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_mg_4781We bow our heads respectfully and with abundant sorrow — penguins, penguin-lovers, and all of us who knew Frank Todd and who are and will be indescribably saddened by news of his passing.

Frank was a dear, life-long friend and the one who singularly molded and nurtured my love for penguins and Antarctica.

Vividly, I recall every second of that snowy, 30-knot windy day, 34 years ago, when he personally introduced me to my very first penguin — a snarling, unbelievably loud, and cantankerous chinstrap penguin on the gravel beach at Entrance Point, Deception Island, in the Antarctic Peninsula.

It was the first of my many moments learning from the master. Frank not only mentored me, he mentored a huge cohort of us who came to believe deeply, as he did, in these amazing creatures as indicators of ocean, environmental, and planetary health.

Frank once told me of his hope that:

” . . . good sense will prevail, and that these wonderful animals will be preserved for future generations to marvel at. Most people acknowledge that they will never see penguins in the wild. But just knowing that they are there is enough.”

Frank helped spread the joy of penguins via the Penguin Encounter exhibit he planned and developed at Sea World, and by connecting with thousands of Antarctic visitors onboard a host of Antarctic expedition vessels over more than three decades.

Frank was my inspiration and he never stopped fighting for what he believed in — and for his life. I will miss him immensely. And not stop thinking about him.

. . . Ron Naveen

_mg_4781We bow our heads respectfully and with abundant sorrow — penguins, penguin-lovers, and all of us who knew Frank Todd and who are and will be indescribably saddened by news of his passing.

Frank was a dear, life-long friend and the one who singularly molded and nurtured my love for penguins and Antarctica.

Vividly, I recall every second of that snowy, 30-knot windy day, 34 years ago, when he personally introduced me to my very first penguin — a snarling, unbelievably loud, and cantankerous chinstrap penguin on the gravel beach at Entrance Point, Deception Island, in the Antarctic Peninsula.

It was the first of my many moments learning from the master. Frank not only mentored me, he mentored a huge cohort of us who came to believe deeply, as he did, in these amazing creatures as indicators of ocean, environmental, and planetary health.

Frank once told me of his hope that:

” . . . good sense will prevail, and that these wonderful animals will be preserved for future generations to marvel at. Most people acknowledge that they will never see penguins in the wild. But just knowing that they are there is enough.”

Frank helped spread the joy of penguins via the Penguin Encounter exhibit he planned and developed at Sea World, and by connecting with thousands of Antarctic visitors onboard a host of Antarctic expedition vessels over more than three decades.

Frank was my inspiration and he never stopped fighting for what he believed in — and for his life. I will miss him immensely. And not stop thinking about him.

. . . Ron Naveen

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The Future Of Antarctica . . . Is Now!
Climate Change Must Be Addressed!

The 23rd anniversary season of the Antarctic Site Inventory launches shortly, capping a hugely successful and productive year for the nonprofit, non-advocacy, science, and education organization Oceanites . . .

November 17, 2016 – Washington, DC USA — In three days, the 23rd anniversary field season of Oceanites’ Antarctic Site Inventory begins onboard the One Ocean Expeditions ship Akademik Sergey Vavilov, with penguin-counting continuing through February 11, 2017. In 22 seasons, November 1994 to February 2016, the Antarctic Site Inventory has made 1,713 site visits and collected data at 223 Antarctic Peninsula locations, building a comprehensive database that everyone in the Antarctic Treaty system relies upon — from diplomats and governments, other Antarctic scientists, and the environmental community, to expedition tour operators and concerned citizens.

Oceanites and the Inventory represent the only non-governmental science project working in Antarctica and the only project monitoring and analyzing change across the vastly warming Antarctic Peninsula region. The Inventory would not succeed without the generous logistics support of One Ocean Expeditions, Inc. (Canada) and the full cooperation of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO).

Championing science-based decision-making, this has been a successful year in which Oceanites has significantly advanced the conservation of Antarctic penguins and Antarctica itself.

In February/March 2016, Oceanites convened the inaugural Future of Antarctica Forum in the Peninsula onboard Akademik Ioffe, bringing together leading Antarctic stakeholders, including governments, NGOs, tour operators, fishing interests, and scientists, to discuss issues — particularly, climate change — that are of great concern to Antarctic Treaty countries and the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), which oversees fishing activities in the Southern Ocean.

Oceanites accepted the challenge of Forum participants to establish an international, interdisciplinary effort to distinguish the direct and interactive effects of climate change, fishing, tourism, and national operations on the fragile Antarctic Peninsula ecosystem. To that end, the Norwegian fishing company Aker Biomarine, the largest krill fishing company operating in the region, has agreed to furnish its catch and effort data to Oceanites so it may independently analyze fishing activities vis-à-vis penguin breeding/foraging locations and climate change in the Antarctic Peninsula.

Ron Naveen, founder and president of Oceanites, hailed this progress:

As understood by all our Forum participants, the future of Antarctica is . . . now. Literally. The great continent of ice and its marine ecosystem are changing right before our eyes — and I am gladdened by the commitment of the fishing and tourism industries, governments, the scientific community, and environmental organizations to collaborate, bring resources together, and help Oceanites sort which climate-related and other effects are real and how they might be managed.”

Importantly, at the 35th CCAMLR meeting in October, Aker Biomarine and the Association of Responsible Krill Harvesters (ARK), whose operations comprise 80% of all krill fishing in the Antarctic Peninsula, announced an initiative to voluntarily avoid fishing where penguins are breeding or foraging. Oceanites is providing maps and penguin location reports to Aker Biomarine and ARK to assist this voluntary effort.

Webjørn Eikrem, president of ARK and the EVP Production and Supply Chain at Aker BioMarine said:

Respecting the ecosystem in which we fish is the best way we can ensure the future of our fishery. We are serious about taking responsibility for our Antarctic workplace and value the cooperation with Oceanites to ensure continued progress in conserving the Antarctic and Southern Ocean.”

Jane Rumble, UK CCAMLR Commissioner and Head of the UK Delegation to the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting commented:

Ongoing monitoring programmes are vital if we are to piece together how climate impacts upon penguins and other seabird species in Antarctica, and to ensure that human activities, including science, tourism and fishing, do not cause significant additional stresses. That is why the UK continues to support the work of Oceanites. Identifying critical risks to wildlife and managing human activities is a key responsibility of the Antarctic Treaty System, including helping to focus international commitments to ensure the protection of Antarctica’s unique wildlife.”

For more information, please contact:
Ron Naveen @ Oceanites
PHONE 202-237-6262
EMAIL oceanites@icloud.com

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This has been a very memorable and exciting day in the history of CCAMLR — the Commission for Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources. Four key achievements have been advanced:

• Establishing the world’s largest marine protected area in the Ross Sea
• Establishing 100% observer coverage in the krill fishery
• Adopting a 5-year extension of existing krill fishing limits in the Antarctic Peninsula
• Enabling special scientific study areas where ice shelves have retreated or collapsed

Oceanites attended the meetings as an invited observer and submitted three papers for consideration. One concerned the outcomes of the first Future of Antarctica Forum that Oceanites convened and held onboard the One Ocean Expeditions vessel Akademik Ioffe from 28 February to 9 March 2016 in the Antarctic Peninsula, during which Oceanites and its 22-year-old of data’ Antarctic Site Inventory (ASI) project were challenged to establish a new, international interdisciplinary effort to examine climate change and fishing impacts on penguin populations in the Antarctic Peninsula.

A second paper described the ongoing development of the Mapping Application for Penguin Populations and Projected Dynamics tool (MAPPPD), which The Lynch Lab for Quantitative Ecology (Stony Brook University) and NASA have developed for Oceanites (www.penguinmap.com).

The third paper reported on the history and ongoing data collection of Oceanites and the ASI, and highlighted Oceanites’ recent agreement with the Norwegian company Aker BioMarine to independently analyse the company’s krill fishing catch/effort data vis-a-vis data on penguin breeding/foraging locations and climate change impacts in the Antarctic Peninsula.

During the course of CCAMLR 35, Oceanites began assisting the Association of Responsible Antarctic Krill Harvesting Companies (ARK), of which Aker Biomarine is a founding and leading member, in developing a voluntary plan to refrain from fishing nearby penguin colonies in the Antarctic Peninsula.

Ron Naveen, president and founder of Oceanites, said: “The conservation achievements at CCAMLR 35 are huge. The establishment of the Ross Sea MPA represents a most notable, excellent day in CCAMLR’s history. I hope that progress continues and I am especially excited about Oceanites’ forging the pathway ensuring that potential fishing impacts on Antarctic Peninsula penguin populations are either minimized or avoided altogether.”

A study reveals that the habitat of Antarctic krill could decline by the end of the 21st century due to warm water temperature.

Source: Antarctic Krill Habitat Could Decline By 2100 Due To Climate Change : Nature & Environment : Science World Report

Mapppdlogo copyThe penguin population tool — MAPPPD (Mapping Application for Penguin Populations and Projected Dynamics) — that the Lynch Lab @ Stony Brook University & the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have developed for Oceanites is now live.

Go to: http://www.penguinmap.com

Ron Naveen, from Oceanites, explains:

“MAPPPD keeps Oceanites and the Antarctic Site Inventory on the ‘front lines’ of Antarctic science. I feel immensely responsible because the Inventory is the only project effectively monitoring penguins and flying bird population changes across the entirety of the vastly warming Antarctic Peninsula. But the key is that we’ve also taken on the challenge of sorting and distinguishing among the various, interactive effects of climate change, fishing, tourism, and other potential stressors in this sensitive ecosystem —  and MAPPPD helps us stay on the cutting edge.

“MAPPPD allows Oceanites and our Antarctic Site Inventory collaborators, and other researchers, instant access to the latest, most current data needed to analyze potential and detected changes in Antarctica. MAPPPD necessarily will assist ecosystem management in this fragile region. And no question, because the MAPPPD tool is publicly and freely available, it will immediately assist a wide range of Antarctic stakeholders, from governments and the Antarctic research community  to NGOs and the public at large. From this point forward, no one will be able say that we don’t know how Antarctic penguins are doing!”

Source: MAPPPD Home

UntitledAbout a third of Adelie penguin colonies in Antarctica could disappear in the next four decades due to human caused global warming, a…

Source: Antarctica Is Warming Quickly, And That’s Bad News For Penguin Colonies — ThinkProgress

UntitledAbout a third of Adelie penguin colonies in Antarctica could disappear in the next four decades due to human caused global warming, a…

Source: Antarctica Is Warming Quickly, And That’s Bad News For Penguin Colonies — ThinkProgress

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Source: New research shows penguins will suffer in a warming world | John Abraham | Environment | The Guardian

At two of the most remote locations on Earth — Zavodoski Island and Bristol Island in the far south Atlantic Ocean, a recent 7.2 magnitude earthquake and volcanic eruptions are potentially affecting one-half of the world’s entire population of chinstrap penguins (Pygoscelis Antarctica). Zavodoski and Bristol islands are part of the South Sandwich Island chain, in the South Atlantic Ocean, at the far eastern end of the Scotia Arc, approximately 1,150 mi (1,850 km) east of the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands, and represent a major biological hot spot for penguins and other seabirds.

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The Bristol Island eruption (image captured by Landsat-8 satellite on May 2, 2016)

The islands’ remoteness and challenging coastlines preclude regular biological censuses, but, in 2011, Oceanites assisted in sponsoring an extensive survey of the South Sandwich Islands onboard the yacht Golden Fleece, captained by Jérôme Poncet. This was the first survey since the late 1990s and the most comprehensive ever accomplished, completed through a combination of direct counting, global positioning system (GPS) mapping, and interpretation of high-resolution commercial satellite imagery. Results have just been published (Lynch, et al. Polar Biology, DOI 10.1007/s00300-015-1886-6, 2016).

The South Sandwich Islands host a minimum of 1.3 million breeding pairs of chinstrap penguins (Pygoscelis antarctica), the largest chinstrap colony in the world; as well as 95,000 breeding pairs of macaroni penguins (Eudyptes chrysolophus), several thousand breeding pairs of gentoo penguins (Pygoscelis papua), 125,000 breeding pairs of Adelie Penguins (Pygoscelis adeliae), and 1,900 pairs of southern giant petrels (Macronectes giganteus).

In context, 1.3 million breeding pairs of chinstrap penguins represent nearly half of the world’s chinstrap penguin population, which is estimated to comprise 2.67 million breeding pairs. Also critical is that the chinstrap penguin colonies across the Scotia Arc, from the Antarctic Peninsula in the west to the South Sandwich Islands in the east, represent one genetically interconnected breeding population (Freer, et al., 2016).

Via fisheries observer reports last month, the British Antarctic Survey has now reported that Mt. Curry on Zavodovski Island at the northern end of the chain and Mt. Sourabaya on Bristol Island to the south are erupting. The recent survey noted 600,000 pairs of chinstraps breeding at Zavodoski Island and >960 pairs of chinstraps breeding at Bristol Island. Ash cover appears to be extensive on both Zavodoski and Bristol.

Ron Naveen, president/founder of Oceanites and co-principal investigator of the Antarctic Site Inventory, noted:

“While the earthquake and eruptions seem to have occurred late in the penguins’ breeding season, we won’t be able to fully assess impacts until the start of the next breeding season. The great concern, however, is that the South Sandwich chinstraps represent a relatively stable population of this species, compared to the dramatic decline of chinstraps in the vastly warming western Antarctic Peninsula. This clearly has enormous implications for the careful management of fishing activities in this sector of the south Atlantic Ocean.

“As noted in our census paper, the South Sandwich Islands have received considerably less attention than either South Georgia or the western Antarctic Peninsula, and little is known about changes in prey availability, foraging effort, diet, phenology, or demography. Casual examination of the guano suggests that penguins are eating both krill and fish in the South Sandwich Islands, though more careful analysis is clearly required to compare penguin diet in this region to Antarctic Peninsula populations, for example, where the chinstraps’ diet is more krill-focused.”

Heather Lynch, assistant professor of Ecology & Evolution at Stony Brook University and co-principal investigator of the Antarctic Site Inventory, is expert in surveying penguin colonies from satellite imagery and will be remotely tracking these changes. She commented:

“This represents a once-in-a-century opportunity to study how penguins respond to and recover from massive ecological disturbance. Clearly, this is not the first, nor will it be the last, time that chinstrap penguins have had to deal with major volcanic eruptions, but it’s perhaps the first time we have the tools to study it in detail. The interactions between biology and geology are complex and hard to study, but over long periods of time these kinds of disturbances shape the biogeographic patterns we see every day.”

Zavodoski Is., JAN 2011 (IMG001), ©2016 Tom Hart : Penguin Lifelines

Masses of chinstrap penguins at Zavodoski Island, January 2011 (©2016, Tom Hart / Penguin Lifelines)

Tom Hart, University of Oxford Department of Zoology, who participated in the 2011 expedition to the South Sandwich Islands, commented:

“The South Sandwich Islands are a place like no other; hundreds of thousands of penguins nest in supercolonies on the slopes of glacier covered, smoking volcanoes. So, it’s entirely natural that occasionally one of these volcanoes erupts and in the long term it’s likely to be natural that a population crashes as a result. That said, we’ve never witnessed one of these events and we need to incorporate it into our conservation plan for chinstrap penguins in particular.

Depending on exactly when this eruption started, the colony could be severely impacted, but equally if this happened before moult, the population could largely have gone to sea or nearby islands. We know from time-lapse cameras on Saunders Island that the South Sandwich colonies are likely to have been moulting when the eruption started.

Either way, we won’t know the extent of the problem until we get back to the islands. One upside is that the South Sandwich Islands have been doing well and they are likely to recover. Studying the recovery of Zavodovski will give us a comparison and insight into chinstraps elsewhere.”

For further information, please contact:

Ron Naveen, Oceanites

oceanites@icloud.com

+1 202 237 6262

Dr. Tom Hart

tom.hart@zoo.ox.ac.uk

+44 1865 600 170

References

  • Lynch, et al., In stark contrast to widespread declines along the Scotia Arc, a survey of the South Sandwich Islands finds a robust seabird community, Polar Biology, 2016

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00300-015-1886-6

  • Freer, et al., Limited genetic differentiation among chinstrap penguin (Pygoscelis antarctica) colonies in the Scotia Arc and Western Antarctic Peninsula, Polar Biology, 2015)

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00300-015-1711-2

  • Video of Tom Hart, surveying/censusing chinstrap penguins at Zavodoski Island, January 2011

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXsXk-r3XI8&feature=youtu.be

  • Folder of photographs by Tom Hart from the Oceanites co-sponsored research expedition to the South Sandwich Islands, January 2011

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/w1n9dpthg8iq7iz/AAB8TveGqCKumuS1oupWTj4ia?dl=0