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ECWG Gala: From Penguins To Plankton – The Dramatic Impacts Of Climate Change On The Antarctic Peninsula

December 2, 2023 @ 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Explorers Club members, member’s guests, associates, & friends are cordially invited to the December 2023 gala dinner & presentation by Dr. James B. McClintock to be held at the Cosmos Club on Saturday, December 2nd, 2023 at 6:00 PM.

About the Presentation

The Antarctic Peninsula is one of the most rapidly warming regions of our planet. Glaciers are in retreat, major coastal ice shelves are disintegrating and compromising their capacity as barriers to seaward ice-sheet flow, and annual sea ice is declining. Marine ecosystems are being dramatically restructured. Populations of key species including krill and Adélie penguins are at risk. Warmer weather species, such as gentoo penguins, chinstrap penguins, and fur seals, are exhibiting range extensions along the peninsula as temperatures warm.  And for the first time, deep-water king crabs are migrating up the Antarctic slope where they are threatening to decimate vulnerable shelf communities harboring species that may unlock cures to human disease. These dramatic alterations in the Antarctic marine ecosystem along with changes in the flow and temperature of Antarctic global currents, speak loudly to the need to address global climate change and its growing impacts, including those now affecting us here in the United States. Fortuitously, the story of the discovery and mitigation of the ozone hole over Antarctica offers a poignant model of hope for our future.

About our Speaker

Dr. McClintock received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California at Santa Cruz (1978) and his doctoral degree from the University of South Florida (1984). In 1987, after completing a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of California at Santa Cruz, he joined the faculty of the Department of Biology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. McClintock’s research has been funded continuously over the past 34 years by the National Science Foundation and focuses on aspects of marine invertebrate nutrition, reproduction, and primarily, Antarctic marine chemical ecology. Over the past fifteen years, his research has also encompassed studies of the impacts of rapid climate change and ocean acidification on Antarctic marine algae and invertebrates.  He has published 300 peer-reviewed scientific publications, edited and written books, is invited to make numerous scientific and popular science presentations, and his research has been featured in a variety of public media outlets including the NPR Diane Rehm Show, NPR’s “On Point” with Tom Ashbrook, NPR Morning Edition with David Green, National Geographic Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, Discover Magazine, Scientific American Magazine, CNN, the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, and The Weather Channel.  He has been an invited speaker for ‘TEDx’ (Birmingham) and ‘The Moth’ (Lincoln Center, New York City) and has served on two workshops sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences on Climate Change and Polar Ecosystems.  He recently returned from his 16th research expedition to Antarctica where over the past two decades he and his research collaborators have become among the world’s authorities on Antarctic marine chemical ecology and drug discovery and have developed an award-winning interactive educational outreach website (www.antarctica.uab.edu).  His expertise on the ecological impacts of climate change and ocean acidification on marine life of the Antarctic Peninsula has garnered numerous invited lectures. He writes in the popular literature on this timely topic.  His book Lost Antarctica: Adventures in a Disappearing Land (Palgrave/MacMillan) was released in September 2012 (paperback edition released in 2014 with a Foreword by Sylvia Earle) and has garnered considerable national and international praise (www.lostantarctica.com).  In June 2013, a video short based on his book was produced and released by the EO Wilson Biodiversity Foundation that featured narration by Harrison Ford.  He has been the recipient of numerous awards and distinctions including the UAB Ellen Gregg Ingalls Recognition for Excellence in Teaching and the UAB Caroline P. and Charles W. Ireland Prize for Outstanding Scholarship.  In 2001, he was given the Wright A. Gardner Award for the most outstanding scientist in the state of Alabama, and he was selected in 2012 to serve on the Advisory Board of the EO Wilson Biodiversity Foundation.  In June 2018, the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research (SCAR), represented by 43 member nations, awarded him their inaugural SCAR Medal for Education and Communication.  In December 2018, he became the national face of the Nature Conservancy’s ‘Can We Talk Climate’ campaign.  He is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an elected Trustee of The Nature Conservancy (TNC), a board member of The Cahaba River Society and Alabama Forever Wild and is a Fellow of the Explorer’s Club. On March 16, 2019, in the company of eight former Apollo Astronauts, the Explorer’s Club presented Dr. James McClintock with the Finn Ronne Memorial Award for “his extraordinary work in pioneering Antarctic knowledge in the field of marine chemical ecology and climate change research, and for successfully communicating these findings on a global scale. In October 1998, the United States Board on Geographic Names designated the geographic feature “McClintock Point” in honor of his contributions to Antarctic science.

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Please include the following information:

  • Number of seats Reserved ($55 each)
  • Guest names(s)
  • Number of vegetarian meals (if any) desired
  • Organization Affiliation if other than ECWG

Mail with check to :

Austin Ager
2707 Parkway Place
Cheverly, MD 20785-3029
Mobile & text: 301-646-5418

You can pay at the door or mail a check. Without exception, your rsvp must be received by Austin no later than 5 pm, Monday, November 27, 2023. Absolutely no changes or cancellations after 5 pm, on that day.

ECWG COVID-19 Policy

ECWG adheres to all COVID-19 regulations set by the Cosmos Club and the District of Columbia. Masks and proof of vaccination are no longer required for entrance into the Cosmos Club but are recommended. Space may be limited to comply with Cosmos Club capacity regulations. Priority will be given to ECWG members and their significant others.


December 2, 2023
6:00 pm - 10:00 pm


Colin Bettis


The Cosmos Club
2121 Massachusetts Ave NW,
Washington DC, 20008 United States
+ Google Map
(202) 387-7783
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