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Fast ice distribution in Adelie Land, East Antarctica: interannual variability and implications for emperor penguins Aptenodytes forsteri


Massom, RA and Hill, K and Barbraud, C and Adams, ND and Ancel, A and Emmerson, L and Pook, MJ, Fast ice distribution in Adelie Land, East Antarctica: interannual variability and implications for emperor penguins Aptenodytes forsteri, Marine Ecology Progress Series, 374, (January) pp. 243-257. ISSN 0171-8630 (2009) [Refereed Article]


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Copyright © 2009 Inter-Research.

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DOI: doi:10.3354/meps07734


Antarctic fast ice is of key climatic and ecological importance, yet its distribution and variability are poorly understood. We present a detailed analysis of fast ice along the Adélie Land coast (East Antarctica) using satellite data from 1992 to 1999. Fast ice formation along this coastline is intimately linked to grounded iceberg distribution in waters of <350 m depth. Considerable interannual variability occurs in areal extent and formation/break-up; the variability is related to wind direction. Distance to the fast ice edge and its extent are major determinants of emperor penguin Aptenodytes forsteri breeding success at Pointe Géologie. Of crucial importance are the frequency and duration of fast ice break-out events in the deep-water trough north-northwest of the colony. Successful penguin breeding seasons in 1993, 1998 and 1999 ([number of fledged chicks in late November / number of breeding pairs] >75% success) coincided with lower-than-average fast ice extents and persistently short distances to nearest open water (foraging grounds), and corresponded to a strong positive phase of the Southern Annular Mode. Poor breeding seasons in 1992, 1994 and 1995 (success <15%) coincided with average to slightly higher-than-average ice extents and persistently long distances to foraging grounds. Poor-to-moderate breeding years (success ~40 to 50%), e.g. 1996 and 1997, occurred with above-average ice extents combined with fairly long distances from breeding to foraging grounds during the chick nurturing season. The overall correlation between breeding success and distance was high (r2 = 0.89), albeit based on a limited number of years (n = 8). Substantially less fast ice was present in two Argon satellite photographs taken in August and October 1963. This coincided with a highly successful breeding season and appears to have been related to stronger and more southerly winds.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Antarctic fast ice · Emperor penguin · Breeding success · Pointe Géologie · Wind ·
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Ecological applications
Research Field:Ecosystem function
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Coastal and estuarine systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of coastal and estuarine ecosystems
UTAS Author:Massom, RA (Dr Robert Massom)
UTAS Author:Hill, K (Ms Kristy Hill)
UTAS Author:Adams, ND (Dr Neil Adams)
ID Code:62215
Year Published:2009
Web of Science® Times Cited:63
Deposited By:IASOS
Deposited On:2010-03-10
Last Modified:2012-03-05
Downloads:499 View Download Statistics

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