Science in Antarctica 2017-2018 Season:
David Schutt and Mercury Accumulation
David Schutt will be one of two Quixote Expedition’s Guest Scientists for the 2017-2018 Antarctica Season. David is a graduate student at the University of Colorado Denver and is studying mercury accumulation in penguins from the Falkland Islands / Malvinas to South Georgia Island and down along the Antarctic Peninsula. Mercury is a pollutant produced from fossil fuel combustion and various industrial processes and is released into the atmosphere where it is eventually deposited in the polar regions.
The aim of his study is to quantify the amount of bioavailable mercury close to industrialized areas of South America in relation to the isolated regions of Antarctica. If David’s analysis shows that there is a comparatively high amount of bioavailable mercury in Antarctica relative to that found near South America, there is cause for concern that global pollution levels are reaching a saturation point. The expectation is that the results will show mercury levels in Antarctica to be significantly less than regions near South America, however this comparative investigation has never been done before and the results will be noteworthy regardless of the outcome.
For this study, David will be sampling feathers from Gentoo penguin chicks as well as feathers and blood from Gentoo penguin adults. He will also be weighing and recording various measurements of the penguins.
More about our Antarctic Guest Scientist
David Schutt is a graduate student at the University of Colorado Denver studying pollution exposure in penguins. In particular, David is investigating differing levels of mercury concentrations and antibiotic resistance in Gentoo penguins between South America and the Antarctic Peninsula. His background includes two seasons working exclusively with Gentoo penguins in the Falkland Islands, two seasons working at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, and work as a freelance cinematographer with several of his videos featured on major networks such as Nat Geo WILD and Discovery Channel. In addition, David is also president of Penguins International, a non-profit organization dedicated to penguin conservation and research.
When not researching penguins, David resides in Denver, Colorado (USA) and loves mountain biking, snowboarding, playing hockey, and spending time with his wife and son.
Join Us in Antarctica!
David will be joining Quixote Expeditions on the Antarctic Trips departing on January 28, 2018 and February 6, 2018. He will engage with passengers and give evening lectures to discuss his own research and well as lectures on penguins and Antarctica wildlife. Don’t miss this opportunity to give back on your trip to Antarctica.
Contact us for more information