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Day 3 morning plenary 2

Title: Management implications of a new bioregionalisation approach for terrestrial Antarctica: Antarctic Conservation Biogeographic Regions and beyond

Presenter: Aleks Terauds

Australian Antarctic Division

Authors: Aleks Terauds1, Dana Bergstrom1, Martin Riddle1 and Steven L. Chown2

1 - Australian Antarctic Division, Channel Highway, Tasmania, Australia
2 - Monash University


Over the past decade there has been increasing recognition of the biogeographical complexity of terrestrial ice-free Antarctica. Concomitant with this recognition is an increased understanding of the biology of these areas. The vulnerability of these terrestrial ecosystems has also become more evident, in the face of increasing human presence and a changing climate. Here we provide an entirely new perspective on the biogeography of the Antarctic and show that terrestrial Antarctica can be delineated into 15 biologically distinct regions – the Antarctic Conservation Biogeographic Regions (ACBRs).

Although this work built on classification of Antarctica using physical parameters, the delineations were largely made on the basis of available, spatially explicit, biodiversity data. In consequence, one of the major challenges identified by the work was the need to find ways to overcome missing biodiversity data. For Antarctica, terrestrial biodiversity data for most groups remains sparse, with the complication of growing evidence that widespread taxa are often turning out to be species complexes. In consequence, use of environmental surrogates is an important alternative approach. Here, we describe the next stage of this research, which focuses on increasing our understanding of the links between the abiotic and biotic environments. Such information is especially important for informing conservation management, a focus of rapidly growing interest for the terrestrial Antarctic.

This work is already changing the way area protection and conservation is undertaken in Antarctica. In their current form and through future development at finer resolutions, the ACBRs form a foundational element of evidence-based Antarctic conservation policy.

Title: Observations of outflowing dense waters from the Mertz Polynya Region

Presenter: Mike Williams

National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research

Authors: Mike Williams1, Beatriz Peña-Molino2, Emmanuelle Sultan3, Marie-Noëlle Houssais3, Helen Bostock1, Elizabeth Shadwick2, Mark Rosenberg2 and Steve Rintoul3,4, and theTangaroa Science Party

1 - National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), Wellington, New Zealand,

2 - Antarctic Climate and Ecosystem Cooperative Research Centre (ACECRC), Hobart, Australia

3 - French Laboratoire d’Océanographie et du Climate (LOCEAN), Paris, France

4 - CMAR, CSIRO, Hobart, Australia


In February and March 2013 38 hydrographic profiles were collected on the continental slope north of the Mertz Polynya on a joint Australian-NZ oceanographic voyage. Originally planned to target the Mertz Polynya, extensive sea ice restricted access to the continental shelf and upper slope. Instead a high resolution survey of the continental slope off the Adelie-Mertz region was undertaken which aimed to explore the exchange of water between the shelf and slope. A series of hydrographic stations were occupied along the 2600m isobath focusing on the crests, troughs and flanks of the canyons along the continental slope. In addition, stations on the 2400m and 3000m isobaths complemented the across canyon view, with sampling along the canyon axis.

Preliminary analysis of these data showed: first, the bottom waters west of the Adelie Sill become much colder, fresher and more oxygenated than the waters to the east at the same depth, indicating that even after the Mertz Glacier calving in February 2010, during summer conditions the Adelie Sill remains the preferred route for the Dense Shelf Water into the deep ocean. Second, there is a high level of interleaving at mid depth, with alternating layers of colder (fresher) and warmer (more saline) waters ranging from a few tens of meters to a few hundreds. These intrusions are less common in stations located on a crest than in the canyon troughs. Lastly, the thickness of the layer of cold/fresh/high oxygen water at the bottom appears to be thicker on the canyon troughs than in the crests.

Title: Assessing and monitoring the status and trends of Antarctic seabirds in East Antarctica

Presenter: Colin Southwell

Australian Antarctic Division

Authors: Southwell, C., Emmerson, L. and Wienecke, B.
Australian Antarctic Division, Channel Highway, Tasmania, Australia


Seabirds are useful indicators of fisheries and climate change impacts in the Southern Ocean. We outline current research to assess and monitor the status and trends of Antarctica seabirds in East Antarctica at spatial and temporal scales relevant to management and ecosystem processes. The Australian Antarctic Division has contributed to the international CCAMLR Ecosystem Monitoring Program since 1990-91 through long-term studies of Adelie penguin demography and foraging at Bechervaise Island near Mawson station. The CEMP was established by CCAMLR for sustainable management of the krill fishery in the Southern Ocean and continues today. This long-term program provides a baseline for detecting change due to future fisheries in East Antarctica and to climate change. Long term monitoring of emperor penguin populations has also been undertaken in the Mawson region at Taylor Glacier. We have recently expanded monitoring to include additional seabird species to broaden the inferences that can be made about ecosystem processes, and expanded monitoring of some demographic parameters and diet to much larger spatial scales through the development of new methods and technologies. This work is contributing to CCAMLR’s ecosystem approach to krill fisheries management through the estimation of consumption needs of krill predators, providing data to assess the population and conservation status of several penguin and seabird species, providing information required by management plans of Antarctic Specially Protected Areas, and providing data required to determine drivers of seabird populations for our associated project on seabird responses.

Title: The SCAR Southern Ocean CPR Survey: Changes in Southern Ocean Zooplankton

Presenter: Graham Hosie

Australian Antarctic Division

Authors: Graham Hosie1, Julie Hall2, John Kitchener1, McLeod, David3, Karen Robinson2, Kunio Takahashi4, the SO-CPR Survey Team

1 - Australian Antarctic Division, Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Populations and Communities, Kingston Tasmania 7050,

2 - National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, New Zealand

3 - CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Australia

4 - National Institute of Polar Research, Japan


The SCAR SO-CPR Survey was established in 1991 by the AAD to map the spatial-temporal patterns of plankton biodiversity and then to use the sensitivity of plankton to environmental change as early warning indicators of the health of the Southern Ocean. It is an endorsed programme of the SCAR-SCOR Southern Ocean Observing System. It is a founding component of the Global Alliance of CPR Surveys (GACS) which places the Antarctic observations in a global context. On average 50 CPRs tows are conducted annually using vessels from Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Germany, United Kingdom, USA, Russia, Brazil, Chile, South Africa and France. This provides a near circum-Antarctic Survey. Most of the data comes from the region south and west of Australia and between New Zealand and the Ross Sea. The principal product is a high quality dataset for the purposes of mapping plankton biodiversity, detecting changes in plankton communities at a range of scales, and providing core plankton data for ecosystem models. More than 36,000 samples have been collected over 23 years at 5 nmi resolution for ~230 zooplankton species and krill developmental stages. Modelling methods developed by Australia and New Zealand are providing predictive temporal and geographic patterns and trends of individual species or whole assemblages using the relationships between plankton and remotely measured environmental variables. Sudden changes have also been observed. The analyses will assist in the study of environmental effects on plankton, predator-prey relationships, the identification of foraging zones, and assist fisheries and conservation management.

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    20 Jun 2013

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Key dates

  • 11th June 2013
    Registrations close
  • 21st June 2013
    Registrations at the AAD open for staff
  • 24th June 2013
    Registrations at the venue open
  • 24th June 2013
    Conference commences
  • 26th June 2013
    Conference concludes

More key dates…

This page was last modified on 7 June 2013.