University of Alabama-Birmingham marine biology and climate control researcher James McClintock spent more than 30 years in the field, particularly the Antarctic Peninsula.
Now, after walking the walk in an eventful 30-plus year career, he feels his calling is talking the talk.
“Sharing my experiences with students and the general public is what I now consider the most important part of my scientific career,” McClintock said while appearing during the 10th annual Scholars Week at MTSU March 16.
Scholars Week, a weeklong showcase of academic pursuits and research, continues throughout the week. All of the colleges within the university participate with their own Scholars Days.
McClintock shared with students, faculty and the general public during the first of his two-day appearance at MTSU.
He held a one-hour “Adventures in Field Work” and Q&A session with students, where he opened with a few words about his history of “working in remote polar environments beginning as a graduate student.” He discussed what the experience has taught him about “biological and environmental issues, as well as the value of interdisciplinary collaborative research and cooperation when working in remote field settings.”
The students’ questions guided the remainder of the discussion.
McClintock’s career and research passions have allowed him an “extraordinary lifetime of opportunity to study one of the most intriguing and challenged regions of our planet.”
“Antarctica has put me in the unique position to leverage a lifetime of scientific discovery to educate the public about environmental issues increasingly confronting humankind,” he added.
Regarding his keynote message about the Antarctic Peninsula, he said it is one of the most rapidly warming regions on the planet.
“Sea ice and glaciers are retreating and ice shelves are breaking apart,” he said. “These changes are impacting Antarctic marine life — from the smallest plankton to the largest of whales on this stunningly beautiful and surprisingly fragile continent.”
Rapid anthropogenic climate warming and ocean acidification are twin challenges in a high carbon dioxide world.
“Hope for a better future is illustrated with the discovery and ongoing remediation of the massive hole in the ozone over Antarctica,” he said.