Success story: Former Glen Innes High School student James Black is tapping into some innovative research in the Antarctica.

From Glen Innes to the Antarctic –local boyJames Black is going from strength to strength.

After leaving town at the age of 18, the former Glen Innes High student hasbeen in Tasmania for about 10 years and iscurrently completing aPhDand research into Antarctic marine life.

“We have [recently] completed twoshort Antarctic field seasons between2015 to 2016and 2016 to 2017 in which we were flown in and out with the RAAF globe master,” he said.

“We drilled holes through the sea ice to collect marine sedimentcommunities 15 metres below the ice.”

The test subjectsthen get set up in lab experimentsto investigate the effect of ocean acidification [increase in acidity of the oceans] and climate change on these Antarctic communities.

For James, a typical day starts around 7.30am.

“We sit down and plan the field work for the day, ensuring that we have a safe route to field sites,” he said.

“Field sites are often on sea ice and we work under strict safety precautions callingstation every hour to confirmconditions are safe.”

James said an Antarctic marine science work day isdiverse and could involve boating through ice floes, drilling through sea ice or diving.

But the 30-year-old scientist said the best aspectof his day isthepicturesque work environment.

“Work as a scientist is often busy andengaging and you often forget to look up and around,then all of a sudden you have a bunch of penguins curiously looking in at what you are doing,” he said.

And for other Glen Innes students thinking about their future, James said “don’t limit your career choices before you have found out everything that is on offer”.

“While the Severn Shire has a lot to offer,you may find opportunities that you would have never imagined …Iwould have never imagined working in Antarctica when I left school,” he said.

“I think anyone that lives in Glen Innes can easily work and live in Antarctica.

“Even though I have spent hours diving in icy Antarctic waters, the coldest night in memory for me was spent in Glen Innes.”

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