AERD Completes the 25th AMLR Field Season - March 20, 2011
The 25th field season of the U.S. Antarctic Marine Living Resources (AMLR) Program began October 8, 2010. Consistent with the historical research conducted by the Antarctic Ecosystem Research Division (AERD), the field season consists of six months of predator studies at two field stations and two one-month oceanographic surveys in the area surrounding the South Shetland Islands.
U.S. AMLR Field Stations - Predator Breeding Studies
Four AMLR scientists opened the Copacabana Field Station in Admiralty Bay on King George Island on October 10, 2010. Five scientists opened the Cape Shirreff Field Station on Livingston Island on November 4, 2010. Both field stations were operational for six months, coinciding with the austral breeding season, and closed on March 8 and 9, 2011, respectively. Most scientists staffed the field stations for the entire six months.
At the stations, AERD scientists monitored the breeding biology, foraging ecology, and recruitment success of the breeding predator populations in the South Shetland Islands, including chinstrap, Adelie, and gentoo penguins, as well as Antarctic fur seals. They also studied nesting seabirds (giant petrels and skuas) and leopard seals, Weddell seals, and elephant seals.
U.S. AMLR Oceanographic Cruise - Ecosystem Studies
The AERD began the AMLR 2011 oceanographic survey in the South Shetland Island area on January 11, 2011. The two legs of the survey were completed aboard the R/V Moana Wave following the historical survey design, with each leg about 30 days long, ensuring a complete, uninterrupted time series of Antarctic ecosystem data. The survey is aimed at collecting data on the oceanography, primary productivity, zooplankton and fish community compositions in the area, as well as the at-sea distribution of marine mammals and seabirds. For more detailed information on the AMLR 2011 oceanographic survey, read the AMLR 2011 Cruise Plan, or read the field reports using the left-hand menu.
Exploring New Horizons - the Tucker Trawl
Additionally, AMLR scientists conducted experimental tows during the second leg to compare a new Tucker trawl with the traditional IKMT net. The Tucker trawl, once optimized, will allow the AERD to collect additional information about pelagic fish, a key element in the Antarctic food web.
Beyond Antarctica - AERD Reaches Out to the Community
To celebrate its 25th year in the field, the AERD teamed up with Whale Times to begin "virtual missions" to Antarctica. Through the Bold in the Cold Program, AMLR Program scientists corresponded with students in K-12 classrooms across the nation and locally in their home town of San Diego, CA. Students received letters from AMLR scientists describing their daily activities, and were able to ask scientists questions. Through this program, the AERD hopes to bring science to life for youth across the nation, and promote the conservation and sustainable management of Antarctic resources.
Looking for More?
This field season marks the 25th anniversary of the beginning of the U.S. AMLR Program, which was established in 1986 with the goal of providing ecosystem-based research to support the sustainable management of Antarctic Marine Living Resources. For detailed information and photos of the work completed during the 25th AMLR field season, use the links in the upper-left menu. Or visit our image gallery for historical images from the field.
Read the Weekly Progress Reports from the Field Camps and the Ship