Antarctic Summer Expedition of the Macroalgae Group 2013/2014

 

The Macroalgae group of Instituto Antártico Argentino participated of the last Antarctic Summer expedition. One half of our group, Dolores Deregibus and the young student Maru Marcias, arrived the first week of December 2013 at Carlini Station. They focused their studies mainly in two principal aspects: the long term distribution of the intertidal macroalgal communities of Peñón 1 and the ice scouring effect on sublittoral macroalgal community in the newly ice- free areas. Their time in Antarctica was great. Again this summer, we participated on the Scientific Seminars at Escudero Station (INACH) where many researchers assisted from near stations at King George Island. Although they remained in Carlini Station no more than one month, the weather was good enough to let them finish all the studies planned.

 

The second half of the group (Gaby Campana, Gustavo Latorre, Mariano Valli Francione and Lili Quartino) arrived on January 17th. That day both groups were able to meet at Frei Station airport where we could, at least, share a big hug and wish everybody good luck! We arrived at Carlini Station in the most wonderful evening where a huge full moon lit the seawater of the Cove and shone on the glacier.

We stayed in Carlini Station for two months working on the effects of climate change on macroalgal communities, and specifically, the consequences of glacier retreat on the role of macroalgae as habitat to invertebrates. Our work combined intensive underwater sampling to collect the subtidal macroalgae and their associated fauna, and exhausting work at the laboratory, where all the invertebrates were scanned. The small invertebrates inhabiting macroalgae look like a sea world kaleidoscope! Besides this, we´ve started a colonization experiment to further analyze the effects of climate change on Antarctic macroalgal communities.

It was Mariano’s first experience in Antarctica! Therefore, he was baptized with all the typical rituals of Carlini Station.

Our fieldwork largely depends on diving and many days during February the weather did not allow us to go out with the boats. In spite of this, we were able to finish most of our summer work!

Finally, just one curiosity of this last expedition: four former “overwinters” (the scientists that carry out samplings during the whole year) and the new one, were working together during the last summer months of the 2013-14 Campaign. In the name of the entire research groups, thank you very much to all of you again!

Best wishes from the Macroalgae Group of Instituto Antártico Argentino

Lili Quartino

 

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