Environmental Exchanges: Alessandro Antonello

A microscope image of a specimen of Antarctic krill
Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba). Image by Prof. Dr Uwe Kils via Wikimedia Commons.

Antarctic Krill and the Temporalities of Oceanic Abundance

Dr Alessandro Antonello, Flinders University


This presentation by Dr Alessandro Antonello is part of Environmental Exchanges, a seminar series organised by the Centre for Environmental History to showcase innovative new research that engages with key themes in environmental history. Throughout 2022, the Centre will be hosting seminars that engage with this year's theme of Oceans in original and compelling ways. Please note that this seminar will be held simultaneously online via Zoom and in person in the RSSS Building. To receive a link for the Zoom meeting please register here.



In the decades after the Second World War, oceans were envisioned as sites of resource abundance that would underpin global development. This seminar will discuss Antarctic krill and its potential “surplus” as one articulation of this abundance, attending to the cultural and epistemic strategies at play in constituting this ocean abundance. Concentrating on the work of Neil Mackintosh, a world-leading British whale biologist working within governmental scientific bodies, this seminar argues for temporal imaginings and sensibilities as being central to his claims around krill abundance and its seeming surplus in the context of whale stocks significantly diminished through overexploitation. Mackintosh’s temporalities of abundance were generated in three overlapping and mutually reinforcing sites: the archive of the colonial scientific survey he worked for, the decades of his career, and the recovery of polar seal populations. The story of the krill surplus and the temporalities underpinning it allows for a more complex reckoning with ideas of scarcity and abundance as well as further demonstrating the need to see the temporalities at work in constituting environments and the scientific labor in them.


About the Speaker: 

Dr Alessandro Antonello is a Senior Research Fellow in the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at Flinders University. His research investigates the environmental and international histories of Antarctica, the cryosphere, and the world’s oceans in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

He currently holds an Australian Research Council DECRA grant, for a project titled “An international environmental history of the ‘World Ocean’, 1950s-2000s”. This project aims to investigate the ways in which states, international organisations, and international communities have engaged with and conceptualised the ‘World Ocean’ as a natural environment from the 1950s to the 2000s.

His first book, The Greening of Antarctica: Assembling an International Environment, was published by Oxford University Press in 2019. His scholarly articles have appeared in Environmental HistoryEnvironmental Humanities, the Journal of Historical Geography, the International Review of Environmental HistoryProgress in Human Geography, the Australian Journal of Politics and HistoryThe Polar Journal, and several edited collections.

He received his PhD from the Australian National University and has previously worked at the University of Melbourne and University of Oregon. 

Date & time

Thu 16 Jun 2022, 12–1.30pm


Room 3.70, RSSS Building, 146 Ellery Crescent, ANU and online via Zoom


Dr Alessandro Antonello


Centre for Environmental History


Dr Rohan Howitt


Updated:  28 April 2022/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications