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Stanley, Falkland Islands

Barnes D.K.A.,British Antarctic Survey | Collins M.A.,Government of South Georgia | Brickle P.,Shallow Marine Surveys Group | Fretwell P.,British Antarctic Survey | And 4 more authors.
Antarctic Science

Abstract The multilateral failure to apply the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) by the target year 2010 was headline news as are the accelerating climatic changes which dictate its urgency. Some ecosystems that are vulnerable to anthropogenic change have few species listed as endangered because too little is known about their biota. The highest vulnerability may correspond to where hotspots of species endemism, range limits and physiological sensitivity overlap with areas of most rapid physical change. The old, large and remote archipelago of South Georgia is one such location. Sea-surface temperatures around South Georgia are amongst the most rapidly warming reported. Furthermore oceanographic projections are highlighting the region as extremely vulnerable to ocean acidification. We outline the first polar Darwin Initiative project and the technical advances in generating an interactive and fully integrated georeferenced map of marine biodiversity, seabed topography and physical oceanography at South Georgia. Mapping marine mega and macro-faunal biodiversity onto multiple physical variables has rarely been attempted. This should provide a new tool in assessing the processes driving biological variability, the importance of marine areas in terms of ecosystem services, the threats and vulnerabilities of Polar Regions and should greatly aid implementation of the CBD. © 2011 Antarctic Science Ltd. Source

Parker G.C.,Government of South Georgia | Black A.,Government of South Georgia | Rexer-Huber K.,Government of South Georgia | Sommer E.,Royal Society for the Protection of Birds | Cuthbert R.J.,Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
Polar Biology

South Georgia has been the southernmost location where populations of invasive house mice Mus musculus are found. The distribution of mice was investigated at Cape Rosa and the Nuñez Peninsula, the two areas of South Georgia where the species is known to occur. Live-trapping and kill-trapping took place during March 2012, at the end of the austral summer, with traps in four grids (3.2–4.0 ha in area) and on 34 trap lines distributed across a range of habitats from the shoreline to 250 m above sea level. Mice were scarce, with just 68 captures in about 1750 trap nights. Mouse densities in tussock habitat were estimated at 2.1–2.8 mice/ha, with higher densities of 5.3–6.4 mice/ha along the coastline. Mice were found in all habitats apart from higher-altitude fellfield, but were relatively less abundant in tussock habitat with large numbers of seals. Mice were breeding at both sites with 58 % of mature females pregnant or lactating. Litter size (7.1 ± 2.3 embryos) and adult body mass (21.4 ± 4.6 g) were typical of most other island mice populations. Population densities of mice on South Georgia are two orders of magnitude lower than mouse densities measured at other sub-Antarctic islands. The very low population density and its restricted distribution, with most captures close to the shore, and the presence of large numbers of burrowing petrels and South Georgia pipits Anthus antarcticus at both sites, suggest that mice have a relatively limited impact on South Georgia’s vertebrate biodiversity. © 2015 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg Source

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