Teaching science on the Southern ice

Field notes from Antarctic marine scientist Dr Michelle LaRue, as she teaches, works and plays on the world's Southernmost continent.


The Postgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies (PCAS) is an internationally unique programme jointly developed by the University of Canterbury and Antarctica New Zealand. PCAS is a 14-week, in‐depth, multi‐disciplinary programme of study that critically examines contemporary scientific, environmental, social and political debates focused on Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.

Every year, PCAS attracts graduate students from a diverse range of disciplines and draws on the expertise of over thirty academic staff and guest speakers.

As part of the course, students travel to Antarctica for a unique 8-10 day field trip to gather data for reports and projects. In 2019, the field course was led by Antarctic marine scientist Dr Michelle LaRue. Via Twitter, Michelle shares what it’s like teaching PCAS.

Dr Michelle LaRue is a Lecturer of Antarctic Marine Science in Te Kura Aronukurangi (School of Earth & Environment) at the University of Canterbury. Her focus is on interdisciplinary tools, such as GIS and high-resolution satellite imagery, to study spatial and population dynamics of penguins, seals, & cougars. Michelle is also a science communicator, who believes that making science accessible by being approachable is key to public engagement and science comprehension.

Follow Michelle’s work on her website and Twitter.