Antarctic video gallery
Adelie penguin population
Seabird Ecologist - Dr Louise Emmerson
The purpose of this work was to bring together various elements of research to try and identify what pressures or threats there were on the Antarctic breeding seabirds. For this work, we were particularly focusing on the terrestrial environment where the birds were breeding, as well as the marine environment where the birds were foraging.
We used a long term 25-year mark re-sight program to try and estimate how many non-breeders there were in the population, and how this number related to the number of breeders.
So we estimate that the total population, which comprises of the breeders and the non-breeders, is around 5.9 million birds in East Antarctica. When we extrapolate that out to the entire continent, that's between 14 to 16 million birds.
In East Antarctica, the Adelie penguins are primarily eating krill but they also eat some fish as well, and we're trying to understand exactly how much of that has any overlap with potential fishing industry.
There were a lot of breeding Adelie penguins within very close proximity to the Antarctic stations. The Adelie penguins are trying to find locations to breed, which are ice-free and they're very close to open water. Our results can be used to identify areas which may need enhanced protection in the future.
Douglas Mawson reading a proclamation during BANZARE
Douglas Mawson Proclamation during BANZARE
February 7, 1933
I, sir Douglas Mawson, do hereby so claim and declare to all men that from and after the date of the present, the full sovereignty of the territory that we have discovered and explored south of latitude sixty-four degrees and as far as the south pole, this in his majesty King George the fifth, his heirs and successors, forever.
Insightful approach to aging Antarctic krill
Dr So Kawaguchi: This is very exciting. Knowing the age of krill is a very very long research questions - more than 50 years, because krill doesn't have any hard parts that record their age. To find out their age, we used eye stalks.
What we did was to slice those eye stalks into really thin slices and then polish it, and then count the annual bands that have been created. The concept is the same as the annual tree rings.
Krill is the fundamental food source for most of the higher predators, like whales, penguins, seals, in the Antarctic Ocean.
If there's any change in krill populations, that will certainly have a fundamental impact in the structure of the ecosystem itself. So it's really important to know how old the krill are, because that will be used for the fisheries management. We can actually retrospectively go in to preserve samples, like about a hundred years ago, and then compare with the recent krill - we'll be able to better predict what may happen in this changing environment into the future.
Australia Day 2017 - Casey research station
Davis research station 60th anniversary
Under the sea ice in Antarctica
Glenn Johnstone - biologist
We’re diving under the sea ice in O’Brien Bay, south of Casey research station in East Antarctica.
This is a thriving, colourful world filled with sponges, sea cucumbers, sea spiders, worms, algae and starfish.
Here we are at 30 m below the surface, where the water temperature is a chilly −1.5°C year round, and the sea is covered by ice that is a metre and a half thick for more than 10 months of the year. This ice provides protection from Antarctica’s harsh weather conditions and a stable marine environment that allows biodiversity to flourish.
It is important biodiversity like you see here that is the focus of our research into the effects of climate change and ocean acidification.
Here at the Australian Antarctic Division, we are working hard to ensure the continent remains valued, protected and understood.