We left from Buenos Aires the 2nd of January 2013 and the same day late at night we arrived at Carlini Station! Since we arrived we have been very busy organizing all the samplings and activities in the labs. Our research is dependent on boats and diving support so weather conditions are extremely important for us. January was a cloudy and cold month but in general in was not too windy allowing us to work a lot with the zodiacs.
I am working with the new ice free areas in Potter Cove. Due to global climate warming and a consequent decrease of the glacier, new areas have become available for benthic colonization. We are focusing on the ecology and ecophysiology of macroalgae in these new areas. During this expedition, we’ve performed PAR (Photosynthetic Active Radiation) and CTD (Conductivity Temperature Depth) measurements, monitored long term macroalgae successional experiments and recorded underwater videos and photos. In addition, we are surveying a long term ice scouring experiment to assess and compare the ice disturbance frequency between two different areas.
We came up with very interesting results during this campaign, for example with a long term macroalgae successional experiment in Island D which is an area with high sediment input and ice disturbance. Three years ago tiles were installed at the sea floor and they have been monitored once a month. Over the years tiles have been colonized by diatoms and very few and small macroalgae (a). Surprisingly, this summer tiles were found with a significant increase of macroalgal cover and biomass (b)!
A new and interesting activity was to participate on the Scientific Seminars at Escudero Station, INACH. These seminars are organized every Wednesday and we participated in the seminar with focus in Phycology. It is a great idea and an opportunity to stimulate the contact among researchers working at King George Island.
All these activities are part of the cooperation between the Macroalgae groups of the Instituto Antartico Argentino (Lili Quartino, Gabriela Campana and myself) and the AWI (Christian Wiencke and Katharina Zacher). Carlini is a great and inspiring place to carry out interesting scientific investigations and to collaborate and interact with other people from different disciplines, institutes, countries and cultures!