Apply to Sail: Expedition 377 Arctic Ocean Paleoceanography



The International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) is now accepting applications for scientific participants on Expedition 377 Arctic Ocean Paleoceanography (ArcOP) aboard a Mission Specific Platform (MSP) provided by the ECORD Science Operator. To learn more about the scientific objectives of this expedition and how to apply to sail, watch a recording of an informational webinar that was held on 26 May 2020 (click here to access).


The overall goal of the Expedition 377 is the recovery of a complete stratigraphic sedimentary record on the southern Lomonosov Ridge to meet the highest priority paleoceanographic objective: the continuous long-term Cenozoic climate history of the central Arctic Ocean. Furthermore, sedimentation rates two to four times higher than those at the site of IODP Expedition 302: ACEX permit higher-resolution studies of Arctic climate change in the Pleistocene and Neogene. This goal can be achieved by careful site selection, appropriate drilling technology, and applying multi-proxy approaches to paleoceanographic, paleoclimatic, and age-model reconstructions.


The sedimentary sequence from the central Arctic Ocean will be studied to answer the following key questions:

  • Did the Arctic Ocean climate follow the global climate evolution during its course from early Cenozoic Greenhouse to late Cenozoic Icehouse conditions?
  • Are the Early Eocene Climate Optimum and the Oligocene and Mid-Miocene warmings also reflected in Arctic Ocean records?
  • Did extensive glaciations (e.g., the OI-1 and Mi-1 glaciations) develop synchronously in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres?
  • What is the sedimentary record of timing of repeated major (Plio-) Pleistocene Arctic glaciations as compared to that postulated from sediment echosounding and multi-channel seimic reflection profiling?
  • What was the variability of sea-ice in terms of frequency, extent and magnitude?
  • When and how did the change from a warm, fresh-water-influenced, biosilica-rich and poorly ventilated Eocene ocean to a cold, fossil-poor, and oxygenated Neogene ocean occur?
  • How critical is the exchange of water masses between the Arctic Ocean and the Atlantic and Pacific for the long-term climate evolution as well as rapid climate change?
  • What is the history of Siberian river discharge and how critical is it for sea-ice formation, water mass circulation, and climate change?
  • How did the Arctic Ocean evolve during the Pliocene warm period and subsequent cooling? How do the ACEX2 records correlate with the terrestrial record from the Siberian Lake El’gygytgyn?
  • What is the cause of the major hiatus recovered in the ACEX record? Does this hiatus in fact exist?


Until the platform and drilling services are confirmed (estimated summer 2020), all timings are provisional. It is envisioned that the offshore phase of the expedition will last a maximum of 50 days between mid-August and mid-October 2021, with only a subset of the Science Party participating. Offshore activities will focus on core recovery, curation, sampling for ephemeral properties, biostratigraphy, physical properties, preliminary lithostratigraphy (whole core observed at core ends and through plastic liners), and downhole logging. The cores will not be split at sea. Subsequently, an Onshore Science Party (OSP) will be held at the MARUM – Center for Marine Environmental Sciences, University of Bremen, Germany, in either late 2021 or early 2022, where the cores will be split. The OSP will be a maximum of 4 weeks long, the exact length dependent on core recovery. All members of the Science Party must attend the Onshore Science Party. Successful applicants will be invited either as an offshore-onshore participant, or as an onshore-only participant. Please note that there are no opportunities for offshore-only participation.


Opportunities exist for researchers (including graduate students) in all specialties. While other expertise may be considered, specialists in the following fields are required: sedimentology, micropaleontology, palynology, organic geochemistry, inorganic geochemistry, structural geology, paleomagnetics, microbiology, physical properties, geophysics, stratigraphic correlation, and downhole logging. For the offshore phase of the expedition, we are particularly looking for the following fields: sedimentology, micropaleontology, palynology, organic geochemistry, inorganic geochemistry, microbiology, physical properties, and petrophysics/downhole logging.


Please note that this call supersedes the previous call for scientists in June 2017. We are not carrying over previous applications and would welcome current applications from both new and previous applicants. The expedition schedule will be confirmed before formal invitations to sail are issued.


U.S.-affiliated scientists interested in participating in this expedition should apply to sail through the U.S. Science Support Programclick here to review the application process and link to the USSSP Application Portal. The deadline to apply is June 19, 2020.


For more information about Expedition 377, visit To learn more about MSPs, visit to the ECORD Science Operator webpage. For questions, please email