2013-14: U.S. AMLR 28th Field Season Completed!

The 28th field season of the U.S. Antarctic Marine Living Resources (AMLR) Program began 30 October 2013 with the opening of the Cape Shirreff Field Camp on Livingston Island. Consistent with the historical research conducted by the Antarctic Ecosystem Research Division (AERD), land-based field research consists of five to six months of predator studies at two field stations in the South Shetland Islands.  Additionally, the AMLR Program conducts an oceanographic survey each year, during either the austral summer or austral winter.

Continuing the work from last year, the AMLR 2014 Oceanographic Survey this season is a winter survey.  The AMLR Oceanographic team left port in Punta Arenas (Chile) on 19 August 2014 aboard the RVIB Nathanial Palmer.  During the 30-day survey, AMLR has planned the following projects: AMLR net in ice. Photo by J Walsh

  • conduct a bio-acoustic, oceanographic and net-based krill survey in the vicinity of the South Shetland Islands to map meso-scale features of water mass structure, phytoplankton biomass and productivity, zooplankton constituents, and the dispersion and population demography of krill;
  • calibrate shipboard acoustic system at Admiralty Bay (or other suitable anchorage, prior to conducting the large scale survey);
  • collect continuous measurements of ship's position, sea surface temperature, salinity, turbidity, fluorescence, air temperature, barometric pressure, relative humidity, and wind speed and direction;
  • collect underway observations of seabirds, marine mammals and ice conditions;
  • deploy drifter buoys (20) to provide data on the surface circulation: five drifters will be deployed on southbound crossing beginning at the EEZ of Chile/Argentina at 0.5 degree increments of latitude, five drifters will be deployed on northbound crossing at the same spatial scale, and the remaining drifters will be deployed at the discretion of the Chief Scientist;
  • XBTs will be deployed at a spatial scale to be determined by the Chief Scientist after examining satellite data immediately prior to the cruise (it is anticipated that the spatial scale will be approximately every 15km during each crossing, and occasionally throughout the cruise to provide additional hydrographic data for analysis regarding the structure of the ecosystem);
  • at each of the AMLR grid stations (circa 100) that will be sampled, a CTD will be deployed to 750m, with bottles tripped at 11 depths;
  • at open water AMLR grid stations, an IKMT net tow will be made to 650 or 170m, while a towed camera system will be used to look for epi-benthic krill; and
  • at ice covered AMLR grid stations, an IKMT net tow will be made to 170m and if condition allows, ice coring will be conducted (five cores will be taken from approximately 100m from the ship).

The AMLR/AERD 2014 WAMLR cruise plan provides additional descriptions of the survey; the National Science Foundation's Research Support Plan includes information from the AMLR/AERD cruise plan plus additional detail on logistics, gear and vessel operations.

Weekly Sit Reps from RVIB Palmer
WAMLR Sit Rep 1: August 17-23, 2014
WAMLR Sit Rep 2: August 24-30, 2014WAMLR Sit Rep 3: September 1-8, 2014
WAMLR Sit Rep 4: September 9-17, 2014

As noted, the Cape Shirreff camp opened late October 2013 and ran through early March 2014.  Weekly reports from the researchers are provided below.

Weekly Sit Reps from Cape Shirreff study site
CS Sit Rep 1: November 4, 2013
CS Sit Rep 2: November 11, 2013
CS Sit Rep 3: November 18, 2013
CS Sit Rep 4: November 25, 2013
CS Sit Rep 5: December 2, 2013CS Sit Rep 6: December 9, 2013
CS Sit Rep 7: December 16, 2013
CS Sit Rep 8: December 23, 2013
CS Sit Rep 9: December 30, 2013
CS Sit Rep 10: January 6, 2014
CS Sit Rep 11: January 13, 2014
CS Sit Rep 12: January 20, 2014
CS Sit Rep 13: January 27, 2014
CS Sit Rep 14: February 3, 2014
CS Sit Rep 15: February 10, 2014
CS Sit Rep 16: February 17, 2014
CS Sit Rep 17: February 24, 2014
CS Sit Rep 18: March 3, 2014

This season, Copacabana Field Camp had reduced residencies - nonetheless, AMLR scientists accomplished a great deal during two brief occupations of the camp. For two weeks in November and three weeks in January, teams of two scientists conducted counts of breeding pairs and chicks of Adélie and gentoo penguins, deployed radio transmitters on Adélie and gentoo penguins to study foraging trip duration, deployed satellite tags on gentoo penguins to study foraging range, studied Adélie and gentoo penguin diets, and deployed cameras at Adélie and gentoo penguin colonies that will photograph the colonies over the course of a year to assist with studies of penguin reproductive success. Camp was officially closed for the season on 18 January.  Field reports from the Copa researchers are provided below.

Weekly Sit Reps from Copacabana study site
2014 Copa Sit Rep 1: November 25, 2013
2014 Copa Sit Rep 2: January 13, 2014
2014 Copa Sit Rep 3: January 20, 2014

Last modified: 11/8/2017