The project carries out and leads the long-term monitoring of hydrography (temperature, salinity, stratification, turbidity) and phytoplankton biomass dynamics on Potter Cove. Monthly measurements have been undertaken at 2 stations in the inner and outer cove starting in 1991. A group of overwintering scientists, technicians and PhD students mostly from Argentina, have been contributing data to this long-term series, which is lead by Dr. Schloss. The general aim of the present project is to study the direct and indirect impact of glacier melting such as fresh water and terrestrial particles additions on phyto-, microzoo- and zooplankton in coastal waters off the WAP, and to predict by means of modelling the response of similar systems and at a wider geographical scale to the observed environmental changes. Res. No. 194/07. Project code: PICTO-05 35562
Tunicates (sea squirts) and pennatulides (sea feathers) are abundant on muddy grounds in Antarctic coastal areas. The species composition of these groups has changes markedly over the last 12 years because different species react distinctly to sediment coverage and the ingestion of inorganic sediments. As glaciers draw back, newly ice-free areas are colonized by benthic macrofauna and algae, and the success of different pioneer species and the succession within this colonization process is investigated by yearly diving surveys. Then, food-web structure and energy-flow patterns, as a functional diversity approach, will be studied by means of fatty-acids tracers and stable isotopes of C and N. Physiological experiments on sediment response of sea sqirts and sea feathers will be done to analyze whether the observed shifts can be attributed to increased sedimentation rates. Population genetic structure and phylogeography of important species will be analysed as well. All data and results will be formalized in explanatory and predictive mathematical models, which will analyse the effect of sedimentation and ice disturbance at different spatial and temporal scales.
The aim of this study refers to one of the central questions in IMCOAST: How decadal to millennial past environmental changes(including recent climate warming) constrained the genesis and development of fjord ecosystems and how that history might influence the structure and function of contemporary biota. The research is performed in a typical Antarctic fjord (Admiralty Bay on King George Island, South Shetlands) and based on chemical and biological stratiphication of short (<1m) and long (>5m) sediment cores. The following data will be delivered from vertical profiles of cores: grain size, chemical parameters including organic carbon and HPLC photosynthetic pigments, frequency of diatoms, foraminifers and ostracods as well as 14C and 210Pb dating. The most important achievement of this part of studies that started within the ClicOPEN project seems to be finding of a new species of foraminifer: Cribroelphidium webbi sp. nov. (Majewski & Tatur 2009) that is considered as a perfect indicator of marine environments adjacent to the glacier front.
The climate change observed at the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula (AP) is one the most remarkable around the world. Its impacts over glaciers and permafrost have been quantified more frequently at its eastern coast. Due to the fact that climatic and glaciological conditions are different between the eastern and western coasts it is important to measure the mass balance at the west of the AP. Simultaneously, it is essential also to quantify the hydrological and geocryological aspects associated to the already known glaciological changes. To achieve these objectives, besides the use of the glaciological conventional methods (stakes and GPS), recently and already proven hydrologic and geoelectric techniques will be used.