Time: 12 May 2021 from 7:30 - 10:00 GMT
Presenter: Daniela Liggett
Institution: University of Canterbury, New Zealand
08:05 - 08:20 GMT: Species composition, assemblage characteristics, and some aspects of the biology of the dominant fish species in the shallow coastal zone of Livingston Island, Antarctica
Presenter: Tihomir Stefanov
Institution: National Museum of Natural History - Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
Type: Oral Presentation
Abstract: The study presents data on the species composition and fish assemblage characteristics structure for the understudied Antarctic coastal zone (5–25 m) of Livingston Island. A total of 165 fish belonging to 6 species were caught near the Bulgarian Antarctic base in January and February 2020. The dominant species found at a depth between 5-15 m is Notothenia rossii, and the subdominant Notothenia coriiceps. The greatest species diversity was found in the deep areas (over 15 m depth) - a total of 5 of the 6 species found were caught here. The shallower areas are dominated by large predatory fish and all smaller species are found at bigger depths where they avoid competition and direct threat of large predators.
The study also presents data about the length-weight relationship as well as condition factor and diet of the two dominant fish species – N. rossii and N. coriiceps. Average total length and weight of N. rossii are 232.8 mm and 180.4 g respectively while in N. coriiceps they are 324.4 mm and 556.8 g. The exponent b values of the length-weight relationship in both species are close to 3 which is pointing allometric growth but the value is not statistically different from 3 since calculated p = 0.87, which is above the value of 0.05 indicating isometric growth. The average values of Fulton’s, Modified and Relative condition factor in N. rossii are 1.32, 1.07 and 1.65 respectively, while the same values in N. coriiceps are 1.50, 2.28 and 2.10 respectively. The diet comprises mostly benthic invertebrates. The Antarctic krill and amphipods formed nearly 85% of the diet of N. rossii whereas they together with the isopod Glyptonotus antarcticus formed more than 90% of the diet of N. coriiceps.
Presenter: Magayo Alves
Institution: Federal University of Paraíba, Brazil.
Type: Oral Presentation
Abstract: Home to a diverse fauna, as well as being the object of increasing economic interests, Antarctica has recently lost its status as the world's last Covid-19 free continent, following a report by the Chilean army about 36 cases in its country's Bernardo O'Higgins research station, located on the Antarctica Peninsula. This confirmed introduction of the virus has prompted scientists to speculate and study what future scenarios could look like across the region, especially with regards to the wellbeing of its abundant wildlife, whilst considering possible increases in illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the Southern Ocean. So far, it is not yet fully known which animal species could potentially be susceptible to viral infection/transmission, either by direct exposure to humans and their facilites or as a result of temporary migration to and from nations currently struggling to contain SARS-CoV-2, such as Brazil, Chile, South Africa, etc. Similarly, relatively few studies seem to deal with how the pandemic can potentially facilitate IUU to occur, considering that many, if not all nations operating on the continent have reduced their presences in the region.
In summary, the presentation will attempt to explore these issues in more detail whilst reaffirming the importance of international cooperation in preventing IUU fishing and overall keeping local wildlife as safe as possible, by opening space for dialogues on the main political mechanisms current in place to deter the virus from spreading in Antarctica. Essentially, we could ask ourselves: is the international community doing enough to prevent even greater environmental impacts across the continent? What roles are organisations such as the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) or the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programmes (COMNAP) really playing in this moment of global crisis? Where is it all leading to?
08:35 - 08:50 GMT: Soil CO2 emission response to the extreme changes in precipitation conditions in boreal forests of Central Siberia
Presenter: Makhnykina Anastasia
Institution: Siberian Federal University
Type: Oral presentation
Abstract: Boreal forests as a sink of atmospheric CO2, are an important object of research, largely responsive to current climatic changes. It is noted that the soils of the Russian boreal forests contain four times more carbon than is concentrated in the aboveground phytomass. Today, there is an increase in the frequency of extreme weather events, such as heavy rains during the summer period. Their influence on natural dynamic processes in ecosystems, including on soil CO2 emissions, raises a number of questions. Therefore, the aim of this study was to assess the effect of precipitation, including heavy rains, on soil CO2 emission in boreal forests of Central Siberia.
The objects of study were lichen pine forests located on the territory of Turukhansk district of Krasnoyarsk region (60N 90E). The soil emission rate during the growing season was measured using an infrared gas analyzer Li-8100A (Li-cor Biogeosciences Inc., Linkoln, USA). By heavy rains, we meant precipitation events of more than 10 mm per day.
In the course of the work, the optimum soil moisture content for the maximum CO2 emission flux was determined. In addition, the contribution of heavy rains during the growing season has been established: the analysis showed that the contribution of heavy rains to the formation of the soil emission flux varies for different periods of the season. Max input to the monthly soil emission flux from the heavy rains was observed at the end of the season, while the frequency of heavy rains was also high. Thus, we can conclude that heavy rains lead to a fast impulse response from soil emission and, as a consequence, to the release of additional CO2 from the soil into the atmosphere.
08:50 - 09:05 GMT: Why are there sea spiders in my kitchen? - A tale of taxonomy and biogeography in a time of pandemic
Presenter: Jamie Maxwell
Institution: National University of Ireland, Galway and British Antarctic Survey
Type: Oral Presentation
Abstract: No other group of animals typifies the uniqueness of Antarctic life more than Pycnogonida (sea spiders), with 20% of all known species found in the Southern Ocean, and many of these are endemic to the Antarctic. Despite nearly 200 years of research into Antarctic pycnogonids, the ecological parameters which drive their distribution and community structure are still poorly understood, with studies either having a very coarse geographic resolution or conversely having been restricted in their extent.
By combining existing data with newly identified specimens from 10 research cruises, we examine the biogeography of sea spiders in the Southern Ocean.
There are 111 species across 15 genera in seven families in the new dataset. The distribution range of 67 Antarctic species expands due to newly sampled locations. There are potentially four undescribed species and a first Antarctic occurrence record for a species that had previously only been recorded off South Africa.
The Polar Front divides the Antarctic communities from the rest of the Southern Ocean, despite the Antarctic being a source of many species in communities north of the front. South of the Polar Front, communities are initially structured by depth, with ~200 m marking the boundary between a shallow and a deep community. We show for the first time that the deeper community is further divided according to different water masses.
Results increase our understanding of the Antarctic’s distinct benthic communities, and how they may be modified under climate-change-induced alterations in the formation and subsequent circulation of Antarctic water masses.
Presenter: Donna Frater
Institution: Diversity in UK Polar Science Initiative
Type: Oral presentation
Abstract: Findings from a polar science Race Impact Survey are reported this week (4 March) by the Diversity in Polar Science Initiative (DiPSI). The Initiative is funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and aims to increase representation of people from under-represented groups engaged in Polar Science in the UK; especially for ethnic minorities (BAME) – currently around <3% when the STEM national average is 16%.
The Race Impact Survey, completed October 2020, generated 174 responses from polar academics within UK universities and polar research institutions. Recommendations and issues identified by researchers from within the polar research community indicate strong support for a more diverse and inclusive community while highlighting issues in the present and past cultures of racism and issues with reporting bullying and harassment incidents.
Survey results confirm a problem for people from minority backgrounds in entering polar research through recruitment and academic career development pipelines and the need and requirement to develop more inclusive policies in current polar institutions to support minorities. While the experiences of people from minority backgrounds are not specific to polar research, efforts are needed from within the polar community to address them.
Key survey findings at a glance:
1. 32% of respondents (55/174) have witnessed discrimination based on race or micro-aggressive behaviour towards individuals from minority backgrounds while working within the UK polar research community.
2. 57% of BAME respondents (4/7) have experienced racism in their workplace in polar research.
3. 67% of respondents (37/55) who witnessed incidents that involved racism, did not report it.
4. 78% of respondents (136/174) are aware of issues regarding racism and exclusion of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) staff or students inside the workforce culture of the UK polar research community.
5. A lack of reporting adds to the lack of recognition of racist behaviours.
Presenter: William Harcourt
Institution: University of St Andrews
Type: Oral presentation