AMLR IPY 2008
Since 1986, the AMLR Program has conducted in situ field surveys in the Antarctic, primarily focusing on the South Shetlands region off the peninsula. These 22 consecutive years of surveys represent not only NOAA's longest running ecosystem project in the Antarctic, but the results from the studies conducted during these surveys are pivotal to management decisions regarding Antarctic resources (see also
CCAMLR & AMLR and
AERD Supports CCAMLR).
During the 2007-2008 austral spring, summer and fall, the US AMLR Program, under the direction of the AERD, conducted in situ ongoing field studies not only in support of CCAMLR, but also in support of the international
Census of Antarctic Marine Life (CAML)
. Below is a general timeline of the field projects that AMLR researchers supported, either as the leaders (as with the annual AERD cruise and land station studies) or as collaborators (invited to participate as experts on other cruises).
October 2007: In collaboration with the National Science Foundation, AERD researchers conducted penguin studies at the Copacabana field station in Admiralty Bay, King George Island off the peninsula. Originally opened in 1976, and annually each year since then, this field station is the longest running US research program dedicated to penguin research.
Read weekly activity reports here...
November 2007: AERD researchers opened the US AMLR Cape Shirreff field station on Livingston Island (off the Antarctic peninsula). These projects, originally started in 1986 on Seal Island, focus on reproductive performance and foraging ecology of Antarctic fur seals, chinstrap and gentoo penguins. Other species, such as leopard seals which predate on fur seals, were also monitored.
Weekly activity reports are posted here....
January 2008 (early): AMLR researchers aboard the AMLR-chartered R/V Yuzhmorgeologiya conducted in situ studies describing the pelagic ecosystem in the vicinity of the South Shetland Islands. The main objective of the survey was to estimate krill biomass for the area; additional studies evaluated the environmental factors influencing krill and their predators.
Read about their work here...
January 2008 (late): In support of CAML and CCAMLR, AERD pinniped researchers conducted a peninsula-wide survey of Antarctic fur seal rookeries. These surveys form the basis by which AERD researchers monitor the recovery of this population, which suffered from overexploitation in the late 1800's. Surveys in the past decade indicate that the rate of fur seal pup production has declined substantially; this survey provides another essential data point to determine the status of the population's recovery.
January 2008 (late): New Zealand sponsored a major biological survey of the Ross Sea, in support of IPY and CAML. The overall objectives of the Ross Sea IPY Survey were to measure and describe key elements of species distribution, abundance (density) and biodiversity for the Ross Sea.
AERD researcher Christopher Jones participated on this eight-week survey as a Co-Principal Investigator for the finfish projects.
February 2008: Still aboard the R/V Yuzhmorgeologiya, the AMLR Program conducted studies to describe the pelagic ecosystem in the vicinity of the South Orkney Islands. As with the South Shetland Islands survey, the main objectives of the survey were to estimate krill biomass for the area, along with the environmental factors influencing krill and their predators. However, the last time the AMLR Program conducted a survey in this region was way back in 2000, so this survey provides a more recent snapshot of krill in this area.
Weekly reports from the survey provide additional information.