Past Antarctic Ice Sheet Dynamics (PAIS) program for international participants.


This workshop is funded by PAIS and USSSP, so we welcome applications from scientists in IODP- and Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR)-member countries. We particularly encourage applications from students and early career scientists who are conducting research on Antarctic sediment cores collected during recent expeditions but who did not participate in the expedition directly. The deadline to apply is 27 February 2019.


Your application should include the following:

  • Short (preferably 2 page) CV or NSF-style biographical sketch
  • Statement of interest (1 page maximum) that indicates why you want to attend the school, how it will benefit your career, and a basic description of your planned Antarctic research
  • Letter of support from your advisor (for students only)


Send your application materials to Denise Kulhanek ( by 27 February 2019.


Participants will be selected by the organizing committee and PAIS co-chairs using the applicants’ statement of interest and letter of support (when applicable). Our goal is to invite a diverse participant group that includes a mix of graduate students and post-doctoral scholars who are conducting research spread amongst recent IODP and non-IODP Antarctic research cruises and expeditions, and who come from a variety of IODP and SCAR member countries.


If you have questions about the 2019 PAIS/IODP Antarctic School, please contact the school organizers:


Denise Kulhanek (

Trevor Williams (