EP04 – Allison Cusick: Changing the data-gathering game through Citizen Science

Allison Cusick is a wildly interesting ‘woman scientist’ and key member of the Polar Citizen Science Collective who spent 10 years as a research biologist before taking on PhD studies at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

In this episode, she shares how she turned her passion for science and travel into numerous opportunities to engage with the natural environment in ways most people only dream of, including a 53-day scientific expedition to the Ross Sea Antarctica on board the icebreaker US Nathaniel B Palmer.

She’s also the project lead on a groundbreaking Citizen Science program on board tourist ships gathering data about phytoplankton in Antarctic waters.

A happy scientist in the field — an icebreaker, her chariot


3:45 – What is Citizen Science and why it’s cool for the planet

7:35 – Allison’s unsuccessful attempt at getting work on an Antarctic research base and what happened next

10:17 – We hear from Allison about the public’s fantastic reception to contributing to polar science & studying the effects of climate change

15:44 – We learn about the HappyWhale program: a scientific data collection project that only requires passengers to take photos of whale flukes

17:00 – Allison shares the impact that 5 months of scientific readings from tourism vessels can have on our understanding of some really important biological processes (like phytoplankton blooms) that can only be captured because of the regular presence of vessels, something research vessels don’t have the luxury of doing

22:28 – Current representation of women in polar science and the challenges faced in achieving higher level positions

28:38 – How Allison ended up running the Antarctic Marathon dressed as a banana


FjordPhyto Project

WomanScientist – Allison’s site

The Polar Citizen Science Collective

Allison on Instagram

Allison on Facebook


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