Gateway Antarctica: Literature Reviews

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  • ItemOpen Access
    Understanding the drivers, motives and management of IUU Fishing in the Southern Ocean
    (University of Canterbury, 2019) Day, Thalia
    Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing has threatened the Southern Ocean ecosystem since the mid-1980’s. To mitigate IUU activities in the Convention Area, the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) implemented a Catch Documentation Scheme (CDS) as a conservation tool for all fisheries to comply with. However, future management of Antarctic marine life requires an understanding of the societal influences that motivate and drive vessel organisations to conduct IUU catches. Thus far, the majority of literature discusses political, social and scientific issues surrounding IUU fishing as separate concepts, yet the three themes are interwoven and all influence one another. Historically, fish stock collapse and Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) in the Northern Hemisphere has influenced IUU activities in Southern regions, due to the abundance of toothfish in the Southern Ocean. However, the Tropics and South Pacific regions are projected to experience a significant decrease in catch potential and, therefore, place the Convention Area at high risks of future IUU fisheries. Nonetheless, CCAMLR’s prevention measures have the capabilities to diminish future organised crime in the Convention Area once the socioeconomic influences for IUU bodies are understood. Research suggests individuals are compelled to engage in IUU activities when opportunity cost is high and living standards are low; therefore, CCAMLR should focus on socioeconomic values in developing regions for future prevention.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The ecological implications of a changing climate consequent to sea ice dynamics
    (University of Canterbury, 2019) Montie, Shinae
    The literature encompassing climate change and its effects is relatively broad, however, it sparks dire concern with respect to the Antarctic and Southern Ocean ecosystem. Specifically, this review aims to highlight three key processes negatively influenced by a changing climate in the Antarctic region. Firstly, sea ice dynamics and its seasonality plays a primary role in Southern Ocean functionality. Its extent, advance and retreat has been modified by our changing climate. Subsequently, this has had an effect on other processes like the biogeochemistry of our oceans controlled by the biological carbon pump. Moreover, it has had ecological implications on the Antarctic food web and trophodynamics. This review further delves into the significance of sea ice microbial communities, krill and the future of primary productivity in the Southern Ocean.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Meditations on ice: Antarctica’s impact on the human psyche
    (University of Canterbury, 2019) McBride, Sean
    Antarctica elicits a strong spiritual response in tourists and visitors and these responses often include feelings of awe and humility. This paper examines theories that may explain this response. A comparison is made between four Darwinian based theories of landscape psychology; Psycho-evolutionary theory, Attention Restoration theory, Prospect Refuge theory and the Savanna hypothesis. The predictive ability of each theory is applied to the expected experience of people viewing Antarctic landscapes and compared to the general results of surveys of actual experiences of Antarctic tourists/visitors. Three of the theories predict a preference for savanna-like environments, or at least an environment that contains trees and bushes. Antarctica has none of these and yet it is viewed positively by most visitors. In contrast to these theories, based as they are on an idea that humans are adapted to an ancestral environment, one researcher found the anomaly that Tundra was highly preferred in his study. Antarctica has many similarities to Tundra. The mechanism for this preference is not understood considering that Tundra would not logically be considered a prime habitat for humans. Psycho-evolutionary theory, Attention Restoration theory and Prospect Refuge theory fail to predict the experiences of Antarctic visitors whereas Attention Restoration theory has potential for understanding the Antarctic experience and can deal with the Tundra anomaly as well. The implications of this are discussed in relation to tourism and the Antarctic research stations. Some recommendations for further research are outlined.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Marine protected areas in the Southern Ocean: an assessment of efficacy.
    (University of Canterbury, 2019) Foster, Rose Nichol
    Marine protected areas (MPAs) are used globally to protect threatened or at-risk species and ecosystems from exploitation. This report investigated how effective MPAs can be when used in the conservation of the Southern Ocean’s marine biota. The recent allocation of the Ross Sea MPA provides an opportunity to study whether the MPA adequately protects the region’s megafauna, while also preserving valuable fishery stocks of Antarctic krill and toothfish. Some MPAs have been critiqued as providing an illusion of conservation, with minimal planning leading to an MPA which fails to protect ecosystems or species in need. The Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) plays a leading role in the proposal, planning, and monitoring process of MPAs in the Southern Ocean, though their role in both conservation and fisheries management has been questioned by some. This review highlights the complexities surrounding the enforcement of fisheries laws in areas beyond national jurisdiction, such as the Southern Ocean, with these issues making the designation and effectiveness of future Southern Ocean MPAs uncertain. When combined with climate change, these issues increase the necessity for accurate analysis of species distributions and biomass of the Southern Ocean’s marine biota. Computer modelling, projections, and interdisciplinary tools, such as GIS and remote sensing, should be used to identify areas which would benefit most from the protection that an MPA provides.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Non-Invasive data capturing and identification methods of Antarctic Mega Fauna
    (University of Canterbury, 2019) Vijayaraghavan, Ramcharan
    Climate change combined with an ever-increasing human footprint is strongly impacting the polar ecosystem. It has become imperative to collect more frequent and accurate data and at the same time monitor various species. It is important to understand the role that non-invasive data-capturing and identification methods can play in assessing the vulnerability of species, apart from their reaction to climate change. This literature review looks at various studies covering satellite imagery, infrared and thermal imagery, pattern matching, and respiratory and faecal analysis. The different studies highlight the use of various techniques on specific species (primarily penguins, pinnipeds and whales). The papers have been chosen from the last twenty years and offer diverse perspectives (such a range also allows for inclusion of long-term studies that might have started earlier but concluded in the recent past). The literature chosen is more a yardstick for comparison than a benchmark in methodology, as it will be technology that will drive scientific change in the near (Antarctic) future.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Exploring the future management of both harvesting and conservation of Southern Ocean Fisheries
    (University of Canterbury, 2019) Pepperall, Neree
    The Southern Ocean has been exploited for its marine living resources for majority of its history. This history has provided many challenges for its ecosystem and species, some which are still recovering today. Due to the concerns of the fisheries in this region and their history of exploitation, the Commission for the Conservation of Marine Living Resources, CCAMLR, has constructed an Ecosystem Monitoring Programme to monitor the ecosystem at a multi-species level. This approach is crucial as one of the greatest fished species, Krill is an essential component of the ecosystem to which many predators rely as their food source. One must ensure that these essential food sources must not be depleted as this would cause a negative spiral effect for all species in the Southern Ocean. Overtime the Southern Ocean fisheries over exploited stocks to which species became severely threatened and close to extinction. CCAMLR must closely monitor these species and make sure that this does not happen again and that stocks are able to be revived. CCAMLR must also take into consideration ecological impacts such as climate change which will influence this ecosystem and stocks. Due to an increase in technological advances, it is vital that CCAMLR use this to their advantage in assuring that they have the best technology to ensure the greatest management practices. The future of the fisheries must rely on not only CCAMLR’s management but the individual fisheries and states to report and practice ethically as well as sustainably.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Is the Antarctic Treaty System on thin ice? A review of the evidence
    (University of Canterbury, 2019) Gardiner, Natasha
    Human engagement with the Antarctic is becoming increasingly complex, and the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS) appears ill-equipped to address the challenges this poses. The most recent regulatory mechanism of the ATS, The Madrid Protocol, was added to the regime in 1991 which marks the date at which structural progress within the system ground to a halt. On an international stage, this has led to a failure in remaining up to date with global developments especially in regards to environmental law. With a rapidly growing tourism industry and new interests in the potential of bioprospecting, the ATS lacks both the regulation and legally binding measures required to steer Antarctica towards a sustainable future in either activity. Core ATS principles are becoming undermined, as in the case of bioprospecting: commercial potential has diminished incentive to freely share scientific information. With a growing membership to the system, conflicting values make for slow and difficult decision making. A power play between nations is bringing to the surface the age-old issue of sovereignty and causing unease amongst the hegemonic Antarctic states. This risks a fragmentation of the ATS, diminishing its original achievements of international collaboration and peace. Challenged to its very core, the ATS is in need of innovative new solutions to reinforce its ability to safeguard Antarctica for future generations. Collective determination from the Antarctic Treaty Parties combined with increased resourcing, are key to the achievement of a more effective and future-proofed Antarctic governance strategy.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The winter-over syndrome and the potential lessons for space travel
    (University of Canterbury, 2019) Engel, Kamen
    The isolating, confining, and extreme environment of Antarctica presents a number of psychological and physiological challenges and stressors to those who choose to stay over during the winter months. The winter-over syndrome is a combination of conditions which can develop due to such challenges and stressors. This literature review looks into what may trigger certain conditions (such as insomnia and depression) associated with the winter-over syndrome and offers some possible solutions to help counteract and minimise their occurrences. Counter measures such as maintaining a synchronous group sleep schedule, good sleep hygiene, regular activities both social and otherwise, as well as frequent exercise may prove helpful for future interplanetary/stellar travellers.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Changing dynamics, hydrology and methods of survey of the Byrd Glacier in East Antarctica
    (University of Canterbury, 2019) Snodgrass, Joe
    The Byrd glacier has been subject to consistent measurement over the last ~50 years and shows the progression of surveying technology and analysation techniques used to study one of the more significant and (relatively) accessible of Antarctica glaciers. Data was initially manual survey and has developed to cost effective large extent satellite multispectral imagery and laser elevation data. The Byrd Glacier has one of the largest catchment areas in the Antarctica, including a significant proportion of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. It contributes ~18% of the inflow of ice to the Ross Sea and is the fastest glacier flowing into the Ross Ice Shelf with greater than 800 m a-1 in areas. Basal conditions haven’t been directly observed but have been inferred from observed processes and modelled dynamics to include a distributed linked cavity system in glacier trunk and a variable system of shallow ponds in the catchment area. Links between basal water discharge and significant velocity increases have been made. Glacier mass balance has not been accurately calculated yet and will be of future importance with changing climate.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Surface meltwater on Antarctic ice shelves: a canary in the mine?
    (University of Canterbury, 2019) Irvine, Henry
    Ice sheet mass balance (and therefore sea-level contribution) is buttressed at its margins by the ice shelves. Across Antarctica, the stability of these ice shelves, on which this buttressing effect depends, is known to be compromised by ocean-driven basal melting and iceberg calving. However, recent discoveries of widespread and persistent surface meltwater drainage systems (on grounded and floating ice) have been hypothesised to exert an increasingly prevalent destabilising effect on Antarctic ice shelves. In this critical review, the feedback mechanisms by which meltwater lakes and channels affect the ice-shelf surface and structural properties are examined. Drawing on these and analysis of circum-Antarctic observations, it becomes apparent that surface meltwater is indeed likely to have destabilising effect on most Antarctic ice shelves. This is largely due to their topography and growing meltwater budget as the climate warms. This is supported by further evidence from observations of wintertime melt and basal-induced concentrated thinning, which should initiate even greater instability. However, models are yet to include these effects, or accurately simulate surface water flow on ice shelves. Therefore, surface meltwater is likely to destabilise Antarctic ice shelves to a greater extent than current models can forecast.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Disease in Antarctic marine organisms
    (University of Canterbury, 2019) Baxter, Charlotte
    Antarctic marine organisms are particularly vulnerable to disease introduction as they have been isolated on the continent and not evolved alongside many diseases. Therefore, they are unlikely to possess any defences for diseases and are at risk of negative effects from novel disease introduction. Disease transmission is being facilitated by human travel, migratory species and climate change. All three of these vectors are posing risks for disease introduction into all Antarctic organisms, from seals to sea stars. Current literature shows that there is already a wide diversity of diseases present in the Antarctic wildlife and this is due to the past, current and future effects of the three main vectors. Human travel and climate change are increasing and therefore are a concern for regulation whereas migratory species may be impossible to regulate. Much concern is given to the health of the Antarctic animals in the face of inevitable increased disease introduction. However, little concern is given to the possibility of endemic Antarctic diseases being transmitted to humans and the rest of the world. This review focusses on the current diseases present in Antarctic marine organisms and the main vectors of disease into Antarctica that need to be regulated where possible.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Penguins in the popular imagination: the quest for new climate change metaphors
    (University of Canterbury, 2019) Ziemke-Dickens, Caroline F.
    The human relationship with penguins started long before the first Europeans “discovered” them during the first Age of Exploration in the 15th and 16th centuries. Over time, human-penguin interaction evolved from exploitation (for meat, hides, and oil), through curiosity, to affection, empathy, and protection. This shifting relationship mirrors the development of the dominant metaphors that have framed human (first European and, more recently, global) interaction with nature. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, nature was a God-given resource to be conquered and exploited. The Enlightenment and Scientific Revolution built on those metaphors to treat nature as a divinely-inspired machine to be re-engineered and subjected to man’s rational will. Such metaphors are no longer sustainable in the face of global climate change. The development of the penguin as a metaphor for benign, and endangered nature provides a positive case study for how new metaphors can spark behavioural change.
  • ItemOpen Access
    To what extent is there a mechanical coupling between Antarctic ice-shelves and sea-ice?
    (University of Canterbury, 2019) Freer, Bryony
    Understanding the causes of recent trends in Antarctic ice shelves and sea ice is crucial for improving our modelling capabilities to predict the future state of the Antarctic Ice Sheet and its future contribution to sea level rise. An overlooked component of this is the direct interaction between ice shelves and sea ice; two systems which have traditionally been studied rather separately. This report closely examines the literature surrounding this, and suggests that current evidence points to the existence of a tight mechanical coupling, in which the behaviour of both sea-ice and ice-shelves is able to influence the stability of the other. Examples are used to illustrate this interaction, including the recent Larsen A, B and Wilkins Ice Shelf collapses, major calvings from the Erebus Glacier Tongue and Sulzberger Ice Shelf, and sea ice trends in the MIZ at the Ninnis-Mertz glacier system. In particular, sea-ice is shown to be able to dampen certain (but not all) types of ocean waves, reducing their destructive force on ice shelves. Grounded icebergs from ice shelves have also been observed to form centres of extended sea-ice formation. However, current models contain insufficient parameterisation of this coupling, limiting their accuracy, and so further research to understand and quantify its nature and extent for model input is highly recommended.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Review of the Use of Augmented/Virtual Reality in Conducting and Communicating Science in Antarctica
    (University of Canterbury, 2019) Nassani, Alaeddin
    This work looks into previous use of augmented and virtual reality in the context of conducting and communicating science in Antarctica and similar environments. A pattern observed in previous work quantity and keywords used. I found similarity of previous work in Antarctica in its unique isolated confined environment was done to prepare for missions to outer space. Then I report on potential future directions for the use of AR/VR in Antarctica and we suggest few applications where this might be useful in the future.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Calculating geothermal heat flux in Antarctica and evaluating its impact on the cryosphere
    (2018) Miller, Anne
    Geothermal heat flux (GHF) is an essential boundary condition that has a dynamic influence over ice sheet mass balance. Difficulties associated with obtaining GHF measurements in ice covered regions mean that GHF in Antarctica is not well understood. A combination of seismic, magnetic, and rock property analysis methods have given quantities for Antarctic GHF. Via manipulation of these past measurements this review finds the average GHF value across Antarctica to be ~70 mW/m2. This GHF value equates to 7 mm/year of ice melt directly from GHF. Integrated across the entire ice sheet this melt rate is almost negligible at <1% of the total ice melt in Antarctica. Where GHF is of greatest importance is the effect it has on basal hydrology. Meltwater generated from GHF beneath the ice sheet has the potential to alter ice flow properties. Consequences of meltwater include changing ice flow velocity, and the formation of drainage channels and lakes. These factors have a huge influence on ice sheet mass balance. Consideration of these effects is essential to create accurate ice mass balance models and understand the role of GHF in the Antarctic cryosphere. Moving forward it is imperative GHF is accurately quantified and appropriately interpreted in a subglacial hydrological system.  
  • ItemOpen Access
    Ecological impacts of plastic ingestion by Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic seabirds
    (University of Canterbury, 2018) Rees, Olivia
    Antarctica, and the Southern Ocean, is considered to be the last ‘untouched wilderness’ on Earth. Yet marine species there are in decline and this is largely due to anthropogenic impacts. Plastic pollution in the world’s oceans has had a devastating impact on marine habitats and wildlife, and has now been observed in the Southern Ocean. This review aims to answer the question: What are the impacts of oceanic plastic pollutants on Procellariiformes and how does this impact the Southern Ocean region? Procellariiformes (Albatross, Shearwater and Petrel Species) are considered to be some of the most threatened species, and this is largely due to by-catch, entanglement and ingestion of marine debris. Plastic ingestion is the biggest threat, causing increased mortality of seabirds in this region. While the impacts to individual birds are well observed, the wider ecological impacts are less obvious. Understanding these wider impacts may give insight into how these birds are coping at a population level and provide knowledge to help guide management strategies and conservation.  
  • ItemOpen Access
    Antarctica’s fifth age? Some supporting evidence
    (University of Canterbury, 2018) Frame, Bob
    Ten years ago, Alan Hemmings proposed that Antarctica had entered a Fifth Age identified by a much more complex global context. This paper examines evidence from recent biophysical and socio-economic literature on the Antarctic which show an increasing number of papers identifying changes which appear, at least in part, to be attributable to global change processes. These are often in highly specialised topics that are identified as exhibiting early stages of potentially significant transformations with specific changes mooted and, in some cases, projected out several decades or more. Collectively these provide early indications of a shift to the Anthropocene, estimated, by some sources, as having started in the post-war period and coinciding with establishment of the Antarctic Treaty and the concept of setting Antarctica aside for peace and science. Papers published over the last decade or so have been selected that identify specific significant changes in Antarctica in the coming decades as identified by PCAS presenters. The papers are classified according to the criteria established in the global climate change scenarios architecture. The review then identifies that there is evidence of a Fifth Age but that it needs much more nuanced research than thisinitial overview.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Viruses contribute more to Antarctica than the common cold: a review on viral importance in Antarctic lakes
    (University of Canterbury, 2018) Kringen, Tayele
    The role viruses play in mediating the ecology of Antarctic lakes is vastly underrepresented and the effects climate change may have on these roles is widely unknown. At the microbial level viruses are involved in the important roles of limiting host population densities, selecting for host diversity, and contributing dissolved organic carbon to the aquatic environment. These roles are especially important in Antarctic lakes as they are dominated by microorganisms. The ecology of the lake is dependent on viruses as they control microbe population levels and increase nutrient levels into the environment. Climate change may alter Antarctic lake compositions by causing an increase in incidence of blooms, increase in lysogenic viral infections, and an increase in viral decay due to UV-B radiation. These changes will likely have profound impacts on the microbe populations currently residing in Antarctic lakes. Further research needs to be conducted in order to determine if viruses in Antarctic lakes will be able to continue carrying out their important roles in the changing environment.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Digital conservation in Antarctica
    (University of Canterbury, 2018) Gillies, Tasman Turoa
    Science and conservation are of paramount importance in Antarctica as they are founding principles of the Antarctic Treaty, the contributions internationally by governments to both scientific research and conservation efforts reflect this. Recent developments in nature conservation show an emerging field of ‘digital conservation’ which focuses on the use of digital technology for use in conservation often in innovative ways. The role of digital conservation in Antarctica is worth exploring as the potential benefits may allow for innovative applications for public engagement, data gathering, data analysis, data integration, citizen science, and digital decision making. This review explores the promises and problems digital conservation presents and explores them in an Antarctic context.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Assessing the Antarctic lithodidae (King crab) hypothesis: invasion or endurance?
    (University of Canterbury, 2018) Stent, Simon
    Rising sea temperature, as a result of anthropogenic climate change, has contributed to dynamic ecological changes across the globe. As a result the previously isolated ecosystem of Antarctica will likely soon be at risk of invasive species migration. Currently the Antarctic continental shelf is unique in its lack of decapods, though the recent discovery of dense populations of Lithodid crabs in Antarctic waters, has caused concerns of a possible invasion event already occurring. Though it is argued that the recent discovery is a result of poor historical fossil records and inadequate sampling methods, the potential ecological impact of increased Lithodid crab distribution on the Antarctic shelf benthos, is likely to be severe.