SEGH Articles

SEGH Member participated in the Antarctic Circumpolar Expedition

02 July 2017
Francois De Vleeschouwer, researcher at EcoLab, (CNRS, Toulouse France) and SEGH secretary, had the opportunity to embark onboard the RV Akademik Treshnikov to participate in the ACE Expedition

François De Vleeschouwer, researcher at EcoLab, (CNRS, Toulouse France) and SEGH secretary, had the opportunity to embark onboard the RV Akademik Treshnikov to participate in the ACE Expedition. From December 2016 to March 2017, scientific teams from all over the world joined into an unprecedented expedition around Antarctica. From biology to climatology to oceanography, researchers from 22 selected projects worked on a number of interrelated fields revolving around Antarctica.


François De Vleeschouwer is involved in a British Antarctic Survey-supervised project dealing with « Measuring the changes in the ocean’s capacity to absorb CO2 ». Concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere have increased since 1750 AD as a result of human activity. This is linked to warming of the atmosphere and oceans, changes in climate, recession of ice sheets and sea level rise. More than one quarter of this CO2 is absorbed by the oceans; the Southern Ocean accounting for 43%. The capacity of the Southern Ocean to absorb CO2 has recently been limited (according to some models) by an increase in the strength of the Southern Hemisphere Westerly Winds (SHW), which draw CO2 saturated waters back to the surface. This will potentially drive up atmospheric greenhouse gases and accelerate rates of global warming.Reconstructing past changes in the SHW and their impact on the oceanic CO2 sink is therefore a major priority for palaeoclimate science.


François De Vleeschouwer participated to the leg 2 of the ACE navigation from Hobart, Tasmania to Punta Arenas, Chile. After an unfortunate storm that obliged the expedition to cancel the sampling at Macquarie Island, the boat navigated throuhgh Antarctic waters to then cross the Drake’s Passage. F. De Vleeschouwer sampled soils, mosses and peatlands on various islands from the Antarctic (Scott, Maher, Lauft, Siple) and sub-Antarctic (Diego Ramirez Archipelago).


The main objective of this project is to determine the Holocene (last 12000 yrs) changes in the strength of the SHW over the Southern Ocean by generating records of wind-driven aerosols and other proxies in sediment records from lakes and bogs on the west coasts of sub-Antarctic islands and, These data will be further used in global climate models to test if past changes in the SHW explain past variations in atmospheric CO2.

Further information can be found on :


Francois de Vleeschouwer, CNRS, Toulouse, France

Keep up to date

Submit Content

Members can keep in touch with their colleagues through short news and events articles of interest to the SEGH community.

Science in the News

Latest on-line papers from the SEGH journal: Environmental Geochemistry and Health

  • Health risks and source identification of dietary exposure to indicator polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in Lanzhou, China 2019-09-19


    Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are widely present in multiple environmental media even long after the phaseout, posing a health risk to the general population. Dietary intake is the major exposure route of PCBs; however, information is limited regarding PCBs in food that people directly consume. This study aims to measure personal exposure to indicator PCBs, evaluate the health risks, and identify their sources in a typical metropolitan city in China. Multi-day food samples were collected from 21 subjects in Lanzhou, Gansu Province, in two seasons using the duplicate plate method. Samples were extracted and analyzed for seven indicator PCBs using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. Average daily doses (ADDs) of ∑7PCBs were estimated using Monte Carlo analysis with food intake information. Results show that PCB-118 and PCB-180 were the major congeners in food samples with average concentrations of 1.42 and 1.11 ng/g, respectively. The average (± SD) ADD of ∑7PCBs was 26.47 ± 22.10 ng/kg day among adults aged 18–69 years and displayed small variation across age groups. Comparing with the chronic RfD of 7 ng/kg day, 67% of people had their ADDs exceeding this threshold. The median cancer risk was 5.52 × 10−5, and 51% of residents had risks exceeding the action level of 10−4. The principal component analysis identified waste incineration, gasoline engine production, and leakage of #1 PCBs as the major PCBs sources. In conclusion, a large portion of Lanzhou residents has high non-cancer and cancer risks from dietary exposure to PCBs, which warrants control actions targeting these major sources.

  • Comprehensive assessment of heavy metals pollution of farmland soil and crops in Jilin Province 2019-09-18


    As a major agricultural province in China, it is necessary to study the content of heavy metals in farmland soil and crop in Jilin Province and to evaluate the risks to ecology and human health. This study presented the work completed on 79 soil samples, 10 rice samples, 66 maize samples and 15 soybean samples collected from Jilin Province farmland and evaluated six heavy metals (Zn, Cu, Pb, Cd, Hg and As) concentrations. The results showed that the concentrations of the six heavy metals in farmland soil and crop samples from Jilin Province basically met the soil standards and food health standards of China. The agricultural soil pollution spatial distribution was the most serious in the south of Jilin Province and the lightest in the west. The non-carcinogenic risks faced by children eating crops were higher than those of adults, but the carcinogenic risks were lower than those of adults. Both of the two health risks to adults and children from eating crops were very limited. The results would help determine the heavy metals pollution in farmland soil in Jilin Province efficiently and accurately and helped decision makers to achieve a balance between production and environmental regulation.

  • Sustainability of agricultural and wild cereals to aerotechnogenic exposure 2019-09-14


    In recent decades, the problem of the constantly increasin level of anthropogenic load on the environment is becoming more and more acute. Some of the most dangerous pollutants entering the environment from industrial emissions are heavy metals. These pollutants are not susceptible to biodegradation over time, which leads to their accumulation in the environment in dangerous concentrations. The purpose of this work is to study the sustainability of cultivated and wild plants of the Poaceae family to aerotechnogenic pollution in the soil. The content of heavy metals in couch grass (Elytrigia repens (L.) Nevski), meadow bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) and soft wheat (Triticum aestivum) plants grown in the impact zone of Novocherkassk Power Station has been analyzed. Contamination of cultivated and wild cereals with Pb, Zn, Ni and Cd has been established. It has been shown that the accumulation of heavy metals is individual for each plant species. An average and close correlation have been established between the total HM content and the content of their mobile forms in the soil and their content in plants. For the plants studied, the translocation factor (TF) and the distribution coefficient (DC) of HM have been calculated. The TF is formed by the ratio of the concentration of an element in the root plant dry weight to the content of its mobile compounds in the soil. The DC value makes it possible to estimate the capacity of the aboveground parts of plants to absorb and accumulate elements under soil pollution conditions and is determined as the ratio of the metal content in the aboveground biomass to its concentration in the roots. TF and DC values have shown a significant accumulation of elements by plants from the soil, as well as their translocation from the root system to the aboveground part. It has been revealed that even within the same Poaceae family, cultural species are more sensitive to man-made pollution than wild-growing ones.