March- Dr. Siti Aqlima Ahmad currently is a Senior Lecturer for the Biochemistry Department, Faculty of Biotechnology, Universiti Putra Malaysia and recipient of YPASM Berth Support to Signy Research Station in Antarctica.
She arrived at Punta Arenas, Chile on 25 December 2016 from Kuala Lumpur. As soon as the sun rises on 27 December 2016, she continued her journey to Signy Research Station, Antarctica via British Military Ship known as the ‘HMS Protector’ and finally arrived at the research station 31 December 2016. At present, this research station only has seven people working in it comprising two British scientists, one scientist from Japan and Dr Siti Aqlima herself along with three British Antarctic Survey (BAS) staffs that include one station leader, one filed assistant and one technician. Dr Siti Aqlima is expected to carry out research and live in the Signy Island, Antarctica, for a period of 80 days, which is until 20 March 2017.
Suitable with the environment provided, she will be conducting a study with the title ‘Diversity and Biogeography of Soil Bacteria Degrading Phenol’. This study will be conducted in Signy Research Station, Factory Cove, Borge Bay located in the Signy Island. This research station has the latitude position of 60°43'0"S with a longitude of 45°36'0"W. One of the unique features in this facility is that this station supports a variety of projects related to Southern Ocean ecosystems and climate change. Furthermore, it is also rare to find any visitors in the Signy, which therefore allows the study of microbial diversity to be conducted using soil samples at natural (undisturbed) and disturbed areas with ease.
Signy Island is a small sub-Antarctic island, 6.5 km long and less than 5 km wide. There is permanent ice cover over a large part of the island, which rises to 288 m. In the summer, extensive areas of moss and some grasses are exposed, and there are numerous freshwater pools and lakes. Signy Research Station is Britain’s sole summer-only station, and one of its smallest. The island’s abundant wildlife and greenery make it an ideal outdoor laboratory.