The Australian Antarctic Division Science Branch recently announced a new Environmental Protection and Change (EPiC) programme, formed through the amalgamation of the former Impacts of Human Activities in Antarctica and the Adaptations to Environmental Change programmes.
The new programme, led by Dr Martin Riddle, aims to understand how the biodiversity of Antarctica responds to human-induced environmental change, and to develop new techniques to remediate environmental impacts. The programme will study impacts ranging from large-scale global processes, including climate change and ocean acidification, to localised impacts caused by the presence of people in Antarctica, such as site contamination and the spread of alien species. The merger provides exciting opportunities for scientists from both programmes to broaden the scope of their research, to establish new collaborations, and to address important questions facing Antarctic science and policy.
The programme has five priority themes:
- Antarctic biodiversity — life in a highly fragmented environment;
- Global climate change — biological responses in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean;
- Acidification of the Southern Ocean — biological impacts and feedback mechanisms;
- Environmental guidelines for Antarctica; and
- Zero-discharge stations and remediation of contaminated sites.
Further details of the programme will appear in the next issue of the Australian Antarctic Magazine.