Analyses of data from the recently completed field season are proceeding, and the Antarctic Site Inventory (ASI) continues to be the only project monitoring penguin population  changes in the vastly warming Antarctic Peninsula. During the 2010-11 field season, the Inventory continued censusing penguin breeding sites in the Peninsula and, as well, completed the most extensive penguin censuses ever at the South Sandwich Islands, at the far eastern end of the Scotia Arc. The ASI continues to document rapid change in the relative populations of gentoo, chinstrap, and Adélie penguins in the western Antarctic Peninsula. Gentoo penguin populations are increasing rapidly and expanding their range southward, while the other two species are declining significantly.

In 17 seasons from November 1994 through February 2011, the ASI now has made 1,156 site visits and collected data at 142 Antarctic Peninsula locations. During the recently concluded 2010-11 field season, the ASI made 121 visits and collected data at 71 sites; 20 of these sites were visited multiple times, 51 were visited only once. There have been repetitive visits to all of the visitor sites that are most heavily visited by expedition tourists, to all sites which exhibit the most species diversity and are most prone to potential environmental disturbance, and to the species-diverse, environmentally sensitive sites now subject to site visitation guidelines adopted at recent Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings (ATCMs). In regard to this year’s ATCM (June 20 – July 1, 2011, in Buenos Aires) the US government has submitted an Information Paper informing delegates of the ASI’s progress-to-date.

Advertisements