Turkish Scientists Carry Out 18 Different Science Projects In Antarctica

The scientists used seaweed samples and Antarctic ecosystem preservation techniques to complete their research on the white continent.

Turkish Scientists Carry Out 18 Different Science Projects In Antarctica

During the 7th National Antarctic Science Expedition in Antarctica, also known as the “continent of science and peace,” Turkish scientists worked on 18 different projects in the fields of earth science, life science, physical science, and social science, according to Anadolu News Agency.

The 7th National Antarctic Science Expedition served as a rich laboratory for scientific research for Turkish scientists at the South Pole under the sponsorship of the Turkish Presidency, coordination by the Polar Research Institute of the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkiye (TUBITAK), and oversight of the Turkish Industry and Technology Ministry.

The scientists used seaweed samples and Antarctic ecosystem preservation techniques to complete their research on the white continent. By taking samples from the sea, lakes, and snow during their research on science projects in Antarctica, the researchers also looked for signs of microplastic pollution.

Yildiz Technical University in Istanbul’s Environmental Engineering Department’s Guleda Engin stated that the department has been researching microplastic pollution for a while and has proposed a project to examine the situation there in the area surrounding Horseshoe Island, far from populated areas.

Engin noted that although plastic is convenient and easy to use, it also has a negative impact on the environment. Plastic ends up in the sea, where it eventually decomposes into microplastics, which are very small plastic particles less than 3 millimetres in size.

She said: “These plastics harm living things in nature, especially fish and aquatic organisms “They accumulate in them and travel up the food chain to get to us. We were interested in finding out how contaminated these microplastics were. Will we once again experience microplastic pollution in Antarctica, where there are no nearby populated areas, as I previously stated? To find out the answers to these queries, we are here.”

Evrim Celik Madenli, a lecturer in environmental engineering at Suleyman Demirel University, revealed that she worked on one of projects to look into the density of microplastics in snow and ice samples of Antarctica as well as snow samples from Turkiye’s Katrancik and Davraz Mountains.

“I selected two distinct Turkiye mountains for my project. One of them is Davraz, a popular winter tourist destination. The other is Mount Katrancik, where there are very few human activities. Between these two peaks, we want to contrast the densities of microplastic in mountains affected by and unaffected by human activity.”

Scientists had assumed that because Antarctica is a continent far from populated areas, there wouldn’t be any pollution or microplastics there, but in fact, microplastics have been discovered at the bottom of the ocean, she said.

Madenli added that she plans to look into whether or not microplastics are present in Turkiye’s mountains, where tourists go, as well as in areas with little to no human activity, like Antarctica.

According to Ekrem Cem Cankiriligil, a researcher at the Fisheries Department-Sheep Breeding Research Institute in Turkiye’s Balikesir province, they are attempting to research compounds with anti-Alzheimer, anti-diabetes, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties by looking into the nutrient and phytochemical contents of macroalgae found in Antarctica.

He continued, “Thus, the chemistry of the algae here has been shaped according to these factors and is very promising,” noting that Antarctica has marine environments where light transmittal is very different from elsewhere.

Cankiriligil stated that they identified the types of macroalgae that were discovered on Horseshoe Island’s shores and conducted numerous chemical analyses to look into the potential applications of these algae in medicine and other areas.

Phytoplankton is the foundation of the food pyramid, according to Ozden Fakioglu of Ataturk University’s Department of Fisheries Basic Sciences in the province of Erzurum, and they hope to offer many suggestions for the growth and quality of lakes.

She explained that she was on Horseshoe Island as a part of the TUBITAK Pole 1001 Project and that they had finished their study by collecting plankton and water samples from the island’s four lakes.

He emphasised that after they returned to Turkiye, they would conduct two distinct analyses and provide examples “When compared to earlier studies, are there any differences in the phytoplankton composition of lakes in 2023? If so, what factors might be responsible? We hope to identify any previously undetected species through metagenomic analyses.”