Margaret Amsler

Margaret Amsler

Marine Biologist

Penguin Antics and Krill Chronicles

meet margaret

Margaret “Maggie” O’Leary Amsler is a marine biologist. Her research initially focused on the Antarctic krill. More recently, she concentrates on subtidal benthic ecology, invasive crabs, and the consequences of ocean acidification. Maggie has spent over 8 years (30 expeditions) in Antarctica aboard research vessels or at research stations. She has made over 500 polar scuba dives and 33 submersible hours logged down to 1000m in polar waters.

Penguin Antics and Krill Chronicles
Nominated by: James Bruce McClintock FN'16
Class of 2021 Location Alabama, USA
Author: Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK)

I have a deep commitment to sharing scientific discoveries with the general public as well as the professional community. To me, science is an art form, a way of thinking and doing. I use Antarctica as my medium, a canvas to invite and engage understanding of the process of science. I weave science stories through every image of penguin antics, diving under a six-foot ice ceiling or peering out of a submersible surrounded by krill that is so dense that there appears to be no water. I find no shortage of teachable moments with this cool subject. As a result, difficult scientific topics are often more approachable, like climate change.

My studies elucidated how the Antarctic krill maintains its extraordinarily abundant population in spite of heavy predation. Using high-resolution imaging, I have helped document the distribution, abundance, and life history of a potentially invasive deep-sea king crab. My current research is on the impact of ocean acidification, predicted in the near future.

“I use Antarctica as my medium, a canvas to invite and engage understanding of the process of science.”

- Margaret Amsler

Five decades ago, my academic mentor struggled to have her ability and science recognized because of her gender. Ultimately, she broke into the male-dominated environs of Antarctica, shattering the ‘ice ceiling.’ Among other firsts, she was the first female American chief scientist to overwinter in Antarctica. Years later, females in Antarctic science, and science in general, continued to be met with adversity, having their fundamental credibility questioned. My mentor inspired me to persevere and chip away those boundaries. Happily, today women scientists are more likely to be celebrated.

never stop exploring


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