Funding Agencies

Associated Projects (AP)   

  • AP-1: Glacier melt on WAP

    Jorge Arigony, Juliana Costi, Ferderal University of Rio Grande, Brazil

    A positive-degree day based model is applied to the northern sector of the Antarctic Peninsula aiming to estimate the large scale total snow melt and subsequent runoff (R). The model was forced by temperature data obtained by the ERA-Interim Reanalysis project, for the time period from 1989 to 2010. Temperature data from 14 weather stations throughout the study area are used to calculate the monthly mean temperature for each year of analysis. The model will be used to reconstruct the development of the seasonal melting zones on glaciers of the Antarctic peninsula during the last 50 years, and to estimate the further variations according to the projections of the IPCC 2007 (International Panel of Climate Change). CNPq grants no. 480701/2008-3 and 573720/2008-8 (Brazilian National Institute for Cryospheric Sciences - INCT da Criosfera)

  • AP-2: Impact of glacier melting on plankton in coastal areas of the Antarctic Peninsula

    Irene Schloss, IAA, Argentina; Gustavo Ferreyra, Institut des Sciecnces de la Mer de Rimouski, Canada; Marcelo Hernando, University of Morón, Argentina

    The project carries out and leads the long-term monitoring of hydrography (temperature, salinity, stratification, turbidity) and phytoplankton biomass dynamics on Potter Cove. Monthly measurements have been undertaken at 2 stations in the inner and outer cove starting in 1991. A group of overwintering scientists, technicians and PhD students mostly from Argentina, have been contributing data to this long-term series, which is lead by Dr. Schloss. The general aim of the present project is to study the direct and indirect impact of glacier melting such as fresh water and terrestrial particles additions on phyto-, microzoo- and zooplankton in coastal waters off the WAP, and to predict by means of modelling the response of similar systems and at a wider geographical scale to the observed environmental changes. Res. No. 194/07. Project code: PICTO-05 35562

  • AP-3: Benthic key species response to ice scour and sedimentation: Bivalves

    Eva Philipp, Gunnar Husmann, IKMB, Kiel University and Doris Abele, AWI, Germany

    The Antarctic soft shell clam Laternula elliptica is evaluated as an indicator of regional climate change. Susceptibility of marine ectotherms to environmental stress such as iceberg scour and inorganic particle sedimentation changes over lifetime and the resulting population structure can serve as an indicator of the nature of change impacting coastal populations. DFG grant no. PH141/5-1

  • AP-4: Benthic key species response to ice scour and sedimentation: Tunicates

    Ricardo Sahade, Luciana Torre, Cristian Lagger, Natalia Servetto, Cordoba University, Argentina

    Tunicates (sea squirts) and pennatulides (sea feathers) are abundant on muddy grounds in Antarctic coastal areas. The species composition of these groups has changes markedly over the last 12 years because different species react distinctly to sediment coverage and the ingestion of inorganic sediments. As glaciers draw back, newly ice-free areas are colonized by benthic macrofauna and algae, and the success of different pioneer species and the succession within this colonization process is investigated by yearly diving surveys. Then, food-web structure and energy-flow patterns, as a functional diversity approach, will be studied by means of fatty-acids tracers and stable isotopes of C and N. Physiological experiments on sediment response of sea sqirts and sea feathers will be done to analyze whether the observed shifts can be attributed to increased sedimentation rates. Population genetic structure and phylogeography of important species will be analysed as well. All data and results will be formalized in explanatory and predictive mathematical models, which will analyse the effect of sedimentation and ice disturbance at different spatial and temporal scales.

Sedimentation on marine benthos - Photograph by R. Sahade, UNC


  • AP-5: Response of fjord ecosystem in the South Shetlands on decadal to millennial environmental changes: record from marine sediment cores

    Andrzej Tatur, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland

    The aim of this study refers to one of the central questions in IMCOAST: How decadal to millennial past environmental changes(including recent climate warming) constrained the genesis and development of fjord ecosystems and how that history might influence the structure and function of contemporary biota. The research is performed in a typical Antarctic fjord (Admiralty Bay on King George Island, South Shetlands) and based on chemical and biological stratiphication of short (<1m) and long (>5m) sediment cores. The following data will be delivered from vertical profiles of cores: grain size, chemical parameters including organic carbon and HPLC photosynthetic pigments, frequency of diatoms, foraminifers and ostracods as well as 14C and 210Pb dating.  The most important achievement of this part of studies that started within the ClicOPEN project seems to be finding of a new species of foraminifer: Cribroelphidium webbi sp. nov. (Majewski & Tatur 2009) that is considered as a perfect indicator of marine environments adjacent to the glacier front.



  • AP-6: Analysis and quantification of melt water induced erosion and sediment deposition in marine coastal environments – inter-calibraion with lacustrine archives at Fildes Peninsula

    Stephen Roberts, British Antactic Survey (BAS), United Kingdom

    This project will: (i) use the nature of, and rates of change in biological, sedimentological, geochemical parameters from modern and past lake sediments on Fildes Peninsula and Potter Peninsula on King George Island (KGI) to quantify the nature, timing and rate of melt water induced erosion into lacustrine and marine environments on KGI; (ii) determine the influence three key ‘warm’ periods (early Holocene ‘optimum’, the mid‐Holocene warm period and recent rapid regional (RRR) warm period) have had on the sedimentology and bio‐geochemistry of lake sediments on KGI. This project builds on Holocene climate and relative sea‐level change work undertaken by the British Antarctic Survey in 2005‐2010 as part of CACHE‐PEP and GRADES - QWAD research programs.


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Rapid glacial retreat at the Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP): chemical flux & environmental consequences (DFG - PP 1158 Antarctic Program)

  • AP-7: The geochemical response of sedimentary archives to rapid recent glacier retreat at the Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP): from source to sink

    Hans-Jürgen Brumsack, Patrick Monien, ICBM, Oldenburg University, Germany

    The aim of the project is to assess whether the documented temperature increase and associated glacier retreat in Potter Cove are reflected in the biogeochemistry of coastal sediments. These sediments serve as climatic archives and we are looking for evidence of glacier retreat episodes within the recent past. Marine sediment cores and the particulate load of glacial melt waters draining into Potter Cove will be characterized by inorganic geochemical proxies (major and trace elements), which may reflect the presumed paleoenvironmental changes. DFG grant no. BR 775/25-1

  • AP-8: Sources and reaction pathways of soluble Fe from the Western Antarctic Peninsula to the Southern Ocean

    Michael Staubwasser, Susann Henkel, University of Cologne / Sabine Kasten, AWI, Germany

    The objective of this project is to reveal sources and mechanisms responsible for high supply of soluble Fe in regions close to ocean islands in the otherwise HPLC Southern Ocean with the common effect of stimulating plankton growth. The focus of this study will be on King George Island (KGI), Western Antarctic Peninsula. Fe isotopes from glacial outwash material, shelf sediments and porewaters, and transects of water column profiles together with full diagenetic inorganic geochemical profiling will be used to fingerprint Fe sources and supply pathways. DFG grant no. STA 936/5-1 and KA 2769/3-1

  • AP-9: Trace metals in the Antarctic bivalve Laternula elliptica - Indicators of environmental change?

    Dorothee Wilhelms-Dick, Harald Poigner, Doris Abele, Thomas Brey, AWI, Germany

    Calcareous shells and skeletons of long-lived species are archives of past environmental and ecological conditions. In the WAP area, we use the bivalve Laternula elliptica as  “bio-recorder”, to reconstruct growth history - and thus living conditions – over the last decades to centuries. We test the hypothesis that trace element (Fe, Mn) concentrations in both tissues and shell matrix of the Antarctic soft shell clam Laternula elliptica reflect melt water driven trace element load in the environment. The tissue should reflect the acute concentrations, whereas the shell archives signals of glacial development and melting in space and over time. Trace element uptake, incorporation and release by the bivalve L. elliptica will be investigated in experiments, by exposing bivalves to particulate and dissolved iron Fe. Fe uptake into different tissues and the pathways of incorporation into shell will be analyzed. Further, animals will be collected from sites with fast and slow glacier melt rates at King-George Island and incorporation of Fe and Mn into yearly growth bands measured with LA-ICP-MS. DFG grant no. AB124/11-1


  • AP-13:  Polar beach-ridges as climate archives (Quaternary of King George Island, South Shetland Islands, Antarctica) (PolarBeach)

    Sebastian Lindhorst, Christian Betzler, Ilona Schutter (GPI, University of Hamburg) / H. Christian Hass (AWI)

    The potential of polar beach-ridges as archives of climate variations will be tested. The new approach of the planned investigations is to decipher the   internal beach-ridge architecture using geophysical and sedimentological data in an integrated approach. Controlling factors on beach-ridge development are waves, sea-level, and sediment supply. As all of these react on climatic changes, the sediments of beach ridges bear the potential to host a valuable record of even short climate changes. Ground-penetrating radar (GPR), sedimentological data, geological mapping, GPS leveling, and radiocarbon dating will provide a solid database for our interpretations, and allow for a sequence-stratigraphic interpretation. A new process-oriented model for the genesis of polar beach ridges will be established that also allows predicting changes under the recent global warming regime. For this purpose, beach-ridge systems along the coasts of Maxwell Bay and adjacent Potter Cove (King George Island, South Shetland Islands) will be investigated. The focus of the proposed study is on the younger Holocene sediments, but older beach systems will be incorporated for comparison if present. DFG grant no. LI 2005/1-1

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Associated projects from Instituto Antártico Argentino (IAA)

  • AP-10: Antarctic macroalgae under a global change scenario

    Liliana Quartino, Gabriela Campana & Dolores Deregibus, IAA, Argentina

    This study will address the following key questions: (1) How do Antarctic benthic algae react to different kinds of stressors caused by global climate change (sedimentation, lower salinity, increasing temperature, UV radiation)? (2) Is the depth zonation of the ecologically important Antarctic macroalgae (in terms of biomass and biodiversity) influenced by global change due to the changing environmental conditions? (3) Is environmental perturbation in new ice-free areas affecting macroalgal capability of proving habitats? (4) How would some climate change - related effects (increased temperature, reduced salinity and increased sedimentation) and UVBR affect the trophic interactions between macroalgae and dominant herbivores?
    The following methodologies will be applied: (a) Analysis of the structure of the community of benthic macroalgae in five new ice-free areas (macroalgal diversity, relative abundance and richness); (b) Determination of the patterns of early colonization and succession: in situ long term colonization experiments on artificial substrates; (c) Analysis of the structure of mesofaunal community and epiphytes on macroalgae in relation to algal architecture and environmental perturbation level: new ice-free areas vs sites with no/very low glacial impact; (d) Evaluation of individual and combined effects of RUV, temperature, salinity and sediment load on algal-herbivore trophic interactions.
  • AP-11: Coastal geology and sedimentary environments in 25 de Mayo (KGI) Island, Antarctica

    Tamara Manograsso Czalbowski, Rodolfo del Valle, Sergio Marenssi, IAA, Argentina

    Sedimentary records can be a useful tool to understand environmental change conditions due to climatic changes. This study will be focused in glaciologic, lacustrine and marine variations at present and during late Quaternary in Potter Peninsula, King George Island. For this purpose, cores of approximately 6 meters long will be obtained along Matias and Potter creeks, at the beach and intertidal sectors, as well as in the main lacustrine sectors. In some areas, correlation of cores will be supported applying Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) and topographic measures.  Main methodologies to perform environmental characterization include recognition and description of sedimentary facies and statistical studies. Also, to determinate the type of source rocks, degree of chemical weathering and depositional conditions, mineralogical identification and biogeochemical analysis will be realized.

  • AP-12: Glacio-climatic, geocryologic and hydrological changes at 25 de Mayo (King George) Island

    Rodolfo del Valle, Eugenio Yermolin, Hernán Sala, Adrián Atencio (IAA), Natalia Herrera (Servicio Meteorológico Nacional), Adrián Silva Busso (Instituto Nacional del Agua), Argentina

    The climate change observed at the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula (AP) is one the most remarkable around the world. Its impacts over glaciers and permafrost have been quantified more frequently at its eastern coast. Due to the fact that climatic and glaciological conditions are different between the eastern and western coasts it is important to measure the mass balance at the west of the AP. Simultaneously, it is essential also to quantify the hydrological and geocryological aspects associated to the already known glaciological changes. To achieve these objectives, besides the use of the glaciological conventional methods (stakes and GPS), recently and already proven hydrologic and geoelectric techniques will be used.


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