Falkland Islands Science Symposium: A Microbiologists Perspective

By Virginia Edgcomb, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, USA

Our Pan-American Science Delegation visit to the Falkland Islands is over now, but I leave with many incredible vistas imprinted on my mind, a new cohort of scientific colleagues and potential collaborators, and many ideas about scientific research opportunities in the area. The people we met in town, including business and local government officials were so friendly and welcoming, and were universally concerned about protecting and managing their resources and unique ecosystems in a sustainable fashion. It was refreshing to see a society that is forward thinking on this theme, especially given the relatively pristine condition of the environment there. Sadly, people the world over frequently only start to pay attention when they witness deterioration or experience personal impacts. Scientists at the South Atlantic Environmental Research Institute are already conducting excellent research on a wide variety of very important topics to the area. Yet there are many opportunities for collaborative research that can pull in complementary expertise to bear on new questions. Researchers at my home institution, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution include many who are engaged in studies of physical, chemical and biological oceanography, including fisheries, and of impacts of climate change on marine ecosystems worldwide. Climate change is significantly impacting our polar regions, and these changes have impacts that propagate to subpolar regions in the form of altered weather, ocean currents, temperature, etc. As a marine microbiologist I am particularly keen to collaborate with scientists at SAERI to collect data on impacts of these alterations to major biogeochemical cycles where microorganisms have center stage. Any major shifts in microbial communities and/or processes carried out by these communities can affect the many important fisheries in the region of the Falklands. We envision a very international collaborative study of atmospheric and marine processes involving SAERI, the British Antarctic Survey, and several US and South American institutions.

Interspersed among the many intense and stimulating scientific discussions this past week were amazing field trips to see some of the local treasures; including Elephant Seals, nesting Shearwaters by the gazillions, and of course, penguins. I was enthralled by the penguins, particularly a small cluster of King Penguins who approached me on a beach as I sat still. It was clearly a mutual inspection, the outcome of which was universal agreement that clearly, they were better dressed. Another highlight for me was gazing through the microscope at interesting protozoa zipping around in a water sample I collected from an Elephant Seal wallow. The water was the color and consistency of soy sauce (probably a cocktail of peat, seawater and Elephant Seal feces). A microbiologist is easily amused.

Thank you to all the folks who made this past week possible. Now we all need to work hard to get funding for our research ideas!

Ginny and Penguins

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Falkland Islands Science Symposium: A Social Scientist in the Falkland Islands

By Kate Sherren, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada

Our Land Rovers lumbered slowly along the heathland like a convoy of awkward insects. We were heading to the penguin colony at Volunteer Point on the eve of the Falkland Islands Science Symposium. Recent rains had turned the track – rough at best – into a sodden mess. As one and then another of our eight vehicles ran into trouble, the others would fan out to avoid the same fate, resembling ants that have lost their pheromone track. All in all it was a six-hour round trip through rain and hail, and three vehicles had to be pulled out of precarious positions. The jarring drive made my ears ring well into the night. I remarked afterward that it was about the hardest place I’d ever tried to get to. This was greeted with surprise by my fellow delegates. “But I’m a social scientist, so you have to take that in context,” I said. My field destinations can usually be reached in a hatchback. Despite my discomfort, I was more than glad we had made the effort to reach the Point. Three species of penguin, each with its own personality, charmed us for hours.

Photo credit: Carlos Andrade

Photo credit: Carlos Andrade

Sheep wandered among the penguins at times, reminding us that Volunteer Point was part of a working farm. Several of the agricultural experts I met later in the week felt that the penguins played an important role in keeping farms viable. The ranching style of farming traditionally used in the Falkland Islands has resulted in substantial vegetation change. Most of the giant tussac grass that once fringed the islands is gone. Patches of it persist in ungrazed outer islands and fenced minefields left over from the Falklands War. In its place are coastal paddocks that are deemed to have the best grasses for grazing, and hence are used for lambing. The health of these fields is in large part thanks to penguin poop. Guano rich in fish remnants returns critical nutrients to the soil, and sheep help distribute it.

Photo credit: Steve Campana

Photo credit: Steve Campana

I have been one of the Pan-American delegates to this Symposium, representing the social sciences. My research often examines how people respond to local landscapes and how that affects resource decisions. My inspiration comes from talking to local people in places experiencing or facing change. This week I have spoken to leaders of legislation, policy and industry; cabbies and tour operators; long-time Islanders and members of a diverse network of contract workers with a cacophony of Commonwealth accents. These conversations have suggested many exciting research opportunities. Like Volunteer Point, it takes some effort to get to the Falkland Islands. But the destination – and its future – are worth it.

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Falkland Islands Science Symposium: South Atlantic Seduction

By Steve Campana, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Dartmouth, Canada

I was seduced! And it wasn’t just me. The entire scientific delegation to the Falklands was seduced at one time or another while visiting. No – it wasn’t because of the open and charming people who lived here and welcomed us at every event. Nor was it because of the superb meals (and wine!) with which we were plied at every dinner. It wasn’t even because of the field trips to photograph penguins, or seals, or collect fossils, in wonderful outdoor settings. Rather, this was a totally non-subtle, full-on, in your face seduction that took advantage of a scientist’s greatest weakness. I’m talking of course about our unstoppable excitement when faced with new scientific challenges and possibilities. So the decision by SAERI, the Falkland Islands and the British government to fly us all down here to woo us with scientific seductions was a brilliant move. I suspect that all of the scientists in the delegation are already fully engaged in other projects back home and in other countries. So few of us expected to take on any new projects when we accepted the invitation to come to the Falklands; we just couldn’t resist the invitation to see a new part of the world. But once here, and once confronted with new scientific possibilities, we were hooked. Most of us are now committed to collaborate with SAERI on various projects. Scientists are so naïve!056IMG_3586

I do scientific research on fish and shark populations in Canada and Iceland, where the environmental conditions are very similar to those in the Falklands. So to a Canadian scientist, it is fascinating to see how life has evolved under Canadian temperatures in a location on the other side of the world. One thing that piqued my interest was the occasional capture of porbeagle sharks in the waters around the Falklands. Porbeagle sharks, which are a smaller relative of the great white shark, are a common fishing target in the waters off of eastern Canada, where the conditions are very similar to those here. So why aren’t there more porbeagles here? After asking around, I found out that none of the fishermen here use the pelagic longline gear and large hooks that would be suited for catching porbeagles. So it could be that porbeagles are actually quite common in Falkland waters. And if so, I wonder if they behave, live and grow in the same way that those in the North Atlantic do. How interesting! As I said earlier, I’ve been seduced!porbeagle thrashing in water_996

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Demographic and tracking data of black browed albatross on New Island

by iLaria Marengo

New Island is one of the islands of the Falklands’ archipelago and lies to the west of West Falkland. It is approximately 22.7 square km; the northern and western coastline is characterised by precipitous and breath-taking cliffs (max 200 metres). These are perfect locations for black browed albatross (BBA), rockhopper and shags colonies. In contrast, the eastern coastline is lower lying or has smaller cliffs and scarps. Sandy beaches are scattered throughout the northern and southern ends and centre of the island and offer perfect places for penguins, sea lions and, less frequently, elephant seals to come ashore or depart for the open sea. New Island is owned by the New Island Conservation Trust (http://www.falklandswildlife.com/), which is a non-profit charitable conservation organisation and aims at assuring the future of the island as wildlife reserve in perpetuity.

Conservation is therefore the main activity carried out on New Island: currently there are researchers from all over the world studying demographic, migratory behaviour, and foraging ecology of gentoo, rockhopper and magellanic penguins, black browed albatrosses, striated caracara, thin-billed prions, white chinned petrels, southern giant petrels and Falkland skuas. The amazing diversity of species and their “accessibility” makes New Island a special place. This is helped greatly by the good infrastructure (accommodation and lab space) provided by the Trust that allows researchers to carry out field work and long terms studies. Along with seabirds, plants and habitats have also been the focus of studies, the most recent being the broad scale habitat mapping carried out by Dr Rebecca Upson in 2010-2011.

While visiting the Island in early November it was extremely interesting to participate in the field work conducted by Dr Letizia Campioni, who is a postdoc at the ISPA-Instituto Universitario of Lisbon and one of the members of the team of scientists led by Dr Paulo Catry. Since 2003 the team from Portugal has been conducting yearly monitoring of the BBA colonies at the so called “Settlement rookery”. Through the collection of data (such as count of breeding pairs, eggs and chicks) and the ringing of breeding or immature birds as well as chicks, researchers obtain information that helps to understand the dynamics of the albatross populations. The main goal of such long-term project is to use these demographic data as a tool for conservation and environmental monitoring. Further details on the Albatross Project at:

https://sites.google.com/site/projectoalbatroz/Home.

At the same time, the team collected ecological and behavioral data. In the latest years, Dr Letizia Campioni has been focusing her work on immature BBA, studying the foraging ecology, foraging specialisation and strategies during the breeding and wintering season. She is doing this by sampling blood and feathers for stable isotope composition and by tracking birds using GPS-loggers, activity loggers and geolocators. These data will enable the identification and modelling of the parameters that are driving population changes and relate those to environmental variables (i.e. climate and fisheries) and management practices (fisheries regulations).

The team, led by Dr Paulo Catry, also conducts low to medium intensity biological and monitoring studies of two predators of chicks: the Falkland Skuas and the Striated Caracaras (Johnny Rooks).

Overall, the data gathered and analysed by the researchers in New Island will provide a better understanding of the population dynamics, their distribution and relationship with resources (e.g. food), other environmental variables (e.g. climate, oceanography) and human activities. In addition, the metadata of these data will be kept available through an online catalogue. Metadata will offer the opportunity to quickly find the data that has already been collected. As such, it will facilitate data sharing and increase scientific partnerships and collaborations, with benefits and advantages for both the conservation of wildlife in New Island and the researchers.

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SAERI Does its bit for the Falkland Islands National Clean Up Day

By Amélie Augé

Last Saturday (11th October) was the first National Clean Up Day organised by the Falkland Islands Government. Over one hundred people took part in a morning of picking rubbish all around Stanley. Amongst them were five members of SAERI, armed with pretty yellow and blue gloves and large bags, who cleaned up a stretch of 1km of road on the edge of Stanley. Megan, David, Emily, iLaria and Amélie filed up an entire skip in a  less than inclement weather (think blizzard really!). But they had a lot of fun nonetheless and Stanley is now a nicer place to walk around. In all, it is estimated that around 40 cubic metres of rubbish were removed by all the volunteers on the day.

Amélie Augé, Megan Tierney and iLaria Marengo with the skip that helped to fill

Amélie Augé, Megan Tierney and iLaria Marengo with the skip that their hard work helped to fill.

Rubbish is not just an offence to the eyes of people walking or driving around. It can also have major impacts on wildlife. Animals, in particular seabirds such as albatross, ingest rubbish floating on the water thinking they are pieces of food. Because they cannot digest it, their stomach filled up with rubbish, can no longer feed and sadly die. With the windy weather of the Falkland Islands, obviously any rubbish let loose will quickly end up in the sea. With such an amazing array of marine wildlife around the Falkland Islands, we certainly do not want this to happen. Ensuring that rubbish are securely contained and not thrown is important. Hopefully with some simple measures less rubbish will fly free around Stanley.

So let’s not litter and do pick up rubbish (in particular if you are on a beach: the last chance to get them before they get to the sea!).

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Hans Hansson Inshore Fisheries Research Cruise (7th-17th August)

Over a 10 days research cruise, a mixed team of divers and scientists have been collecting data for the Inshore Fisheries Research Project, led by Dr Deborah Davidson (Debs) and Dr Paul Brickle.

The Hans Hansson, originally a Norwegian rescue ship, had a major refit in 2005, becoming a comfortable cruiser and research vessel and provided the platform for this trip. The ship, captained by Dion Poncet and first mate Juliette Hennequin, was loaded with gear in Stanley, and left a couple of days before the rest of the team for an arranged rendezvous at New Haven. On 7th August, the final seven members of the group joined the vessel and they departed for the South-West Islands.

Despite a very poor forecast for high winds, low temperatures, and various levels of precipitation, the following week was spent collecting and processing samples of potential commercial species. The dive team was comprised of members of the Shallow Marine Surveys Group, SAERI and volunteers (Stevie Cartwright, Dr Paul Brewin, Dr Paul Brickle, Joost Pompert, Dion Poncet, Jamie Simpson and Juliet Hennequin). Two pairs of divers were deployed from the Zodiac at each of the sites we visited. The pairs were assigned either a “shallow” or “deep” transect to sample. Whilst one diver ran out a 30m reel of tape that defined each transect line and counted the species we were looking for, the second diver laid out 0.5m2 quadrats and took photos for habitat and species mapping purposes. Throughout the trip, we generally managed to get 3 sites per day, and along with each set of dives, we deployed a CTD, which is a water quality probe that measures temperature, depth, salinity and chlorophyll a as it is lowered through the water from the side of the ship.

Some of the potentially commercial species collected by divers were Chilean urchins (Loxechinus albus), Patagonian scallops (Zygochlamys patagonica), ribbed mussels (Aulacomya ater), keyhole limpets (Fissurella spp.), and long and short spired volutids (Adelomelon ancilla and Odontocymbiola magellanica). The processing team was Debs and Emily, who set themselves up in the available lab space to measure, weigh and dissect the species as they were collected by divers. Despite the difficulty of getting into some of the bivalves, once a technique was mastered, the processing became much faster. Everyone helped out to speed up some parts of processing, such as scraping orange Iophon sponge off the scallops or barnacles of the mussels (for accurate weight) or assisting in shucking open any immense buckets of bivalves.

50mph winds on Wednesday 13th August may have stopped much of the commercial fishing fleet from trawling, but we anchored in the relative shelter of Beaver Island Harbour and spent the day diving and mapping out a shallow clam (Eurhomalea exalbida) bed.

Over the duration, we managed 35 dives in 7 sampling days (map to follow), around Weddell Island, New Island, Beaver and Staats Island, and deployed 32 CTDs. We tried out some new equipment including: a drop-down underwater camera, that gave us a good snapshot idea of different habitats, and at greater depths than the divers can attain (limited to 20m for safety purposes); a side scan sonar that presented images of the sea bed – although this was limited because of the regular rough weather experienced. We also used an Isaacs-Kidd plankton net (borrowed from the Falkland Islands Fisheries Department) and did several plankton trawls after dusk or before dawn to collect samples of various species that have planktonic life stages.

It was a busy and eventful research cruise, and the team is excited to have collected so much data despite the prevalent poor weather. We were lucky to have such a fantastic chef in Juliette, who prepared us some beautiful dishes (utilising some of the samples – even though she doesn’t eat shellfish!) and Paul Brickle knocked up a couple of tantalising curries. Thanks to everyone who was involved, and watch out for the Penguin News article to follow, which will have some preliminary mapping and results, as well as some stunning underwater photography!

 

Divers getting ready whilst Peale’s dolphins play by the Zodiac

The team with a large seastar (Cosmasterias lurida)

 

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Agreement on the Conservation of Albatross and Petrels (ACAP)

Hello, I’m Anne, the ACAP Co-ordinator, working for JNCC (Joint Nature Conservation Committee) and hosted by SAERI. JNCC are the statutory advisor to the UK government on UK and international nature conservation (www.jncc.defra.gov.uk). The Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP) came into force in 2004 (www.acap.aq) and it currently has 13 signatories.

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The main objective of the Agreement is to maintain favourable conservation status for albatross and petrel species that are listed under the Agreement. The UK, including on behalf of its South Atlantic Overseas Territories (SAOTs), ratified ACAP in 2004, shortly after it came into force. The SAOTs of Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Tristan da Cunha, and the British Antarctic Territories are all included in the ratification.

All 22 albatross species are listed under ACAP, as well as seven species of petrel, and one species of shearwater. Relevant species for the UK include the Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophris of which approximately 70% of the global breeding population is present in the Falkland Islands, the Tristan Albatross Diomedea dabbenena which is endemic to the Tristan da Cunha Islands, and the White-chinned Petrel Procellaria aequinoctialis whose largest global breeding population is found in South Georgia. My role is to co-ordinate the UK’s efforts to meet its obligations under ACAP. An important aspect of the work is the collation of breeding and fisheries by-catch data from all SAOTs, and from this to produce the UK ACAP implementation reports. These reports have recently been completed, and I am now preparing for the 8th Advisory Committee meeting, which will be held in Punta del Este in Uruguay in September.

Being based in the Falkland Islands means I am ideally placed to work with the SAOT governments, NGOs, landowners and other relevant groups. The other half of my role is JNCC South Atlantic Overseas Territories Conservation Officer. This involves providing support and advice on a variety on conservation issues and projects to the SAOTs already mentioned plus St Helena and Ascension Island. This could include anything from the protection of endemic plants, rodent eradication, or fisheries licensing and enforcement. Needless to say the job is very varied and interesting and I’m looking forward to what the next few months bring.

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SAERI at Farmers’ week 2014

by Emily Hancox and iLaria Marengo

 

From 7th – 11th July, the annual farmers’ week took place in Stanley at the Town Hall, and SAERI staff took the opportunity to present the current research projects.

The role of landowners in the Falkland Islands is particularly important when considering the type of environmental studies undertaken by an institution such as SAERI; local knowledge, access and assistance are all vital to the success of this work.

On Monday 7th Dr Debs Davidson and Dr Megan Tierney presented their works respectively in inshore fisheries and in higher predators at the SAERI stand. Farmers had the opportunity not only to listen to both researchers, but also to have a look at a new SAERI poster highlighting the main activities of the institute and the area of interest, which extends across the South Atlantic.

On Wednesday 9th, a fairly large audience of farmers attended a presentation where each member of staff provided information about their roles in SAERI. Dr Davidson, after a general introduction about the Institute, focussed her attention on the 20 species which may be potential candidates for small scale fisheries and/or aquaculture in the Falklands’ inshore waters. Many farmers showed interested in getting involved in the identification of the species and many went away with a leaflet depicting the species and a small booklet with further pictures and interesting facts. Anyone who missed farmers’ week can always ask Dr Davidson for one of the species identification leaflets. Landowners are the first people who can spot the “creatures” that Dr Davidson is after for her research project and help from everyone is much appreciated. Dr Marengo provided a brief outline of what Geographic Information System (GIS) means and how can be beneficial for farmers and land managers in general. GIS is not only a tool for mapping but also a tool that can analyse geographical data and provide information for making better decisions. Landowners can be extremely helpful in providing data on soil and variation on grassland growth, which could be correlated to other environmental factors. Dr Blockley and Dr Tierney presented their GAP project which aims at filling gaps in the local knowledge of benthic species, oceanography, seafloor environment, and higher predators. These data are extremely valuable and are needed to inform and monitor potential impacts to the environment from offshore hydrocarbon activities which will be operating in the Falklands’ offshore waters.

Farmers’ week was a great occasion to promote what SAERI is doing locally in the Falklands and more in general in the other UK OTs in the South Atlantic. The objective is to consolidate what has been achieved after the first two years, continue to deliver high quality research projects, and above all to build strong collaboration with the local community and landowners, as working in synergy results to be beneficial for everybody in the Falklands.

Talking about more high quality projects, SAERI is welcoming Emily Hancox and Dr Amélie Augé who have started their respective posts as PhD student in shallow benthic and intertidal communities and project manager in Marine Spatial Planning.

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Integrating remote sensing imagery analysis with GIS: new perspectives for the Territories – South Atlantic region.

By iLaria Marengo

 In the South Atlantic region the use of remotely sensed images in environmental analyses should be considered more often. A couple of research projects are going to begin soon: one aims at using Landsat imageries to identify giant kelp in the sea surrounding the Falkland Islands. The project will be carried out with the support and expertise provided by the Welsh consultancy group Environment Systems. Freely available Landsat imageries and e-cognition (proprietary software) will be employed for the analyses and as a part of the project training will be provided to SAERI staff in order to acquire more confidence and skill in remotely sensed image processing and analysis.

The second project, led by the marine team in Saint Helena, includes the use of side scan sonar (starfish device) techniques to gather imageries, using acoustics, of the seabed in inshore waters around the island. The images, once analysed, should provide sound baseline information to derive, along with other data layers, n habitat map for inshore waters. An intense two day course was provided in the UK by CEFAS (Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science), which delivers internationally renowned science (they have many years of multibeam and side scan sonar data collection, processing and analysis experience) and collaborative relationships with UK government, EU, NGOs, research centres and industry. Support from CEFAS will continue during the project and the process of mapping marine habitats is going to be carried out as well in Ascension and in the Falkland Islands, where a new fisheries department (Ascension) has been recently created and a new project on inshore fisheries (Falkland Islands), which is led by Dr Debs Davidson (SAERI), has just started.

The use of remotely sensed images has got two important advantages: spatially it is possible to cover large areas that with a manual survey would take long time. Temporally it is possible to have measurements of the same area at different and planned periods. Hence it is possible to detect which dynamics interest/affect a geographical area by looking at the spatial, spectral, radiometric and temporal properties of the sensor.

The integration of Remote Sensing to GIS would be advantageous for researchers working for the local communities of the South Atlantic region, however it throws up a few challenges. For example, the cost of very high resolution data (resolution <= 5 metres) and the partial coverage of free high resolution (between 5 and 30 metres) satellite images, such as Landsat, for the small and remote islands of this area of the Atlantic Ocean; the management of the amount and size of data collected; the complexity of the pre-processing phase of the overall image analysis process, which requires the use of proprietary software and high level of expertise.

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This last point is going to be addressed progressively. The goal is to build local expertise and skills in the use of Remote Sensing techniques, however initial support from external experts, such as Environment Systems and CEFAS, is essential to deliver the projects and to gain how to practically analyse remotely sensed data.

side scan sonar

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Climate Change Institute on the Black Tarn, Mt. Usborne

By Dr Brenda Hall, Climate Change Institute, University of Maine

Science Objectives:

The goal of our project is to examine glacial deposits in and around cirques at Mt. Usborne in order to gain a better understanding of the glacial and climate history of the Falkland Islands.

Black Tarn

The Black Tarn, Mt. Usborne, East Falkland

Specific Activities Conducted:

From March 16-19, 2014, a field party of three carried out glacial geologic field work in the Black Tarn area of Mt. Usborne. Field members consisted of Drs. Brenda Hall and Thomas Lowell, both from universities in the United States, and Mr. Antony Smith of Discovery Falklands, who provided logistics and a wealth of local knowledge. The party arrived at a camp site ~750 m from the Black Tarn on March 16 and was able to spend the afternoon carrying gear to the pond and making a bathymetric map (Fig. 1). The map was constructed using a portable depth sounder and by making transects across the lake in an inflatable row boat. Maximum depth recorded was ~10 m. This was less than indicated previously (McAdam and Roberts, 1981, Falkland Islands Journal, p. 23-28) by ~ 3 m, but no deeper area could be found. During this time, the field team also made preliminary observations on the glacial geology surrounding the tarn.

On March 17, the remaining gear was carried to the field site and Drs. Hall and Lowell began coring. A piston coring system was set up from the inflatable boat anchored over the deepest part of the pond. Briefly, this consisted of a polycarbonate tube with a piston that moved up the tube as it was pushed into the mud. The piston provided suction that kept sediments in the tube and allowed recovery. The corer was deployed using a rope. The initial coring drive was successful and a little over one meter of sediment was recovered (Fig. 2). This sediment shows some structure and changes in both color, composition, and grain size and will be the subject of future reports. Without laboratory analysis, it is impossible to say much for certain, but it seems as if the sediments record several wet and dry periods, the timescale of which will become clear as analyses progress. We extruded the core and took subsamples for analysis. We then attempted to take a second meter of core as we had not hit bedrock with the first drive. However, this attempt did not prove successful. We penetrated to two meters depth, but the sediments did not remain in the tube when it was pulled out. This is due mostly to the fact that we needed a different type of equipment than we had with us. The one previous coring trip to the area in the 1970s (McAdam and Roberts, 1981) had retrieved only 45 cm of sediment before meeting refusal, so we had not expected such thick sediment sequences. In the future, bringing a different type of equipment would allow us to recover this sediment and a longer climate record.

On March 18, high winds prevented us from working on the lake. We remained on shore and sampled sediments immediately adjacent to the lake using the same piston core technique. We were able to penetrate nearly three meters and retrieve silt identical to that from our lake core. This core also was subsampled. On March 19, due to increasingly bad weather and the rapidly deteriorating ground on the route out, we packed up camp and returned to Stanley.In general, except for the first day, weather conditions were wet and at freezing. Ground conditions for accessing the site by Land Rover were much worse than anticipated and a function of a rather wet March. Despite these issues, we were able to camp within a short walk of the tarn and were able to meet our scientific goals. We are excited, because there proved to be a lot more to the Black Tarn record than expected based on previous work. Our task now is to analyze the samples, particularly for radiocarbon dating, to begin to assign a timeline to the changes in sediment types that we see in the cores. At present, our best guess is that these cores span time on the order of thousands to tens of thousands of years. Samples have been submitted to the accelerator laboratory for radiocarbon dating, and we expect results in about two months.

Balck Tarn Bathymetry

 

Fig. 1. Bathymetry of the Black Tarn obtained by repeat transects with an electronic depth sounder.

 

 

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Fig. 2. Core BT-14-1, from the Black Tarn, consisting of 1.2 m of sediment.  From the base, the sequence consists of gray clay overlain by moss, overlain in turn by a thick layer of tan-gray silt. This is overlain by moss and then by a sticky gray silt layer. The entire sequence is capped by stiff, orange, sandy silt.

 

 

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