Late February 2007, the U.S. Antarctic Marine Living Resources (AMLR) Program completed it’s 21st year of in situ field studies in the Antarctic peninsular region. Ship-based studies focused on Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba), their predators, and key environmental variables. Concurrent land-based studies at two island stations focused on krill predators, specifically seabirds and pinnipeds. This expansive effort represents collaboration between NOAA’s AMLR Program and ten research institutions representing five countries.
The ship-based surveys were conducted in January-February aboard the NOAA-chartered R/V Yuzhmorgeologiya. During the 35 day charter, the vessel transited approximately 3250 nm, mostly within a study area encompassing roughly 125,000 km2. Shipboard studies employed 29 researchers mapping the meso-scale features of the dispersion of krill, water mass structure, phytoplankton biomass and productivity, and zooplankton. To this end, the researchers completed 1235 nm of acoustic transects using a hull-mounted multi-beam transducer, 123 Conductivity-Temperature-Depth (CTD) water collections, and 98 zooplankton net samples. They also deployed expendable bathythermographs and 16 oceanographic drifter buoys. Environmental data was recorded continuously, along with daylight observations of seabirds and marine mammals.
Land-based studies conducted at Cape Shirreff (Livingston Island in the peninsula region) focused on krill predators, primarily the Antarctic fur seal, chinstrap and Gentoo penguins. These studies were initiated in November 2006, and continued through February, spanning 117 days. Nine researchers followed the reproductive season of seabirds and seals, focusing on attendance and foraging behaviors of the animals. To this end, fur seal researchers deployed 37 radio transmitters (TXs), 23 Time-Depth-Recorders (TDRs), 15 ARGOS satellite transmitters, and tagged 499 pups. In addition, 1177 vials of serum, 109 vials of milk, 10 post canines, and 146 DNA samples were collected for further analysis. Penguin studies utilize similar technologies, deploying 18 TXs, 18 TDRs, 17 ARGOS satellite transmitters, and banded 700 chicks. Fur seal researchers weighed and measured 100 random pups biweekly, and conducted rookery censuses every other day. Seabird researchers followed 150 penguin pairs, from egg-laying to crèche formation, and weighed 486 fledglings.
The 2006-07 AMLR Cruise Plan (in PDF format) includes a summary of scheduled vessel activities, cruise participants, and charts of the proposed vessel tracklines and regions of surveys. The complete field season report is now available for download here. Weekly reports submitted by AMLR researchers during the course of the field season are posted below.
Cape Shirreff 06-07 Weekly Reports
R/V Yuzhmorgeologiya 06-07 Weekly Reports