Professor Giuliana Panieri contributes to a new documentary on France 5. The documentary aims to highlight scientists who do research in some of the most extreme environments on the planet: Arctic and Antarctica.
Text: Maja Sojtaric
Director Emmanuelle Sudre visited Tromsø and professor Panieri to conduct a series of interviews for the documentary Les conquérants des poles. (The Conquerors of the Poles)
“The poles, frozen frontiers of our planet, are as fascinating as inhospitable.” says a press release about the film “A world of intense cold and furious winds that long remained inaccessible to humans, their conquest was long and perilous. Yet, thanks to the perseverance of the first adventurers, many advances have been made, with geographical exploration leading to scientific exploration.”
Giuliana Panieri, is a professor in geology at CAGE and UiT The Arctic University of Norway. She is mainly interested in using micropaleontology and geochemistry to study present and past methane emissions in the Arctic.
“In the documentary, I mostly spoke about methane emissions in the Arctic, and how they can be investigated in the fossil record, using the forams. Short for foraminifera, they are microscopic organisms with shells. The miniscule shells are however wonderful records of the environment in the ocean, both while the organisms are living, but also in their fossil state when they become part of the sediments of the ocean floor.” says Panieri.
Giuliana Panieri points out that these simple organisms can help answer questions regarding the timing, periodicity, and intensity of methane seeps through time, with the final goal of understanding possible connections to climate change in the Arctic.
And climate change is a crucial component of the documentary. The poles are sentinels of the upheavals which rage on a global scale, the polar zones being major natural laboratories for the study of climate change. This mobilizes a large community of researchers, according to the summary provided by the producers of the documentary.
Panieri herself appreciates being asked to participate in the documentary.
“It is in French, so I have not yet seen it, “says the Italian professor working in Norway“ but I appreciate that I was approached for the project. Scientists must communicate their science to general public and to have an opportunity to do so on a large scale is great.”
The documentary which aired on France 5 Thursday, Nov 21 can be streamed through among others Google Play.