Monitoring Maxwell Bay
In this context and due to the great importance of long-term monitoring programs, especially in areas of rapid climatic changes and with a high risk of danger for the protected assets of the region, another research project is being carried out. Between 2012 and 2018, a comprehensive monitoring of the consequences of local climate changes on the protected assets of the ice-free areas of Maxwell Bay (King George Island, Antarctica) was carried out (Braun et al. 2017External link, 2020External link, 2022External link). The monitoring included the standardized recording of the fauna of sea birds and seals in the Fildes region as well as the expansion of the breeding bird recording in selected areas of Maxwell Bay. For the analysis of long-term trends in bird and seal populations, extensive data from numerous, previously unpublished expedition reports by German scientists from the 1980s and from all available literature were used in addition to our own surveys. On the basis of these data it became clear that the majority of seabird species with regard to their breeding pair numbers depend primarily on natural environmental factors, while others react more strongly to anthropogenic influences. In addition, the documentation of glacier retreat areas of selected areas of Maxwell Bay was continued on the basis of aerial and satellite images with regard to regional climatic development and colonization by fauna and flora.
The continuation of this monitoring takes place in the context of the current project "Terrestrial biological monitoring on the Fildes Peninsula (Maxwell Bay, Antarctic)". Using various parameters (e.g. breeding success of selected species), local population developments and possible correspondences with regional trends, particularly as a result of climate change, are examined. In addition, the introduction of non-native animal and plant species and the retreat of glaciers are documented. Another aspect is the recording of the distribution and the extent of marine litter and with regard to effects on seabirds in the study area with regard to effects on seabirds in the study area. Furthermore, a future prognosis for the development of the Antarctic biota and for the further development of efficient environmental monitoring will be made.
Data collection during three Antarctic field seasons (December – February 2018/19 & 2020/21)
- survey of breeding distribution and breeding pair numbers of following species
- gentoo, Adélie and chinstrap penguin
- southern giant petrel
- skuas (south polar and brown skua, hybrids and mixed pairs)
- kelp gull
- cape petrel
- Antarctic tern
- light-mantled sooty albatross
- snowy sheathbill
- record of all migrant and vagrant bird species
- monthly census of local seal population
- survey of seal reproduction sites and pup numbers of southern elephant seal, Weddell seal and Antarctic fur seal (if applicable also leopard seal, crabeater seal), including information from wintering station personnel
- mapping of breeding birds in further ice-free areas of the Maxwell Bay
- record of introduced non-native species, control of known sites with introduced species
- continuation of recent glacier retreat zones in selected sites of the Maxwell Bay using satellite images, supplemented by on-site mapping
- survey of the distribution of marine debris on selection part of the coastline in the Fildes Region
- assessment of the influence of marine debris and terrestrial waste on seabirds and seals
Braun, C., Grämer, H., Peter, H.-U. (2022): Monitoring der klimabedingten Veränderungen terrestrischer und mariner Ökosysteme in der Maxwell Bay (Antarktis)External link. Im Auftrag des Umweltbundesamts, Texte 269/2022, Dessau-Roßlau.
Braun, C., Rümmler, M.-C., Esefelfd, J. Peter, H.-U. (2020): Überwachung der klimabedingten Veränderungen terrestrischer und mariner Ökosysteme in der Maxwell Bay (King George Island, Antarktis)External link. On behalf of the German Environment Agency.
Braun, C., Hertel, F., Peter, H.-U. (2017): Environmental Management - The Fildes Peninsula Paradigm. In: K. Dodds, Hemmings, A.D. & Roberts, P. (eds.). Handbook of the Politics of Antarctica, Edward Elgar Publishing, 351-367.
Braun, C., Esefeld, J., Peter, H.-U. (2017): Monitoring the consequences of local climate change on the natural resources of the ice-free regions of Maxwell Bay (King George Island, Antarctic).External link On behalf of the German Environment Agency. Texte 26/2017. Dessau-Rosslau.
Braun, C., Mustafa, O., Nordt, A., Pfeiffer, S., Peter, H.-U. (2013): Environmental Situation and Management Challenges for the Fildes Peninsula Region: Book section in: The Future of Antarctica: Human impacts, strategic planning, and values for conservation, Tin, T., Liggett, D., Maher, P., Lamers, M. (eds), Springer, S. 169-191.
Braun, C., Mustafa, O., Nordt, A., Pfeiffer, S., Peter, H.-U. (2013): The current environmental situation and proposals for the management of the Fildes Peninsula Region.External link On behalf of the German Environment Agency, Texte 03/2013, Dessau-Rosslau.
Braun, C., Mustafa, O., Nordt, A., Pfeiffer, S., Peter, H.-U. (2012): Environmental Monitoring and Management Proposals for the Fildes Region (King George Island, Antarctica). Polar Research 31, 1-18.
Peter, H.-U., Büßer, C., Mustafa, O., Pfeiffer, S. (2008): Risk assessment for the Fildes Peninsula and Ardley Island, and the development of management plans for their designation as Antarctic Specially Protected or Specially Managed Areas.External link On behalf of the German Environment Agency, Texte 20/2008, Dessau-Rosslau.