Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

Stanley, Falkland Islands

Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

Stanley, Falkland Islands
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Lynch H.J.,State University of New York at Stony Brook | White R.,Oceanites Inc. | Black A.D.,Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands | Naveen R.,Oceanites Inc.
Polar Biology | Year: 2012

Due to its high spatial resolution, broad spatial coverage, and cost-effectiveness, commercial satellite imagery is rapidly becoming a key component of biological monitoring in the Antarctic. While considerable success in surveying emperor penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri) has been facilitated by their large size and the visual simplicity of their habitat, there has been considerably less progress in mapping colonies on the Antarctic Peninsula and associated sub-Antarctic islands where smaller penguin species breed on topographically complex terrain composed of mixed substrates. Here, we demonstrate that Adélie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae), chinstrap penguin (P. antarcticus), gentoo penguin (P. papua), and macaroni penguin (Eudyptes chrysolophus) colonies can be detected by high-resolution (2-m multispectral, 40-50-cm panchromatic) satellite imagery and that under ideal conditions, such imagery is capable of distinguishing among groups of species where they breed contiguously. To demonstrate the potential for satellite imagery to estimate penguin population abundance, we use satellite imagery of Paulet Island (63°35′S, 55°47′W) to estimate a site-wide population of 115,673 (99,222-127,203) breeding pairs of Adélie penguins. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.


McGeoch M.A.,Monash University | Shaw J.D.,University of Queensland | Shaw J.D.,Australian Antarctic Division | Terauds A.,Australian Antarctic Division | And 2 more authors.
Global Environmental Change | Year: 2015

Biological invasion is one of the key threats to the conservation of the broader Antarctic region. We provide an evidence-based assessment of the status of biological invasion in the region as a basis for future monitoring and management. We adapted the indicator framework for global biological invasion monitoring by collating information on (i) numbers of alien species and those invasive species impacting biodiversity (ii) trends in the extinction risks of native species impacted by invasive species and (iii) trends in relevant agreements, management intention and species eradications. Drivers of invasion including risk-associated human activities and trends were also evaluated. The number and trends in activities associated with invasion risk are broadly distributed across the region and increasing. Over 560 alien species from a wide range of taxa occupy the region, concentrated largely on the Southern Ocean Islands, with a high proportion of these considered to be invasive and to have negative biodiversity impacts. There has been a decline in the conservation status of species in the region that are impacted by invasives. Although policy responses to deal with the problem have increased since the 1970s, as have the number of successful eradications, management implementation statistics are patchy and progress in this area less apparent. The Antarctic Biological Invasions Indicator (ABII) provides a system for information exchange across the region and a vehicle for targeted monitoring and surveillance. It also enables inclusion of the region in global efforts to track both IAS and interventions for managing the threat. In a region that appears particularly prone to impacts from alien species, substantial further effort is needed to implement and monitor the effectiveness of management responses. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


Soffker M.,Center for Environment | Trathan P.,British Antarctic Survey | Clark J.,Marine Resources Assessment Group | Collins M.A.,Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands | And 2 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

Predatory interaction of marine mammals with longline fisheries is observed globally, leading to partial or complete loss of the catch and in some parts of the world to considerable financial loss. Depredation can also create additional unrecorded fishing mortality of a stock and has the potential to introduce bias to stock assessments. Here we aim to characterise depredation in the Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides) fishery around South Georgia focusing on the spatio-temporal component of these interactions. Antarctic fur seals (Arctocephalus gazella), sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus), and orcas (Orcinus orca ) frequently feed on fish hooked on longlines around South Georgia. A third of longlines encounter sperm whales, but loss of catch due to sperm whales is insignificant when compared to that due to orcas, which interact with only 5% of longlines but can take more than half of the catch in some cases. Orca depredation around South Georgia is spatially limited and focused in areas of putative migration routes, and the impact is compounded as a result of the fishery also concentrating in those areas at those times. Understanding the seasonal behaviour of orcas and the spatial and temporal distribution of "depredation hot spots" can reduce marine mammal interactions, will improve assessment and management of the stock and contribute to increased operational efficiency of the fishery. Such information is valuable in the effort to resolve the human-mammal conflict for resources. © 2015 Söffker et al.


Godbold J.A.,University of Aberdeen | Godbold J.A.,UK National Oceanography Center | Bailey D.M.,University of Glasgow | Collins M.A.,Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands | And 3 more authors.
Biogeosciences | Year: 2013

A time series from 1977-1989 and 2000-2002 of scientific trawl surveys in the Porcupine Seabight and adjacent abyssal plain of the NE Atlantic was analysed to assess changes in demersal fish biomass and length frequency. These two periods coincide with the onset of the commercial deep-water fishery in the late 1970s and the onset of the regulation of the fishery in the early 2000's, which allowed us to investigate changes in the relationship between total demersal fish biomass and depth between the pre-and post commercial fishing periods, as well as changes in the biomass (kg km-2) depth distribution and length frequency distribution of the most dominant fish species. Our results show a decline in total demersal fish biomass of 36% within the depth range of the commercial fishery (< 1500 m). Whilst there were significant declines in target (e.g. Coryphaenoides rupestris decreased by 57%) and non-target (e.g. C. guentheri and Antimora rostrata) species, not all species declined significantly. Changes in the overall length-frequency distribution were detected for 5 out of the 8 dominant species occupying depth ranges both within and outside the maximum depth for commercial trawling. This suggests that whilst there is evidence for likely fishery impacts on the biomass distribution of the demersal fish population as a whole, species-specific impacts are highly variable. It is clear that changes in population structure can extend beyond the depth at which fishing takes place, highlighting the importance for also considering the indirect effects on deep-sea fish populations. © Author(s) 2013.


Gregory S.,British Antarctic Survey | Brown J.,Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands | Brown J.,Jamestown | Belchier M.,British Antarctic Survey
Antarctic Science | Year: 2014

New information on the biology and ecology of an abundant 'rockcod' species, Lepidonotothen squamifrons (family: Nototheniidae), found at South Georgia is presented. Data collected from twenty demersal trawl surveys carried out at South Georgia and Shag Rocks (sub-Antarctic) from 1986-2012 were analysed to investigate distribution, size, maturity and diet. Distribution was patchy with large aggregations in consistent high-density 'hotspots' to the east of Shag Rocks and to the west of South Georgia. Fish density was shown to vary between regions of the shelf and between years but there was little evidence of significant changes in catch per unit effort (CPUE) over the duration of the study. Length at first maturity for males and females (37-38 cm, total length) was very similar to that described for the Indian Ocean population. Detailed stomach contents analysis (2005-12) indicated a varied diet dominated by salps/tunicates, but with ontogenetic and depth variations in prey composition. Lepidonotothen squamifrons was shown to be an opportunistic bentho-pelagic forager. Enhanced knowledge of the ecology of L. squamifrons will be valuable in future research on food web modelling and marine spatial management in the Southern Ocean and to provide baseline data on the ecology of the species in a rapidly changing environment. © Antarctic Science Ltd 2013.


Van de Putte A.P.,Catholic University of Leuven | Van de Putte A.P.,Royal Belgian Institute Of Natural Sciences | Janko K.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Kasparova E.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | And 10 more authors.
Marine Genomics | Year: 2012

Population genetics patterns of marine fish in general and of Southern Ocean fish in particular range from virtual panmixia over ocean-wide scale to deeply fragmented populations. However the causes underlying these different patterns are not properly understood. In this paper, we tested the hypotheses that population connectivity is positively related to a combination of life history traits, namely duration of pelagic larval period and the tendency towards pelagic life style in the adulthood. To do so, we analysed the variability of six microsatellite and one mitochondrial marker (cytochrome b) in three Southern Ocean fish species (Trematomus newnesi, Trematomus hansoni and Trematomus bernacchii). They share a recent common ancestor but notably differ in their duration of pelagic larval period as well as pelagic versus benthic lifestyle. We sampled over a range of more than 5000km for all three species and used a number of population genetics tools to investigate past and contemporary levels of connectivity. All species experienced population fluctuations, but coalescent simulations suggested that contemporary populations are in migration-drift equilibrium. Although global FST values were rather low, a significant population structure separated the High-Antarctic from the Peninsular regions in all species. The level of genetic differentiation was much lower in the pelagic versus benthic species. Present data suggest that past and present genetic structuring in the Southern Ocean are indeed related with the ecological traits of Antarctic fish, however the relative importance of individual factors remains unclear. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.


Gregory S.,British Antarctic Survey | Collins M.A.,Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands | Belchier M.,British Antarctic Survey
Polar Biology | Year: 2016

This research is the first to investigate deepwater demersal fish distribution and community structure around South Georgia and Shag Rocks. Analysis of catch data from a trawl survey conducted in 2003 indicated that depth and location have a marked influence over demersal fish community structure in the region. Three distinct, depth-stratified fish assemblages were observed. The demersal fish assemblage found on the shelf to depths of around 400 m was dominated by nototheniids and was comprised largely of species endemic to the Southern Ocean and Scotia Sea. At the greatest depths sampled (>600 m) the demersal fish community was dominated by gadiform fishes including members of the Macrouridae and Moridae, many of which are not endemic to the Southern Ocean. From 400 to 600 m there was a transitional zone with demersal fish representatives of both the shelf and deeper slope communities. Clear geographic differences in the shelf community were apparent with differences observed in community structure between South Georgia and Shag Rocks to depths of around 400 m. These data provide valuable baseline information to aid environmental management decisions and assess potential impacts of rapid ocean warming around South Georgia. © 2016 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg


Trathan P.N.,Natural Environment Research Council | Collins M.A.,Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands | Grant S.M.,Natural Environment Research Council | Belchier M.,Natural Environment Research Council | And 3 more authors.
Advances in Marine Biology | Year: 2014

South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (SGSSI) are surrounded by oceans that are species-rich, have high levels of biodiversity, important endemism and which also support large aggregations of charismatic upper trophic level species. Spatial management around these islands is complex, particularly in the context of commercial fisheries that exploit some of these living resources. Furthermore, management is especially complicated as local productivity relies fundamentally upon biological production transported from outside the area. The MPA uses practical management boundaries, allowing access for the current legal fisheries for Patagonian toothfish, mackerel icefish and Antarctic krill. Management measures developed as part of the planning process designated the whole SGSSI Maritime Zone as an IUCN Category VI reserve, within which a number of IUCN Category I reserves were identified. Multiple-use zones and temporal closures were also designated. A key multiple-use principle was to identify whether the ecological impacts of a particular fishery threatened either the pelagic or benthic domain. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


PubMed | Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
Type: | Journal: Advances in marine biology | Year: 2010

Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides) is a large notothenioid fish that supports valuable fisheries throughout the Southern Ocean. D. eleginoides are found on the southern shelves and slopes of South America and around the sub-Antarctic islands of the Southern Ocean. Patagonian toothfish are a long-lived species (>50 years), which initially grow rapidly on the shallow shelf areas, before undertaking an ontogenetic migration into deeper water. Although they are active predators and scavengers, there is no evidence of large-scale geographic migrations, and studies using genetics, biochemistry, parasite fauna and tagging indicate a high degree of isolation between populations in the Indian Ocean, South Georgia and the Patagonian Shelf. Patagonian toothfish spawn in deep water (ca. 1000 m) during the austral winter, producing pelagic eggs and larvae. Larvae switch to a demersal habitat at around 100 mm (1-year-old) and inhabit relatively shallow water (<300 m) until 6-7 years of age, when they begin a gradual migration into deeper water. As juveniles in shallow water, toothfish are primarily piscivorous, consuming the most abundant suitably sized local prey. With increasing size and habitat depth, the diet diversifies and includes more scavenging. Toothfish have weakly mineralised skeletons and a high fat content in muscle, which helps neutral buoyancy, but limits swimming capacity. Toothfish generally swim with labriform motion, but are capable of more rapid sub-carangiform swimming when startled. Toothfish were first caught as a by-catch (as juveniles) in shallow trawl fisheries, but following the development of deep water longlining, fisheries rapidly developed throughout the Southern Ocean. The initial rapid expansion of the fishery, which led to a peak of over 40,000 tonnes in reported landings in 1995, was accompanied by problems of bird by-catch and overexploitation as a consequence of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU). These problems have now largely been addressed, but continued vigilance is required to ensure that the species is sustainably exploited and the ecosystem effects of the fisheries are minimised.


PubMed | Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and Natural Environment Research Council
Type: | Journal: Advances in marine biology | Year: 2014

South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (SGSSI) are surrounded by oceans that are species-rich, have high levels of biodiversity, important endemism and which also support large aggregations of charismatic upper trophic level species. Spatial management around these islands is complex, particularly in the context of commercial fisheries that exploit some of these living resources. Furthermore, management is especially complicated as local productivity relies fundamentally upon biological production transported from outside the area. The MPA uses practical management boundaries, allowing access for the current legal fisheries for Patagonian toothfish, mackerel icefish and Antarctic krill. Management measures developed as part of the planning process designated the whole SGSSI Maritime Zone as an IUCN Category VI reserve, within which a number of IUCN Category I reserves were identified. Multiple-use zones and temporal closures were also designated. A key multiple-use principle was to identify whether the ecological impacts of a particular fishery threatened either the pelagic or benthic domain.

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