Meet Paty Matrai

Video Shot in: 2009

Dr. Patty Matrai, a biological oceanographer originally from Chile, shares her journey into the field of Arctic research since the early 90’s. Her first experiences in the Arctic were in the Beaufort Sea, around 72 degrees North, but it was her voyage to the North Pole, deep within the pack ice, that truly revealed the essence of the Arctic to her. As a biologist, Dr. Matrai studies microscopic algae, specifically marine phytoplankton and ice algae, which release compounds that influence climate, cloud formation, and ozone destruction. These algae play a crucial role in the ecosystem and are interconnected with the air, water, and ice. Dr. Matrai collaborates with atmospheric and marine chemists to understand the production and effects of these compounds. Her research aims to account for the sources and sinks of these compounds, contributing to a deeper understanding of climate change. The Arctic, with its short and intense period of ice melt and limited light availability, becomes a concentrated and productive region during late spring and summer. This productivity supports a complex food chain, from plants to fish and seals, and ultimately humans who rely on hunting for their sustenance. Dr. Matrai’s work sheds light on the intricate dynamics of the Arctic ecosystem and the interplay between its various components.