Gateway Antarctica: Supervised Project Reports

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  • ItemOpen Access
    Google trends: a case of Antarctica
    (2019) Day, Thalia
    Public perceptions enforce great influence on economical, political and environmental cooperation, whether that is positive or negative. Attitudes and values that people hold change over time and progress with their internal and external factors, such as socioeconomic changes that affect subjective perceptions. For Antarctic interests, perceptions are predominantly influenced by the engagement activities in Gateway Cities, such as Antarctica New Zealand in Christchurch, New Zealand. By analysing the global and regional public perceptions, Antarctic-related institutions and non-governmental organisations have the opportunity to utilise data and maximise their outreach campaigns by understanding what people care about. Google Trends offered the research a global survey of non-bias design, displaying data from 2004 to 2019 that highlighted keyword searches associated with Antarctica. Overall, it was evident that Argentina remain heavily focused on Antarctica as a territorial claim, whilst New Zealand have progressively moved from heroic era and exploration interests to an emotive response to native species in Antarctica. However, New Zealand’s popularity of ‘Antarctica’ searches have dramatically dropped since 2004, unlike the UK and China that have demonstrated stable and increasing popularity.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Addressing priorities within the Antarctic Gateway Strategy: communication and outreach through social media
    (2019) Montie, Shinae
    Science communication and outreach is a crucial component in conducting successful research. This outreach project seeks to create a social media platform surrounding Christchurch, Antarctica and the Southern Ocean on Instagram. This platform seeks to educate, engage and excite the target demographic of 16 to 25 year olds, through the use of images and other media. The account will be run by the social media team at The Antarctic Office and Christchurch NZ. Each summer season it will showcase the Postgraduate Certificate of Antarctic Studies experience. For this platform to be successful it will need to be developed in a relatable, digestible and exciting fashion. The target demographic will need to be made aware of its existence and provide insight into what they want to see online. Furthermore, suggestions will need to be made for future PCAS student takeovers with respect to what content was successful in engaging the public and what more could be included. Each of these points are addressed in the following report.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Pop culture and communicating Antarctica : an experiment in educational engagement
    (2019) McBride, Sean
    Research suggests that modern science appears to be failing in its mission to inform and educate the public. More facts and communication alone are not the answer. There is a need for more engagement and the use of innovative pedagogies to grab the public’s attention while also informing and entertaining. Comic books and superheroes have been used successfully to engage both adults and children. As an experimental pedagogy I have devised a new superhero character ‘Captain Antarctica’ whose aim is to spread factual information about Antarctica and Antarctic science in an entertaining and engaging manner. To this end I produced five videos dealing with aspects of Antarctica. Three of these videos were placed on social media (Facebook and Youtube) and Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) in the form of Likes, Shares, Engagement and Comments were compared with another video that dealt with aspects of Antarctica but did not contain the ‘Captain Antarctica’ character. The two remaining videos will be shown at a later date. Results tended to indicate that the ‘Captain Antarctica ‘videos were more engaging than the comparison video. Results were graphed and limitations of the methodology discussed. Initial results are promising for the future use of this pedagogical approach.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Fussy feeders or fallacy? Investigating the prevalence of prey preference in killer whales, globally and in the Southern Ocean.
    (2019) Foster, Rose Nichol
    Killer whales (Orcinus orca, Linnaeus 1758) are a cosmopolitan species, being found in all the world’s oceans and most of its seas. There are currently ten ecotypes recognised globally and these distinct groups can be differentiated by variations in their morphology, societal structure, vocalisations, hunting techniques, genetic information, and prey preference. This study looked at the prevalence of prey preferences in killer whale populations, to understand whether their diets are genuinely as restrictive as they are perceived to be. Through analysing a high volume of literature, killer whales were found to predate on 159 different species. This data was compared to the perceived preferences of each ecotype to see how often the populations strayed from their preference. The Northern Hemisphere ecotypes were found to adhere more strictly to their preferred prey types; the Resident and North Atlantic Type I killer whales were found to not eat anything other than their preferred prey type. The Southern Hemisphere ecotypes displayed slightly more plasticity. The Gerlache (Type B, small) and Subantarctic ecotypes were also found to eat only their preferred prey, although the lack of data available for these isolated groups makes this observation less certain. Five of the remaining ecotypes, Transient, Offshore, Antarctic (Type A), Pack Ice (Type B, large), and Ross Sea (Type C), were found to display more generalist tendencies, feeding on a variety of prey, though still predominantly feeding on their preferred prey type. The conclusions drawn from this study was that, while there are some distinct differences between the ecotypes globally, prey preferences were often less restrictive than previously indicated. As they occupy the role as the top top predator in many of the world’s oceans, understanding the prey each population eat, and how these may be impacted by climate change and future anthropogenic threats, is a crucial step in protecting this keystone species.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Antarctic education resource project
    (2019) Vijayaraghavan, Ramcharan
    This report looks at identifying, mapping and communicating Antarctic education resources to the school community. The target audience are students and teachers and the objective is to make the content easier to access by the teachers while making the students connect with the topics. The research involved looking at the New Zealand Curriculum across levels and years and identifying areas where existing Antarctic education resources could be mapped to. The initial resources mapped were from the Antarctica New Zealand website, Antarctica NZ Digital Asset Manager (A.D.A.M), LEARNZ , the International Antarctic Centre , some resources created by individual teachers and lastly some important third party websites. From a comparison standpoint, the Australian Curriculum and the content mapping for Australia was looked at. The study looks at the Instructional Design angle as well since the content being communicated includes Science and related aspects, which are research based. Sample activity sheets and a website mock-up/design were then created to showcase how content on Antarctica could be effectively delivered. Also, from a project standpoint, some cost indicators have been included for the implementation phase. The final output is in the form of a spreadsheet for mapped content and a website mock-up with activity sheets. The impact of the study can be assessed during the implementation phase and see if there is an increase in the access and use of Antarctic education resources.
  • ItemOpen Access
    An analysis of conservation and management tools for Antarctica’s terrestrial ecosystems
    (2019) Pepperall, Neree
    The value within the terrestrial ecosystems of Antarctica and the management and conservation implemented is a pressing topic as the intensifying human footprint makes consideration of this issue more urgent. Investigation of the Protected Areas system of the Antarctic Treaty demonstrates that microbial habitats are poorly protected. There is no other region on Earth that is dominated to a similar extent by microbial life. This presents an opportunity to develop and integrate new mechanisms of conservation and management of terrestrial biota on a continental scale. This account examines the reliability of tools of the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS), including the Antarctic Specially Protected Areas (ASPAs), and the Antarctic Conservation Biogeographic Regions (ACBRs) and highlights possible threats to Antarctic terrestrial ecosystems. Analysis of the Secretariat of the Antarctic Treaty Database (ATS, 2019) showed that of the 73 ASPAs only 7 were created specifically for the management and protection of the terrestrial ecosystem, 27 ASPAs were created with terrestrial ecosystem values as a part of their management plans and 38 did not list terrestrial ecosystem values within their management plans at all. The study demonstrates that there is scope to enhance the management and protection of Antarctic terrestrial ecosystems and these improvements must be considered urgently and implemented before ecosystem disturbance is irreversible.
  • ItemOpen Access
    A geologist attempts minke whale outreach – a literature review
    (2019) Engel, Kamen
    With a population estimated to be between 400 and 600 thousand, the Antarctic minke whale is one of the most abundant whale species in the Southern Ocean. Due to this, it is likely that minke whales play an important and underappreciated role in the Southern Ocean’s ecosystem. This report reviews the available literature to create examples of values-based outreach aimed to inform senior high school students on minke whales.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Basal melting and freezing of the Ross Ice Shelf
    (2019) Snodgrass, Joe
    Antarctica’s ice sheets don’t end at the coast, they extend onto the sea around the continent as ice shelves where they buttress the ice sheets from accelerating. These ice shelves are where most glaciological mass of the Antarctic continent is lost through calving and basal melting. But processes below the ice shelf are often poorly understood through lack of direct measurements. Automatic phase sensitive radar echo sounding (pRES) systems allow the internal ice shelf layers and sea interface to surveyed to mm precision allowing monitoring of the basal conditions and processes beneath the ice shelf. This report analyses third year pRES data from the eastern Ross Ice Shelf. Basal processes are consistent with precious measurements and can be related to basal topology and confirm other studies findings.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Taming the politics monster: how is science engaged with the politics of its research?
    (2019) Irvine, Henry
    Policy to address climate change does not match the scale and severity of the problem as defined by scientific research. While climate science can make valuable contributions towards climate policy, its actual significance should not be judged without a consideration of the politics which run through climate change science-policy interfaces. In order to assess the role and uses of science in political matters, two case-studies are considered: the debates around the health risks of tobacco smoking and the theory of nuclear winter. In this exploratory piece, I propose that an exposition of the monster metaphor provides an insightful lens of analysis for the politics in and of science (the politics monster). Throughout the case studies, an ongoing learning process is observed in the political application of science, in attempts to tame the monster. The different strategies employed progress from ‘monster-exorcism’, to ‘monster-embracement’, ‘monster-adaptation’ and ‘monster-assimilation’. Similar processes are also evident in the climate change ‘debate’. From the evidence considered, there is little suggestion that these strategies relate strongly to the implementation of policy. This is used to suggest that climate science could become more deeply engaged in creative processes of politics to inspire more policy activity, while considering the effects that each strategy could induce.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Population dynamics of three emperor penguin colonies in the Ross Sea
    (2019) Baxter, Charlotte
    Emperor penguins were found to be breeding in the Ross Sea region in Antarctica in 1902 and since then there has been monitoring of the 7 Ross Sea colonies, but this has been quite inconsistent. This paper provides data on chick and adult counts from 2018 on three Ross Sea emperor penguin colonies; this is the first time since 2012 that these colonies have been visited and counted. We took aerial photos of three Ross Sea colonies; Cape Crozier, Beaufort Island and Franklin Island. Then from these images I counted all the chicks on a total of 10 images for the three colonies. I counted 1,365 chicks at Cape Crozier, 417 chicks at Beaufort Island and 2,372 chicks at Franklin Island. I then compared the chick counts to the concurrent adult counts at the same colonies, conducted regression analysis and made comparisons. We found that all three colonies exhibit very different population dynamics over time. While the adult counts are somewhat similar for the Cape Crozier and Beaufort Island colonies, the chick counts show no similarity across the three colonies. Cape Crozier is the colony that exhibits a strong trend in terms of the relationship between the number of chicks and adults each year, and this past 2018 season had the greatest yield of chicks ever recorded at this colony. We present in the findings of this paper that extrapolating patterns of population dynamics between colonies in the Ross Sea is not appropriate as there is no pattern or trend that is similar between the three colonies. Therefore, future research and monitoring of these colonies needs to be consistent in order to be able to detect changes at each of the individual colonies. With the threat of climate change looming, the habitat and ultimately the fate of the emperor penguin species is at risk. There are huge benefits in future monitoring; to determine both negative effects of climate change and positive effects of marine protected areas. There is the potential to use this species as an ecosystem sentinel to inform on the health of not only the Ross Sea region but potentially the Southern Ocean.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The beating heart of the planet: imaging Antarctica
    (2019) Ziemke-Dickens, Caroline F.
    Antarctica poses unique challenges to creative artists seeking to convey its majesty and importance. It lacks most of the visual elements usually found in landscape paintings and photographs making the establishment of emotional hooks difficult. At the same time, the dominant narratives about climate change and the environment are not working. Even people who recognize the threat are not yet sufficiently emotionally engaged to significantly change their behavior. Antarctica has the potential to become a powerful climate change icon. The challenge is to motivate individuals to relate to climate change in a way that will change their behavior. That means broadening the narrative about Antarctica beyond “it’s a big, empty, windy, pristine cold place dedicated to peace and science” to include “why it is important to us”? This paper consists of a series of creative non-fiction essays written for a general audience. The first recounts the author’s struggle to convey an emotionally engaging image of Antarctica. The second uses a braided form (then and now) and a collection of images to tell the story of her engagement with Antarctica. The Third consists of a series of Flash non-fiction essays – each 100 words long – and photographs that seek to personalize the icy continent by recounting the history of man’s engagement with Antarctica from Antartica’s point-of-view.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Quantifying sea ice trends in the Southern Ocean: is extent or area the better measure?
    (2019) Freer, Bryony
    This report presents an assessment of the relationship between sea ice area and extent measurements in the Southern Ocean, in order to scrutinise the significance of the reported trend of increasing Antarctic sea ice over the past 40 years. Two key research questions are addressed: How are Antarctic sea ice extent and area values calculated and what information (and to what accuracy) are they actually telling us about sea ice mass balance? How do measurements of sea ice extent and area compare between that derived from low resolution and high-resolution data? The methods undertaken include a close examination of the NSIDC sea ice concentration, area and extent data trends from 1978-2016, and a case study analysis in the Weddell Sea that compares sea ice concentration, extent and area data derived from low resolution passive microwave radiometers (SSM/IS and AMS2) and higher resolution SAR. The findings reveal that the average trend conceals a large amount of spatial and seasonal variability and that there are several extreme months throughout the record where extent anomalies significantly exceed area anomalies. It is suggested that this could be a reflection of either physical processes (e.g. wind behaviour) that may vary between regions, or instrumental errors. However, the fact that measures of sea ice thickness are not incorporated into record of sea ice cover, points to the conclusion that the reported rising trend in Antarctic sea ice cover in the past few decades is highly incomplete and cannot be used to interpret sea ice mass balance changes.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Forecasting game for brainstorming Antarctic futures
    (2019) Shalev, Amit
    There is relatively little published work in Antarctic future studies. While future studies is a well-established field, its expansion to include polar research has been more limited, and with most of that focused on the Arctic rather than Antarctica. However, Antarctic future studies is a growing field, and there are increasing attempts to take established tools and methods from general future studies and apply them to Antarctic outlooks. One of the approaches that has been successful in general future studies revolves around gameplay exercises. Gaming has had a rich history in foresight and future studies and has been used for idea generation, idea evaluation and scenario simulation among other purposes. That said, tools and methods around gaming have not yet been brought to bear on Antarctic future studies. This project brings gameplay tools and methods to the subject. It applies game design ideas to modify game frameworks previously applied to both regional and generic foresight projects and put them into more gamified structure. Then it adapts a proposed Antarctic foresight framework into the game’s content structure and posits how this could potentially build futures literacy in the Antarctic research and policy community.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Antarctica marine AR: an augmented reality experience of the Ross Sea Marine Protected Area
    (2019) Nassani, Alaeddin
    The Marine Protected Area of the Ross Sea has huge significance for the species protected. This report describes the development of an augmented-reality experience for this Marine Protected Area. The experience focuses on a simplified version of the food web in the Ross Sea. Initial discussion and future work presented here encourages future initiatives to consider the benefits of using AR for outreach.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Challenges & Promise in Antarctic Psychology
    (2019) Shalev, Amit
    Antarctic psychology research has a fundamental shortage of tools and standard fundamentals which must be addressed in order to fulfill its promise and reap benefits that for decades have been discussed but have yet to be fully realized: (1) creation of mental health intervention regiments and training protocols for expeditioners and support staff, (2) leveraging in a practical manner positive experiences resulting from Antarctic deployments, and (3) facilitating the use of Antarctica as a space analogue for psychological study. These benefits could increase the well-being of expeditioners, amplify the utility of Antarctic psychology learnings in other fields, and increase vectors for positive attention in the public eye. Achieving these benefits requires international coordination in the research community to create a roadmap of challenges, open questions, and unaddressed fundamentals in the field, and use that roadmap to drive research study designs through different NAPs across the continent and across multiple seasons.
  • ItemOpen Access
    A review of glaciovolcanism with particular application to its presence in Antarctica
    (2018) Miller, Anna
    Glaciovolcanism is mainly controlled by the interaction between magma composition and ice properties. However, many other smaller factors will play a role in the progression of an eruption including temperature, spatial extent, and density. Glaciovolcanism can occur in many different scenarios including at the ice-substrate boundary, as a dyke intrusion, as a supraglacial flow, or as an intrusion into permafrost. All scenarios produce different eruption styles and different deposit characteristics. Glaciovolcanic deposits are well preserved and have distinctive features which act as valuable proxies of Earth’s paleoclimate. The importance of glaciovolcanism in the modern world has recently been reinforced through the two catastrophic eruptions at Nevado del Ruiz, Chile and Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland. Hazards including Jökulhlaups, lahars, flooding, and tephra make glaciovolcanism important to understand and prepare for. However, the importance of these eruptions is not limited to hazards. Along with hazards they act as paleoclimate indicators, climate change variables, and Martian analogues. Antarctica is a continent with many known glaciovolcanoes, and probably even more unknown ones. Past eruptions on the continent have led to evacuation and destruction of national Antarctic bases. With an increase in tourism and occupation on the continent it is important to discern safety routines which will minimise the risk of glaciovolcanic hazards. Glaciovolcanism is also important in Antarctica because it can show the dynamics of the ice sheet since before the last glacial maximum due to analysis of well-preserved deposits. Overall, glaciovolcanism is a growing field of vital importance to humans and the environment.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Sovereignty and its hold on the Antarctic Treaty System, can it be displaced?
    (2018) Fletcher, Ashley
    This essay looks at the issue of sovereignty with the Antarctic Treaty system. Sovereignty has continued to be an issue with states asserting their territorial sovereign rights in multiple ways. The issue of extending continental shelf has raised the issue of sovereignty to the forefront of the Antarctic treaty system. Calls for Antarctica to become based on the Common Heritage of Mankind principle have gained prominence. These calls aim to redress the issue of sovereignty but do not reflect the political reality of asking states to give up their sovereign right. Reform of the Antarctic treaty system has also been considered.
  • ItemOpen Access
    An Assessment of New Zealand’s Performance in Environmental Leadership in Antarctica
    (2018) Scott, Christine
    New Zealand established a position of environmental leadership throughout the negotiations on the Protocol. New Zealand’s performance in environmental leadership since then was assessed under the Antarctica (Environmental Act) 1994 and in its contribution to the Committee on Environmental Protection (CEP). The Antarctic Treaty Secretariat database was used to retrieve information on the number of Environmental Impact Assessments approved. New Zealand’s performance was then measured by the compliance of its Crown Entity, Antarctica New Zealand with the conditions of its approval which covered the operation of Scott Base and all field events supported by Antarctica New Zealand. This showed only minor non-compliances with less than minor impact. The number of Initial Environmental Evaluations was benchmarked against other countries and showed New Zealand received substantially more than every other party except the United States. New Zealand’s international contribution was measured by its contribution to comments on Comprehensive Environmental Evaluations (CEE) and on the number of Working Papers submitted to the CEP. New Zealand is one of a few countries regularly submitting on CEEs and submits more Working Papers than every party except the United Kingdom. When normalised by the GDP New Zealand stands out in its engagement with the CEP. 3 Case studies are used to provide more detailed examination.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Unenthusiastic about Plastic
    (2018) Rees, Olivia
    Plastics are a growing environmental problem that many nations are only just beginning to wake up to. While it is clear plastics can last for a very long time in the environment, causing harm to wildlife, it is unclear how to best reduce the amount we use. In Antarctica, ‘the last wilderness on Earth’, we’d like to think that plastics have not reached there, however human activity in Antarctica brings plastic along with it. This report investigated how plastics were used in relation to food at Scott Base and in a field camp, with the aim of finding some solutions to the plastic problem. Management and planning of how food was used was the best way of reducing plastic waste in the field, while at Scott Base a better understanding of what is recyclable was needed. Ultimately, the solution comes all the way back to New Zealand where better recycling and packaging systems need to be put in place to reduce plastics in the first place. Innovative food packaging is the ultimate solution to reducing plastic on food in Antarctica.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Microplastics in the Southern Ocean: Findings from the Continuous Plankton Recorder in the Ross Sea and the East Antarctic Regions
    (2018) Grover-Johnson, Olivia
    Microplastics are extremely abundant and widely distributed in the marine environment. Recently they have been found in the Southern Ocean around the continent of Antarctica. Research from around the world has begun to demonstrate that microplastics can have detrimental effects on marine organisms. There is almost no information about how microplastics might affect Antarctic marine species. The present article reviews the current state of knowledge about microplastics in the Southern Ocean. The growing alarm about the ubiquitous nature of microplastic pollution has led the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition (ASOC) to recommend that the Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) be used as a source of information about microplastics in the Southern Ocean. The CPR analysts from the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) and New Zealand’s National Institute for Water and Atmospheric research (NIWA) have been collecting a limited amount of data about microplastics alongside their primary research on plankton since 2008. Their data is presented for the first time in this report. The findings support the growing body of evidence that demonstrates the pervasiveness of microplastics, even in remote places such as the Southern Ocean. The findings also demonstrate that while the CPR has some value, it is not the ideal tool for understanding the abundance, distribution and impacts of microplastics on the Antarctic marine ecosystem. There needs to be a more formal protocol for the identification and reporting of microplastics from the CPR. Furthermore, a deliberate and comprehensive survey of the potential sources of microplastics needs to occur, using higher-powered techniques such as FTIR or Ramen spectroscopy for the identification and characterisation of microplastics. We also call for urgent studies that seek to understand how microplastics will affect Antarctic marine organisms, especially the key-stone species, which appear to have the greatest exposure to microplastic pollution.