Webinar – 12 December 2013 – Matt Mowlem

GPS Station, Lake Ellsworth

The webinar will be broadcast Thursday 12 December 2013 11:00 AM EST (8:00 AM PST). Registration is required for the seminar at www.oceanmysteries.net. This is part of Blue Marvel Series – there is no charge.

A Probe for Measurement and Sampling of Pristine Subglacial Lake Ellsworth Antarctica

In the field season 2012–2013, a consortium of UK engineers and scientists attempted, but failed, to access Subglacial Lake Ellsworth in West Antarctica.

This talk describes the technology developed to measure and sample the lake without introducing contamination into this pristine environment. Initial results show that the probe was sterile and still functioned following transport to the field site and back to the UK.

The probe, rated for depths of 3200 metres, includes gas-tight water samplers, particle samplers, cameras, sonars, and sensors for conductivity, temperature, pH, Eh (reduction potential), and dissolved oxygen.

The key engineering challenges and their solution will be described. These include: development of systems that could be cleaned and sterilised; maintaining sterility in transport and deployment; and surviving freeze-thaw processes.


Dr Matt Mowlem is the head of the Ocean Technology and Engineering Group at the National Oceanography Centre UK. His research focuses on the development of novel biogeochemical sensors, with an emphasis on low cost in situ systems, primarily for marine applications. He heads numerous UK, European and industry funded research projects developing lab-on-a-chip sensors for chemical, nucleic acid and microbiology targets. He also led a team of engineers and scientists to develop the sterile submersible probe technology for the measurement and sampling of pristine Subglacial Lake Ellsworth which resides beneath 3200 meters of ice in West Antarctica.

In a collaboration of the US National Science Foundation, the IEEE and the Group on Earth Observations, the NSF-funded Ocean Research Collaboration Network is proud to announce the next webinar in the series “Blue Marvel – Ocean Mysteries” will be “A Probe for Measurement and Sampling of Pristine Subglacial Lake Ellsworth Antarctica” with Matt Mowlem, Head of the Ocean Technology and Engineering Group UK National Oceanography Centre.