Session Chair: Lorna Thurston (Northern Arizona University, United States)
Technical Support: José Queirós (University of Coimbra, Portugal)
Tom Hart, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
BIOLOGICAL - MARINE / FRESHWATER / TERRESTRIAL
14:00 - 14:15 GMT: Marine Psychrophilic and Psychrotolerant Actinobacteria of the Waters of the Southern Ocean, their Diversity and Cryoprotective Potential
P. Sivasankar1, K. Sivakumar1, P.V. Bhaskar2 and N. Anilkumar2
1Centre of Advanced Study in Marine Biology, Faculty of Marine Sciences, Annamalai University, India
2National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research, India
Abstract: Studies on actinobacteria in the Southern Ocean (Antarctic Ocean) are limited as compared to those of the other aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Bearing this in mind, present study was carried out to isolate and identify the psychrophilic and psychrotolerant actinobacteria of the Polar Frontal waters of the Southern Ocean of the Antarctica for the discovery of novel cold active enzymes and cryoprotective agents. A total of nine actinobacterial strains were isolated from two water samples collected from Polar Front region of the Southern Ocean, Antarctica. All the isolated actinobacterial strains were studied for cardinal temperature determination. Out of nine actinobacterial strains, 4 were classified as psychrophiles (PSY13, PSY15, PSY21 and PSY25) and 5 were classified as psychrotolerants (PST1 to 5). The strains were identified by conventional and molecular techniques and found that they were belongs to the genus Nocardiopsis and Streptomyces. An attempt was also made to map the actinobacterial diversity of the Polar Frontal waters of the Southern using GIS approach by applying the GPS coordinates. The strains were screened for cold active cellulase enzyme production and the strain Nocardiopsis dassonvillei PSY13 showed higher cellulolytic activity. The microbes of the cold and frozen environment might have survived with the protection of cryoprotective agents. In this context, the present study aimed to study the exopolysaccharide (EPS) for production and cryoprotective effect on psychrophilic actinobacterial strains. Among nine strains, the strain PSY15 showed higher amount of EPS production and was purified, characterized and used to determine the cryoprotective effect by freeze-thaw method. The strain was found to survive in all the successive freeze-thaw cycles and viability test. On the whole, results of the present study have indicated that the EPSs produced by the Nocardiopsis prasina PSY15 are unique with complex polysaccharides, proven for their cryoprotective effect.
Zofia Smoła, Institut of Oceanology Polish Academy of Science, Center for Polar Studies "Polar KNOW", Poland
Abstract: Phytoplankton organisms as a primary producers are an important components in Arctic marine food web. Energy rate transferred to higher trophic levels depends on quantity and quality of phytoplankton assemblaged and timing of blooms events. Three fjords on the west spitsbergen coast, Hornsund, VanMmijenfjord and Kongsfjord, each with different environmental factors which shapes specyfic ecosystems.
How differ phytoplankton assemblages in this there arctic marine ecosystems? How primary production and producers were there studied so far? What opportunities give new methods of molecular taxonomy analysis?
Results of investigation indicate strong variation of phytoplankton assemblages between and within fjords. Molecular methods are able to make visible the smallest size fraction of phytoplankton which is almost undetecteble and unidentyfied in light microscopy analysis. Here I would like present own results and summarize state of art in the field of phytoplankton studies in Spitsbergen fjords
Sarah Arnold, University of Manitoba, Canada
Abstract: We often consider the polar regions to be “data poor”, particularly in the biological sciences. This presentation will discuss whether this is truly the case, or whether we simply need to reconsider our definition of data and look more closely at existing information sources. Traditional knowledge, archival documents, grey literature, environmental impact assessments, economic surveys – all contain insights that can help to answer some of the myriad questions we have about polar ecosystems.
Knowing that such information is available is only the first step, however. How do we find and access these sources? Without always knowing the extent, depth, or limitations of this information, how can we best make use of it? How can we decipher patterns and conclusions from such varied data types? I will discuss some strategies for undertaking desktop ecological research, in the context of fisheries research in Nunavut, Canada.
Nevertheless, under pressure from funding agencies with their own agendas, communities demanding increasing involvement in research, and our own desire to be in the field (why else did we become biologists?), the lure of on-the-ground research can be overwhelming. I will present a few of the ways to justify and execute desktop research that can provide useful insights for all stakeholders.
As the saying goes, “time spent in reconnaissance is seldom wasted”. Desktop ecology can help us to better understand the historical and current status of systems, as well as identify gaps and patterns. From this base we can then conduct more effective fieldwork to investigate specific contexts and changes; as well as finally get our own chance at snapping the perfect glamour photo on an icebreaker, or next to polar bears!
ATMOSPHERICS / CLIMATOLOGY
Tamara Fletcher, University of Montana, United States
Abstract: The largest changes in climate are occurring at the poles, yet the mechanisms causing polar temperature amplification are not well understood, and models underestimate the increase in temperature relative to observation. What can be discerned from observing the modern climate of the Arctic is limited in part because historical records are sparse and in part because the predicted scale of change is unprecedented in recent geological history. Thinking outside the Quaternary, critical climate information can be gathered from past warm periods such as the Pliocene (2.6–5.3 Ma) when atmospheric CO2 levels were comparable to today.
For the Pliocene, accurate estimates of proxy data-model mismatch are hindered by the scarcity of well-constrained observations from well-dated sites in the High Arctic. Using a recently developed community-based approach compared with an established method, and applied to extraordinary, permafrost-driven preservation of floras, we explored the climate and community assemblages at five Pliocene sites in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.
Across the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, mean annual temperatures were ~20°C hotter (ranging from 0.8 to 6.2°C by species across sites) and mean annual precipitation ~500 mm wetter (ranging from 530 to 860 mm by species across sites) during the Early to ‘mid’-Pliocene (~3.6 Ma) compared with modern climate. The results suggest that climatic differences at this scale do not simply correlate (linearly or ranked) to differences in community assemblage between sites. The threshold temperature for tree line is one important component that corresponds to a stable dissimilarity between one studied site and the cluster of the other four. Within that cluster other factors drive dissimilarity of communities where the taxa could share the same climate space. Our results from the climatically ‘stable’ Pliocene support predictions that Arctic Amplification will intensify as positive feedback mechanisms in the Arctic are invoked by our changing global climate.
Kirstin Werner1,2, Winfried Hoke1,2, Sina Loeschke1, Clare Nullis3, Jonathan Day4, Helge Goessling1,2, Thomas Jung1,2, Paolo Ruti5
1Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany
2WMO WWRP International Coordination Office for Polar Prediction
3World Meteorological Organization, Media Office, Geneva, Switzerland
4Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, Reading, United Kingdom
5World Meteorological Organization, World Weather Research Programme, Geneva, Switzerland
Abstract: The Year of Polar Prediction (YOPP) scheduled from mid-2017 to mid-2019 is a major international activity to significantly advance environmental prediction capabilities for the polar regions and beyond on time scales from hours to seasons, supporting improved weather and climate services. It has been established by the World Meteorological Organization’s World Weather Research Programme in response to the rapid polar climate change and the expected increase in economic, touristic, transportation, and scientific activities. The Year of Polar Prediction is key to the ten-year Polar Prediction Project and will entail intensive observing, modelling, prediction, verification, user-engagement and education activities.
Communication activities for YOPP are coordinated by the International Coordination Office (ICO) for Polar Prediction hosted by the German Alfred Wegener Institute. Supported by WMO and AWI media experts, information on YOPP is distributed via a number of communication instruments by the ICO as well as by members of the PPP Steering Group and other closely collaborating scientists. YOPP communication targets various internal and external groups such as Arctic and Antarctic scientists working in different disciplines, operational centres, and various stakeholders using polar forecasting products. Therefore, the information flows need to be adjusted to the respective group addressed. High public awareness of ongoing changes in polar regions and the international scope of YOPP allow for active involvement of numerous multipliers to reach out to their communities. Education is given special emphasis in order to train the next generation of polar prediction scientists. During the first Polar Prediction School held in April 2016 in Abisko, Sweden, students and young postdocs were trained in polar environmental prediction science to enhance understanding of what it needs to ensure safe living and working conditions in polar regions – today and tomorrow. A second Polar Prediction School is planned for 2018.
CULTURAL / HISTORICAL
MJ Halberstadt, Emerson College
Abstract: As Antarctic research yields increasingly urgent warnings about our planet and major political powers embrace climate-change denial, we are called upon to seek new methods of communicating those concerns and rise above the fray. Meanwhile, popular media demonstrate themselves as effective and palatable methods of shaping popular consciousness, so much so that we’ve repurposed the word “binge”. It is necessary to turn to the next generation of media makers to ensure that lessons learned in Antarctic research have voice.
This presentation suggests innovative academic methods that would enable and inspire researchers and students within Antarctic studies to forge a connection with students and graduates within the arts. By referring to my familiarity with Emerson College’s unique interdisciplinary offerings, I will propose methods of collaboration with the goal of developing persuasive and informative media content meant to elevate the presence and impact of Antarctic stories and research through tools including fiction, television, interactive games, drama, etc. I will describe action items that I integrate into my own teaching and creative pursuits, and that may be of use to instructors, faculty members, and granters of research fellowships pertaining to arts and/or science.
Young artists and writers are often waiting impatiently for their next gig; Antarctic researchers have an opportunity to employ their talents as a platform for amplifying their own perspectives. Working across disciplines offers an opportunity to raise the alarm for climate change in a way that will make the public listen and act.
15:30 - 15:45 GMT: The Importance to the Health and Safety of Brazilian Expeditionaries with the Air Cargo Launch Operations to the Brazilian Antarctic Station in the Winter
Paola Barros Delben, Gustavo Klauberg Pereira e Roberto Moraes Cruz, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil
Abstract: 15 military make up the group that annually manager the Comandante Ferraz Antarctic Station (EACF). In winter, the station stay isolated and is supplied by aerial launches by the Brazilian Area Force, operation planned with the Brazilian Navy, coordinator of the Brazilian Antarctic Program. Objective: To examine the cargo launch operations to the EACF in the winter and its importance to the health and safety of Brazilian expeditionaries. Method: participatory observation of the cargo launching with aeronautical crew and the simulation to receive the cargo on the ground with the military group of the the EACF. Results: Up to 11 loads are parachuted to the EACF in the winter, in synchronized actions in the air and in the ground. The Hercules C-130 aircraft performs a closed circuit on King George Island, requiring continuous training of pilots and loodmasters, who launch cargoes from the rear of the plane while the door remains open during the route. The communication between EACF and the airplane Hercules updates information on weather conditions that allow overflight, the exit of the EACF military to mark the target at a pre-established location and the load pickup. These contain food and items sent by family members, as well as spare parts, emergency or continuous use, such as generator sets and medications. The operation is important for the health of the expeditionaries who remain 7 months isolated, minimizing risks to negative psysical and mental consequences, reducing the perception of risks, time, compliance with safety norms and performance of professional activities, recurrent In these contexts when it is not supported. Conclusion: This study contributes to the understanding of the professional complexity of missions in Antarctica, especially related to human behavior in ICE environments and dissemination of the winter operation, which aims to reduce accidents risk and psychological commitment of expeditionaries.