Battling the elements: 30 years of coastal fieldwork, in pictures
Swimming away from sharks, defending a tent during mini-cyclone and being threatened with a pet dingo are all in a day’s work for Professor Rob Brander, coastal geomorphologist at UNSW Sydney.
“As a field scientist, you’re completely at the mercy of the conditions,” he says. “You can plan the best experiment, but there’s a lot of luck involved when you’re out on the field – both good and bad.”
Prof. Brander recently co-edited ‘Stories from the Field’, a special issue of the Journal of Coastal Research that looks back on 50 years of research from coastal scientists around the world. Prof. Brander edited the special issue alongside Professor Andy Short, a coastal geomorphologist at the University of Sydney and his former PhD supervisor.
Unlike most scientific journals, this edition isn’t just about the science, but the tales of getting the science. Each story is filled with funny, uncanny or life-threatening moments – and sometimes all three.
“Scientific fieldwork often involves extreme locations and conditions,” says Prof. Brander. “Wild, bizarre and unexpected stuff happens, but at the same time significant scientific advances occur. I wanted to capture that."
Here, Prof. Brander shares some snapshots from his own 30 years on the field.