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Dr Mark Brandon

Dr Mark Brandon

Reader in Polar Oceanography

The Open University Faculty of Science Department of Environment, Earth & Ecosystems


Mark's Personal Website
Mark's Blog

Profile

I am a polar oceanographer interested in the interaction of the ocean with the cryosphere, and have currently published more than 30 research articles in this area. If you are interested in my research citation metrics you could look at ResearchID, the research tab on this page, or go to Google Scholar.

My main teaching contribution is to the Environmental Awards area of the University curriculum and in November 2012 I won the Times Higher Education Award for "Most Innovative Teacher of the year" (link and official citation). I have also won three Open University Teaching Awards for my work.

I have a strong interest in the public understanding of science and have  given many public lectures and visited schools to speak on polar and climate science. For example in March 2013 I gave a talk at TEDx Southampton University.

I have given news interviews to the BBC and Sky News, appeared on live radio, e.g. Radio 4's Saving Species, on recorded radio e.g. Radio 4's Making History. I have written articles for newspapers such as The Times and written a blog called Our Man in the Antarctic on my Antarctic research for open.net. My research has also been reported on the BBC website here in a story that was one of the most popular on the BBC website for a few days.

The Open University has moved on from late night lectures to prime time television programmes which attract large numbers of viewers but retain science and education at their core. In working in this area I have had the good fortune to have worked with the BBC Natural History Unit on many landmark series and was the Principal Academic Advisor to the multi award winning BBC/OU co-production series Frozen Planet. I have also been a named consultant on several other landmark television programs including Planet Earth and Blue Planet.

The BBC www site for Frozen Planet is here.

The Open University Site supporting the series is here.

You can get your free map of the Arctic and Antarctic here.

Or look at our wonderful interactive map here.

You can also take an OU course linked with the series called S175 Frozen Planet which consists of a 259 page book, and online activities which use material from Frozen Planet, Life in the Freezer, Planet Earth, Blue Planet, and specially shot material from the Frozen Planet series. There is a small "taster" section of this course available free online here.

I was also a member of the academic team for the award winning BBC / OU productions on Coast, and the BBC 1 Climate change season.
 

You can find me on twitter as @icey_mark

And I have a few polar pictures on Flickr

And I have a blog at Mallemaroking.org. If you want to know what that word means you can visit the site to find out.

Qualifications

1992-1995: PhD in Polar Oceanography from Cambridge University, Thesis title Winter surface water mass modification in the Greenland Sea.

1985-1989: BSc (Honours) Physics, University of Surrey.

I am a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

I am a member of the American Geophysical Union.

I am a member of the International Glaciological Society, and

I am a member of the Challenger Society for Marine Science.

Teaching Interests

Presentation courses

I am currently a Module Team member of the third level course S330 Oceanography.

I am a member of the Module Team  for the MSc course S808 Earth Systems Science


Previous production contributions

I have written and contributed at all levels in the university.

At level 1 (Equivalent first year undergraduate)

I wrote and chaired S175 The Frozen Planet with David Robinson (Ecosystems and Biodiversity), with Contributions from Tim Jarvis and Elizabeth Hawker and Audrey Brown. A free on-line "taster" of this course is available here. In December 2012 this course won an OU Teaching Award for excellence.

I co-wrote Block 2 of the Level 1 Course U116 Environment: journeys through a changing world on the Arctic with Dr Joe Smith from Geography. This course won an OU teaching award for excellence. A free on-line "taster" of the section of the course I wrote is available here.

 

At level 2 (Equivalent Second year undergraduate)

I wrote a unit Water for the Level 2 Environmental Course U216 Environment.


I wrote a topic for S216 called Oceans and Climate for the Environmental Science course S216 Environmental science.

 

At level 3 (Equivalent third year undergraduate)

I was chair and co-author of Block 1 Environmental Changes Global Challenges of the third level Environmental Course U316 The Environmental Web. My co-author was Dr Nigel Clark (Geography) and together we wrote and prepared activities about the Antarctic. This course won an OU Teaching Award for excellence.

 

At MSc Level (postgraduate)

I was chair and sole author of approximately 20% of S808 Earth science: a systems approach. The subject of the section I wrote is called The Cryosphere and Ocean Circulation.


External to the Open University
In 2005 and 2007 I lectured about The Cryosphere at the NERC funded QUEST Earth Systems Science Summer School with Professor Martin Siegert and Dr Finlo Cottier.

Research Interests

My research interests are Antarctic polar oceanography. My particular strengths have been cross disciplinary work and use of robotic and remote sensing technologies. I have active collaborations with Germans, Japanese, American and of course British researchers.  For a full list of my publications please look on Open Research online. One aspect of my research was reported by the BBC in 2010 as Giant icebergs head to watery end at island graveyard here - and for a couple of days the story was one of the most popular on the BBC website.

If you are interested in things like citation metrics then you could look here. I have a H index of 23 to 25 (depending on which database you look at) as of 17 December  2012 - but I would not be so bold as to suggest what this means I am like as a scientist.

I also have a page on Google Scholar here.

I am a member of the NERC Peer Review College, and have sat on many grant panels acting as Vice Chair on many occasions. I was also co-chair of the NERC Ice Sheet Stability Expert Group with Professor Tony Payne (Bristol).


My recently completed competitively won grants are:

2004-2007: Biogeochemical particle flux study in Marguerite Bay, Antarctica. £280k joint award with Professor Tim Jickells (University of East Anglia), Professor Andy Clarke and Dr Mike Meredith (both British Antarctic Survey). This grant investigated the oceanic climate of the Antarctic Peninsula and linked it to land and marine derived biogeochemical fluxes using moorings and sediment traps deployed for 2 years on the Antarctic sea floor. Dr Mags Wallace was awarded a doctorate based on this research project in 2008.

2002-2006: Moorings to investigate intra-annual variability in krill abundance and water mass physical characteristics at South Georgia. This was a  £301K Joint award with Dr Eugene Murphy (British Antarctic Survey). we made the first year-round oceanic measurements at South Georgia – the site of an important Antarctic commercial fishery.

2002- 2006: The sea ice thickness distribution in the Amundsen Sea. Lead and sole PI on a NERC studentship tied to the AUTOSUB Under Ice programme using a robot beneath Antarctic sea ice. Dr Chris Banks was awarded his doctorate in 2007.

2002 -2006: Evolution and impact of circumpolar deep water on the Antarctic Circumpolar Shelf. £135k in total. joint award with Dr Adrian Jenkins (British Antarctic Survey). This grant was to investigate the role of oceanic driven climate change in the potential collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Shelf. We calculated the amount of heat avaliable to melt the Pine Island and Thwaites Glacier flowing towards Antarctica through a glacial trough - a region memorably described as "the weak underbelly of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet". The work was published in Geophysical Research Letters in 2007.

1998-2002: Under sea-ice and pelagic surveys (USIPS).We used the robot Autosub for acoustic surveys of krill, herring and ice thickness and were awarded £114K in total in a joint award with Dr Andrew Brierley (St Andrews), and Dr Paul Fernades (MARLAB). The research was very successful, achieved many firsts, and has led to many publications including in the journals Nature and Science.

Current Research Projects

I am currently working on the data collected from an extensive research cruise to the floating ice shelves of west Antarctica. I wrote about this research cruise in my blog. One aspect of my current research was reported by the BBC in 2010 as Giant icebergs head to watery end at island graveyard here - and for a couple of days the story was one of the most popular on the BBC website.

Publications

Book Chapter
Brandon, Mark A.; Cottier, Finlo R. and Nilsen, Frank (2009). Sea ice and oceanography. In: Thomas, David N. and Dieckmann, Gerhard S. eds. Sea Ice. UK: Wiley-Blackwell.
Brandon, Mark and Smith, Sandy (2003). Water. In: Morris, Dick; Freeland, Joanna R.; Hinchliffe, Steve and Smith, Sandy eds. Changing Environments. Wiley Environment Series. Chichester, UK: John Wiley and Sons, pp. 185–230.
Conference Item
Brandon, Mark; Smith, Joe; Garrow, Kat and Law, Andrew (2013). Broadcasting environmental knowledge: Open University & BBC collaborations serving massive global audiences. In: American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2013., 9-13 December 2013, San Francisco.
Brandon, Mark; Hodgkins, Richard; Björnsson, Helgi and Ólaffson, Jón (2013). Hydrographic measurements in Jökulsárlón lagoon, Iceland. In: American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting 2013, 9-13 December 2013, San Francisco, CA, USA.
Walker, D. P.; Jenkins, A.; Brandon, M.; Assmann, K. and Shoosmith, D. (2012). Oceanographic observations at the shelf break of the Amundsen Sea, Antarctica. In: EGU General Assembly 2012, 22-27 April 2012, Vienna.
Brandon, Mark and Smith, Jonathan (2010). Creative climate: a global ten-year communications, research and learning project about environmental change. In: Fall Meeting American Geophysical Union, 13-17 Dec 2010, San Francisco, California, USA..
Brandon, M. A.; Enderlien, P. and Murphy, E.J. (2010). The far field effect of ice shelf calving: the oceanographic effect of the decay of large tabular icebergs at South Georgia. In: Abstract C23C-0648 presented at AGU Fall Meeting, 13-17 Dec 2010, San Francisco, CA, USA.
Jenkins, Adrian; Hayes, Dan; Brandon, Mark; Pozzi-Walker, Ziggy; Hardy, Sarah and Banks, Christopher (2004). Oceanographic observations at the Amundsen sea shelf break. In: 17th International Workshop of the Forum for Research into Ice Shelf Processes (FRISP), 17-18 June 2003, Cambridge, England, UK.
Journal Article
Walker, Dziga P.; Jenkins, Adrian; Assmann, Karen M.; Shoosmith, Deborah R. and Brandon, Mark A. (2013). Oceanographic observations at the shelf break of the Amundsen Sea, Antarctica. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 118(6), pp. 2906–2918.
Weston, Keith; Jickells, Timothy D.; Carson, Damien S.; Clarke, Andrew; Meredith, Michael P.; Brandon, Mark A.; Wallace, Margaret I.; Ussher, Simon J. and Hendry, Katherine R. (2013). Primary production export flux in Marguerite Bay (Antarctic Peninsula): linking upper water-column production to sediment trap flux. Deep-Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers, 75 pp. 52–66.
Wallace, Margaret I.; Meredith, Michael P.; Brandon, Mark A.; Sherwin, Toby J.; Dale, Andrew and Clarke, Andrew (2008). On the characteristics of internal tides and coastal upwelling behaviour in Marguerite Bay, west Antarctic Peninsula. Deep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, 55(18-19), pp. 2023–2040.
Clarke, Andrew; Meredith, Michael P.; Wallace, Margaret I.; Brandon, Mark A. and Thomas, David N. (2008). Seasonal and interannual variability in temperature, chlorophyll and macronutrients in northern Marguerite Bay, Antarctica. Deep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, 55(18-19), pp. 1988–2006.
Dowdeswell, J. A.; Evans, J.; Mugford, R.; Griffiths, G.; McPhail, S.; Millard, N.; Stevenson, P.; Brandon, M. A.; Banks, C.; Heywood, K. J.; Price, M. R.; Dodd, P. A.; Jenkins, A.; Nicholls, K. W.; Hayes, D.; Abrahamsen, E. P; Tyler, P.; Bett, B.; Jones, D.; Wadhams, P.; Wilkinson, J. P.; Stansfield, K. and Ackley, S. (2008). Autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and investigations of the ice-ocean interface: deploying the Autosub AUV in Antarctic and Arctic waters. Journal of Glaciology, 54(187), pp. 661–672.
Meredith, Michael P.; Brandon, Mark A.; Wallace, Margaret I.; Clarke, Andrew; Leng, Melanie J.; Renfrew, Ian A.; van Lipzig, Nicole P.M. and King, John C. (2008). Variability in the freshwater balance of northern Marguerite Bay, Antarctic Peninsula: results from δ18O. Deep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, 55(3-4), pp. 309–322.
Walker,, Dziga P.; Brandon, Mark A.; Jenkins, Adrian; Allen, John T.; Dowdeswell, Julian A. and Evans, Jeff (2007). Oceanic heat transport onto the Amundsen Sea shelf through a submarine glacial trough. Geophysical Research Letters, 34(L02602), pp. 1–4.
Banks, C. J.; Brandon, M. A. and Garthwaite, P. H. (2006). Measurement of sea-ice draft using upward-looking ADCP on an autonomous underwater vehicle. Annals of Glaciology, 44(1), pp. 211–216.
Meredith, Michael P.; Brandon, Mark A.; Murphy, Eugene J.; Trathan, Philip N.; Thorpe, Sally E.; Bone, Douglas G.; Chemyshkov, Pavel P. and Sushin, Viacheslav A. (2005). Variability in hydrographic conditions to the east and northwest of South Georgia, 1996-2001. Journal of Marine Systems, 53(1-4), pp. 143–167.
Meredith, Meredith P.; Renfrew, Ian A.; Clarke, Andrew; King, John C. and Brandon, Mark A. (2004). Impact of the 1997/98 ENSO on upper ocean characteristics in Marguerite Bay, western Antarctic Peninsula. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 109(C9), C09013.
Thorpe, S. E.; Heywood, K. J.; Stevens, D. P. and Brandon, M. A. (2004). Tracking passive drifters in a high resolution ocean model: implications for interannual variability of larval krill transport to South Georgia. Deep-Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers, 51(7), pp. 909–920.
Brandon, Mark A.; Naganobu, Mikio; Demer, David A.; Chemyshkov, Pavel; Trathan, Phillip N.; Thorpe, Sally E.; Kameda, Takahiko; Berezhinskiy, Oleg A.; Hawker, Elizabeth J. and Grant, Sharon (2004). Physical oceanography in the Scotia Sea during the CCAMLR 2000 survey, austral summer 2000. Deep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, 51(12-13), pp. 1301–1321.
Hewitt, R. P.; Watkins, J.; Naganobu, M.; Sushin, V.; Brierley, A. S.; Demer, D.; Kasatkina, S.; Takao, Y.; Goss, C.; Malyshko, A.; Brandon, M.; Kawaguchi, S.; Siegel, V.; Trathan, P.; Emery, J.; Everson, I. and Miller, D. (2004). Biomass of Antarctic krill in the Scotia Sea in January/February 2000 and its use in revising an estimate of precautionary yield. Deep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, 51(12-13), pp. 1215–1236.
Holm-Hansen, O.; Naganobu, M.; Kawaguchi, S.; Kameda, T.; Krasovski, I.; Tchernyshkov, P.; Priddle, J.; Korb, R.; Brandon, M.; Demer, D.; Hewitt, R .P.; Kahru, M. and Hewes, C. D. (2004). Factors influencing the distribution, biomass, and productivity of phytoplankton in the Scotia Sea and adjoining waters. Deep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, 51(12-13), pp. 1333–1350.
Ward, Peter; Grant, Sharon; Brandon, Mark; Siegel, Volker; Sushin, Vyacheslav; Loeb, Valerie and Griffiths, Huw (2004). Mesozooplankton community structure in the Scotia Sea during the CCAMLR 2000 Survey: January-February 2000. Deep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, 51(12-13), pp. 1351–1367.
Trathan, P. N.; Brierley, A. S.; Brandon, M. A.; Bone, D.G.; Goss, C.; Grant, S. A.; Murphy, E. J. and Watkins, J. L. (2003). Oceanographic variability and changes in Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) abundance at South Georgia. Fisheries Oceanography, 12(6), pp. 569–583.
Ward, P.; Whitehouse, M.; Brandon, M.; Shreeve, R. and Woodd-Walker, R. (2003). Mesozooplankton community structure across the Antarctic Circumpolar Current to the north of South Georgia: Southern Ocean. Marine Biology, 143(1), pp. 121–130.
Cunningham, S. A.; Alderson, S. G.; King, B. A. and Brandon, M. A. (2003). Transport and variability of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current in Drake Passage. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 108(C5), pp. 1–17.
Priddle, Julian; Whitehouse, Michael J.; Ward, Peter; Shreeve, Rachael S.; Brierley, Andrew S.; Atkinson, Angus; Watkins, Jonathan L.; Brandon, Mark A. and Cripps, Geoffrey C. (2003). Biogeochemistry of a Southern Ocean plankton ecosystem: Using natural variability in community composition to study the role of metazooplankton in carbon and nitrogen cycles. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 108(C4), pp. 1–13.
Brierley, A.S; Fernandes, P.G; Brandon, M. A.; Armstrong, F.; Millard, N. W.; McPhail, S. D.; Stevenson, P.; Pebody, M.; Perrett, J.; Squires, M.; Bone, D.G. and Griffiths, G. (2003). An investigation of avoidance by Antarctic krill of RRS James Clark Ross using the Autosub-2 autonomous underwater vehicle. Fisheries Research, 60(2-3), pp. 569–576.
Thorpe, Sally E.; Heywood, Karen J.; Brandon, Mark A. and Stevens, David P. (2002). Variability of the southern Antarctic Circumpolar Current front north of South Georgia. Journal of Marine Systems, 37(1-3), pp. 87–105.
Hewitt, R. P.; Watkins, J. L.; Naganobu, M.; Tshernyshkov, P.; Brierley, A. S.; Demer, D. A.; Kasatkina, S.; Takao, Y.; Goss, C.; Malyshko, A.; Brandon, M. A.; Kawaguchi, S.; Siegel, V.; Trathan, P. N.; Emery, J. H.; Everson, I. and Miller, D. G. M. (2002). Setting a precautionary catch limit for Antarctic krill. Oceanography, 15(3), pp. 26–33.
Brierley, Andrew S.; Fernandes, Paul G.; Brandon, Mark A.; Armstrong, Frederick; Millard, Nicholas W.; McPhail, Steven D.; Stevenson, Peter; Pebody, Miles; Perrett, James; Squires, Mark; Bone, Douglas G. and Griffiths, Gwyn (2002). Antarctic krill under sea ice: Elevated abundance in a narrow band just south of ice edge. Science, 295(5561), pp. 1890–1892.
Atkinson, A.; Whitehouse, M. J.; Priddle, J.; Cripps, G. C.; Ward, P. and Brandon, M. A. (2001). South Georgia, Antarctica: a productive, cold water, pelagic ecosystem. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 216 pp. 279–308.
Boyd, I. L.; Hawker, E. J.; Brandon, M. A. and Staniland, I. J. (2001). Measurement of ocean temperatures using instruments carried by Antarctic fur seals. Journal of Marine Systems, 27(4), pp. 277–288.
Whitehouse, M. J.; Priddle, J. and Brandon, Mark (2000). Chlorophyll/nutrient characteristics in the water masses to the north of South Georgia, Southern Ocean. Polar Biology, 23(6), pp. 373–372.
Hooker, Sascha K.; Boyd, Ian L.; Brandon, Mark A. and Hawker, Elizabeth J. (2000). Living probes into the marine environment: apex predators as oceanographic platforms. Ocean Challenge, 10(2), pp. 25–32.
Brandon, M. A.; Murphy, E. J.; Trathan, P. N. and Bone, D. G. (2000). Physical oceanographic conditions to the northwest of the sub-Antarctic Island of South Georgia. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 105(C10), pp. 23983–23996.
Trathan, P. N.; Brandon, M. A.; Murphy, E. J. and Thorpe, S. E. (2000). Transport and Structure within the Antarctic Circumpolar Current to the North of South Georgia. Geophysical Research Letters, 27(12), pp. 1727–1730.
Brandon, Mark A.; Murphy, Eugene J.; Whitehouse, Michael J.; Trathan, Philip N.; Murray, Alistair W. A.; Bone, Douglas G. and Priddle, Julian (1999). The shelf break front to the east of the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia. Continental Shelf Research, 19(6), pp. 799–819.
Brandon, M. A. and Wadhams, P. (1999). The near surface hydrography beneath the Odden ice tongue. Deep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, 46(6-7), pp. 1301–1318.
Brierley, A. S. and Brandon, M. A. (1999). Potential for long-distance dispersal of Euphausia crystallorophias in fast current jets. Marine Biology, 135(1), pp. 77–82.
Whitehouse, M. J.; Priddle, J.; Brandon, M. A. and Swanson, C. (1999). A comparison of chlorophyll/nutrient dynamics at two survey sites near South Georgia, and the potential role of planktonic nitrogen recycled by land-based predators. Limnology and Oceanography, 44(6), pp. 1498–1508.
Brierley, Andrew S.; Brandon, Mark A. and Watkins, Jonathan L. (1998). An assessment of the utility of an acoustic Doppler current profiler for biomass estimation. Deep-Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers, 45(9), pp. 1555–1573.
Murphy, E. J.; Watkins, J. L.; Reid, K.; Trathan, P. N.; Everson, I.; Croxall, J. P.; Priddle, J.; Brandon, M. A.; Brierley, A. S. and Hofmann, E. (1998). Interannual variability of the South Georgia marine ecosystem: biological and physical sources of variation in the abundance of krill. Fisheries Oceanography, 7(3-4), pp. 381–390.
Trathan, P. N.; Brandon, M. A. and Murphy, E. J. (1997). Characterization of the Antarctic Polar Frontal Zone to the north of South Georgia in summer 1994. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 102(C5), pp. 10483–10497.
Wadhams, P.; Comiso, J. C.; Prussen, E.; Wells, S.; Brandon, M.; Aldworth, E.; Viehoff, T.; Allegrino, R. and Crane, D. R. (1996). The development of the Odden ice tongue in the Greenland Sea during winter 1993 from remote sensing and field observations. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 101(C8), pp. 18213–18235.
Whitehouse, M. J.; Priddle, J.; Trathan, P. N. and Brandon, M. A. (1996). Substantial open-ocean phytoplankton blooms to the north of South Georgia, South Atlantic, during summer. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 140(1-3), pp. 187–197.

Other Interests

I have had a long standing interest in the public understanding of science and have given many public talks about polar science.I have had the pleasure of speaking at the Cheltenham Science Festival  twice: In 2011 on Fridjof Nansen, and in 2012 on my work on Frozen Planet.

In March 2013 I was honoured to be invited and gave a talk at TEDx Southampton University 2013 on what the polar regions can teach us.

I have also worked on Antarctic tour ships as both a lecturer and guide for a well known company and actually worked on this ship before it sadly sank.
 

last updated 13-Nov-2013