Skip to Content | Contact

Posters day 1-2

Assessing the toxicity of dispersed and weathered fuels on Antarctic marine invertebrates
Frances Alexander

Authors

Frances Alexander
Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW 2480, Australia

Catherine K. King
Australian Antarctic Division, Kingston, TAS 7050, Australia

Alison Lane
Environmental Resources Management Australia, Spring Hill, QLD 4000, Australia

Peter L. Harrison
Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW 2480, Australia

Abstract

Fuel spills in Antarctic waters are increasingly likely with the rise in shipping in the region related to tourism and research activities, both of which require and transport large quantities of fuel. While fuel dispersants are not currently used in the management of fuel spills in Antarctica, there is a need for robust and independent information and advice on the utility and possible use of fuel dispersants, and on their potential ecological effects in Antarctic waters. At present, very little is known regarding the effects of fuel dispersants on Antarctic biota. This lack of knowledge presents a significant problem for the development of environmental policies and operational directives for the management of even moderate scale fuel spills. This project uses toxicity testing procedures to assess the potential biological impacts of dispersed and weathered fuels on Antarctic marine biota. A range of Antarctic invertebrates will be used in bioassays including amphipods (Paramoera walkeri), echinoderms (Sterechinus neumayeri and Abatus sp.), bivalves (Laternula elliptica) and copepods (Paralebidocera antarctica). Toxicity will be assessed by exposing organisms to dispersed and weathered water accommodated fractions (WAFs) of three fuels commonly used in Antarctica: Special Antarctic Blend (SAB), Marine Gas Oil (MGO) and an intermediate grade (180) of marine bunker Fuel Oil (IFO). Preliminary results from tests conducted at Davis Station during the 2012/13 Austral summer season using a common planktonic copepod (Paralabidocera antarctica) and benthic Harpactacoid copepods suggest increased toxicity of all three fuel types when treated with dispersants.

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

An evaluation of reanalysis and satellite-based products of the atmosphere over the Southern Ocean employing meteorological observations from Macquarie Island
Danijel Belusic

Authors

Danijel Belusic, Steve Siems, Luke Hande, Zhan Wang and Michael Manton
School of Mathematical Sciences, Monash University

Abstract

The atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) over the Southern Ocean is unique. The absence of any significant land mass allows for the strongest boundary layer winds (zonal average) across the globe, which in turn drives the largest waves. Combined, the winds and waves produce high concentrations of sea spray. Further, satellite products find that the atmosphere over the Southern Ocean has the highest fractional cloud cover and the highest precipitation frequency (zonal average) across the globe. The ability of common boundary layer clouds to generate precipitation over the SO is unknown, making it difficult to close the hydrological cycle.

The historic meteorological observations at Macquarie Island have presented a unique opportunity to evaluate various aspects of the ERA-Interim reanalysis and satellite observations. For example, the thermodynamic structure of the ABL has been found to frequently be ‘decoupled’, consistent with a few limited field observations, even though it experience exceptionally strong wind shear. An examination of the precipitation records suggests that the CloudSat precipitation product may be overestimating the amount of precipitation over the region while underestimating the frequency of precipitation.

Further research has been proposed to operate unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) off of Macquarie Island to measure the thermodynamic fluxes through the ABL.

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

The effect of migration and fasting on organochlorine contaminant burdens in southern hemisphere humpback whales
Susan Bengtson Nash

Authors

Bengtson Nash S1, Waugh, C2 and Schlabach, M3

  1. Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia
  2. Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia
  3. The National Institute for Air Research, Kjeller, Norway

Abstract

The dependence of polar species on lipid rich diets makes them susceptible to bioaccumulation of toxic and lipophilic persistent organic pollutants (POPs). Whilst Arctic biota has come under scientific scrutiny, there has been a comparative lack of POP research on Antarctic biota. Of notable significance are the few reports concerning Antarctic baleen whales.

Southern hemisphere humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) undertake the longest migrations and associated periods of fasting known in any mammal. No peer-reviewed reports currently exist on the levels of POPs in southern hemisphere populations, necessitating baseline data. Further, the extreme life history behavior of these populations provides a unique opportunity to study the toxicokinetics of POPs during a period of chronic energy deficit. Previously, medical research has evidenced the toxic effects associated with rapid weight loss and concomitant mobilization of POP burdens, therefore seasonal mobilization of blubber POP fractions during prolonged periods of lipid depletion, may place humpback whales in a higher chemical risk category to that commonly attributed baleen whales.

In this study we targeted male humpback whales migrating along the east coast of Australia (E1 breeding stock). Blubber biopsies were captured at two time points on the migration journey and blubber lipid and chemical analyses performed. We evidence the population blubber lipid loss and dramatic metabolic concentration of POPs that occurred over approximately four months of the annual migration. Further, lipophilic POPs are applied as novel tracers of lipid dynamics to estimate the average loss of body mass experienced by this population of humpback whales.

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

Springtails on the edge: an ecotone near the McMurdo Dry Valleys
Kristi R. Bennett

Authors

Kristi R. Bennett and Ian D. Hogg
International Centre for Terrestrial Antarctic Research, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Waikato, Private Bag 3105, Hamilton 3240, New Zealand

Abstract

Transitions from one ecosystem type to another (ecotones) are known to provide sensitive indicators of environmental changes. This study aimed to improve our understanding of the patterns of biodiversity for terrestrial ecosystems in the Ross Dependency, and in particular the distribution of springtails (Collembola) in South Victoria Land. In the early 1960's, sampling in the Mackay Glacier region recorded the distributions of the widespread Gomphiocephalus hodgsoni as well as two previously unknown species: Antarcticinella monoculata and Neocryptopygus nivicolus. The latter two species appeared range restricted, with A. monoculata known from only two locations: Springtail Point on the southern edge of the Mackay Glacier, and Mt George Murray to the north. N. nivicolus was known only from a few sites in the vicinity of the Mackay Glacier.

Sampling during the most recent summer field season (2012/13) confirmed the presence of A. monoculata at Springtail Point, and also extended the distribution of N. nivicolus and the widespread Gomphiocephalus hodgsoni to sites on the lower reaches of Mt Gran on the northern side of the Mackay Glacier. South of Mackay Glacier and despite extensive sampling and apparently suitable habitat throughout the Dry Valley region, only Gomphiocephalus hodgsoni has been found. We suggest that the Mackay Glacier ecotone may be a region of rapid change in response to environmental changes and should be further investigated for use as a potential indicator of impending climate change.

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

Fine Scale Analysis of Changes in Bryophyte Community Structure over a Decade Long Study in East Antarctica
Taylor Benny

Authors

Taylor Benny
University of Wollongong, Northfields Ave Wollongong NSW 2522
trb975@uowmail.edu.au

Professor Sharon Robinson
Institute for Conservation Biology and Environmental Management, University of Wollongong, Northfields Ave Wollongong NSW 2522
sharonr@uow.edu.au

Dr Jane Wasley
Terrestrial and Nearshore Ecosystems: Environmental Change and Conservation, Australian Antarctic Division, 203 Channel Hwy Kingston TAS 7050
jane.wasley@aad.gov.au

Diana King
Institute for Conservation Biology and Environmental Management, University of Wollongong, Northfields Ave Wollongong NSW 2522
dhk442@uowmail.edu.au

Abstract

Survival in Antarctica requires organisms to endure some of the harshest climatic conditions on Earth. Already at the edge of their physiological limits of survival, organisms living on the Antarctic continent are facing the current global threat of climate change, with higher latitudes strongly impacted. State of the Environment Indicator 72 is monitoring changes in bryophyte community composition at Antarctic Specially Protected Area (ASPA) 135 in the Windmill Islands, East Antarctica in order to model the potential long term impacts of climate change. This quantitative analysis of bryophyte communities, designed to minimise destructive sampling, commenced as a pilot in 2000 with full sampling in 2003, 2008 and 2013. Ten permanent quadrats are positioned within the bryophyte community, with nine tweezer pinch samples obtained from each. Samples are scored for presence or absence of each species. Although Bryophytes are the dominant plants on Continental Antarctica and inhabit these higher latitudes, they are sensitive to changes in their environment and so make a good proxy for environmental change. The Windmill Islands supports four bryophyte species, with the endemic moss Schistidium antarctici found in the wettest sites and the two cosmopolitan mosses, Bryum pseudotriquetrum and Ceratodon purpureus, and the liverwort Cephaloziella varians in higher abundance in drier sites. Change in water availability over time is expected to alter the community composition accordingly. This study can thus be used as an indicator to detect fine scale patterns in response to change, forming a baseline to model the degree of environmental change in the future.

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

Development of in-situ remediation technologies applicable to metal contaminated sites in Antarctica
Danielle Camenzuli

Authors

Danielle Camenzuli1, Damian B. Gore1, Kathryn A. Mumford2, Geoff Stevens2 and Scott Stark3

  1. Department of Environment and Geography, Macquarie University, North Ryde, NSW, 2109, Australia
  2. Particulate Fluids Processing Centre, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
  3. Australian Antarctic Division, Kingston, Tasmania, Australia

Abstract

The legacy effect of contaminated land is a widespread issue, even in remote, polar regions such as Antarctica. Despite the management and remediation of contaminants attracting significant scientific attention in temperate environments, there remains a limitation of successfully trialled technologies suitable for implementation at metal contaminated sites in cold climates. In response, various new and innovative technologies applicable to metal contaminated sites are being developed. These technologies can generally be applied in-situ and are feasible and effective for the long-term management of contaminants despite the logistical constraints associated with working in polar environments such as Antarctica.

Several technologies are currently being adapted to and trialled in polar environments. This research focuses on the application of orthophosphate chemical fixation, silica microencapsulation technologies and permeable reactive barriers at Casey Station, Antarctica. Orthophosphate fixation reduces the environmental harm posed by metal contaminants in soil by transforming metals into inert, non-bioavailable metal-phosphate minerals, whereas encapsulation technologies contain metals in a microscopic silica coating and prevent migration of contaminants to surrounding soil strata. Permeable reactive barriers are a passive barriers installed in-situ technology and are being developed to remediate contaminated groundwater. These technologies have independently demonstrated their effectiveness for the management of metal contaminants and show potential for larger-scale remediation operations when used simultaneously.

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

New microsatellite markers for two Antarctic sea urchin species: Preliminary results on genetic population structure
Cecilia Carrea

Authors

Cecilia Carrea
Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies, Hobart, Private Bag 129, TAS 7001

Karen Miller
Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies, Hobart, Private Bag 129, TAS 7001

Abstract

Antarctic benthic species are considered to be particularly vulnerable to climate change due to their high isolation, low growth rate and long life span. The development of highly variable nuclear molecular markers can aid in the understanding of the biology and ecology of such species and hence provide essential information for effective management to preserve the benthic biodiversity of Antarctica. There is a high proportion of brooding species among Antarctic marine invertebrates and evidence of genetic structuring and cryptic speciation has been found for some of them, including a seastar, two amphipods, a pygnogonid, a crustacean and an isopod species. We report the isolation and characterisation of 8 polymorphic microsatellite loci developed for a brooding Antarctic sea urchin species: Abatus ingens (tested on 35 individuals from Davis station), 7 of which were cross amplified for Abatus shackletoni (tested in 16 individuals from Davis station) and one was monomorphic. For A. ingens, we observed four to 18 alleles per locus and expected heterozygosities ranged from 0.543 to 0.892. For A. shackletoni, we observed three to 13 alleles per locus and expected heterozygosities ranged from 0.145 to 0.848. In addition, we will discuss preliminary results using these markers to study the fine-scale population genetic structure of both brooding species collected near Davis and Dumont D’Urville stations as well as the potential application of such information for conservation purposes.

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

Co-ordinated lidar and aircraft observations of cloud microphysical conditions in the Southern Ocean
Thomas Chubb

Authors

Chubb T
School of Mathematical Sciences, Monash University

Alexander S
Australian Antarctic Division, Hobart, Australia

Huang V
School of Mathematical Sciences, Monash University

Siems S
School of Mathematical Sciences, Monash University

Abstract

Substantial biases in the radiation budget over the Southern Ocean have been shown to exist in the members of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Projects. These have been attributed to too little reflected short wave radiation, resulting in excess absorbed solar radiation at the ocean surface. While cloud coverage and vertical distribution are important factors, microphysical characteristics play an important role in determining cloud albedo, through droplet phase and size distribution, and longevity, through precipitation processes.

Cloud microphysical characteristics in the Southern Ocean are unique because of the unpolluted nature of the air, in particular the low ice nuclei concentrations, that the clouds form in. Satellite-based cloud lidar and radiometer observations suggest that supercooled liquid clouds, with little or no ice at temperatures well below freezing, occur frequently. However, in-situ observations of these clouds are lacking because of the remote nature of the region and the lack of aircraft observational capability in the Southern Hemisphere.

Recent developments in observational capabilities in both ground-based cloud lidar at the Australian Antarctic Division and aircraft-based cloud observational instruments present an exciting opportunity for research in Southern Ocean clouds and precipitation. A series of co-ordinated cloud lidar and aircraft operations near Hobart, Tasmania is proposed for the 2013 winter season, allowing for validation of the lidar retrievals and enhanced understanding of cloud microphysical parameters. High resolution Weather Research and Forecasting model data for these cases will be analysed for consistency with the observed conditions.

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

Quantifying human movements in the Australian Antarctic Territory: implications for intra-regional propagule transfer
Kaitlyn Close

Authors

Kaitlyn Close
School of Geography Planning and Environmental Management, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland

Bradd Witt
School of Geography Planning and Environmental Management, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland

Jonathan Rhodes
School of Geography Planning and Environmental Management, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland

Justine Shaw
Environmental Decision Group, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland
and
Terrestrial Nearshore Ecosystems, Australian Antarctic Division, Kingston, Tasmania

Abstract

Increasing human activity in Antarctica is a threat to Antarctic terrestrial biodiversity. The introduction of non-indigenous species and biotic homogenisation can impact on Antarctic biodiversity. To date research has focused predominately on quantifying the risk of introduction of non-indigenous species to Antarctica from outside sources. However little is known about intra-regional transfer of species or propagules by humans within Antarctica. Intra-regional transfer is known to drive biotic homogenisation. Quantifying human movements enables us to understand these risks and where they are most likely to occur.

Our research aims to identify where, when, and how people have travelled within the Australian Antarctic Territory. By collating data from reports on deep field expeditions and localised travel within station operational areas we quantify the density of human visitation to specific areas.

By identifying temporal and spatial trends in human movements and examining biodiversity data of visited sites, we can determine the potential for propagule transfer from one ice free area to another. Through this work we aim to inform biosecurity protocols for intra-regional movement. Furthermore, quantifying the human footprint in the AAT informs the conservation management of ice-free areas in Antarctica. This research will deliver information relevant to the Committee for Environmental Protocol [Article 8(3)] and help to fill information gaps within the Antarctic Treaty’s Electronic Information Exchange System.

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

Your interface to Australian Antarctic data
Dave Connell

Authors

Dave Connell and Mathew Oakes
Australian Antarctic Data Centre, Australian Antarctic Division

Abstract

The Australian Antarctic Data Centre (AADC) was established in response to Australia’s participation in the Antarctic Treaty System, and is committed to the free and open exchange of scientific data collected as part of the Australian Antarctic program. The AADC utilises several different tools (e.g. metadata catalogues and MyScience) for archiving and managing scientific data. Additionally, the AADC also provides mapping and data citation services.

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

Molecular diversity of Antarctic soil meiofauna explored using high-throughput sequencing
Paul Czechowski

Authors

Paul Czechowski1,2,3, Laurence J. Clarke2, Alan Cooper2 and Mark I. Stevens3

  1. School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia
  2. Australian Centre for Ancient DNA, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia
  3. South Australian Museum, Adelaide, Australia

Abstract

Terrestrial vertebrate species are absent from continental Antarctica, but some small, isolated ice-free regions support simple invertebrate meiofaunal communities (springtails, mites, nematodes, rotifers, tardigrades). The distribution of Antarctic invertebrates remains unknown, as the majority of remote ice-free areas have not been surveyed. Also, the biotic or abiotic drivers of soil organism distribution remain elusive. In addition, the evolutionary history of the Antarctic meiofauna is intriguing, as it may have persisted in isolation for millions of years.

The aim of this research is to develop a cost and time-efficient method to characterise Antarctic invertebrate communities using DNA sequence data generated with high-throughput sequencing platforms. Application of these methods to 280 soil samples collected from three sites in the Prince Charles Mountains, East Antarctica will expand the baseline record of biological information in Antarctica.

We have developed a method to amplify a target locus, e.g. cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI), and add barcoded NGS adapters via a linker sequence using a single PCR, providing a flexible, cost-effective and efficient alternative to current approaches used to generate libraries for high-throughput sequencing. The method is easily transferable to different sequencing platforms and its suitability for use with environmental DNA is currently being tested.

The potential to screen many samples using high-throughput sequencing technology will facilitate large-scale biodiversity surveys in Antarctica. Combining information on species distributions in the Prince Charles Mountains and other Antarctic regions with environmental metadata will provide valuable insights on biotic and abiotic drivers in Antarctic ecosystems.

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

The CAML / SCAR-MarBIN Biogeographic Atlas of the Southern Ocean
Claude De Broyer

Authors

C. De Broyer1, P. Koubbi2, H.J. Griffiths3, B. Danis4, B. David5, S. Grant3, J. Gutt6, C. Held6, G. Hosie7, F. Huettmann8, A.L. Post9, B. Raymond7,10, Y. Ropert-Coudert11,12, A.P. Van de Putte1 (Editors)

  1. Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Brussels, Belgium
  2. Laboratoire d’Océanographie de Villefranche, UPMC, France
  3. British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, U.K.
  4. Laboratoire de Biologie Marine, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
  5. Biogéosciences, Université de Bourgogne, Dijon, France
  6. Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany
  7. Australian Antarctic Division, Hobart, Australia
  8. Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, USA
  9. Geoscience Australia, Canberra, Australia
  10. Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia
  11. Institut Pluridisciplinaire Hubert Curien, Université de Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France
  12. Unité Mixte de Recherche 7178, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Strasbourg, France

Abstract

Biogeographic information is of primary importance for discovering marine biodiversity hotspots, detecting impacts of environmental changes, modelling future distributions, monitoring biodiversity, and supporting conservation and management activities.

The first efforts to synthesize and map Southern Ocean biogeography date back to the Antarctic Map Folio Series (1968–1974). There is now a unique opportunity to attempt an up-to-date synthesis of this knowledge, based on the extensive exploration and assessment of biodiversity by the Census of Antarctic Marine Life (CAML), and the intense compilation and validation efforts of Southern Ocean biogeographic data by the SCAR Marine Biodiversity Information Network (SCAR-MarBIN/AntaBIF) and other Antarctic data centres. This updated synthesis will be able to draw on vastly improved occurrence datasets from recent decades, as well as new insights provided by molecular and phylogeographic approaches, and new methods of analysis, visualization, modelling and prediction of biogeographic distributions.

The multi-authored Biogeographic Atlas of the Southern Ocean aims to:

  • Establish, on the basis of an unprecedented amount, diversity, and quality of biogeographic data, a new synthesis of the biogeography of the Southern Ocean (patterns and processes), covering phyto- and zooplankton, macroalgae and zoobenthos, nekton, birds and seals south of 40°S.
  • Assemble in one publication (large format printed atlas and dynamic digital version) a collection of representative maps and syntheses describing the distribution patterns of Southern Ocean organisms (species and assemblages), to provide a benchmark of current biogeographic knowledge after CAML.
  • Contribute to the modelling of biogeographic distributions in the context of environmental changes.
  • Complete and validate the vast amount of occurrence data compiled by the SCAR-MarBIN / AntaBIF network.

More than 120 contributors (biogeographers, taxonomists, ecologists, molecular biologists, IT experts, environmental dataset providers, modellers, and GIS experts) have contributed to the Atlas, which will be published under the aegis of SCAR.

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

The Occurrence of Polar Stratospheric Cloud over the Antarctic
Fraser Dennison

Authors

Dennison F
University of Canterbury

McDonald A
University of Canterbury

Alexander S
Australian Antarctic Division

Abstract

Polar stratospheric clouds (PSC’s) are one of the factors responsible for ozone depletion. Chlorine and bromine reservoir species in the lower stratosphere undergo a heterogeneous reaction on the surface of PSC particles and are converted into products which are then photolyzed into ozone destroying radicals. Current theory has PSC’s forming whenever the temperature falls below a certain threshold, TNAT, the equilibrium temperature for the formation of nitric acid trihydrate (NAT) – one of the constituents of PSC. However this assumption leads to overestimations of PSC coverage that are often over two times greater than observations.

The aim of this research is to investigate the usefulness of the current thresholds and develop a more accurate empirical prescription for the formation of a PSC based on the temperature histories of air parcels calculated using a simple trajectory model.

It was found that different PSC types had different characteristics in their temperature histories. The mean temperature history associated with ice PSC observations cooled by around 3-4 K over the previous 24 hours to slightly below the water ice frost point at the time of observation. However, in trajectories associated with the presence of NAT the temperature has on average stayed 4-5 K below TNAT for the entire four days of the trajectory. Using the air parcel trajectory it was possible simulate the occurrence of ice and NAT PSC more accurately than by simply using temperature thresholds as formation criteria.

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

Geology on the edge of the Australian Antarctic Territory: a history of frontier science in Enderby Land
Daniel J. Dunkley

Authors

Daniel J. Dunkley
Curtin University, GPO Box U1987, Perth, WA 6845

Abstract

Enderby Land lies near the western margin of the AAT, between 45°E and 56°E. Despite limited accessibility, it has been an exceptional source of geological discoveries of profound influence on our understanding of Earth evolution. Following the establishment of research stations by Australia (Mawson at 63°E), the USSR (Molodezhnaya at 46°E), and Japan (Syowa at 40°E), geological fieldwork in Enderby Land was conducted in waves by teams from Australia (1960-5; 1974-1980), the USSR (1962-1974), and Japan (1990-2001; 2005). Field investigations since 1980 have been limited to coastal localities. Samples collected during earlier deep-field expeditions yielded, and are still yielding, important discoveries, including:

  • 1980: rare minerals proving the presence of ultra-high temperature metamorphism (>950°C) in the Earth’s crust, subsequently identified in other localities worldwide;
  • 1986: a 3.9 billion year old rock in the Tula Range, at the time of its discovery the oldest rock yet found on Earth;
  • 1999: Khmaralite, a new beryllium mineral;
  • 2011: a 4.0 billion year old mineral found on the eastern margin of Enderby Land, opening up the possibility of discovering one of the oldest parts of the Earth’s crust still in existence;
  • 2013: lead mobility in the mineral zircon, with implications for age determinations in metamorphic rocks.

These results demonstrate the long-lived value of deep-field geological exploration. Scientific publications on Enderby Land and their influence on the geosciences are increasing with each decade; the area has never been as relevant as it is today. Further exploration would undoubtedly yield new discoveries.

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

Plans for Antarctic numerical weather prediction incorporating sea ice analysis and forecasting
Beth Ebert

Authors

Beth Ebert, Phil Reid, Dave Bi, Gary Brassington, Harry Hendon, Tony Hirst, Andreas Schiller and Petteri Uotila
Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research (CAWCR)

Abstract

The Bureau of Meteorology provides weather forecasts for high southern latitudes to support aviation, shipping, terrestrial and marine science, Antarctic traverse and station operations. Marine forecasts are currently provided for latitudes to 50°S. In order to better serve the needs of the Australian Antarctic program for accurate and timely forecasts, the Bureau plans to upgrade its Antarctic numerical weather prediction (NWP) modelling to include a high resolution weather and sea ice analysis and prediction capability.

The Australian Community Climate and Earth System Simulator (ACCESS) model was developed by CAWCR to predict weather and climate on space and time scales from kilometres and minutes through to global climate change (see talk by Tony Hirst). When run for seasonal forecasts and long-term climate projections the ACCESS model incorporates fully coupled atmospheric, land, ocean, and sea ice processes. At shorter ranges the atmospheric and ocean models are not coupled, and sea ice is currently prescribed based on observations.

As part of a staged approach for sea ice forecasting, we would like to implement a stand-alone sea ice model (the Los Alamos sea ice model CICE) driven by forecast winds within the Bureau's global NWP system (~25 km spatial resolution). Assimilate of observed ice conditions will require development of a robust and routine sea ice analysis based on satellite data and most likely also human interpretation. Work is underway to test a high resolution (~5 km) limited area version of the ACCESS atmospheric model in domains over Casey, Davis, and Mawson stations. This will better resolve the katabatic winds responsible for many of the coastal polynyas and important for realistic sea ice simulation. In the longer term we will couple the sea ice model with the high resolution atmospheric model to provide short range sea ice forecasts (1-7 days).

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

Conservation decision-making in Antarctica: managing invasive species using a Bayesian Belief Network approach
Yi Han

Authors

Yi Han
The University of Queensland, School of Biological Sciences, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia

Justine Shaw
Terrestrial and Nearshore Ecoystems, Australian Antarctic Division, 203 Channel Hwy, Kingston Tas 7050, Tasmania, Australia

Yvonne Buckley
The University of Queensland, ARC Centre of Excellence in Environmental Decisions, School of Biological Sciences, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia.

Abstract

Despite the Antarctic Treaty System attempts to prevent non-native species introduction several non-native species are established in Antarctica. Furthermore these incursions are likely to increase given accelerating climate change and rapid increases in human activities in Antarctica. The Committee for Environmental Protection has suggested that, where practicable, eradication of the established non-native species is necessary to conserve Antarctic biodiversity and intrinsic value.

However, without sufficient consideration and comprehensive planning, the control or eradication actions may cause unforeseen and unwanted effects. Due to the low diversity of Antarctic ecosystems, such management interventions may cause further problems. For example mechanically disturbed ground can create ecological niches for new invasions and disturb slow-growing native species and chemical control may result in contamination and adverse effects to native biodiversity.

In conservation decision making, the consequences of management interventions and potential adverse effects should be explicitly considered and assessed. We propose to construct and parameterize a Bayesian Belief Network model (BBN) (a probabilistic graphical model), examining the eradication of established non-native plants in Antarctica. We will assess the management efforts and evaluate the possible consequences to the support the decision making.

This study will increase our understanding of the role of the non-native species in a whole under the Antarctic ecosystem context; and the Bayesian Belief Network model will enable the assessment of eradication and other management activities. This will provide a paradigm for future research on similar management problems, and can help to inform policy related to the responses to non-native species in Antarctica.

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

An endemic cyclopoid copepod from Lake Joyce challenges our understanding of McMurdo Dry Valley biodiversity
Ian Hawes

Authors

Ian Hawes
Gateway Antarctica, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch, NZ.

Tomislav Karanovic
Department of Life Sciences, Hanyang University, Seoul 133-791, Korea.

John A. E. Gibson
Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 129, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia.

Dale T Andersen
Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe, SETI Institute, 189 Bernado Avenue, Suite 100, Mountain View, CA 94043, USA.

Mark I Stevens
South Australian Museum, GPO Box 234, Adelaide & School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Adelaide, Australia

Abstract

It was long believed that isolation and extreme environment resulted in the absence of macroinvertebrates from the perennially ice-covered lakes of the McMurdo Dry Valleys (MDV). In 1984 this paradigm was broken when a small number of larval copepods were found in one of these lakes, Lake Joyce. However, the absence of adults prevented identification and it was not until November 2010 that we located adults in Lake Joyce. The Lake Joyce copepods have proved to be a new species of Diacyclops[1], related (but not very closely) to two species of this genus collected in the Bunger and Vestfold Hills of the Australian Sector. Lake Joyce is thought to be ~1000 yrs old, so did the species originate there in that time, is it a recent colonist (from where?), or is the Lake Joyce population a relic of a historically broader distribution? There appears no possibility that this is an anthropogenic introduction, but its restricted distribution raises concern over possible human vectors inadvertently spreading it to other lakes where a vacant niche undoubtedly exists. The discovery of an endemic copepod in one lake in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, probably the most intensively sampled area of Antarctica, is a salutary example of our limited understanding of Antarctic biodiversity, the potential risk of human transfer of species between habitats, the importance of refugia to Antarctic biodiversity – and the value of taxonomy to Antarctic science.

[1] The descriptions of the new species are currently in review in Antarctic Science.

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

Climate changes and impacts on subantarctic marine invertebrates: a focus on Macquarie Island
Jessica Holan

Authors

Jessica Holan
Australian Antarctic Division, Kingston, Tasmania 7050, Australia

Dr Catherine K. King
Australian Antarctic Division, Kingston, Tasmania 7050, Australia

A/Prof Andy Davis
University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW 2500, Australia

Abstract

Stressors associated with global climate change and local human activities are affecting marine organisms worldwide. Stressors include changes in temperature, salinity and acidification, in addition to contaminants including metals and hydrocarbons. Near-shore marine assemblages are particularly vulnerable to contamination due to ship fuel spills which often occur close to land, and to run-off of contaminants from terrestrial ecosystems. Climate change will likely increase the vulnerability of marine organisms when coping with contamination events. Climate change in the subantarctic is evident with sea temperatures increasing and salinity decreasing. However, the impacts of both climate change and contamination in this region are poorly understood. Seasonal sea temperature ranges are small in the subantarctic (~2-7°C) compared to in temperate regions (~10-30°C). Therefore any increase in temperature in the subantarctic is expected to have a more profound effect on marine ecosystems. This has been shown in polar regions where small temperature increases cause considerable impacts on organisms which have only small temperature tolerances. This work investigates the effect of multiple stressors including metals, reduced salinity and increased temperature on the behaviour and survival of several common near-shore marine invertebrates from the subantarctic Macquarie Island. Their sensitivity to copper was found to be amplified by increased temperatures and reduced salinities. Concurrent with other regions of the world, this indicates that the combined effect of contamination and climate change stressors will have major impacts on subantarctic marine invertebrates and ecosystems.

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

Pathways and vectors for the introduction of non-indigenous invertebrate species to the sub-Antarctic and Antarctic region
Melissa Houghton

Authors

Melissa Houghton
Terrestrial Nearshore Ecosystems, Australian Antarctic Division and School of Geography and Environmental Sciences, University of Tasmania

Justine Shaw
Terrestrial Nearshore Ecosystems, Australian Antarctic Division and Environmental Decision Group, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

Peter McQuillan
School of Geography and Environmental Sciences, University of Tasmania

Leslie Frost
Business Support Group, Australian Antarctic Division

Dana Bergstrom
Terrestrial Nearshore Ecosystems, Australian Antarctic Division

Abstract

Non-native species pose a great threat to Antarctic biodiversity. Annex II of the Environmental Protocol of the Antarctic Treaty prohibits the intentional introduction of non-native species to Antarctica. A substantial amount of research has quantified propagule pressure of alien plants and their pathways of introduction to Antarctica. Scientists, tourists and their cargo are the major vectors of plant propagule introductions to Antarctica. However, little is known about the propagule pressure and pathways for non-native invertebrates to Antarctica. Despite Australia’s strict biosecurity protocols involving pesticide fumigation of cargo and ships, non-native invertebrates continue to be introduced to the Australian Antarctic and sub-Antarctic territories.

Here we have quantified the unintentional introduction of non-native invertebrates to Antarctica through collections made over the last 12 years during the Australian Antarctic program. We have identified 300 individuals, from 55 families, inadvertently transported via cargo and expeditioners. Lepidopterans (moths and butterflies), coleopteran (beetles), arachnids (spiders) and dipterans (flies) were the most common. We investigated pathways by examining where the invertebrates were detected. It was found that food and cargo packaging materials were most commonly contaminated.

Targeted trapping for invertebrates was also undertaken over 6 months utilising light and colour traps at wharf cargo facilities and on the Aurora Australis, yielding live invertebrates from both sites. We aim to examine the traits of different taxonomic groups, key species’ attributes and the establishment potential of commonly found species. Ultimately we aim to inform biosecurity protocols for people and cargo transport to Antarctica.

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

Measurements of Aerosols and Precursors over East Antarctic melting spring sea ice
Ruhi Humphries

Authors

R. Humphries1, R. Schofield2, M. Keywood3, J. Ward4, S. Wilson1, I. Galbally3, K. Kreher5, P. Johnston5, A. Thomas5, A. Robinson6, N. Harris6, A. Klekociuk7, C. Murphy1

  1. Centre for Atmospheric Chemistry, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia
  2. University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
  3. Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Aspendale, Australia
  4. CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Aspendale, Australia
  5. National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Lauder, New Zealand
  6. Centre for Atmospheric Science, Department of Chemistry, Cambridge CB2 1EW, England
  7. Australian Antarctic Division, Hobart, Australia

Abstract

The pristine environment of the Antarctic allows the study of natural aerosol properties and formation mechanisms in polar conditions, with minor anthropogenic influence reaching the remote continent. Studies of aerosols over Antarctic sea ice have not been made, with measurement campaigns being confined primarily to permanent stations on continental and coastal locations. The MAPS campaign (Measurements of Aerosols and Precursors during SIPEXII) occurred as part of the Sea Ice Physics and Ecosystems eXperiment II (SIPEX II) in Spring, 2012, and aimed to characterize new particle formation processes in the sea ice region off the coast of East Antarctica (~65°S, 120°E). Measurements were made of in-situ total particle number above two size thresholds, > 3 nm, and > 10 nm, with the difference being the number of particles in the 3-10 nm range, or the particle nucleation region. Vertical profiles of aerosol extinction and dominant size mode were measured via MAX-DOAS. Precursors such as halogenated volatile organic compounds (VOCs), halogen oxides, dimethyl sulfide (DMS), formaldehyde (HCHO), and ozone were also measured by both in-situ and spectroscopic techniques. A number of new particle formation events were observed throughout the measurement campaign, occurring in diverse conditions (e.g. sunlit and dark), suggesting various reaction mechanisms. Presented here are the data from these new particle formation events, along with preliminary analysis of the chemical sources and possible formation mechanisms that may be unique to this unstudied region.

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

Comprehensive multidimensional GC for environmental analysis
Matthew Jacobs

Authors

Jacobs M
University of Tasmania, Australian Centre for Research on Separation Science (ACROSS)

Edwards M
University of Waterloo

Górecki T
University of Waterloo

Shellie R
University of Tasmania, Australian Centre for Research on Separation Science (ACROSS)

Abstract

Petroleum spills are some of the most pervasive and persistent causes of pollution in the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic regions. The consequences of such environmental contamination are far reaching in that petroleum spills are notably resistant towards natural degradation, while still being potent toxicants towards the flora and fauna of these ecosystems. As a result it is essential to instigate active environmental remediation for areas that have been exposed to petroleum spills as well as monitor the progress of such remediation.

Commonly gas chromatography (GC) has been employed in order to analyse the volatile and semi-volatile components of petroleum products. Unfortunately the application of GC towards fuel spills is complicated by the complexity of petroleum and the attenuation process used to clean up the spills. Often chromatograms reveal an unresolved complex mixture despite GC separation.

Comprehensive gas chromatography (GC×GC) offers far greater separation potential than GC however this generally comes at the cost of greater experimental complexity and cost. In this research, a simple to use, cryogen and consumable free GC×GC experimental setup has been developed which has excellent ability to separate and characterise Antarctic and sub-Antarctic fuel spill sites down trace levels.

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

The Southern Ocean Clouds, Radiation and Aerosol Transport Experimental Studies (SOCRATES) proposal
Christian Jakob

Authors

Christian Jakob
Centre of Excellence for Climate Systems Science, Monash Uni VIC 3800

Alain Protat
Centre for Australian Weather and Climate, GPO Box 1289, Melbourne VIC 3001

Steve Siems
School of Mathematical Sciences, Monash Uni VIC 3800

Abstract

A majority of climate models consistently suffer from a relatively large bias in the radiation budget over the Southern Ocean due primarily to a lack of reflected shortwave radiation. This bias limits confidence in climate projections for the region, as well as the neighbouring regions of Antarctica and Australia & New Zealand.

The region is unique given the absence of any significant landmass, which allows for intense boundary layer winds and waves and large concentrations of sea spray. The region is further unique due to a lack of anthropogenic and terrestrial aerosols and emissions. It has been suggested that this pristine environment lacks a ready supply of ice nuclei at modest temperatures, which fundamentally affects the microphysical state of the clouds. For example, satellite observations find that the low and mid-level clouds over the Southern Ocean are dominated by supercooled liquid water, at least at cloud-top, at temperatures down to -30° C.

The persistent bias in the climate models together with a fundamental lack of understanding of the clouds and chemistry are driving the call for an international field project nominally entitled SOCRATES (Southern Ocean Clouds, Radiation and Aerosol Transport Experimental Studies). Such a field experiment would require dedicated field observations involving ground-based sites, research aircraft and ships. Initial discussions have begun across North America and Europe with a tentative time frame of the summer of 2016/17 or 2017/18. In Australia initial plans are underway to submit a proposal for ship-time aboard the R/V Investigator.

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

Three improved satellite chlorophyll algorithms for the Southern Ocean
Robert Johnson

Authors

Robert Johnson
Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart &
Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Climate Systems Science &
Australian Antarctic Division, Channel Highway, Kingston &
Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, University of Tasmania, Hobart

Peter Strutton
Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart &
Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Climate Systems Science

Simon Wright
Australian Antarctic Division, Channel Highway, Kingston &
Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, University of Tasmania, Hobart

Andrew McMinn
Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart

Klaus Meiners
Australian Antarctic Division, Channel Highway, Kingston &
Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, University of Tasmania, Hobart

Abstract

Remote sensing of Southern Ocean chlorophyll concentrations is the most effective way to detect large-scale changes in phytoplankton biomass driven by seasonality and climate change. However, the current algorithms for the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS, algorithm OC4v6), the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS-Aqua, algorithm OC3M) and GlobColour significantly underestimate chlorophyll concentrations at high latitudes. Here we use a long-term dataset from the Southern Ocean (20°−160°E) to develop more accurate algorithms for all three of these products in southern high latitude regions. These new algorithms improve in situ versus satellite chlorophyll coefficients of determination (r2) from 0.27 to 0.46, 0.26 to 0.51 and 0.25 to 0.27, for OC4v6, OC3M and GlobColour, respectively, while addressing the underestimation problem. This study also revealed that pigment composition, which reflects species composition and physiology, is key to understanding the reasons for satellite chlorophyll underestimation in this region. These significantly improved algorithms will permit more accurate estimates of standing stocks and more sensitive detection of spatial and temporal changes in those stocks, with consequences for derived products such as primary production and carbon cycling.

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

Uncovering invertebrate biodiversity in East Antarctica’s nearshore marine habitats: Underpinning monitoring and management from local to global scales
Glenn J. Johnstone

Authors

Glenn J Johnstone
Terrestrial and Nearshore Ecosystems Theme, Australian Antarctic Division, Channel Hwy, Kingston TAS 7050

Jonathan S Stark
Terrestrial and Nearshore Ecosystems Theme, Australian Antarctic Division, Channel Hwy, Kingston TAS 7050

Felicity McEnnulty
Terrestrial and Nearshore Ecosystems Theme, Australian Antarctic Division, Channel Hwy, Kingston TAS 7050

Abstract

Accurate identification to species level underpins efforts to describe both pattern and process in ecological systems. Work to describe, identify and catalogue the nearshore marine invertebrates of East Antarctica is fundamental to the monitoring of natural and human induced ecological changes and of efforts to remediate past impacts. Nearshore benthic marine ecosystems are hot spots of Antarctic biodiversity. Their proximity to coastal Antarctic stations makes them vulnerable to impacts from local to global scales and useful systems in which to monitor natural and human induced ecological change. Using traditional taxonomic methods combined with genetic techniques we have identified over 530 species of infaunal and epifaunal invertebrates from nearshore habitats (to 30m depth) around Casey and Davis stations. Through the careful curation and management of the samples we have collected, this material will ultimately be lodged at Australia’s museums for long term archiving. New species and cryptic speciation have been discovered. For example, an Ostracod previously thought to be a single species has proven to be a complex of up to 9 species, including 5 previously undescribed species and a new genus. Ongoing DNA sequencing work is expected to uncover more diversity given that several recent studies have indicated a high likelihood of undiscovered intraspecific genetic biodiversity in Antarctic benthic marine invertebrates. Both traditional taxonomy and current and evolving genetic techniques will be key to understanding, protecting and conserving Antarctic marine biodiversity and to fully realising their potential as indictors of global issues such as climate change and ocean acidification.

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

The Influence of circulation changes on Antarctic stratospheric ozone
Andrew Klekociuk

Authors

Andrew Klekociuk
Australian Antarctic Division, 203 Channel Highway, Kingston TAS 7050 Australia

Abstract

As part of the FORCeS Project (AAS 4012) we are examining changes in the distribution of stratospheric ozone at high southern latitudes. Satellite measurements have revealed that the geographic distribution of total column ozone between latitudes of approximately 50°S and 75°S during spring has exhibited a general eastward shift over the past 3 decades. The most marked changes have been in the Weddell and Amundsen Sea regions, where the minimum in the ozone distribution shifted eastward by approximately 45° in longitude between 1979 and 2005.

Using assimilated meteorological data, we examine key characteristics of atmospheric circulation in the Antarctic region, focusing on large-scale atmospheric waves, the location of the stratospheric polar vortex and metrics of the Ozone Hole, and their relationship with observed trends in the ozone distribution.

We find that the trends in total column ozone are consistent with long-term changes in the phase and amplitude of quasi-stationary atmospheric Rossby waves that influence the transport of ozone. The changes in the characteristics of the Rossby waves show seasonal differences that suggest separate influences from springtime ozone depletion and other climate processes. Using runs of chemistry-climate models, we discuss the evolution of the ozone trends and the sensitivity of near-surface climate to these trends.

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

Looking for the oldest crust on earth: new results from the Australian Antarctic Territory
Monika A. Kusiak

Authors

Monika A. Kusiak1,2,3, Daniel J. Dunkley1, Simon A. Wilde1, Martin J. Whitehouse2

  1. Curtin University, Perth, GPO Box U1987, WA 6845
  2. Museum of Natural History, Stockholm, Sweden
  3. Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland

Abstract

The western periphery of the Australian Antarctic Territory contains some of the oldest known rocks on Earth. They form part of the Napier Complex, a metamorphic terrane that extends across Enderby Land and into western Kemp Land. Zircon U-Pb dating has established that this terrane is more than 2.5 billion years old, and contains crustal remnants as old as 4 billion years. Rocks of such great antiquity are exceedingly rare globally and provide earth scientists with unique insights into the evolution of the very early Earth. Despite the importance of these rocks, research on the geology of the Napier Complex has been limited by difficulties in accessing material for analysis, and by the complex geological history of the region. Almost all geological work has concentrated on a small area on the western side of the Napier Complex, where metamorphic conditions were the most extreme (>1000°C). Old rocks are rare here, and U-Pb isotopes are highly disturbed by very high metamorphic conditions, as recently demonstrated by the authors. New discoveries of ancient crust (~3.6 to 3.9 Ga) further to the east in western Kemp Land, where the metamorphism is less intense, are confirmed by our latest analyses. This demonstrates the probable existence of more extensive – but as yet unmapped – ancient crust within the Napier Complex.

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

Postgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies: a unique opportunity to enhance Antarctic education and outreach
Llara MacGilloway

Authors

Llara MacGilloway
Hawera High School, Hawera, 13 Camberwell Rd, Hawera (and University of Canterbury)

Daniela Liggett
Gateway Antarctica, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch 8140

Abstract

Llara MacGilloway a Biology and Environmental Science teacher in a small rural school in South Taranaki, New Zealand who has just completed the Postgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies (PCAS) at the University of Canterbury. Completing this course has opened up a world of educational possibilities in the New Zealand Education System by providing an opportunity to make students aware of Antarctic issues. This unique course which teaches Antarctic Studies from an interdisciplinary perspective, has allowed the creation of teaching resources at Level 3 of NZQA related to Antarctica.

PCAS is a 15 week, in-depth, multi-disciplinary programme of study that critically examines contemporary scientific, environmental, social and political debates focused on Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. It includes a 10 day visit to Antarctica, supported by Antarctica New Zealand, where participants undertake a mix of analytical and interpretive field projects and environmental monitoring projects in the vicinity of Scott Base. This course enables participants to take their knowledge and passion for Antarctica back to their academic lives and communities.

For Llara the course made her aware of the possibilities of teaching the next generation about the on-going scientific issues surrounding Antarctica and opening up their world to the possible future of working in Antarctica. The poster outlines the Postgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies and how educational resources can be created using Antarctica as its base within the New Zealand education system.

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

Development of soil remediation guidelines for Macquarie island: sensitivity assessment of germination in native subantarctic flora
Gabriella Macoustra

Authors

Gabriella Macoustra, Dianne F. Jolley, Sharon Robinson, Corrine De Metsre
Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health, University of Wollongong, NSW 2522

Catherine K. King, Jane Wasley
Australian Antarctic Division, Channel Highway, Kingston Tasmania 7050

Abstract

Special Antarctic Blend (SAB) is a light end diesel fuel, comprised mainly of petroleum hydrocarbons (alkanes nC9-C14, trace levels of nC15-23). It is used as the main source for power generation at Australia’s Research Stations in Antarctica and the subantarctic, including Macquarie Island. Three major spills have occurred on Macquarie Island associated with storage of SAB between 1994 and 2002. In situ remediation of these contaminated sites commenced in 2009. This study investigates the sensitivity of native plant species to total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) in soils, using seed germination based toxicity testing.

In the summer field season of 2012/13, native seeds were collected from various uncontaminated sites on the island. Seeds from five different target species that are common to the spill sites were exposed to 0 – 25 000 mgSAB/kg dry soil. Both a sandy soil (representative of soil at the spill sites) and a standard soil mix (based on Environment Canada guidelines) were spiked with SAB and aged for 2 weeks in the dark at 15°C. Actual TPH concentrations in the spiked soils were determined using Gas Chromatography – Flame Ionisation Detection (GC-FID). Germination bioassays were performed at 15°C on a 16:8 h light:dark cycle over 21 days. Germination was deemed successful upon the emergence of the radicle (root) and/or epicotyl (stem). This study will identify the threshold tolerance concentrations of TPH for seed germination of a range of native plants from Macquarie Island. Data obtained will inform and direct remediation activities by providing protective end points for contaminated sites.

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

A new generation of meteorological monitoring stations
Adrian McDonald

Authors

McDonald A, Jolly B and Coggins J
Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Canterbury

Abstract

There is now an established network of automated weather stations over Antarctica, however coverage is sparse, with many gaps over areas that would prove valuable regions for monitoring. The SNOWWEB project has been designed to fill these gaps, consisting of many low-cost environmental monitoring stations that may be quickly and easily deployed over a small area (a few hundreds of kilometres square) to provide high resolution data in real-time to a base station without any requirements on existing infrastructure. This system is intended for deployment on a 'campaign' basis, each node can be quickly deployed and retrieved at the end of the campaign, ready for re-use the next season. If desired, the base station can be equipped with an internet connection to automatically upload data to a web server that may also be used to monitor and control the stations – for instance modifying the sampling rate to reduce power consumption. SNOWWEB stations are now in their third generation and have been successfully tested in the vicinity of Scott Base for the previous two summer seasons for meteorological applications with wireless inter-node communications successfully relaying more than 99% of data to the base station. Equipped with GPS sensors, each SNOWWEB station is also capable of measuring the velocity of the ice on which it is placed, successfully measuring 2.4 m of movement over 8-days on the McMurdo Ice Shelf to a high degree of accuracy. This presentation will discuss past deployments and future plans.

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

Sensitivity and response of Antarctic moss and terrestrial algae to fuel contamination
Anna Nydahl

Authors

Anna Nydahl, Sharon A. Robinson, Dianne F. Jolley
University of Wollongong, New South Wales 2522, Australia

Catherine K. King, Jane Wasley
Australian Antarctic Division, Kingston, Tasmania 7050, Australia

Abstract

Numerous fuel spills associated with human activities in Antarctica have occurred and significant levels of petroleum hydrocarbon contamination have been reported near Antarctic stations. A comprehensive remediation strategy has recently been established to clean-up a fuel spill that occurred at Australia’s Casey Station in 1999, however currently there are no set end points for this remediation to enable the site to be “signed off” as remediated. As it is difficult and extremely costly to clean contaminated soils to pristine levels, realistic levels of petroleum hydrocarbon that Antarctic biota can tolerate need to be identified. This study aims to determine the threshold concentrations of Special Antarctic Blend (SAB) diesel in contaminated soils for vegetation around Casey Station and to develop routine toxicity tests with common Antarctic terrestrial flora that can be used to develop remediation targets applicable throughout Antarctica. Toxicity tests will involve growing Antarctic flora (mosses and terrestrial algae) on soil spiked with SAB at concentrations of 0, 1,250, 2,500, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 25,000, 30,000, 35,000 and 40,000 mg/kg. These concentrations are within the range reported at contaminated sites in Antarctica. Exposed flora will be kept at a constant temperature of 15°C with a photoperiod of 16 hours. Four parameters will be measured to determine response to contaminant exposure; chlorophyll fluorescence; amount and ratio of photosynthetic pigments (chlorophyll a andb); visual health and; growth (dry mass). Estimates of toxicity from these experiments will be determined and used to derive remediation targets that are protective of Antarctic ecosystems.

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

Extending the Vestfold Hills Palaeoenvironmental Archive
Philip O'Brien

Authors

Philip O’Brien
Macquarie University, Sydney NSW 

Damian Gore
Macquarie University, Sydney NSW

Barbara Frankel
Australian Antarctic Division, Kingston TAS

Abstract

Vestfold Hills is one of the rare places in Antarctica where the response of marine and terrestrial environments to past environmental change can be reconstructed in detail through the sedimentary record. To date, lake sediments have been used to reconstruct Holocene palaeoenvironmental conditions including ice sheet retreat and relative sea level. The Pliocene marine sediments of Marine Plain also provided insights to a warmer Antarctic coastal zone from 4.5-4.1 Ma BP. The formation and preservation of the Marine Plain sediments highlights the possibility of other deposits in Vestfold Hills that may provide a window into other time intervals. Trenches in Heidemann Valley revealed a deep sedimentary record, although dating the glacial sediments there has been difficult. New data using geophysical techniques reveal that the sediment-filled valleys of Vestfold Hills potentially contain many similar sedimentary sections. Resistivity profiles and seismic lines across Marine Plain suggest as much as 15 m of sediment below the surface in places, while seismic lines from valleys north of Davis Station show sediment thicknesses of at least 30 m in places. In these valleys, Holocene marine sediments rest on undated glacial sediments which are probably Pliocene to Holocene in age. Offshore from Davis Station, multibeam bathymetry reveals sediment-filled basins that could extend the sea level and hence ice volume history of the region beyond the current limit of 8500 years.

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

Investigation of Southern Ocean sea ice response in ensemble CMIP5 historical and ozone perturbation simulations
Siobhan O'Farrell

Authors

Siobhan O’Farrell
CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research

Abstract

The sea ice covered area in the Southern ocean has a small significant positive trend in recent decades in contrast to the decay in the Arctic sea ice cover. There have been a number of theories suggesting that it is driven by strengthening of SAM as a result of ozone depletion; increasing stratification of the ocean from sea ice melt and/or ice shelf melting, increased divergence of the ice pack or could be part of natural variability of the climate system.

The CMIP5 models provide a data set to investigate several of these theories; in particular the CSIRO Mk3.6 model has a 10 member historical ensemble in which the sea ice concentration has individual members that show ice advance and others that show ice retreat trends over the recent period (1976-2005). By studying the atmospheric drivers on the sea ice, air temperature, large scale circulation, surface, wind stress, the sea ice transport and sea ice divergence of individual ensemble members at monthly/seasonal timescale we hope to understand why the differences arise. We also investigate the changes in ocean temperature salinity and the ocean stratification in the individual members.

As part of CMIP5, many of the modelling groups undertook ozone only historical runs or all forcing historical runs that omitted the recent ozone perturbations. CSIRO Mk3.6 did the latter (with a 10 member ensemble); these runs are close to the present day signal so can be compared to the existing historical runs and observations. These data will be investigated to ascertain if the ozone signal in this model impacts on the ensemble spread of the results and how individual members of the ensemble respond compared to the all forcing case.

There are now similar experiments underway for the ACCESS 1.0 and ACCESS 1.3 model with the ozone distribution at high southern latitudes remaining held at 1960 values until 2012. The ensemble size will be smaller at only 3 members which is the same size as the existing all forcing historical ACCESS 1.3 ensemble but we hope sufficient to detect a signal if it is present in either of the ACCESS model configurations.

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

The partition between barotropic and baroclinic motions in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current
Beatriz Peña-Molino

Authors

Peña-Molino B
Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre

Rintoul S
Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, CSIRO

Mazloff M
Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Abstract

The Southern Ocean’s ability to store and transport heat and tracers as well as to dissipate momentum and energy are intimately related to the vertical structure of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC). Here the partition between barotropic and baroclinic flow in the ACC is investigated from a Southern Ocean state estimate. The flow is found to transition from an equal partition between the barotropic and first baroclinic modes in the deep basins, with approximately 45% of the absolute geostrophic flow projecting onto each mode, to values for the barotropic mode in excess of 60% in the vicinity of large topographic obstacles. This increase in the depth-independent component of the flow is mostly due to an increase in the bottom velocity, rather than a decrease in the vertical shear. The large-scale distribution of shear is shaped by changes in the bathymetry, with larger than average shear values around topography and smaller than average in unobstructed areas. The overall distribution of bottom velocity implies that baroclinic (defined now as bottom-referenced) transport streamlines and barotropic (bottom-derived) transport streamlines are not aligned, thus a transport by the bottom flow across the baroclinic transport streamlines occurs. And although this cross-streamline transport is not directly related to changes in the direction of the flow with depth, which are small in the fast moving waters within the ACC, it is very variable in space, and strongly dependent on the interactions between the deep flow and bathymetry, thus hard to inferred from surface and hydrographic observations alone.

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

The Southern Ocean and Antarctic cloud systems explored with the new Marine National Facility Investigator Research Vessel
Alain Protat

Authors

A. Protat and P. T. May
Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research

Abstract

The Southern Ocean (SO) is a region of great importance to global and Australian climate and weather. Most of the significant weather in Australia is associated with fronts, but their cloud microphysical structure, cloud properties and boundary layer structure are very poorly observed over the SO. Climate models also poorly represent the cloud field over the SO and, as a consequence, poorly predict the energy balance. Accurately predicting the structure and evolution of fronts and associated cloud systems in those models is therefore of great practical importance. One can only rely on satellite observations in this data sparse part of the globe for this, but due to the unique SO environment (pristine air, high low-level shear, and copious amounts of supercooled liquid water) a thorough evaluation of the satellite products is needed with dedicated observations.

Early next year, the Marine National Facility Research Vessel Investigator will start serving as an invaluable platform for the Australian and international scientific community to investigate (among other things) clouds, aerosol, and precipitation properties, as well as their interactions over the oceans surrounding Australia. Our first priority will be to organize deployments over the SO. In this talk we will describe the process-oriented studies planned in collaboration with AAD, CSIRO, and Australian Universities for the 2014-2018 to improve the representation of frontal cloud systems in the Australian weather forecast model (ACCESS).

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

Microorganisms as indicators of the health of fuel impacted Antarctic soils
Elizabeth Richardson

Authors

Richardson E
Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture, University of Tasmania

Powell S
University of Tasmania

King C
Australian Antarctic Division

Abstract

Several fuel spills have occurred near Australia’s Antarctic stations, associated with the use of SAB diesel for power generation. This has resulted in significant petroleum hydrocarbon contamination in soils. Successful remediation of fuel spills requires knowledge of the impact of hydrocarbons on the soil ecosystem. Microorganisms play an integral role the normal functioning of soils, and are useful indicators of soil health. In this study, microorganisms were used to assess the toxicity of hydrocarbons in Antarctic soils. qPCR was used to measure the numbers of microbial genes responsible for a range of soil processes (alkane monooxygenase, catechol 2 3-dioxygenase, nitrous oxide reductase and nitrogenase reductase) in response to both fresh and aged fuel contamination. Soil was freshly spiked with a range of concentrations of SAB. A clear dose-response relationship between hydrocarbon concentration and the numbers of total microorganisms, alkane degraders and denitrifiers (measured by the rpoB, alkB and nosZ genes respectively) was observed. Additionally, alkane degraders dominated the community in soils containing higher concentrations of hydrocarbons. Soils collected at a contaminated site at Casey Station currently undergoing in-situ remediation were diluted with clean soils to create a natural aged contamination gradient. A similar trend in gene numbers was observed in these soils, although this relationship was less clear. Data obtained in this study will be used to advise remediation activities and to monitor in-situ progress, and will be incorporated into the development of targets that define trigger-points and set end points for remediation.

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

The World's Best Antarctic Attraction? A case study of the role of Visitor Attractions in promoting a greater understanding of Antarctica
Gabriela Roldan

Authors

Gabriela Roldan
PhD candidate, Gateway Antarctica, University of Canterbury, New Zealand

Abstract

Antarctic Tourism has been identified by the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS) stakeholders among the challenges facing the future of Antarctica, with increasing concern on the environmental risks due to the unparalleled growth and diversification of the industry. The economic benefits of tourism have not benefited the continent yet or its governance, but it has generated economic advantages for Tour Operators, as well as developing place promotion and creating business opportunities for the Antarctic gateway cities. Calls are made for strict regulatory systems within the ATS, and even banning the activity in Antarctica. Although Tour Operators aim to create Antarctic ambassadors from travellers who experience Antarctica first hand, compliance to future restrictions may impact on existing operations and the future of Antarctic Tourism may rely on diversifying activities and visitor experiences outside 60°S latitude.

The case study is the Visitors Centre at The International Antarctic Centre in Christchurch, New Zealand. Located within the working Antarctic Campus which houses several Antarctic National Programmes, this attraction has been operating effectively for over twenty years despite of Global Financial Crisis and the devastating earthquakes that affected the region in 2010 and 2011, decimating the city’s infrastructure and generating a dramatic decline of tourism.

This presentation examines the role of this Visitor Attraction in inspiring advocacy for Antarctica’s global significance. Understanding the value of visitors’ experience in an artificial environment and its contribution in asserting human connections with Antarctica exposes a different facet to consider for the future of Antarctic Tourism.

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

[Why] Do You Do Outreach?
Rhian Salmon

Authors

Rhian Salmon
Victoria University of Wellington, PO Box 600, Wellington 6140, New Zealand

Heidi Roop
Victoria University of Wellington, PO Box 600, Wellington 6140, New Zealand

Abstract

This interactive poster explores the motivation for Antarctic scientists to engage in communication activities, the professional incentives – or dis-incentives for these activities, funding options, and evaluation of these activities. In addition to encouraging consideration of these concepts, the poster will be used as a vehicle to collect more data on this topic.

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

Antarctic Marine Diatoms – an interactive taxonomic key
Fiona Scott

Authors

Dr Fiona Scott and Dr Imojen Pearce
Australian Antarctic Division

Abstract

We have developed an online taxonomic key for identification of the 198 known Antarctic marine diatoms. The key was built using a Lucid platform and has a user friendly interface with pictorial guides to taxonomic features. The key contains links to online 'fact sheets' that contain detailed notes on taxonomy, morphology and distribution for each species. By using light or electron microscopy, species can be quickly identified using features available, transcending limitations associated with traditional paper based dichotomous keys in which missing diagnostic features may prevent identification. A quick link glossary is included to guide the user through the esoteric vocabulary used in diatom taxonomy. The key is designed for Antarctic biologists who need to identify of diatoms either in a ship-based or Antarctic laboratory environment.

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

Critical comparison of the cyclone activity in the Amundsen, Bellingshausen and Weddell sectors of the Antarctic as diagnosed in 15 tracking algorithms
Ian Simmonds

Authors

Simmonds I and Rudeva I
The University of Melbourne

Abstract

The region around Antarctica is one of very high baroclinicity and large surface heat fluxes. These characteristics induce a never-ending progression of intense cyclones over, and to the north of, the sea ice zone. The quantitative diagnosis of these storms is a key component of understanding Antarctic weather and climate and the poleward transport of energy.

Our group is part of an international consortium, IMILAST (Intercomparison of mid latitude storm diagnostics – www.proclim.ch/imilast/index.html) formed to compare and assess the wide range of automatic cyclone tracking schemes that are readily available to the scientific community. This group has identified all cyclones appearing in the ERA-Interim global reanalysis in 15 state-of-the-art identification algorithms. Each of these algorithms make specific (and often quite different) choices in their cyclone 'search' method. These differences include 'topographic masking' and how cyclones are identified in regions of strong topographic slopes and curvature. These issues are of particular relevance in the immediate environs of the Antarctic continent.

To have confidence in compilations of subantarctic cyclone behaviour and trends it is clearly of importance to identify the respects in which different algorithms might show sensitivity to specific elements of their design. We have taken advantage of our participation in IMILAST (and its collection of tracking schemes) to explore the similarities and differences in the cyclone statistics revealed in the algorithms. Particular attention will be focused on the key Amundsen-Bellingshausen sector (60°S-coast, 180-300°E) and Weddell sector (60°S–coast, 300-360°E).

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

Tropical connections to climatic change in the southern hemisphere extratropics: Constraining the impact of Atlantic SST
Graham R. Simpkins

Authors

Graham R. Simpkins
Climate Change Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052

Shayne McGregor
Climate Change Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052

Andrea S. Taschetto
Climate Change Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052

Laura M. Ciasto
Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway

Matthew England
Climate Change Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052

Abstract

The relationship between trends in tropical sea surface temperature (SST) and spring-time climatic change in the extratropical Southern Hemisphere (SH) is examined using the NCAR Community Atmosphere Model (CAM). A suite of 32-year simulations were run wherein prescribed SST conditions exhibit trends in individual ocean basins (Pacific, Indian, Atlantic, All), allowing the contribution of each region to be analysed in isolation. When forced with observed global SSTs, the model is able to realistically simulate the negative geopotential height trend over the South Pacific (Amundsen/Ross Sea regions), consistent with various reanalysis products. A similar spatial pattern of change is only reproduced in the Atlantic-forced simulations, with on-going work assessing the dynamics behind this teleconnection. Regardless of the mechanism, however, preliminary results indicate that trends observed in the tropical Atlantic may be important in understanding the observed climatic changes in the SH extratropics.

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

Antarctic coastal foodwebs: ecological redundancy, generalism and potential responses to environmental change
Jonathan S. Stark

Authors

Jonathan S Stark, GJ Johnstone
Terrestrial and Nearshore Ecosystems Theme, Australian Antarctic Division, Channel Hwy, Kingston Tas 7050

G Dunshea
Ecological Marine Services, PO Box 197, Fremantle WA 6959

C Gillies
Earthwatch, 126 Bank Street, South Melbourne, VIC 3205

Abstract

Antarctic coastal foodwebs were studied using gut content analysis, stable isotopes and DNA-based diet techniques, providing trophic data over different timescales, resulting in the most comprehensive description of these foodwebs yet undertaken. Stable isotope (SI) analysis revealed Antarctic nearshore foodwebs were of comparable trophic length and complexity to other regions. Carbon signatures were distinct between different communities of primary producers and macroalgae was a major carbon source along with phytoplankton but sea ice algae was less important than expected. Molecular analysis of the diets of large benthic predators (fish, starfish, molluscs) via pyrosequencing showed a range of ecological niches from extreme generalist to specialised diets. Generalists displayed a diverse diet with plasticity prevalent in abundant predators. This may reflect an advantageous foraging strategy given the ephemeral and highly seasonal nature of primary production in this ecosystem or it could be attributable to the large degree of spatial heterogeneity in community structure. Network analysis indicated connectivity among generalist predator diets at relatively few prey taxa. One of the main predators in coastal ecosystems, the fish Trematomus bernachii, showed evidence of spatial differences in diet relating to availability of prey items over a regional scale. DNA-based diet techniques showed considerable potential as a tool for regional scale biodiversity assessment to complement existing biodiversity sampling techniques for the study of ecosystems that are difficult to sample by other means, like the Antarctic nearshore. Antarctic food webs posses some features that make them susceptible to climate change (e.g. diet specialisation), but in other aspects they are potentially very resilient (generalism, ecological redundancy).

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

Astronomy and Astrophysics from Antarctica: a SCAR Scientific Research Program
John Storey

Authors

John Storey
School of Physics, University of NSW, Australia

Abstract

Unlike most research programs, which aim to understand more about Antarctica itself, astronomers take advantage of the unique observing conditions of Antarctica to collect data that would be impossible, or much more expensive, to otherwise obtain. To coordinate these activities, and to maximize the opportunities for productive interaction with other disciplines, Astronomy & Astrophysics from Antarctica was created as a Scientific Research Program of SCAR in 2010. Broadly stated, its objectives are to coordinate astronomical activities in Antarctica in a way that ensures the best possible outcomes from international investment.

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

Extracellular organic carbon distribution during an algal bloom in Antarctic bottom-ice
Sarah Ugalde

Authors

Ugalde S
Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies

McMinn A
Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies

Martin A
Victoria University of Wellington

Meiners K
Australian Antarctic Division

Ryan K
Victoria University of Wellington

Abstract

This study provides the first inventory of extracellular organic carbon during a bottom-ice algal bloom at Turtle Rock, Antarctica, in the spring-summer transition (November-December, 2011). We analysed the distribution and properties of extracellular carbohydrates represented by dissolved organic carbon and the distributions of mono- and polysaccharides, in relation to the physico-chemical brine environment and algal growth characteristics. These analyses provide clues in understanding the mechanisms and functions of algal extracellular organic carbon exudation in Antarctic bottom-ice communities.

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

The CSIRO-BoM-AAD Antarctic and Southern Ocean atmospheric monitoring network
Marcel van der Schoot

Authors

Marcel van der Schoot, Ann Stavert and David Etheridge
Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research Aspendale, Victoria, Australia

Abstract

Gases released by human activity (greenhouse and ozone depleting gases) are responsible for global change. They are long-lived and well-mixed in the atmosphere. The Antarctic regions, remote from industrial and land plant activity are ideally located to measure global changes in the gases. The CSIRO sampling network, in conjunction with the Bureau of Meteorology and the Australian Antarctic Division, represents the most comprehensive, long-running Southern Hemisphere program. With continuing innovation in measurement and interpretive models, it has been used to detect regional changes in carbon uptake, and together with other measurement sites monitor global changes in emissions and uptake of several gases.

Measurements of CO2, methane (CH4), carbon monoxide (CO), hydrogen (H2), nitrous oxide (N2O), and the stable isotopes of CO2 have been made in fortnightly flask air samples since the early 1990s, at CSIRO. Measurements of carbon 14 in CO2, oxygen concentrations, and radon concentrations have been made by our collaborators. The measurements have been used to detect variations and trends in the gases, and relate them to natural and anthropogenic emissions and natural sinks. Recent developments include the installation of a new breed of continuous in situ analysers for a growing number of these species, which provides improved frequency and precision of measurements as well as several operational advantages.

These data continue to be used, along with measurements from other baseline sites across the globe, in inverse studies that derive regional sources and sinks and their trends. From this, the processes behind variations in gas emissions and uptake can be better understood so that future model predictions of greenhouse gas levels and their climate impact can be improved.

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) in the last frontier: quantifying the environmental impacts and environmental impact reduction strategy for Australia’s Antarctic infrastructure
Karli Verghese

Authors

Verghese K
RMIT University

Crossin E
RMIT University

Lockrey S
RMIT University

Abbott M
Lincoln University

Abstract

The whole of systems thinking that life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology employs will be used to model and quantify the environmental impacts of the infrastructure and operations of Casey station in the Australian Antarctic Territory. This presentation will provide an overview of the five year funded project through the Australian Antarctic Science Grant 2012-13 that began in April 2013. The project was born out of pilot LCA research conducted by RMIT with the University of Otago, focusing on Antarctic New Zealand’s Scott Base. The insights from that work is informing the Australian research, particularly through workshops involving key stakeholders that can identify where human behaviours and practices could present opportunities for change. The proposed outcomes of the project will be the development of an LCA based decision support tool that AAD can use to model different scenarios regarding infrastructure and operations, in addition to development of strategies based on LCA to reduce the environmental impacts of operating Casey station.

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

Ecology and management of invasive Poa annua in the sub-Antarctic
Laura Williams

Authors

Laura Williams
The University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales

Paul Kristiansen
The University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales

Brian Sindel
The University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales

Justine Shaw
Australian Antarctic Division and The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland

Susan Wilson
The University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales

Abstract

Poa annua is a non-native grass found in Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic. It has a restricted distribution on Heard Island but is common and widespread on Macquarie Island, both World Heritage Areas. With the call for removal of non-native plants in Antarctica by the Committee for the Environmental Protection of the Antarctic, understanding the management of this highly invasive plant is important.

Our study aims to investigate the ecology and management techniques of Poa annua to broaden understanding of invasion biology and assist in development of non-native plant management in the sub-Antarctic and Antarctic. This study will help develop rapid response techniques for managing future non-native plant incursions. Although studies have shown Poa annua is a successful weed, this study will quantify its traits and growth in the sub-Antarctic.

In situ and ex situ experiments will include studying the response of Poa annua and native species to manual disturbance, quantifying pereniality in the population, assessing seed longevity and viability, quantifying the soil seed bank, determining herbicide movement and persistence in sub-Antarctic soils and assessing herbicide efficacy and selectivity on live Poa annua and functionally equivalent native species. This work aims to improve management of non-native species in the sub-Antarctic and Antarctic by investigating how invasive species perform, and the impact of management techniques on these unique environments.

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

Antarctic Atmosphere and Climate Analysis using GPS Radio Occultation
Kefei Zhang

Authors

K. Zhang1, S. Alexander2, J. Le Marshall3,1, G. Kirchengast4,1, R. Norman1 and B. A. Carter1

  1. SPACE Research Centre, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia
  2. Australian Antarctic Division, Hobart, Australia
  3. Bureau of Meteorology, Melbourne, Australia
  4. Wegener Center for Climate and Global Change, University of Graz, Graz, Austria

Abstract

This presentation introduces a recently awarded Australian Antarctic Science (AAS) project as part of the research theme 1 'Climate Processes and Change'. This project utilises the technique of Global Positioning System (GPS) Radio Occultation (RO), where the GPS L-band frequency signals are refracted as they pass through the earth's atmosphere and received by low earth satellites, to study the physical properties of the earth’s atmosphere over the Antarctic region. The emerging GPS RO technique for monitoring the earth’s atmosphere is robust and provides high accuracy and high vertical resolution data (e.g. COSMIC, CHAMP,…). Radiosonde data has typically been used in the past to study climate, however the accuracy of radiosonde data and the output of climate models over the Antarctic region is significantly limited by the small number of radiosonde stations. Space-based RO is particularly suited to monitoring atmospheric variability in the Antarctic region. The GPS RO dataset covers more than 10 years of atmospheric measurements, providing atmospheric information that can be used to identify short term climate trends and aid in climate prediction. GPS RO provides high accuracy, unbiased, global measurements in previously under-represented regions that can be used to improve current numerical weather prediction.

The background and basic concepts of GPS RO will be introduced as well as the major tasks and challenges of the AAS project. Preliminary results of atmospheric profile comparisons between the radiosonde and RO datasets and short term climatic trends in the Antarctic region using GPS RO will be presented.

View on a separate page (suitable for printing)

Latest news

  • Conference prize winners
    27 Jun 2013

    The Strategic Science in Antarctica conference concluded yesterday and two days of workshops have commenced. Congratulations to those who were awarded prizes for their contributions to the conference.

  • Watch the welcome message from Australia's Environment Minister
    24 Jun 2013

    In a welcome message via video from Canberra, Australia’s Environment Minister, Tony Burke, reflected on the foresight of earlier decision-makers who agreed to set aside an entire continent for scientific research.

  • Last minute information for attendees
    20 Jun 2013

    There's not too long to wait until the start of the Strategic Science in Antarctica conference, and we hope you’re as excited as we are! Read on for more information about the final program, registration, Twitter, presenters, posters and social functions.

More news…

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 6 September 2013.