Thursday 16 August 2012, 11AM (AAD Theatrette)
Please join us for a 3 in 1 seminar session showcasing 3 talks from the recent Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) conference in Portland. Each talk is 20 min and promise to be user friendly.
The Terrestrial Ecosystem
SCAR's current biology program , "Evolution and Biodiversity in the Antarctic – The response of life to change" (EBA) began in 2006 and is now winding up. Substantial progress in understanding Antarctic terrestrial ecosystems has been made under the banner of this program. I highlight approaches and major findings in three areas of research, patterns in biodiversity and the impact of current and future environmental change on biodiversity and ecosystem function and science for conservation outcomes.
ASPAs at risk: conservation planning and non-native species in the Antarctic protected area network
Antarctic Specially Protected Areas (ASPAs) are designated to protect outstanding environmental, scientific, historic, aesthetic or wilderness values, any combination of those values, or ongoing or planned scientific research. To what extent these ASPAs meet these multiple management aims is yet to be fully evaluated. Establishment of non-native species in the terrestrial Antarctic has the potential to alter ecosystem function and ultimately biodiversity values. Here we examine the current Antarctic conservation framework with regard to the threat to terrestrial biodiversity by non-native species.
Environmental change captured by repeat photography: using the South African Antarctic legacy
There has been a long history of South African presence in the broader Antarctic region. Over this time, several generations of scientists and other expeditioners have photographed significant human and environmental features. Recent research into the human history of Marion Island has revealed the existence of a plethora of images. Long-term changes at a landscape scale can clearly be documented by comparison of old images (late 1960s and early 1970s) and repeat images taken at the same sites approximately 40 years later. These changes include species range expansion, increases in invasive species and climate-change mediated vegetation succession. The original images were some of the first colour representations taken of these landscapes, and even though the original intent may not have been for monitoring purposes, their use in these comparisons makes them a unique set of baseline data. Our work demonstrates the value of archiving historical pictures, not only for understanding the social dimensions of the human presence in Antarctica, but also for comprehending human impacts. Of particular interest are the changes in indigenous – invasive diversity relationships, and these photopoints, which have now been documented with appropriate metadata, will prove extremely useful in monitoring these changes at a landscape scale into the future.