Colombia and science in the Arctic

28 March 2022 from 15:00 - 16:00 (CEST / GMT+2)

Open Session



Session Abstract

Colombia, a tropical nation, needs to be involved in Arctic science because shifts in the physical, oceanographic and biological phenomena due to climate change affect both the polar and the tropical ecosystems and nations. It is a planetary-scale issue and as such, it needs to be tackled globally. Although Colombia has traditionally been involved in Antarctic research, there is an interest from a few Colombian researchers in Arctic science, as well as an interest in collaboration with international Arctic researchers.

It might happen in Las Vegas, but “whatever happens in the Arctic does not stay the Arctic”: The frozen top of the world and the tropics are linked like Siamese twins. They share the same liquid veins and climatic changes in either of them deeply affects the other. Colombia, in the hot tropics, and every Arctic nation are effectively daughters of the Arctic ice. Because the ocean is one same system, it is true that the Arctic begins in the tropics and the tropics begin in the Arctic.

This is where Colombian researchers, joining forces with international collaborators, can contribute and collaborate globally with new information regarding the teleconnexions between the tropics and the Arctic, just as they have been doing in Antarctica for the past 8 years.

International collaboration, in general, is also where basic science in biology, geology and mapping is starting to produce important results and data. From deep seabed high-resolution mapping, to biological and geological discoveries in the deepest parts of the ocean trenches, including the Arctic’s deepest and most unexplored point, the Molloy Deep.

Accelerated melting of the Arctic polar cap will also produce information gaps. It is essential that a joint global polar community rushes to acquire this knowledge before it is too late.


Jhon Fredy Mojica: Colombian Physical Oceanographer. Currently Researcher Associate at the New York University Abu Dhabi, in the Center for global Sea-level Change. His research work focuses on ocean dynamics in polar regions and ice shelves' interactions; particularly characterizing the oceanic circulation in polar areas at multiple scales and better understanding the mixing and diffusion processes and their temporal and spatial variability in Greenland Fjords such as Ilulissat and Sermilik; also, in the Antarctic ice shelves, located over the Amundsen, Weddell, and Ross sea, and the Antarctic peninsula. In all these areas, he has conducted fieldwork to describe and characterize the ocean-glacier dynamics, and their impacts in coastal areas around the world under the current scenario of sea-level variation and climate change.

Mario H Londoño Mesa: Colombian marine biologist, renowned polychaete taxonomist, Universidad de Antioquia, Medellín. Has conducted several expeditions in Antarctica, but has also worked with Norwegian and Canadian colleagues in describing, re-naming and connecting lineages across ocean basins. He has described about 40 new polychaete species for science around the world.

Hugo Montoro: Peruvian Hydrographer at the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans, GEBCO, and part of its SEABED2030 project to have all basing mapped in high-resolution by 2030. Member of Victor Vescovo’s 5 Deep Expeditions and subsequent expeditions to the deepest points of the world’s oceans.

Moderator and speaker: Angela Posada-Swafford. Colombian-American science journalist and explorer. Correspondent, National Geographic Magazine, Washington. Expedition member in Victor Vescovo’s team.


  • Sea level rise and Greenland
  • Deep-sea high-resolution mapping of the ocean floor and the Arctic’s Molloy Deep expedition, 2019 biological discoveries. Deepest point in the Arctic: -5,555 mts.
  • GEBCO SEABED2030 mapping project
  • Polychaetes and other marine invertebrates on the Arctic
  • Deep sea fauna around Molloy Deep and Atla Seamount


Session Organizer: 

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