Ambassadors at ICP13 in Sydney: Eloise

This article is part of a series of articles from 3 EAG ambassadors who attended ICP13 (International Conference on Paleoceanography). You can go back to read the introduction here.

I am a final year PhD student at the University of St Andrews looking into abrupt changes to the North Atlantic CO2 sink that have occurred within the last glacial period. I use boron isotopes measured on fossil foraminifera to reconstruct surface ocean pH and CO2 which when complemented with proxies for ocean circulation build a really interesting story for the high latitude oceans. After three years working on this project I was really excited to present it in its most complete form to date at ICP.

This was my first time attending ICP and I had been planning it since the start of my PhD in 2016. Back then, the other members of my research group were just returning from ICP12 in Utrecht and from what they told me it seemed like the perfect conference at which to present my work, meet other like-minded scientists and find inspiration and opportunities for the next stage in my career. Coinciding perfectly with the end of my third year, ICP13 was a great opportunity to do all of those things, with the added bonus that it was to be held in Sydney, Australia!


Before I arrived I didn’t really know what to expect. Having just attended Goldschmidt in Barcelona with 4000 delegates and upwards of 50 parallel sessions I knew that ICP was practically the opposite in scale. However I wasn’t sure who would be there, how easy it would be to network or how much I would take away from the talks and posters. Approaching the end of my PhD with a lot of uncertainty about what I wanted to do next, it was my goal to return home from this conference with a better idea for the next step in my career and to have built up my research network.


I presented my poster titled “CO2 perturbations during rapid climate change in the North Atlantic ” on the Tuesday afternoon. I really enjoyed the session, receiving a lot of great comments and suggestions about my data and ideas. I spoke to a number of people including other students working on similar themes and some of the leading scientists at the conference who were incredibly supportive of my work. Following my presentation I felt very inspired with a number of avenues to explore in the coming months as well as ideas for postdoc research.


The great social program organised by the conference committee provided the perfect setting for catching up with friends and meeting new people. Like Zeynep, the conference dinner was my highlight. Late afternoon, we boarded a boat outside the Sydney Opera House and for the next 4 hours we cruised around Sydney harbor, eating and drinking and taking in the views and the beautiful sunset.


While in Sydney, I also took some time to explore a few of the well-known beaches and landmarks including Manly beach and Sydney Harbour Bridge as well as some of the city districts. My friend and I stayed in Woolloomooloo (the best name) which is known for its arts and restaurants, and Coogee where the conference was held is a quiet beach suburb. Finally, since I don’t know if I will ever get the chance to go back to Sydney, we decided to get tickets to see West Side Story at the Sydney Opera House!


Attending ICP13 in Sydney has been a great experience, inspiring my research and reigniting the travel bug. I am extremely grateful to the EAG for their support that enabled me to attend.

About the author

Eloise Littley is a final year PhD student at the University of St Andrews looking at rapid climate change during the last glacial periods and the role of the North Atlantic Ocean in CO2 change.

Twitter: @climittley