A Need for Science under the Ice

Diving expeditions in polar regions is one of the most demanding tasks at hand for researchers trying to understand the impacts of climate change in our world. Now Finland is introducing a new program designed to introduce the challenges and skills required to carry out diving operations in polar regions.

– Scientific diving is a nexus for many areas of marine research and diving-based approaches are in growing demand in many fields for example, in efforts to understand consequences of rapid biodiversity change in coastal ecosystems, says professor Alf Norkko at Tvärminne Zoological Station in Finland.

Given the high marine biodiversity in the unique polar environments, diving-based research expeditions are vital to our understanding of changes in those regions, from climate change as well as other anthropogenic impacts.

This novel program is run by the Finnish Scientific Diving Academy (University of Helsinki). This highly exciting course, taught by experts in the field of polar region expeditions, will train participants in survival in surface conditions, logistics of moving across snow and ice, snow mobile use, planning, risk mitigation of under-ice diving operations and carrying out diving under ice for research itself.

Training ground for future expeditions

This program is a new approach to use easily accessible areas (Finnish Lapland) within the polar regions to allow researchers and scientific divers to train for future expeditions to the North and South Polar areas.

The first program runs from the 9th to the 17th of March 2024 and is based at Kilpisjärvi Biological Station in Arctic Northern Finland with diving carried out in the ice-covered lake directly in front of the station. This infrastructure is available as a part of a network of research stations operated by the University of Helsinki.

The program consists of theoretical components related to polar operations, combined with hands-on practical experience under the guidance of the expert instructor team.

– The goal is to develop the contemporary structure of scientific dive training to facilitate its place in marine higher education and provide applicable professional skills for growing demands in ocean sciences and blue economies, Edd Stockdale, coordinator of the Finnish Scientific Diving Academy concludes.



Edd Stockdale, Finnish Scientific Diving Academy Coordinator, Finland

Edd is a highly experienced expedition diver involved in many research projects around the world. He is also the coordinator of the Finnish Scientific Diving Academy and develops training programs to modernise scientific diving protocols and develop advanced underwater skills which are essential for the next generation of marine scientists.

Rod Budd, NIWA Antarctic Dive Safety Officer, New Zealand

Rod is a Principal Technician in Coastal and Estuarine Physical Processes at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), in New Zealand. His first trip to Antarctica was in 2001, he was appointed as an Antarctic Dive Supervisor in 2004 and became Antarctica New Zealand’s Dive Safety Officer in 2012 overseeing all NZ scientific dive operations in Antarctica.

Patrick ‘Pata’ Degerman (www.pata.fi), Arctic Expedition Leader, Guide and Explorer, Finland

Pata Degerman is a Finnish explorer with over 70 expeditions and journeys including Antarctica, Greenland, and Spitsbergen. Pata has played an important role in shaping the capabilities of expedi-tion teams and different special forces. His expertise extends to training both in his native Finland and abroad, where he imparts invaluable knowledge on operating in extreme cold conditions.


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