The exhibition examines the history, discoveries and current role of South Africa’s Antarctic and Southern Ocean exploration. It takes visitors through the background and challenges of early Antarctic exploration, and South Africa’s contribution to it. The rich and unique biodiversity found on these islands, and the part the islands play in helping us understand some of the global issues affecting everyday South Africans, are highlighted. The exhibition also showcases South Africa’s multidisciplinary Antarctic scientific endeavours, our state-of-the-art research facilities, and our flagship research vessel, the SA Agulhas II.
Antarctic ecosystems, including South Africa’s Prince Edward Islands, are exceptionally important in understanding our planet and its future. The isolation and the extreme weather conditions mean that these are some of the most untouched ecosystems on earth, making them exceptional natural ‘laboratories’. Yet they have not remained unaffected by global transformations such as climate change and the introduction of invasive species. Because of the isolation and the long-term research conducted in these areas, global effects can be more easily monitored and identified, making them an ideal early warning system for scientists studying the impact of environmental changes.