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INDIAN JOURNAL OF MARINE SCIENCES

Total visitors: 1,738 since 09-03-09

 

Volume 37 Number 4                                                                                                               December 2008

 

 

 

CONTENTS

 

 

MESSAGE

339

Shri Kapil Sibal, Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Government of India

 

EDITORIAL

341

International Polar Year 2007-08

 

INTERVIEW

343

Policies and prospects of Indian Polar Research — Interview of Shri Kapil Sibal, Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Government of India

 

GUEST COLUMN

352

Polar Research in India, Shailesh Nayak

 

GENERAL ARTICLE

358

International Polar Year and CSIR contribution to Antarctica research, J Sundaresan

 

RESEARCH ARTICLES

 

Special issue on Antarctic and Southern Oean — Geoscientific and Biological Studies

371

Preface, Neloy Khare, Rasik Ravindra and Steve R Rintoul (Guest Editors)

373

The role of Southern Ocean in past, present and future climate: A strategy for the International Polar Year, Stephen R Rintoul

386

Antarctica and the Southern ocean: Paleoclimatology of the deep freeze, S Rajan & N Khare

391

History of heavy metals contamination in lacustrine sediments of Admiralty bay, King George Island, Antarctic Peninsula, Licínio M V S, S R Patchineelan, H S Evangelista & D R Araripe

396

Continuous monitoring of seismicity by Indian permanent seismological observatory at Maitri, E C Malaimani, N Ravi Kumar, Simanchal Padhy, S V R R Rao, G B Navin Chander,
G S Srinivas & A Akilan

404

Strain accumulation studies between Antarctica and India through geodetic tying of two continents from continuous GPS measurements, N Ravi Kumar, E C Malaimani & A Akilan

412

Seismic imaging of glaciomarine sediments of Antarctica: Optimizing the acquisition parameters, Dhananjai Pandey, Anil Chaubey, S Rajan

419

Crustal structure deduced from Gravity Modeling off Prydz Bay, East Antarctica, U K Singh, S Rajan & D K Pandey

424

Studies on the nutrient distribution in the Southern Ocean waters along the 45 °E transect,
A Rajakumar, R Alagarsamy, N Khare, R Saraswat & M M Subramaniam

430

Actiniscus pentasterias, an endoskeletal siliceous dinoflagellates from Southern Ocean sediments, Jyotsana Rai, Rahul Garg & Neloy Khare

435

Some morphometric characteristics of Priyadarshini water body at Schirmacher Oasis, Central Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica with special reference to its bathymetry, N Khare,
S K Chaturvedi, R Saraswat, R Srivastava, R Raina & A Wanganeo

439

Characteristics of Macrobenthic Assemblage from sub-littoral sediment off the Lazarev Sea, East Antarctica, Baban Ingole

446

Antarctic cyanobacteria as a source of phycocyanin: An assessment, S P Shukla, Jay S Singh,
S Kashyap, D D Giri & A K Kashyap

450

Scopes and trends of Antarctic invertebrate faunal research with special reference to Southern ocean, east Antarctica and Schirmacher oasis, A K Hazra & Bulganin Mitra

455

Distribution and status of Antarctic seals and penguins along the Princess Astrid Coast, East Antarctica, Syed Ainul Hussain & Ajai Saxena

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INDIAN JOURNAL OF MARINE SCIENCES

 

Volume 37Number 4

 

December 2008

 

EDITORIAL

 

International Polar Year 2007-08

 


The concept of present International Polar Year (IPY) was approved by World Meteorological Organisation in 14th World Meteorological Congress held during 5-24 May 2003 at Geneva. The resolution 34 (Cg-XIV) of the Congress endorses the fundamental contribution of the first (1882-83) and second (1932-1933) IPYs to the understanding of hydro meteorological processes in Polar Regions. International cooperation to determine present and future climate change and the state of environmental changes in Polar Regions was the first scientific programme envisaged for the present IPY. World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has approved the idea of holding IPY for the period 2007-08 at the 50th anniversary of International Geophysical Year (IGY). WMO is the successor of International Meteorological Organisation (IMO) founded in 1873. WMO is the recognized body of United Nations Organization and fosters collaboration between the National Meteorological and Hydrological services of its 188 members. International Council for Science (ICSU) has independently initiated IPY 2007-08 in June 2003 after wide consultation with international scientific community. ICSU is a non-governmental organization. It has a global membership consisting 111 National scientific bodies and 29 International scientific unions. ICSU and WMO formed a joint committee for IPY in October 2004. These bodies together had spawned the second IPY and the IGY (1957-58). IPY and IGY have the unique realm of international cooperation in science. Period of IPY is from
1st March 2007 to 1st March 2009.

IPY has fostered new research ideas, procedures and expectations. Six major research themes of IPY placed for immediate attention of global scientific community are: to determine the present environmental status of the Polar Regions; to quantify and understand, past and present natural environmental and social change in the Polar Regions and to improve projections of future change; to advance understanding on all scales of the links and interactions between Polar Regions and rest of the globe and of the processes controlling these; to investigate the frontiers of science in polar regions; to use the unique vantage point of the polar regions to develop and enhance observatories from the interior of the Earth to the Sun and the cosmos beyond; to investigate the cultural, historical and social processes that shape the sustainability of circumpolar human societies and to identify their unique contributions to global cultural diversity and citizenship. The IPY joint committee have endorsed 228 projects as a part of the IPY 2007-08 activities. It consists 57 projects on education and outreach initiatives. The projects have been simulated from the ideas of researchers in sixty-three countries. Core participants of IPY are the self-organizing groups of researchers, their parent organization, and existing bodies with a role in Polar Regions research and monitoring and consortia of such bodies. WMO and ICSU have set up an IPY joint committee for scientific planning, coordination and guidance of the International Polar Year.

Global scientific communities have dedicated themselves to the present IPY in an unprecedented way. Almost all of the countries are coupled in this unique scientific venture. The poles have unique position to understand many processes and phenomena, such as, solar terrestrial interactions, the rotation of earths inner core and the strength of its magnetic dipole, and cosmic ray detection. Observations from both North Pole and South Pole will benefit astronomy and astrophysics. Polar regions can serve as natural platforms for advanced interdisciplinary path breaking research projects. Present IPY proposals consist internationally coordinated atmospheric and oceanic transects to document temporal and spatial variability of climate ecosystems. Projects to monitor oceanic environment of the polar oceans especially physical, ecological, biogeochemical properties and measurement of circumpolar volume of sea ice were also part of the IPY proposals. IPY may facilitate advanced and improved technologies like autonomous under water vehicles acoustically tracked floats and intelligent unmanned under water systems for consistent data collection. The coordinated satellite image of Polar Regions would form the prime achievement of the present venture. The beginning of the space age, i.e., launch of Sputnik on October 1957, was after three months of IGY. There has been tremendous progress in space science in the last fifty years. The Polar Regions have sensitive locations for research on impact of solar processes on climate change and space observation. Satellites can provide high spatial and temporal resolution data on Polar Regions. Dedicated space missions on Polar Regions, such as, ‘Cryosat’ of European Space Agency may secure significant data to monitor environmental status of Polar Regions. The development of existing observation points and installation of internationally coordinated long term multidisciplinary observing systems and networks will be the most imperative heritage of IPY 2007-08. The IPY 2007-08 have successfully channeled the innovation, creativity and imagination of international scientific community towards the Poles of earth.

Multidisciplinary observational networks with extensive spatial and temporal coverage on physical, biological and chemical parameters of atmosphere, oceans, land and ice is indispensable for assessing the polar environment. To develop infrastructure for long term, internationally coordinated multidisciplinary observation networks is obligatory. The above observational networks can provide critical bench mark data set for polar environment. The present IPY has initiated observation networks with the leverage of critical communication and power structure. A few observing systems endorsed as part of IPY are : An integrated Arctic Ocean observing system; Establishment of a southern hemisphere observing system, a coordinated inter agency effort linking space agencies and scientific institutions; Establishment of acoustic networks to monitor the movement of marine mammals and fishes in both polar regions. This will facilitate any permanent station in polar region to fortify co-located simultaneous diverse data collection on earth’s atmosphere, oceans, magnetosphere, seismic structure of the lithosphere and mantle. The imminent and consistent observation will emanate scientists in future to isolate short-term variability from long-term change for topics ranging from climate to the earth’s magnetic dipole.

IPY has many projects of new frontiers. Mapping biodiversity of the Gakkel Ridge (Arctic Ocean), an interdisciplinary geophysical/geological study of the sub glacial Gamburtsev Mountains (East Antarctica) and exploring the extremophlies of ice sheet sub glacial environments like sub glacial lakes are a few of such projects. International collaboration and coordination is essential to divulge solutions related to above projects. Modern technologies and tools, like remote sensing, airborne and overland traverse geophysical survey and ice drilling, are inevitable to implement the same. Pooling of resources among scientific community is indispensable for the successful completion of above scientific explorations and investigations. The Polar Region has unique logistics for research on important facets of planet earth and beyond. It will host many new observation centers. The new observatories and new facilities developed in the existing observatories range in focus from the inner core to atmosphere physics to the heliosphere and studies of neutrinos. The present IPY can coordinate to optimize the use of logistics and promote the exchange of data among present and future polar stations.

IPY is the quest for collective solutions of enduring problems and subtle natural phenomena in the facet of mankind. IGY and IPY have altered the destiny of scientific exploration and research especially in earth science and space science. . The path breaking discoveries like jet stream, continental drift, Van-Allen Radiation belt encircling the earth are the legacy of IPY. The


innovative model of Antarctic governance based on international scientific and political agreements of Antarctica Treaty in 1961 was a significant development of IGY. The IPY 2007-08 could facilitate a further advanced international scientific cooperation in the Arctic. The prevalent and interminable legacy of IPY to the civilization is the international scientific collaboration.


 


Indian Journal of Marine Sciences

Vol. 37(4), December 2008, pp. 343-351

Polices and prospects of Indian Polar Research — Interview of Shri Kapil Sibal,
Hon’ble Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences,
Government of India

India has launched the first Indian Scientific Antarctic Expedition in 1981. Since then there were 28 scientific expeditions to Antarctica. Polar research in India has witnessed many significant developments for the last twenty-eight years. Many noteworthy projects and programs have been developed to promote Polar Research in India during the residency of Shri Kapil Sibal, Hon’ble Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Government of India. The XXX Antarctica Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) held on 30th April 2007 at New Delhi and the Indian research base ‘Himadri’, established in 2008 at Arctic, are the tangible mile stones of above projects. Shri Sibal has visited the Indian research base at Antarctic and Arctic and has personally experience the harsh working environment of our dedicated scientists at the Indian research stations of Antarctic and Arctic. Among the countries associated with Polar Research Shri Sibal is the only Minister, who has under taken the torturous and risky challenge of going to Antarctica and Arctic and has a first hand experience of working environment of researchers. IJMS presents the response of Shri Sibal on the ongoing projects and future prospects of Polar Research Program of India.

 


IJMS             Will you explain the major activities and the policies related to earth science

Kapil Sibal     The major thrust areas of Research pertaining to Antarctica are as follows:

                     Cryosphere Research

(a)  Ice Core Project: Glacio-chemical studies on surface snow and shallow ice cores from the coastal and inland region of East Antarctica (detailed science plan is attached)

(b)  Drilling to shallower depth for unravelling Holocene climate variability

(c)  Monitoring of polar ice for its recession, snow accumulation and ablation studies on ice shelf

                     Palaeoclimatic Research

The ongoing research focuses on exploring the correlation between the southern tropical Indian Ocean (STIO), SW monsoon precipitation variability and the high latitude climate change. This will be explored by comparison with existing Antarctic ice core records such as Vostok or EPICA. Several studies have suggested strong correlation between the Indian summer monsoon and northern hemisphere high latitude climate. But the linkages of Indian monsoon with the southern hemisphere have received little attention in spite of the fact that the SST and the upper-ocean heat content of the STIO is the key factor for the evolution of boreal monsoon and plays a major role in moisture convergence and its supply to the Asian summer monsoon. Similarly, several other meteorological studies have indicated that Antarctica exerts influence on Indian monsoon via atmospheric pathways. This study aims to determine whether the presently observed relationships existed in the past and what was its response to the periods of major climatic changes in different timescales. In this regard, multi-proxy study is underway in a core, BP-13/A (Location: 7°21´S lat., 61°2´E long.) that was collected during February 2006.

Preliminary tasks that have already been completed include separation of bulk foraminifera from alternate horizons throughout the core, determination of stable oxygen and carbon isotopic composition up to 200 cm, moisture content determination and TOC (Total Organic Carbon) determination. Currently, handpicking of selected planktic species of foraminifera for AMS radiocarbon dating is going on. Future plans would include reconstruction of SW monsoon precipitation using a sediment core from the Indian west coast and SST reconstruction from tropical Indian Ocean using Mg/Ca paleothermometry

                     Polar Biological Research

(a)  To assess the functional diversity of psychrotrophic/ psychrophilic bacteria along redox gradients with special reference to metal microbe interactions and nitrogen-sulphur-carbon cycling in lake water, snow and ice from the Larsemann Hills region, E. Antarctica. This could yield insights on the impact of allochthonus inputs on Antarctic ecosystems.

(b)  Long  term  biogeochemical  flux measurements of N2O in the Kongsfjorden, Ny-Alesund, Svalbard to understand the effects of climate change on aquatic ecology.

(c)  Polar  bio-diversity  and  study  of microbes for biotechnological use

                     Polar Remote Sensing

Satellite Applications and Remote Sensing in Polar Regions for study of sea ice fluctuation.

                     Southern Ocean Oceanography

(a)  Hydrodynamics  of  the  Southern ocean and the influence of topography on currents

(b)  Chlorophyll and nutrient variations

(c)  Dissolved CO2 in sea water

(d)  New production studies

(e)  Carbonate production and pH of the ocean waters

IJMS             The scientific organizations associated with polar studies and the

Kapil Sibal     Indian polar program is co-ordinated by National Centres for Antarctic and Ocean Research – an autonomous research institute under MoES.

The polar program is a multi-institutional program where more than 60 research laboratories (CSIR, DST, ISRO, DRDO), several Universities, Survey Organisations like GSI, SOI, BSI, ZSI etc are talking part.

IJMS             You are the only Indian minister to have visited the Antarctic as well as the Arctic. What was it that inspired you to take up the torturous and risky challenge of going to Antarctica, the coldest place on earth?

Kapil Sibal     Indian scientists are working in Antarctica since 1981. Twenty five of our dedicated young scientists, who venture to brave the hash climate of the polar region round the year, require full moral support. It was in this connection that I paid a visit to India’s farthest research base. This also provided me an opportunity to study first hand, the ground realities existing there.

IJMS             What was your experience like?

Kapil Sibal     Splendid. There is no place on earth like Antarctica. I was stunned and spell bound by nature’s most spectacular piece of immaculate beauty.

IJMS             Did your firsthand experience of the icy terrains of Antarctica translate into any tangible benefits for the scientists stationed there?

Kapil Sibal     Yes. I crossed the polar continental ice from the Novo-runway to the Indian Station Maitri and experienced the movement over icy terrain. I also saw the signs of the ablation and retreat of the polar ice. My visit did result in providing better amenities to the scientists and enthuse them to better scientific output.

IJMS             Has your experience in the Arctic been any different from the one you had while touring Antarctica?

Kapil Sibal     Arctic region, especially the Ny-Alesund where Indian Station is located, is quite different from the Antarctic. The temperature in the Arctic winter is comparable to the summer temperature of the Antarctica. Our scientists in Ny-Alesund are working in close cooperation with other European and Asian countries that have the research station in that area. It is essentially a community living in Ny-Alesund where as at Maitri, in Antarctica we are all to ourselves as research stations are located far from each other.

IJMS             Are there any basic differences in the scientific agenda at the two places?

Kapil Sibal     The science plan for Antarctic has been in operation for the last two decades and is being updated from time to time keeping pace with the modern scientific quest for solutions. In the Arctic, we have just made a beginning and are still in the process of a equipping our station ‘Himadri’ which was inaugurated recently by me.

IJMS             We have plans of setting up the third station at Antarctica. What is the scientific agenda?

Kapil Sibal     The plans of establishing the third station in the Antarctica are moving as per schedule. The scientific agenda is essentially an extension of our broader science plan for the Antarctic being pursued in Maitri. Being closer to the open sea at the new site, we shall have a special focus on marine biology and oceanography. We shall also focus our attention on some key geological themes such as pre-Gondwana rift mechanism and the Gondwana fit between the eastern Ghat mobile belt of India and the Prydz bay of eastern Antarctica. As you know, the site of the new Indian base is located in the Prydz Bay region itself.

IJMS             Can you give us an idea of the annual budget for the Indian Polar research in both the Arctic and the Antarctic?

Kapil Sibal     The Indian Antarctic expedition has an annual budget of around 45-50 crores, whereas only 2.00 crores is spent annually in the Arctic.

IJMS             Polar research is demanding and extremely expensive. Just as questions are being raised about the money being spent on reaching the moon, what are we going to get out of research in the Antarctic and the Arctic region?

Kapil Sibal     Polar Regions offer an exceptional environment to study the natural processes operating on the earth, which cannot be recreated on main land. The research on microbial – diversity, climate change processes are going to have a large impact on our existence. Any investment in polar research is therefore essential for answering fundamental questions that are linked to human survival itself.

IJMS             What are the various programs that India has pushed forward as part of the International Polar Year?

Kapil Sibal     India has contributed strongly to the scientific & outreach program of IPY that will continue into 2008-09 & beyond. National Centre for Antarctic & Ocean Research (NCAOR, under the Ministry of Earth Sciences) is the national coordinating agency and has well defined scientific & outreach activities that seek to educate school children, general public & scientific community about the challenges & need for polar research.

                     Scientific Programme

Two scientific projects have been endorsed by the ICSU/WMO Joint Committee, which are Project id. 70 and Project id. 129:

Project id. 70: Monitoring of the upper ocean circulation, transport and water masses between Africa and Antarctica (short title: Upper-ocean characteristics between Africa and Antarctica) by Dr. A. Luis, National Centre for Antarctic & Ocean Research, Goa.

It envisages profiling of density structure in the upper ocean by launching expendable CTD probes from a cruising ship between South Africa and Antarctica (18-76°E). The data collection campaign for the project, under the umbrella of Climate of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean (CASO), a strategy for climate research for the IPY, started in January 2007 and shall be continued during austral summer of 2008-09. The hydrographic data so collected have been analyzed for quantifying the changes in the vertical density structure by comparing with historical data. Using T-S diagrams water mass characterizations have been carried out for every 5 degree latitude interval. In an attempt to understand the circulation, geostrophic currents and Ekman components estimated from ship's wind observations have been merged to obtain the total zonal transport along the near-meridional sections.

Project id. 129: Land Based Anthropogenic Impact of Coarse Particles on Antarctic Shelf (short title: Aerosol Impact on Antarctica) by Dr. A. Tiwari, National Centre for Antarctic & Ocean Research, Goa.

This study aims to collect the samples on the ship course starting from Goa (India) to the India bay at Antarctica (70°45.94'S and 11°44.13'E) and further en route to the site of India’s third station at Larsemann Hills (69°24'S and 76°10'E). For aerosol observations necessary instruments like High Volume Sample, Aerosol Spectrometer, Aethalometer, Quartz Crystal Cascade Impactor, Sun Photometer were installed onboard expedition ship MV Emerald Sea. Automatic Weather Station was also installed onboard to understand the wind effect on transport of aerosol. Experiment was carried over Arabian Sea to Southern Ocean and India Bay in Antarctica. Further observations were extended at Maitri station.

IJMS             Have we come out with any new program?

Kapil Sibal     India has come forward with a new project i.e. Study of the short-term Holocene climate variability’s in Antarctica and the Southern latitudes utilizing sediment cores from the Indian Ocean sector of the Southern ocean, the cores from the periglacial lakes and the shallow ice-cores from Antarctica  by scientists of National Centre for Antarctic & Ocean Research and other participating organizations such as Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany, Indian Institute of Geomagnetism, Geological Survey of India, Annamalai University, Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology etc.

This proposed project seeks to illuminate rapid decadal to millennial scale climate changes at high latitudes by employing high-resolution studies on the ice cores and lake sediment cores from Antarctica and marine sediment cores from the Southern Ocean.

 

Following papers & special volumes in various scientific journals have been published to further dispense the information regarding IPY themes:

1. Special issue of Indian Journal of Marine Science entitled “Antarctic & Southern Ocean – Physical Processes”, edited by N. Khare, R. Ravindra and B. Huang published in March 2008.

2. Rasik Ravindra and Manish Tiwari. International Polar Year (2007-2008). Hill Geographer, 2008.

3. Special section in Current Science that contains several scientific papers on Indian Antarctic studies is being published.

Another issue of Indian Journal of Marine Science that is entitled “Antarctic & Southern Ocean – Geoscientific & Biological Studies”, edited by N. Khare, R. Ravindra and S.R. Rintoul (in the press).

IJMS             One of the objectives of the International Polar Year is to create awareness, interest and understanding of schoolchildren and the general public in the purpose and value of polar research. Have we initiated any program in this respect?

Kapil Sibal     NCAOR, an autonomous institution of my Ministry, is actively involved in the outreach activities related to IPY focusing on generating awareness within the general public about the causes & impact of climate change with reference to Polar Regions. NCAOR had sponsored the visit of two students to Antarctica during the 25th Indian Antarctic Expedition (IAE) under the “Students Participation Programme”. A series of lectures were delivered by one of them at more than twenty schools & colleges in the rural & suburban areas of Maharashtra regarding the wonders of Antarctica. Students from several schools and colleges and scientists/visitors from various Indian institutes/foreign countries have visited NCAOR & its labs, especially ice core laboratory, to get firsthand experience of polar research.

IJMS0001

NCAOR has also collaborated with WWF-India (World Wide Fund for Nature) for carrying out the outreach activities to schools throughout the vast expanses of India. In this regard a schedule of events was released on 1st  March 2007, which includes competitions such as poster & model making, stamp designing, petition writing etc. for school children that will be held during 2007-2009. The first competition, poster making & slogan writing, was held at New Delhi on April 10, 2007 and prizes were distributed by me on the Earth Day in 2007. The winners of these competitions were felicitated & invited for launching of the XXVII Indian Antarctic Expedition at Goa on 5th  December 2007.

Under the aegis of IPY 2007-2008, a 14 year old Indian student – Sh. Omar Beg, from Father Agnel School, New Delhi was selected by Student On Ice, for their annual Arctic expedition that was held from August 2nd to 17th, 2007.

Calendar of events

NCAOR has supplied audio-visual & printed material on polar science to Nehru Science Centre for their exhibitions on the theme “The Story of Poles”, which was inaugurated on 2nd November 2007 by Shri Rasik Ravindra, Director, NCAOR. The exhibition consisted of graphical panels, 3D interactive exhibits, animations, charts, 3D models, computer kiosks etc. NCAOR also participated & financially supported the “4th Science-Expo” organized by Nehru Science Centre at Mumbai from 11-15 January 2008 and “Science Fiesta – 2008” organized by Goa Science Centre at Panji, Goa from 26-28 February 2008. Lectures were delivered by NCAOR scientists at both the exhibitions  that  highlighted  the   effort  of  Indian  scientists  in unraveling  the  mysteries  of  the  past using ice cores and other anthropogenic problems faced by Antarctic environment.

Moreover, under the "Popular Book Series" initiative of the Ministry of Earth Sciences, a book entitled "Story of Antarctica" written and published by NCAOR was recently released in Hyderabad. Similar books on "Story of the Oceans" and "Glaciers - The Rivers of Ice"  have  already  been  published &   distributed   to   students   in  different states of India. Financial sponsorship  has  been  extended  to  the “Geographical Society of the Northeast Hill Region”, India for popularizing polar science and other aims of IPY to general public in Northeastern states.

Book Cover-modified

IJMS             The ecosystem in the Antarctic is a fragile one. Will not research activities being pursued by various countries impact the ecosystem there?

Kapil Sibal     Every country conducting scientific activity in Antarctica follows the Madrid Protocol on environmental protection that ensures minimum footprint of human activity. Any change forced on the ecosystem by anthropogenic activity is monitored to keep the impact under control.

IJMS             Cooperation to conserve marine life around Antarctica.

Kapil Sibal     India is an active participant and the member of (CCAMLR) Commission on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources. As a signatory to the Convention on Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources that came into force in 1982 as Article IX to the Antarctic Treaty, India is committed and has been playing a significant role. India was the Chair of the CCAMLR for five years in Nineties.

IJMS             Tourism to Antarctica has caught the fancy of people lately. It could sound the death knell for the already fragile Antarctic ecosystem. What is India's stand on tourism in the Antarctic region?

Kapil Sibal     India does not promote tourism in Antarctica. In fact, in the New Delhi meeting of the XXX Antarctic Treaty Consultative Committee Meeting,  India  advocated  a concept of controlled tourism to draw  a  balance  between  the  fragile ecosystem and human inquisitiveness. More and more Antarctic Treaty nations are now feeling that some sort of a mechanism must exist to monitor/control the growing tourist visits to Antarctica.

IJMS             The ice at the poles is melting at unprecedented rates today. This is a catastrophic trend that could threaten polar wildlife and accelerate global warming. What can and is being done about it?

Kapil Sibal     Melting of ice as a consequence of warming is a global phenomenon and it has to be tackled collaboratively and internationally. However, the world is aware of the problem and climate change research is a major theme being researched all over the world. India too has set up a Climate Research Centre at IITM, Pune. NCAOR at Goa is also studying the changes in climate over last 20,000 years through different proxies such as ice cores, glacial lake sediments etc

Every nation is trying to cut on its emission of the CFC/and green house gases, which is considered to be the main cause of global warming.

IJMS             Closer home, one of the eight missions outlined in the National Action Plan on Climate Change is safeguarding the Himalayan glacier and mountain ecosystems. How do we propose to do that?

Kapil Sibal     Major studies on the dynamics of Himalayan glaciers, including the associated mountain ecosystem have been launched by DST in collaboration with Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, space Application Centre, National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research, Garhwal, Roorkee and Jawaharlal Universities, Snow and Avalanches Centre  of  DRDO,  Geological Survey of India etc. A concerted effort has been made to identify working groups and launch expeditions to select glaciers in different climatic and geographic zones. An institute dedicated to Glaciological  Research  is  being  set  up  under  DST.  An  Expert Group on Dynamics of Himalayan Glaciers  is  already  operating  and has leading experts from all over India, on it.

IJMS             The Polar Regions are home to a vast and untapped reservoir of natural resources. There are fears that very soon the Arctic would be iceless and then there could be a scramble for the resources it has to offer. What are your views?

Kapil Sibal     Energy resources are known to exist in the Arctic region. Unlike Antarctica, the sovereignty in Artic is well established. However, the International Arctic Research Council and several such bodies which are keeping a close watch on the depleting sea ice in the Arctic will have to play a major role in bringing the risks of over exploitation to light, as it will surely have a devastating effect on the fragile Arctic eco system, including the dwindling of wild life.

IJMS             Drilling in the Arctic has long caused much controversy among environmentalists. Human activities are also threatening the biodiversity of the region. Now that we have set up a base in the Arctic, are we trying to take up the cause of environmental degradation in the Arctic in some way?

Kapil Sibal     We are part of the ten – nation strong group including Norway, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Korea, China, Japan etc., that has taken up research on climate and biological diversity in Arctic.

As a member of the Ny-Alesund Science Management Group and the Svalbard Science Forum, India is a keen contributor to the cause of upkeep of the environment in the Arctic region.

IJMS             The European Union recently called for countries to pool data from scientific research in the Arctic. What are your views?

Kapil Sibal     India has been invited by European Science Foundation in its climate study program. Scientists of NCAOR Goa are taking up collaborative Science projects with some of European countries. The scientific data must be shared for benefit of mankind.

IJMS             To really understand global climate change in all its complexity we still need more research. But how much research, and how quickly do we need to act before it is too late?

Kapil Sibal     Yes. Global climate change is a complex phenomenon where several parameters are involved. The intricacies of ocean – earth –atmosphere linked processes must be understood.

Substantial physico-chemical oceanographic data from ocean surrounding the continents and other weather data from land and air are to be used in mathematical models to understand complexities of the phenomenon.

There is lot of research yet to be done and the sooner we get closer to the result, the better it is.

 

Indian Journal of Marine Sciences

Vol. 37(4), December 2008, pp. 352-357

Polar research in India.

Shailesh Nayak*

India has great strides in Polar sciences since the first Indian Scientific Antarctic Expedition.   It has bi-hemispherical approach to Polar science and have permanent stations at Antarctic.  Recently, ‘Himadri’ the Indian research base at Arctic have been established in 2008.    Atmospheric science, geosciences, biology, environmental sciences, human physiology, medical science, cold region engineering and communication are the prime programs pursued consistently as a part of Polar research.  Monitoring of fluctuations of the Antarctic sea ice indicate an increase of about 2.4% increase per decade.  Systematic geological mapping of about 20, 000 sq.km area of east Antarctica had been completed. Many scientific institutions like Geological Survey of India, India Meteorological Department, Survey of India, Zoological Survey of India, Botanical Survey of India, DRDO and CSIR are regular participants in annual Indian Scientific Expeditions to Antarctica.   There is a substantial increase in the financial support to the Polar research.   The National Center for Antarctic and Ocean Research established in April 1999 is mandated to plan, promote, coordinate and execute the polar research program of India, as the nodal agency.   

Key words: Polar, Antarctica, Arctic, mapping, ozone, continent, expedition


 

Indian Journal of Marine Sciences

Vol. 37(4), December 2008, pp. 358-370

 

 

 

International Polar Year and CSIR contribution to Antarctica research

J Sundaresan*

Polar regions have consistent task in molding the global environment. International scientific collaboration is inevitable for initiating research projects in Arctic and Antarctic for understanding several natural processes. Earlier explorers and scientist had conceived the idea of International Polar Year (IPY) for collective scientific ventures to explore the impact of polar region in sprouting the earth’s environment. IPY is the biggest international collaborative scientific venture. IPY has the legacy of many pathbreking findings in science especially on earth and atmospheric sciences. The first Indian scientific expedition to Antarctica was during 1981. Council of Scientific and Industrial Research had specific prime assignments in developing Polar Research in India. NIO, a constituent establishment of CSIR was assigned a significant function in the first Indian Scientific expedition to Antarctica. Scientists working in CSIR laboratories have published more than 120 research papers in SCI journals on the biodiversity of flora and fauna of Antarctica, geology and geophysical aspects, atmospheric sciences and chemical characteristics of marine algae of Antarctica. CCMB one of the constituent establishment of CSIR owns 12.5% of the new species identified by global scientific community in Antarctica. NBRI, another constituent establishment of CSIR owns 12 new species of lichen from McLeod Island, Antarctica. National Physical Laboratory has been planning to setup a fully operational multi-instrument ionospheric real time monitoring facility both at Arctic and Antarctica and planned to run the facility for minimum 11 years. NGRI has achieved a globally major role in maintenance and improvement of a Global Reference Frame.

Keywords: Polar research, Arctic, Antarctic, lichen, cyanobacterium, geodesy, ionosphere

 

Indian Journal of Marine Sciences

Vol. 37(4), December 2008, pp. 373-385

 

The role of Southern Ocean in past, present and future climate: A strategy for
the International Polar Year

Stephen R Rintoul

CSIRO Wealth from Oceans National Research Flagship, Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre,
GPO Box 1538, Castray Esplanade, Hobart, Australia 7001, Australia.

*[Email: Steve.Rintoul@csiro.au]

The present study outlines a strategy for Southern Ocean climate research during the International Polar Year (IPY). The research is organized in five themes: Antarctica and the Southern Ocean in the global water cycle; Southern hemisphere teleconnections; Climate processes at the Antarctic continental margin; Climate – ecosystem – biogeochemistry interactions in the Southern Ocean; and Records of past Antarctic climate variability and change. To address these themes, an integrated IPY Southern Ocean observing system is needed. The observing system will include synoptic, multidisciplinary ocean transects; time series measurements; enhanced atmospheric measurements; and new paleoclimate data sets. The Southern Ocean IPY will leave a legacy of a targeted, affordable, sustained observing system and a circumpolar snap-shot to serve as a benchmark for the assessment of past and future change. The observations will inform development of models capable of improved projections of future change.

[Keywords: Southern Ocean; Climate Change; Biogeochemical cycle; International Polar Year]

 

Indian Journal of Marine Sciences

Vol. 37(4), December 2008, pp. 386-390

Antarctica and the Southern ocean: paleoclimatology of the deep freeze

S Rajan1 & N Khare2

National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research, Vascoda-gama, Goa 403 804, India

1*(E.mail: rajan@ncaor.org)

The present study consists of a review of the climatic evolution of the Antarctic and Southern Ocean realms since the first massive ice sheet build-up in Antarctica during the Cenozoic. It elucidates the strong link between the cryosphere, oceans and atmosphere. The above aspects are built on a wealth of proxy data from different archives and from across the globe. However, as the studies indicate, there are major limitations as well that hamper a proper understanding of the forcing mechanisms behind the long-term as well as abrupt climate changes. The most serious handicap is the lack of synchronization of records from various archives. Some critical areas such as the Southern Ocean remain grossly under sampled.

[Keywords: Southern Ocean, Cenozic, climate change, Neogene, glaciation]

 

Indian Journal of Marine Sciences

Vol. 37(4), December 2008, pp. 391-395

 

History of heavy metals contamination in lacustrine sediments of Admiralty bay, King George Island, Antarctic Peninsula

Licínio M V S1, S R Patchineelan2, H S Evangelista1, D R Araripe2

1Laboratório de Radioecologia e Mudanças Globais, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro Pavilhão Haroldo Lisboa da Cunha Rua São Francisco Xavier, 524 - Maracanã Rio de Janeiro. Brazil.

2Departamento de Geoquímica, Universidade Federal Fluminense.

*[Email:sam_pat_br@yahoo.com]

A temporal reconstruction of heavy metals contamination in Admiralty bay, King George Island, was conduced through the analyses of sediment profiles. Ages of the layers were determinated using 210Pb geochronology. Attempts had been made to examine the history of occupation and exploration of Admiralty bay based on the concentrations of the heavy metals present in the bay. Elements such as Cr, Cu and Ni, associated with paints and petroleum showed an increase in the sediment profiles of the points 1 and 5 that are in the vicinity of the focus areas. The above region has a history of fishing exploration which is nearby this research station.

[Keywords: Heavy metals; Admiralty bay, Antarctic; lacustrine sediments]

 

Indian Journal of Marine Sciences

Vol. 37(4), December 2008, pp. 396-403

 

Continuous monitoring of seismicity by Indian permanent seismological observatory at Maitri

 

E.C Malaimani*, N. Ravi Kumar, Simanchal Padhy, S.V.R.R. Rao, G.B. Navin Chander, G.S. Srinivas & A. Akilan

National Geophysical Research Institute, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Hyderabad-500 007, India

*[Email: ecm@ngri.res.in]

 

Maitri, Antarctica Seismological observatory has gone global by becoming one of the permanent stations in Antarctic Seismic Web Resource (AnSWeR). The global seismic events recorded at Maitri since inception show an increasing trend of seismic activity in and around Antarctica specifically in the larger oceanic part of the Indian Plate. Some significant observations made during the XXI, XXII and XXIII Indian Antarctic Expeditions (IAE) are presented here as representative observations. The MOHO (Mohorovicic Discontinuity or often simply referred to as the "Moho") depth (an average depth of 8 kilometers beneath the ocean basin and at an average depth of about 32 kilometers beneath the continents at which seismic waves change velocity) beneath Maitri has also been estimated to be 40 km using receiver function analysis with 67 receiver functions and 108 events. The increasing seismic activity in and around Antarctica and along the oceanic ridges in the Indian Ocean confirm the emerging deforming zone in the Indian Ocean between India and Antarctica. This increased seismic activity in this region gives an insight into the spreading rates of the ridges and reorganization of plate boundaries.

[Key words: Digital Broad Band Seismometer, SEISAN, local seismicity, Mid-oceanic ridges]

 

Indian Journal of Marine Sciences

Vol. 37(4), December 2008, pp. 404-411

Strain accumulation studies between Antarctica and India through geodetic tying of two continents from continuous GPS measurements

 

N. Ravi Kumar, E.C. Malaimani* & A. Akilan

National Geophysical Research Institute, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Hyderabad - 500 007. India

*[Email: ecm@ngri.res.in]

 

The geodynamical and crustal deformation processes in the south of Indian peninsula between India and Antarctica had been examined.  Two global networks (IND and ANT) that geodetically connect the two continents, the IGS Station at Diego Garcia (DGAR), as a common station between the two networks, had been chosen for the study. The data from 1997 to 2005 were used for above purpose. The present study elucidates the increase in baseline lengths between Kerguelen in Antarctic plate and other stations. Whereas the baseline lengths shorten between HYDE in Indian plate and other common stations. The GPS velocity fields of Maitri and other IGS stations in and around Antarctica in different plates relative to Kerguelen show the departure from rigid plate behaviour. This is in a manner consistent with the mapped intra plate stress field, deformations and seismicity in the region. The analysis shows lengthening of baselines for sites Yaragadee (YAR1) and Tidbinbilla (TID2) in Australian plate; and Seychelles (SEY1) and COCO in Indian plate. The above lengthening is at the rates of 5.3 cm/yr, 3.8 cm/yr, 5.6mm/yr and 5.5 cm/yr respectively. The station Hartebeesthoek (HRAO) in South African plate shows a trend of minimal shortening at the rate of 1.7 mm/yr. The velocities with uncertainties (±1s) are in good agreement with geodetic and geologic models. The present results are with precision of approximately 3-4 mm (North), 5-6 mm (East), and 10-12 mm (vertical). The accumulation of elastic strain, provide new information on the direction and rate of Indian plate motion, and intra plate seismicity of the Indian Ocean. The estimated elastic strain accumulation shows an increasing trend of 1.27 ´ 10-8 yr-1.

[Key words: Geodynamics; Crustal deformation; Kerguelen; strain accumulation]

 

Indian Journal of Marine Sciences

Vol. 37(4), December 2008, pp. 412-418

 

Seismic imaging of glaciomarine sediments of Antarctica: Optimizing the acquisition parameters

Dhananjai Pandey1*, Anil Chaubey2, S Rajan1

1National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research, Headland Sada, Vasco-da-Gama, Goa, India

2National Institute of Oceanography, Dona Paula, Panjim, Goa, India

*[Email: dhananjai@gmail.com]

This paper presents some of the significant points on the designing and acquisition parameters for multi-channel seismic reflection survey in the Antarctic waters with an emphasis of imaging Glaciomarine sediments. Due to their importance in unravelling the paleoclimatic clues, we stress on the practical aspects of seismic data acquisition focussed on targeting glaciomarine sediments on the Antarctic margin. We carried out extensive forward modelling exercise assuming sub-surface model parameters from the published literature pertaining to the Eastern Antarctic Margin (EAM).  The reason for choosing this area is that the Prydz Bay sector of EAM has been known to have undergone huge glacial sediment accumulation in the past due to its contiguity with the Amery Ice Shelf. In this article we suggest the best suited acquisition parameters for collecting high quality multi-channel seismic data in order to image the Glaciomarine sediments in this region.

[Key words: Antarctic, Glaciomarine sediments, Prydz Bay, Seismic reflection].

Indian Journal of Marine Sciences

Vol. 37(4), December 2008, pp. 419-423

 

Crustal structure deduced from Gravity Modeling off Prydz Bay, East Antarctica

U. K. Singh1*, S. Rajan2 & D. K. Pandey2

1Department of Applied Geophysics, Indian School of Mines University, Dhanbad-826 004, India

2National Centre for Antarctic & Ocean Research, Vasco, Goa-403 804, India

*[Email:upendra_bhu1@rediffmail.com]

A high resolution satellite gravity and bathymetry data along two N-S trending profiles have been interpreted using gravity forward modeling technique off Prydz Bay, East Antarctica. The crustal density model indicates the oceanic crust has a distinctive character with a smooth upper surface and the Moho depth varies from ~20 km shoreward to <12 km offshore. The Moho shallows from~19 km to 15 km in between 60 and 80 km along the pfofile A-A’. It occurs around
13 km further offshore. The present study infers the presence of ~8 km thick sediments on the southern side while in the north the thickness is about 2 km. The shelf break occurs between 120-130 km from the beginning of the profile A-A’ and between 40 and 70 km along the profile B-B’.

[Keywords: Prydz Bay, East Antarctica, Gravity modelling, Crustal Structure and Moho]

 

Indian Journal of Marine Sciences

Vol. 37(4), December 2008, pp. 424-429

Studies on the nutrient distribution in the Southern Ocean waters along
the 45° E transect

A Rajakumar1*, R Alagarsamy2, N Khare3, R Saraswat4 & M M Subramaniam5

1Department of Chemistry, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, West Bengal 721 302 India

2National Institute of Oceanography, Dona Paula, Goa 403 004 India

3National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research, Headland Sada, Vasco-da-Gama, Goa 403 804 India

4Center for Advanced Studies, Department of Geology, University of Delhi, Delhi 110 007 India

*[Email: icechem@yahoo.com]

Seawater samples from the surface as well as at different depths of the water column were collected from 30 stations during the Pilot Expedition to Southern Ocean (PESO). The sampling stations were along a transect between latitude 27°59’48” S and 56°00’14” S and longitude 50° E and 45° E in the Indian Ocean Sector of the Southern Ocean. An attempt has been made to study the nutrient distribution in the water column. The physico-chemical parameters like pH, surface temperature and surface dissolved oxygen have also been studied. The results are useful to infer the mixing of different water mass and distribution of nutrients in the surface and below surface water column. A first order comparison of surface water physico-chemical parameters in the study area with the planktic foraminiferal abundance shows a profound influence of seawater pH on the planktic foraminiferal abundance in the southwestern Indian Ocean.

[Keywords: nutrients, planktic foraminifera; Indian Ocean sector, Southern Ocean; pH]

Indian Journal of Marine Sciences

Vol. 37(4), December 2008, pp. 430-434

 

Actiniscus pentasterias, an endoskeletal siliceous dinoflagellates from Southern Ocean sediments.

Jyotsana Rai1*, Rahul Garg1 & Neloy Khare2

1Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany 53, University Road, Lucknow 226 007, India

2National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research, Headland Sada 403 804, Goa, India

*[E mail:jyotsana_rai@yahoo.com]

Siliceous spicules of endoskeletal dinoflagellates constitute a very small fraction of siliceous microfossil assemblage from Southern Ocean. They are represented by a solitary genus Actiniscus with its type species A. pentasterias. They are bilaterally symmetrical. It is useful in deriving palaeoecological interpretations. Their association with age diagnostic calcareous nannofossil blooms along-with reworked Palaeogene nannofossils suggest transport of older age plankton laden current from close proximity.

[Keywords: dinoflagellates, microfossil, Palaeogene, plankton, alveola, genera, endoskeletal]

 

 

Indian Journal of Marine Sciences

Vol. 37(4), December 2008, pp. 435-438

 

Oasis, Central Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica with special reference to its bathymetry

N. Khare1*, S. K. Chaturvedi2, R. Saraswat3, R. Srivastava4, R. Raina4 & A. Wanganeo4

1National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research, Headland Sada, Vasco-da-Gama, Goa 403 004, India

2Department of Disaster Management Shanmugha Arts, Science Technology and Research Academy (SASTRA)
Thanajavur 613 402, India

3Center for Advanced Studies, Department of Geology, University of Delhi, Delhi 110 007

4Department of Limnology, Barakatullah University, Bhopal 462 026, India

*[Email: nkhare45@gmail.com]

 

The bathymetric survey of the Priyadarshini water body has been carried out using hydrobox and global positioning system. Three-dimensional bathymetric map has been prepared for the said water body. The instrumental bathymetric survey, in general matches with the earlier manually generated bathymetric data available for the water body. It provides fine details of the slope and depth at continuous points in Priyadarshini water body. The bathymetric map is discussed with respect to the adjacent catchment region. The detailed digitized bathymetric map will help to select ideal points for collection of sediment cores to unravel the geologic history of the water body.

[Key words: Priyadarshini water body, Morphometry, Bathymetric Survey, Global Positioning System, Echo sounding]

 

Indian Journal of Marine Sciences

Vol. 37(4), December 2008, pp. 439-445

 

Characteristics of Macrobenthic Assemblage from sub-littoral sediment off the Lazarev Sea, East Antarctica

Baban Ingole*

National Institute of Oceanography, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Dona Paula, Goa-403004, India

*[Email:Baban@nio.org]

Comparative account of the occurrence and abundance of benthic macro-organisms collected from the Lazarev Sea in Queen Maud Land, (east Antarctica), during austral summer of 1984-85 and 1992-93 (fourth and twelfth Indian Antarctic expeditions) is presented and discussed. Total 42 seabed samples were taken from 15 locations in the depth ranged of 150 to 700 m. Sediment of the Lazarev Sea ranged from silty clay to sandy clay. The fraction of silt-clay and sand varied between 60.5 to 75.5 and 24.3 to 39.5 %, respectively. Organic carbon content of shelf sediment ranged from 1.29 to 6.95mg. g-1 (mean=4.16±1.97 sd;n=42). Faunal density ranged from 1882 to 9643 ind.m-2 (mean=4895.2±2852.5 sd; n=15). The total macrobenthic standing crop varied from 2.928 to 20.833 g.m-2 (mean=8.91±5.69 sd, n=15) on dry weight basis. A total of 69 macroinvertebrate species inhabiting the benthic environment of Polynia region is presented with ecological information about collection site. Most of the benthic species appear to have circumpolar distribution. The significant positive correlation of surface chlorophyll-a with sediment organic content and benthic biomass propose a strong bentho-pelagic coupling in a seasonally locked environment.

[Key words: Macrobenthos; species diversity; standing stock; Ice shelf; Polynia; Lazarev Sea; East Antarctica]

 

Indian Journal of Marine Sciences

Vol. 37(4), December 2008, pp. 446-449

 

Antarctic cyanobacteria as a source of phycocyanin: An assessment

S. P. Shukla1**, Jay S. Singh2, S. Kashyap3, D.D. Giri2 & A. K. Kashyap2*

1Central Institute of Fisheries Education, Versova, Mumbai-400061, India

2Department of Botany, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi-221005, India

3National Bureau of Agriculturally Important Microorganisms, Kusmour, Mau Nath Bhanjan, UP-275101, India

*[Email: kashyap_bhu1@yahoo.com]

The growth characteristics and phycocyanin contents were examined in antarctic and tropical isolates of three cyanobacterial genera Anabaena, Nostoc and Phormidium in batch cultures, and in indoor and outdoor mass-culture units under varying conditions of temperature, light and nutrients. The Antarctic isolates showed 54-62% higher phycocyanin content than the tropical ones. The contents recorded in Antarctic isolates were 1.8 to 3.3 folds higher than the reported values for one of the commercially used strain of Spirulina maxima. The study proves that Antarctic cyanobacteria can yield higher amount of phycocyanin by manipulating growth conditions. The information will serve as a base line data for future biotechnological applications of antarctic cyanobacterial strains within the preview of the Antarctic treaty.

[Keywords: cyanobacteria, Antarctic, tropical, mass-cultivation, phycocyanin]

 

Indian Journal of Marine Sciences

Vol. 37(4), December 2008, pp. 450-454

 

Scopes and trends of Antarctic invertebrate faunal research with special reference to Southern ocean, east Antarctica and Schirmacher oasis

A.K.Hazra1 & Bulganin Mitra2

Zoological survey of India, New Alipore, M-Block, Kolkata-700 053, India

*[Email: jayitahazra@rediffmail.com]

The Southern Ocean and Antarctica have been the focus of intense scientific study during the 20th century. But much scientific works has been accorded to oceanography and marine sciences than to terrestrial and lacustrine fauna of Antarctica. From the French Coquille expedition (1922-1925) to early 1990, it has been observed that, scientific research of Antarctic invertebrate fauna mostly restricted with their taxonomy, physiology, ecology and biology. It has also been observed that, maximum studies and publications have been made from maritime and sub-Antarctic Islands in contrast to East Antarctica and particularly the Schirmacher oaisis. The trends of scientific research mostly conducted on the responses of organisms to long-term environmental change.

[Key words: Invertebrate fauna, southern Ocean, environmental changes, East Antarctica, Sub Antarctica]

 

Indian Journal of Marine Sciences

Vol. 37(4), December 2008, pp. 455-461

Distribution and status of Antarctic seals and penguins along the
Princess Astrid Coast, East Antarctica

 

Syed Ainul Hussain*1 & Ajai Saxena2

1. Wildlife Institute of India, Post Box # 18, Dehra Dun - 248 001, India

2. Block 12, Mahasagar Bhawan, CGO Complex, Lodi Road, New Delhi - 110 003, India

*[Email: hussain@wii.gov.in]

This paper presents the status of seals and penguins along the Princess Astrid coast, East Antarctica and relates it to seasonal change in sea ice conditions along the coast. The species composition of seals along the coast was 90.2% Weddell seal Leptonychotes weddellii and 8.3% crabeater seals Lobodon carcinophagus, while 1.5% of the seals could not be identified. In the case of penguins, it was 30% Adelie penguins Pygoscelis adeliae and 70% emperor penguins Aptenodytes forsteri. The overall density of Weddell and crabeater seals was 6.57 +1.27 and 0.48 +0.13 seals/km2 respectively, and the Adelie and emperor penguins were 12.28 +4.97 and 29.5 +7.30 penguins/km2 respectively. The abundance of Weddell seals was positively associated with the extent of fast ice while the crabeater seals showed positive associations with pack ice. Similarly, the emperor penguins showed positive association with the extent of fast ice and the Adelie penguins for the shelf as during the surveys they were moulting largely on shelf. Three zones with large congregations of seals and penguins viz. Zone I between 10.25-10.65ºE, Zone II 10.90-11.50E and Zone III between 11.25-120E were identified.

[Key words: Antarctica, Southern Ocean, Princess Astrid Coast, seals, penguins, species composition, population densities, Antarctic Treaty]