What is the Antarctic treaty?
-49 signatory countries -began in 1961 -agreement to that Antarctica does not belong to anyone, still have territorial claims -only a scientific research area -military pursuits are strictly banned -big international agreement
How big is Antarctica?
-14 million km2 -x1.6 times bigger than Australia -low input from the Sun -productivity is low as the light is reflected
What are the Antarctic bases (3)? And what countries claim Antarctica?
What is the life of a research like in Antarctica?
-logistically difficult -can be psychologically challenging -cold, windy -isolated, only with few people= problems
What is transport like to Antarctica?
-on ships and the last bit can be helicopter as the ice doesn't melt all the way to the base -then use helicopters or scooter things for research -sometimes skis as well but only short distance and not common
What is the temperature like in Antarctica?
-very cold, mean temperature is -49C -record is -89C -very windy
What is the elevation like in Antarctica?
-very high -2300 mean elevation -the ice sheet mean width is 2km, can be up to 4.5km
What is Antarctic convergence?
-circumpolar current circulated west to east inside the convergence
-the water around the antarctic is a closed system
-so if oil spill in it, does not dissipate as easily -helped freezing the antarctica as the water was circulating there= cold
Is Antarctica considered a dry continent?
-very dry (water locked up in ice) -affects mucous membranes -low humidity in the air
What is the Antarctic Plateau like?
-a cold desert
What does shortage of suitable substrate mean for species in the Antarctic?
-constrains species that can't breed on ice -Antarctic petrels -Southern Fulmars
What vertebrates are there in the Antarctic?
-fish: over 270 species -amphibians and reptiles=0 as too cold, no invertebrates to eat. low humidity -43 species of seabirds -19 mammal species, all marine (only whales and seals), no strictly terrestrial vertebrates
What are the skuas?
-big gulls (bigger than silver and pacific gulls) -clean everything -key scavenger/predator on land -seabird
How many species of seals are there in the Antarctic?
-7 -eg. Weddell seal, crabeater seal -Leopard seal= top order predator, -580-600kg, very large -classic predator teeth -big dangerous animals
How many species of whales are there in the Antarctic?
-12 -2 groups of whales -1.orca= take seals, penguins etc. -2 baleen whales are the other group -the biggest mammals in the world and animals -feed on really small animals -kryll really abundant in some areas
What is the food base in the Antarctic?
-krill, zooplankton, cephalopods -foodchain in the antarctic= simple -zooplankton are the basis= whales eat it -it is harvested by people= for protein, feed for fish -concerns as it could damage the whole system
What is the Heard Island like?
-belongs to Australia -sub-antarctic -tallest Australian mountain -very isolated -very few species but high abundance of those! -7 seal species, 32 seabird species recorded (19 breeding here) -ice bound, covered in ice all year
What is the Macquarie Island like?
-sub Antarctica -mid oceanic ridge (two plates pushing up) -outside the Antarctic convergence about 33km long -1600km away from Tasmania -almost always very windy 40knots -to get around= you walk everything wet all the time -windy and cloudy -not that cold, temps aroundmostly 1-8C sometimes 9C- 13C -freshwater lakes but no freshwater fish -steep coastal slopes
What are some of the mammals that live on Macquarie Island?
-seals: 1.subantarctic fur seal (sexual dimorphism, females= 40kg, males= 180kg) 2.Elephant seals (bull up to 4 tonnes, decreasing in numbers, scars on males, they are phocids, only move with front paws, can be very fast)
What are the birds that live on Macquarie Island?
-72 species of seabirds recorded -penguins: King Penguins (live in colonies), Gentoo Penguin (more solitary, quiet smaller), Royal Penguins (smelly, argumentative), Rockhopper Penguins(smaller, feisty, live in colonies) -albatrosses: Sooty Albatross (numerous), Black Browed Albatross (pair for life, small colony), Grey Headed Albatross (large about 40-50cm), Wandering Albatross: huge wingspan-covers huge distances, great concern about this, long life cycle)
What are the threats and conservation issue for the Antarctic region? (5)
1. Global warming: sea level change 2. Pollution: delicate ecosystem 3. Harvesting in southern oceans 4. Introduced (feral species) 5. Increasing tourism