Peer-Reviewed Publications

Mascioni et al 2019 – Phytoplankton composition and bloom formation in unexplored nearshore waters of the western Antarctic Peninsula. Polar Biology.

Taylor et al 2019 – Arctic expedition cruise tourism and citizen science: a vision for the future of polar tourism. Journal of Tourism Futures

Cusick 2019 – Citizen Scientists in Antarctica: FjordPhyto Approach to Understand Climate Change Affected Environments. Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics. 

Cusick et al 2020 – Polar Tourism as an Effective Research Tool: Citizen Science in the Western Antarctic Peninsula. Oceanography

Cusick et al 2020 – A Helping Hand in Phytoplankton Research. ECO Magazine.

Mascioni et al 2021 – Microplanktonic diatom assemblages dominated the primary production but not the biomass in an Antarctic fjord. Journal of Marine Systems.

Mascioni et al 2023 – Phytoplankton dynamics in nearshore regions of the western Antarctic Peninsula in relation to a variable frontal zone in the Gerlache Strait. Frontiers in Marine Science.

Pan et al 2023 – Remote sensing of sea surface glacial meltwater on the Antarctic Peninsula shelf. Frontiers in Marine Science.

in prep. Cusick et al – FjordPhyto: A Citizen Science Project That Enriches Travelers’ Experience in Antarctica.

Annual Reports for Each Season






SCAR 2022 Fellowship Report (6 Feb, 2023) – Mascioni, Martina – Diversity of bloom-forming phytoplankton species in Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) nearshore waters. 


News & Media Highlights

San Diego Tribune (2017) – Robbins, Gary. Scripps Oceanography to teach ‘citizen scientists’ in the wilds of Antarctica.

Discover Magazine (9 Dec, 2017) – Newman, Sarah. Stay Warm with Winter Projects from Home. 

Discover Magazine (4 Jan, 2018) – Cavalier, Darlene. Seven Citizen Science Projects to do in the Snow.

Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic (2018, Jan 8) – Plankton BioBlitz Antarctica.

Fodor’s Travel (15 Dec, 2019) – Alpert, Kristy. Antarctica 101: 15 Things You Need to Know Before You Go ‘On the Ice’. 

Discover Magazine (2019, June 8) – Cusick & Meraldi. Looking beneath the ocean’s surface with Antarctic Citizen Scientists. 

Zeiss Microscope. (2019) – Carrying out research at sea. 

Planet Forward (1 Mar, 2019) Pothamsetty, Navya. First Class Citizen Science.

Science News (30 Mar, 2020) – Temming, Maria. These Women Endured a Winter in the High Arctic for Citizen Science.

The Washington Post (4 Dec, 2020) Goodman, Tanya Ward. Citizen Science Allows Amateurs to Contribute to Groundbreaking Investigations, even without Traveling.

Beleg Natur Magazine (Dec, 2020) – Goth, Katrin. Der Meeresblute auf der Spur. Print only.

International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators. (6 Feb, 2020) – Cusick, A.  Tiny but Mighty – why we owe our existence to phytoplankton. 

Canadian Geographic (28 Feb, 2020) Kirnishni, Tanya. Hearts in the Ice: Citizen Science.

ECO Magazine (2020) – Polar Heroes Recognition – Maria Vernet and Allison Cusick.

Fodor’s Travel (2021) – Christine, Theresa. Is Sustainable Tourism to Antarctica Actually Possible?

Condé Nast Traveler (22 July, 2021)Johanson, Mark.  Trailblazer: The Scientist’s Apprentices. On These Expedition Cruises, Guests Play a Critical Role. Print and online article.

CNN Travel (28 April, 2022) – Johanson, Mark. Next Big Trip, Antarctica Cruise: The last frontier for a big at-last luxury adventure. 

BBC (1 April, 2022) – Ritson, Julie. Antarctica Tourism_Ritson. 

Mental Floss (26 Sept, 2022) – Pothamsetty, Navya. Antarctica’s Tourists are Turning into Citizen Scientists to Clean up the Continent.  

Nice News (3 Oct, 2022) – Curran, Amanda. Antarctica Promotes Tourists to Scientific Ambassadors for “Immersive Experience” 

FlowCam (12 May, 2023) – Judge, Savannah. Citizen science meets polar plankton with FjordPhyto. 

Swoop (29 June, 2023) – Clammer, Paul. An introduction to citizen science on Antarctic cruise ships. 

RBR User’s Story (spring, 2023) – Rutherford, Krysten. FjordPhyto: Citizen science in the Antarctic. 

Elle Canada (June 2023) – Berg, Chloe. On Thin Ice. 

Swoop (23 Aug, 2023) – Brooks, Daniel. Getting a microscopic view of Antarctica with citizen science. 

NASA SCoPE (8 Nov 2023) – PRO OCEANOS Phytoplankton Research from Antarctica to Puerto Rico.

Braslavsky, S. E. (2023) – Outstanding women scientists who have broadened the knowledge on biological photoreceptors. Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences, 1-17. [Maria Vernet featured].

Scripps News (29 Jan, 2024) – Hook, B., Fox, A. Scripps scientists journey to Antarctica to study key climate questions and more. Scripps News Media. 

Swoop (29 Jan, 2024) – Porrit, Rebecca. Measuring ocean health with citizen science in Antarctica. 

UC San Diego Today (14 March, 2024). Bock, Sara. From Idea to Impact: Meet the Recipients of the Inaugural Chancellor’s Innovation Awards


Forbes (24 May, 2024) – Nunn, Lewis. Phytoplankton Genetically Sequenced At Sea For The First Time. 


Antarctica 21 (8 March, 2018). An Interview with Allison Cusick, Polar Scientist and Citizen Science Leader

Exploring By The Seat of Your Pants with Joe Grabowski. (Feb, 2020). Hearts in the Ice & Allison Cusick.

Viking Cruises (5 April, 2021). Exploring Citizen Science with Dr. Damon Stanwell-Smith, Laura Smith, and Allison Cusick

SciStarter (13 April, 2021). Citizen Science in Antarctica with Dr. Verena Meraldi (Hurtigruten) and Allison Cusick (FjordPhyto)

SciStarter (14 April, 2021). Citizen Science Around the World – Antarctica feature minute 16:53

Condé Nast Traveler (16 Nov, 2021). Fourth annual travel summit, Points of View. Evolution of Experience panel.

Viking TV (13 April, 2022). Special Episode: Scientific research on board Viking Octantis.

SciStarter (1 April, 2023). SciStarters Caroline Nickerson speaks with Allison Cusick and Martina Mascioni about Citizen Science in Antarctica

Televisión Pública (25 April, 2023). Martina Mascioni  y Abro Hilo: Vos también podés ser parte: Ciencia Ciudadana

The Ocean Lab (May, 2024). The Ocean Lab Livestream Antarctica #4: Fjord Phyto Project with Shaylyn Potter & Michelle Dimeo.

Study Abroad Programs

Study abroad in Antarctica with AUIP on this once in a lifetime opportunity, Antarctica: Human Impacts on a Fragile Environment.  (2022-2023 Isidro Bosch; 2023-2024 Isidro Bosch, Christina Wiederwohl)

AUIP students become FjordPhyto volunteers and discover that Antarctica is much colder than Texas

Conferences and other milestones


  1. March – Gordon Research Conference – Polar Marine Science, poster presentation – Ventura, CA.
  2. May – Citizen Science Association Conference – CitSci2017 – St. Paul, MN  
  3. June – FjordPhyto Conceptualized – presented as Allison’s Master’s Capstone at Scripps Inst. Oceanography.
  4. October – AECO/IAATO Polar Field Staff Conference, oral presentation – Iceland


  1. May – Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) Online Conference – Butterfly Effect, oral presentation – online (begin at 0:32:00 – 1:01:00)
  2. June – Polar2018 Open Science Conference, oral presentation – Davos, Switzerland   


  1. March – Citizen Science Association Conference – CitSci2019, oral & poster presentation – Raleigh, NC
  2. April – SCAR Standing Committee on the Humanities and Social Sciences (SC-HASS) conference – Ushuaia, Argentina
  3. June – 1st Annual Building the NASA Citizen Science Community – Tuscon, AZ  
  4. September – AECO/IAATO Polar Field Staff Conference, oral presentation – Sturbridge, MA


  1. February – AGU Ocean Sciences Meeting, poster and oral presentation – San Diego, CA
  2. August – SCAR 2020 Online International Conference, oral presentation Online  Dr. Vernet (video presentation)Martina (poster session and video presentation), and Allison (Slack discussion and poster session). Originally scheduled to be in Hobart, Tasmania. 
  3. Summer – NASA 2nd Annual Citizen Science Workshop Series – Virtual
  4. November – IDEAL (Centro de Investigación Dinámica de Ecosistemas Marinos de Altas Latitudes, Chile) —> read more here


  1. Spring – NASA Citizen Science Leaders Series – Virtual  
  2. April – Argentina Conference – Jornadas de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades Antárticas (JoCSHA) – Puede un proyecto de ciencia ciudadana generar conciencia en los turistas antarcticos? (begin at 1:15:00).
  3. May – CitSciVirtual 2021 – workshop organizer for session B.17 Hearts in the Ice – Panel 1 on Resilience Through Extreme Citizen Science – and – Panel 2 Reflections on Panel 1 and Extreme Citizen Science – Virtual  
  4. May – AECO/IAATO Polar Field Staff Conference, attendee – Virtual  
  5. August – Student Undergraduate Research Fellowship Symposium – poster presentations at Scripps Oceanography
  6. September – Chilean Conference – Congreso Ciencia Ciudadana – Descubriendo un mundo microscopico en aguas antarticas (begin at 48:48)
  7. November – SCAR SC-HASS Biennial Conference presentation #72 Citizen Science increases awareness and appreciation for the Antarctic Environment
  8. November – IX JJIYE  IX Jornadas de Jóvenes Investigadores y Extensionistas – poster presentation
  9. December – CIACIAR Argentina FjordPhyto poster and GIF


  1. February – March – Ocean Sciences Meeting OSM22 undergraduate poster presentation Session ED12Shifts in Phytoplankton Diversity with Relation to Glacial Meltwater Along the Western Antarctic Peninsula
  2. April 28 – Museo de La Plata Universidad Nacional de La Plata “Charla virtual sobe experiencia de ciencia ciudadana en Antartida” watch the video here (en español).
  3. May – C*Sci 2022 Virtual Conference – poster presentations
  4. June – United Nations Generation Connect Global Youth Summit 2022 – Masterclass #1: Applying the power of digital technology for climate action
  5. Aug – SCAR Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research 10th Open Science Conference (virtual) – Cusick, A., Pinpokintr, A., Johnson, C., Mascioni, M., Zheng, H., James, C. C., Allen, A.E., Reynolds, R. A., Vernet, M. Seasonal changes in diatom communities in nearshore coastal regions along the Western Antarctic Peninsula. Session D4-H1-05-07 Microbial Diversity of the Polar Oceans and their Role in the Biogeochemical Cycles Under the Global Warming Scenario. Online oral presentation.
  6. Aug – SCAR Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research 10th Open Science Conference (virtual) –  Mascioni, M., Almandoz, G., Cusick, A., Pan, J.B., Vernet, M. Phytoplankton variability in nearshore regions of the western Antarctic Peninsula in relation to a temperature gradient. Session D7-H1-20-30 Southern Ocean Plankton Diversity, Food Web Ecosystems and Biogeochemical Cycle. Online oral presentation.
  7. October – California Academy of Sciences NightSchool: The Invisible Forest. Virtual event. 
  8. Nov  – United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP27 (Egypt)  delegate
  9. Nov – COP27 Side Event: Ocean observations for climate change: How do we train and educate the next generation of scientists and citizens? (video)


  1. Jan 26 – NASA ARSET: NASA’s Citizen Science for Earth Systems Program, Part 2/3 . ARSET – Connecting Citizen Science with Remote SensingNASA Applied Remote Sensing Training Program (ARSET). English.
  2. Jan 26 – NASA ARSET: Ciencia Ciudadana en la NASA con Aplicaciones Costeras/Oceánicas. Parte 2 de 3. ARSET – Conectando la Ciencia Ciudadana con La Teledetección. NASA Applied Remote Sensing Training Program (ARSET). Español. 
  3. April – NASA Earth Science Data System Working Group Meeting. 
  4. May 22 – NASA Citizen Science Leaders meeting. Panel Discussion: NASA broadening access and participation in global scale projects.
  5. May 23 – 26 – Citizen Science Association C*Sci 2023 Conference, Tempe Arizona. Poster presentation Cusick et al., “The citizen science project FjordPhyto enriches travelers’ experience in Antarctica”.
  6. July 31 – Aug 4 – Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research SCAR. Christchurch, New Zealand – Mascioni et al. Title: New insights on the identity of the naked dinoflagellates that formed an unprecedented bloom in the western Antarctic Peninsula. Authors: Martina Mascioni, Allison Cusick, Gastón O. Almandoz, Christian Johnson, Hong Zheng, María Virginia Sanchez-Puerta, Andrew E. Allen, Rick A. Reynolds, Maria Vernet.
  7. Aug 14- 18 – Southern Ocean Observing System SOOS Symposium 2023 “Southern Ocean in a Changing World. Hobart, Tasmania. Mascioni et al Title: FjordPhyto, a citizen science platform that enhances spatial and temporal coverage of nearshore phytoplankton research on the Antarctic Peninsula. Authors: Martina Mascioni, Allison Cusick, Lorenzo E. Kohler, Christian Johnson, Tobías Chavero, Anesse Pinpokintr, B. Jack Pan, Gastón O. Almandoz, Rick A. Reynolds, Maria Vernet.
  8. Aug 14 – 18 – Southern Ocean Observing System SOOS Symposium 2023 “Southern Ocean in a Changing World. Hobart, Tasmania. – Cusick et al  Title: The citizen science project FjordPhyto enriches travelers’ experience in Antarctica. Authors: Allison Cusick, Martina Mascioni, Brooke Dixon, Daniela Cajiao, Robert Gilmore, Ted Cheeseman, Rick Reynolds, Maria Vernet.
  9. Funding received NASA SCoPE Seed Grant for PRO OCEANOS II to continue bringing polar science to Spanish-speaking youth in the tropics Puerto Rico.


  1. Dr. Martina Mascioni and our newest PhD student Christian Johnson spend the season in Antarctica with Viking Expeditions and HX (Hurtigruten Expeditions).
  2. FjordPhyto team begins a 6-month accelerator program StartBlue from Scripps Institution of Oceanography & Rady School of Management that supports the formation of advanced science and engineering startups tackling ocean-focused challenges and solutions integrated into science, industry, investment, and government networks.
  3. Funding received NASA SCoPE Seed Grant FjordPhyto working with NASA Infiniscope to improve online training efforts through: “POLARIS: Polar Outreach, Learning, and Research for Interconnected Science with Infiniscope”
  4. Presented FjordPhyto at IGNITE22 AltaSea in Port of Los Angeles Braid Theory and at UC Day at the CA state capitol in Sacramento.