2014-15: U.S. AMLR 29th field season is another success!

The U.S. Antarctic Marine Living Resources (AMLR) Program kicked off the 29th consecutive field season when the first team of researchers departed Punta Arenas (Chile) on October 27, 2014. CSlogo On board the National Science Foundation's (NSF) R/V Laurence Gould, the team headed for the Cape Shirreff field station on Livingston Island where they conducted predator (seabirds and pinniped) studies through early March.  The Copa field team completed a brief season in January, also accomplishing their objectives for the season. This season promises to be very interesting, especially following on the heels of last season's winter oceanographic survey (you can read the reports for that survey here).  AMLR researchers are excited to see how the local predators fare this austral summer following the strong prey cohort we observed during the winter survey. 

The Cape Shirreff field camp opened early Halloween (October 31, 2014) morning; weekly reports discussing the research and camp operations completed during the season are posted below.  The U.S. AMLR field camp at Cape Shirreff was closed on March 13, 2015, bringing an end to our 29th season of land-based research.  We accomplished all planned activities, ranging from pinniped and seabird research to camp maintenance. 
Early morning on March 12th, NSF's R/V Laurence M. Gould once again approached the Cape, this time for closing operations. Conditions for closing were not optimal as the ship was experiencing 25mph winds from the north along with 10-12’ seas. At approximately 1300 a weather window opened up and two zodiacs were  deployed to the island; the first zodiac landed at the Cape at approximately 1345. As soon as operations began, weather conditions started to deteriorate. After the third zodiac run, the decision was made to cease operations until the following day.  Unfortunately one zodiac sustained damage during hoisting operations and was kept on standby for the remainder of the camp closing operations.  In the early hours of March 13th conditions were favorable with light variable winds, light precipitation and 8-10’ seas; closing operations commenced with one zodiac. The Gould team (including crew and volunteer researchers) performed eight zodiac runs and successfully retrieved all personnel, gear and trash off of the island.  

Weekly Sit Reps from Cape Shirreff study site
CS Sit Rep 1: November 3, 2014
CS Sit Rep 2: November 10, 2014
CS Sit Rep 3: November 17, 2014
CS Sit Rep 4: November 24, 2014
CS Sit Rep 5: December 1, 2014
CS Sit Rep 6: December 8, 2014
CS Sit Rep 7: December 15, 2014
CS Sit Rep 8: December 22, 2014
CS Sit Rep 9: December 29, 2014
CS Sit Rep 10: January 5, 2015
CS Sit Rep 11: January 12, 2015
CS Sit Rep 12: January 19, 2015
CS Sit Rep 13: January 26, 2015
CS Sit Rep 14: February 2, 2015
CS Sit Rep 15: February 9, 2015
CS Sit Rep 16: February 16, 2015
CS Sit Rep 17: February 23, 2015
CS Sit Rep 18: March 2, 2015
CS Sit Rep 19: March 9, 2015
CS Sit Rep 20: March 13, 2015

The U.S. AMLR Program Winter Vessel Survey  August 20, 2015 ice map for peninsula region.  Courtesy of the U.S. National Ice Center. RADARSAT-2 Data and Products © MacDONALD, DETTWILER AND ASSOCIATES LTD. 2015 – All Rights Reserved.

U.S. AMLR researchers converged on Punta Arenas, Chile during the last week of July 2015.  The team spent a few days in port, loading gear and personnel aboard NSF's RVIB Nathaniel B. Palmer.  On Monday August 3rd (circa 11am), the RVIB Palmer left port in Punta Arenas, heading east and then south towards the Antarctic peninsula region. The vessel began crossing the Drake Passage Tuesday (8/4/15) evening; winds built to more than 70 knots over a six hour period (yes, you read that correctly - 70 knots!). The winds were from the north so the building sea was a following sea off the port stern. The U.S. AMLR vessel research team are sailing this season with scientists from Peru, Chile, and two universities (UCSC, and OSU). 

Weekly reports from the field team are posted below.  Follow the vessel tracklines here.  Wondering what the ice edge extent looks like?  Pictured right is the ice map for the peninsula region for August 20, 2015; the yellow dot is the noon position for the RVIB Palmer.  Ice image is courtesy of the U.S. National Ice Center; RADARSAT-2 Data and Products © MacDONALD, DETTWILER AND ASSOCIATES LTD. 2015 – All Rights Reserved. Check here for the most current information on ice in the region.

Weekly Sit Reps from RVIB Palmer
WAMLR Sit Rep 1: August 10, 2015WAMLR Sit Rep 2: August 17, 2015WAMLR Sit Rep 3: August 24, 2015

Copacabana seabird studies

This season AMLR researchers conducted limited studies at the Copacabana Field Camp on King George Island.  AMLR Director George Watters and seabird researcher Jefferson Hinke opened the Copacabana site on Monday, January 12th. They were on site for a few weeks, during which time they downloaded data from several recording instruments (cameras, weather stations and receivers) and completed several animal studies.  Weekly reports describing their work - both scientific and logistic - are below.  A comprehensive field season report (to be completed later this year, covering both island site programs) will provide greater detail on what was accomplished during this brief but productive field season at Copa.

Weekly Sit Reps from Copacabana study site
Copa Sit Rep 1: January 19, 2015
Copa Sit Rep 2: January 25, 2015
Copa Sit Rep 3: January 28, 2015

Last modified: 11/8/2017