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Dr Alex Cowan

Naturalist guide and expedition leader

Alex has long held a fascination with the natural world and with polar regions. He studied Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge where his graduate research included work on volcanic processes, mining techniques and carbon storage.

First travelling to the Arctic in 2005, he has worked as a professional polar guide since 2011. In addition to leading ship-based expeditions has worked in the field with the Government of South Georgia reviewing visitor activities on the island. He is invested in promoting safe and professional guiding and sits on the board of directors of the Polar Tourism Guides Association. He is certified as a Senior Polar Guide.

Alex works to realise the research and data collection potential of the polar tourism industry, and is a co-founder of the Polar Citizen Science Collective, an organisation devoted to this. As part of this work, since 2015 he has spent several weeks each northern summer collecting sea ice data in the Arctic Ocean from a nuclear powered icebreaker, surveying the summer melt of the pack; he has visited the Geographic North Pole 12 times in the course of this work.

Alex has also worked as a yacht master and instructor, and is an experienced mountaineer, having skied and climbed throughout several parts of Europe, Scandinavia, North America, Greenland and Africa; when not on a ship he can usually be found with skis or sticky rubber on his feet. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and of The Explorers Club.