Nicole Hellessey
Download the PDF

Nicole Hellessey

PhD Student (Krill Biology, Antarctic Science)

CSIRO, Australian Antarctic Division, ACE-CRC, and
Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania

When I grow up I want to be a Polar Explorer. Hmmmm…. Polar Explorer. Sounds like a pretty neat title doesn’t it? Like something from a book or a historic newspaper clipping.

As a young girl I loved to learn about animals. I wanted to be a dolphin trainer at Sea World. But I wanted more. So I decided to study whales and dolphins! But I wanted more still. I decided to study whole oceans full of animal life! And you know what… I did! I became a Marine Biologist, someone who learns and finds out about animals and plants that live underwater.

I’m super lucky as I get to do research using dangerous chemicals and look after krill at one of the world’s most expensive aquariums at the Australian Antarctic Division. I also get to travel to Antarctica and it’s all while doing work I love.

I haven’t always been a scientist though, I used to work for Tassal helping to rescue seals and seabirds that get stuck in fishing nets. I loved being able to help animals and be out on the water every day! But after a while I knew I wanted to go back to school and do my own research.

My current project is looking at how Climate Change and the environment effects Antarctic Krill (the little shrimp like animals whales eat). I’m looking at how their fats and oils (like their belly fat) is changing because of the water becoming warmer and more acidic. I’m hoping to help the people who fish for krill to stay sustainable now and into the future.

I’ve even been lucky enough to go to Antarctica twice already and I’m hoping to go again soon. Fingers crossed it turns into somewhere I get to go to a lot! My favourite stories from being in the Southern Ocean are playing ping pong in rough weather and eating ice cream for science but my favourite things about Antarctica are the seals, whales and huge icebergs.

I’m still waiting to find out when I get to be a Polar Explorer though….


Find me on Twitter: @PolarNicole

For more information: