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EARTH SCIENCE > BIOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION > ANIMALS/VERTEBRATES

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  • This dataset contains the results from surveys of Wandering Albatrosses (Diomedea exulans) on Macquarie Island. The majority of the surveys were conducted at the Caroline Cove colony which contains 59% of the Wandering Albatrosses found on Macquarie Island. Observations were made for 41 consecutive days between 5 December 1975 and 14 January 1976, and for 103 consecutive days between 25 November 1976 and 7 March 1977. Occasional observations were made of birds at other locations on Macquarie Island. Each bird in the colony was banded for identification, sexed and had its plumage scored. The times of arrival and departure, numbers present, interaction and behaviour were observed, and weather conditions were noted irregularly throughout the day. The results are listed in the documentation.

  • This data set contains the results from a study of the behaviour of Weddell seals (Leptonychotes weddelli) at the Vestfold Hills, Prydz Bay, Antarctica. Three satellite transmitters were deployed on tagged female Weddell seals at the Vestfold Hills mid-winter (June) 1999. The transmitters were recovered in December, late in the pupping season. In total, the three transmitters were deployed and active 170 days, 175 days and 180 days. I used the first two classes of data to get fixes with a standard deviation less than 1 km. Most seal holes were more that 1 km apart (see Entry: wed_survey) so at this resolution we can distinguish between haul-out sites. We examine the number and range of locations used by the individual seals. We use all data collectively to look at diurnal and seasonal changes in haul-out bouts. None of the seals were located at sites outside the area of fast ice at the Vestfold Hills, although one seal was sighted on new fast-ice (20 - 40 cm thick). Considering the long bouts in the water, and that we only tracked haul-out locations, the results do not eliminate the possibility that the seals made long trips at sea. The original data are stored by the Australian Antarctic Division in the ARGOS system on the mainframe Alpha. The transmitter numbers are 23453, 7074 and 7075.

  • The broadscale distribution of flora (lichens, mosses, non-marine algae)and fauna (penguins, flying birds, seals)in the Stillwell Hills was mapped using GPS technology. Samples of flora were collected for taxonomic identification. Data were recorded and catalogued in shapefiles.

  • Metadata record for data from ASAC Project 2897 See the link below for public details on this project. Public The aim of this multi-disciplinary proposal is to examine the molecular evolution of toxic proteins across the full taxonomical spectrum of venomous Antarctic marine animals. The project will create a comparative encyclopedia of the evolution of the venom system in the Antarctic marine animal kingdom and elucidate the underlying structure-function relationships between these toxic proteins. Through a process utilising cutting edge analytical techniques, such as cDNA cloning and molecular modelling, a feedback loop of bioactivity testing will be created to contribute substantially towards the area of drug design and development from toxic animal peptides. Project objectives: The aim of this project is to investigate the evolution of the molecular, structural and functional properties of Antarctic marine animal venom systems. This integrative project aims to investigate the origin and evolution of secreted proteins in the venom glands of toxic polar animals by means of: - Analysis of mechanisms of evolution in multigene families. - Phylogenetic analysis of evolutionary relationships among secreted proteins in the venom glands of major lineages; - Search for correlations between: (i) evolution of venom gland structure (ii) molecular evolution of venom components, and (iii) ecological specialisation of the animal - Bioactivity studies will be conducted upon representative purified or synthesised proteins. - A first ever comparison of the convergent strategies between Arctic and Antarctic endemic fauna. The results will help us to understand protein evolution, will cast light on the classic problem of how venom systems evolve, and may provide leads in the search for commercially-exploitable venom proteins. Taken from the 2008-2009 Progress Report: Progress against objectives: We have completed the genetic analyses of the specimens and sequence analyses. Phylogenetic positioning is robust other than a few deep level nodes. We are undertaking a second round of genetic analyses using different primers in order to resolve these nodes. Biochemical analyses of crude protein secretions from the posterior salivary (venom) glands has revealed temperature specific modifications of some of the venom components to adapt them to the polar conditions. We have tested the secretions in a battery of assays. We are now repeating those assays using purified proteins in order to determine which types are responsible for particular effects and also investigate synergistic interactions. Taken from the 2009-2010 Progress Report: Progress against objectives: We have undertaken genetic analyses of the specimens collected, and investigated specific adaptations of their venom systems. Results to-date include: - Antarctic octopuses are more genetically diverse than previously appreciated, including at least one new genus - an inverse relationship exists between the size of the venom gland and the size of the beak - their venoms have undergone temperature-specific adaptations

  • Public summary for project 2128: The aim of this study is to relate the foraging behaviour of Antarctic fur seals breeding on the Kerguelen Plateau at Iles Kerguelen and Heard Island, to the distribution of prey species at sea. Specifically this project seeks to examine the relationship between predators and prey, and how their locations at sea vary according to the position of major productive zones, such as the Antarctic Polar Frontal Zone. This project will provide important data on the relationship between predators and their prey and the developing commercial fisheries in the region. These data are central to improved conservation and management of marine resources on the Kerguelen Plateau. Variations made to the work plan The original comparative aspects of the program planned for the 1999/00 season, where fur seals from Iles Kerguelen and Heard Island were to be satellite tracked simultaneously could not be undertaken because of original 1999/00 field season to Heard Island was re-scheduled to 2000/01. Fortunately the project collaborator Dr Christophe Guinet (French CEBC-CNRS) agreed to extend the work program at Iles Kerguelen another season, and the comparative and integrated fur seal-prey-fisheries study over the Kerguelen Plateau was undertaken the following season (2000/01). Details of this study are presented in ASAC project 1251 (CI - Goldsworthy)and 1085 (CI-Robertson). Significant findings: The distribution of the foraging activity of Antarctic fur seal females was investigated at Cap Noir (49 degrees 07 S, 70 degrees 45E), Kerguelen Island in February 1998. Eleven females were fitted with a satellite transmitter and Time Depth recorder. The two sets of data were combined to locate spatially the diving activity of the seals. The fish component of the fur seal diet was determined by the occurrence of otolotihs found in 55 scats collected during the study period at the breeding colony. Oceanographic parameters were obtained simultaneously through direct sampling and satellite imagery. The mesopelagic fish community was sampled on 20 stations along four transects where epipelagic trawls were conducted at night at 50 meters of depth. We then investigated, using geographic information systems, the relationship between the spatial distribution of the diving activity of the fur seals and oceanographic factors that included sea surface temperature, surface chlorophyll concentration, prey distribution and bathymetry obtained at the same spatio-temporal scale as the spatial distribution of the diving activity of our study animals. An inverse relationship was found between the main fish species preyed by fur seal and those sampled in trawl nets. However, the diving activity of Antarctic fur seal females was found to be significantly related to oceanographic conditions, fish-prey distribution and to the distance from the colony but these relationships changed with the spatial scale investigated. A probabilistic model of the Kerguelen Plateau was developed that predicted where females should concentrate their foraging activity according to the oceanographic conditions of the year, and the locations of their breeding colonies. Maternal allocation in growth of the pup was measured in Antarctic fur seals (Arctocephalus gazella) at Iles Kerguelen during the 1997 austral summer. Absolute mass gain of pups following a maternal foraging trip was independent of the sex of the pup but was positively related to the foraging trip duration and to maternal length. However, daily mass gain, i.e. the absolute mass gain of the pup divided by the foraging trip duration, decreased with increasing foraging trip duration but increased with maternal length. While fasting, the daily mass loss of the pup was related to the sex of the pup and initial body mass, with both heavier pups and female pups losing more mass per day than lighter pups and male pups. The mass specific rate of mass loss was significantly higher in female pups than in male pups. Over the study period, the mean growth rate was zero with no difference between female and male pups. The growth rate in mass of the pup was positively related to maternal length but not maternal condition, negatively related to the foraging trip duration of the mother and the initial mass of the pup. This indicated that during the study period heavier pups grew more slowly due to their higher rate of daily mass loss during periods of fasting . Interestingly, for a given maternal length, the mean mass of the pup during the study period was higher for male than for female pups, despite the same rate of daily mass gain. Such differences are likely to result from sex differences in the mass specific rate of mass loss. As female pups lose a greater proportion of their mass per day, a zero growth rate i.e. mass gain only compensates for mass loss, is reached at a lower mass in female pups compared to male pups. Our results indicate that there are no differences in maternal allocation according to the sex of the pup but suggest that both sexes follow a different growth strategy. Results are in line with the objectives of the project. animal_id (identifier of the individual animal) location_class (the Argos location class quality, 0-3) latitude (decimal degrees) longitude (decimal degrees) observation_date (the date of observation, in ISO8601 format yyyy-mm-ddTHH:MM:SSZ. This information is also separated into the year, month, day, etc components) observation_date_year (the year of the observation date) observation_date_month (the month of the observation date) observation_date_day (the day of the observation date) observation_date_hour (the hour of the observation date) observation_date_minute (the minute of the observation date) observation_date_time_zone (the time zone of the observation date) deployment_longitude (location that the tracker was deployed, decimal longitude) deployment_latitude (location that the tracker was deployed, decimal latitude) trip (the identifier of the trip made by this animal) at_sea (whether this point was at sea (1) or on land (0)) complete (was this trip complete - i.e. did the animal return to the colony) scientific_name (scientific name of the tracked animal)

  • Metadata record for data from ASAC Project 106 See the link below for public details on this project. From the abstracts of some of the referenced papers: This paper reports the results of the first aerial photographic survey of Adelie penguin colonies in the Prydz Bay region. The area surveyed extended from the northern Vestfold Hills to the Publications Ice Shelf. More than 325,000 pairs of Adelie penguins were estimated to be breeding in this region in 1981/82. The great majority of breeding Adelie penguins occurred in the northern half of the region surveyed, in the Vestfold hills and Rauer Islands, where most colonies were located. This is probably due to the typical pattern of summer sea-ice dispersal, which usually results in sea-ice leaving the northern areas of the coast first. Prydz Bay supports nine seabird species that breed on the Princess Elizabeth Land coast: two penguins, six Procellariiformes and one skua. Information on their diet is reviewed. Apart from the scavenging South Polar Skua Catharacta maccormicki and Southern Giant Petrel Macronectes giganteus, three diet types were distinguished. First, the Emperor Penguin Aptenodytes forsteri ate almost exclusively fish; secondly the Adelie Penguin Pygoscelis adeliae, Cape Petrel Daption capense, and Wilson's Storm Petrel Oceanites oceanicus consumed at least 60% euphausiid, the remainder largely fish; and thirdly, a diet of greater than 60% fish, the rest euphausiids, was taken by the Southern Fulmar Fulmarus glacialoides, Antarctic Petrel Thalassoica antarctica and Snow Petrel Pagodroma nivea. Seasonal fluctuation in composition of Adelie Penguin, Cape Petrel and Southern Fulmar diet suggested either fluctuating foraging ranges or movement of Euphausia superba inshore during summer months. Annual fluctuation in diet composition was correlated with seabird reproductive success. When E. crystallorophias dominated the euphausiid component of Adelie Penguin diet, reproductive success was high; when E. superba was scarce in Prydz Bay, Antarctic Petrel and Southern Fulmar productivity was low. Breeding phenology, success and nest attendance of Antarctic Petrels Thalassoica antarctica and Southern Fulmars Fulmarus glacialoides at the Rauer Group, East Antarctica, are discussed. Most data were collected on Hop Island in January and February 1988, and from December 1988 to March 1989. Observations extended from the late stages of incubation to post-guard or fledging periods. Some annual breeding indices collected from 1983 onwards at census sites are compared with meteorological data and the extent of fast ice for the nearby Davis Station. Both species had a restricted hatching period, reflecting a brief and synchronised egg-laying period, reflecting a brief and synchronised egg-laying period, typical of other southern fulmarine petrels. Antarctic Petrel chicks hatched from 4 January (1989) and c. 90% appeared by 16 January (both years). Southern Fulmar hatching began on 21 January (1988) and almost all chicks appeared by 6 February (both years). Adult attendance at nests declined with increasing chick age. For Antarctic Petrels, this was most marked at about 11 days; no chicks had continuously attendant adults after 24 days, although adults returned to feed them. Incubation shifts following hatching and the post-guard period started, on average, 13 days after hatching. Egg and chick losses varied between years and sites. The South Polar Skua Catharacta maccormicki was apparently involved in the majority of losses. Nest sites of both species resemble those elsewhere: Southern Fulmars may require steeper sites, allowing a fall away from colonies. Antarctic Petrels are less affected by accumulation of snow or ice and shelter from katabatic winds may be important. Although weather may modify breeding success locally, annual success must depend on the ability of parents to produce eggs and feed chicks: this may be moderated by the extent and persistence of pack ice. Annual chick productivity and breeding success, recorded at four Adelie penguin, Pygoscelis adeliae, colonies at Magnetic Island in eastern Prydz Bay, are presented for the seven breeding seasons 1981/82 to 1987/88. The adult breeding population remained relatively stable during the first 4 years of the study, and increased in hte last 2 years. Substantial annual variation in breeding success occurred over the study period, ranging between an estimated 0.69 and 1.33 chicks surviving until late creche stage per nest for seasons 1985/86 and 1982/83 respectively. Annual patterns of chick productivity in southern fulmar, Fulmarus glacialoides, and Antarctic petrel, Thalassoica antarctica, populations within Prydz Bay were synchronous with those of Adelie penguins. In the years of highest and lowest reproductive performance, prey abundance within the likely foraging areas was correspondingly high and low. Reproductive performance was greatest in years when fast-ice breakout occurred before the end of December (1981/82, 1982/83. 1986/87 and 1987/88) and lowest when the breakout was after (1983/84, 1984/85 and 1985/86) and pack-ice cover persisted within the foraging range of the birds during the chick-rearing period.

  • This dataset contains the results from studies of the Elephant Seal (Mirounga leonina) at Macquarie Island. Results from branding surveys and photographs between 1950 and 1965 are reported. Numbers, life stage, sex, moult stage and migration patterns have been reported.

  • The only work that went ahead as part of this ASAC project was to look at Penguins restraint and stress level (see the referenced paper below). From the paper: During most research on penguins it is necessary to temporarily immobilise the birds at some time (to weigh, mark, or attach instruments). Although many penguin species seem unconcerned about a human's presence, a single approaching person has been shown to increase the birds heart rate, suggesting that the animal is aware and may be stressed. Corticosterone is one of the hormones regulating the stress reaction in birds, and in turn regulates that stress caused by immobilisation. As captured and bag restrained Adelie penguins show a three fold increase in heart rate, we can presume that this is a very stressful immobilisation technique. Restricting the stress reaction is particularly important during the breeding season to avoid nest desertion, or loss of eggs and chicks. The subject of this paper is to present a less stressful method for restraining penguins. 38 mature, male Gentoo penguins in good physical condition were used to test bag restraint methods. Resting animals were caught on the Macquarie Island Isthmus. 59 animals were used to test the effect of hood restraint methods. There was a significant increase in corticosterone concentrations in the blood of bag restrained penguins within 10 minutes of restraint. Between 10 and 15 minutes, further changes were not significant. After 20 minutes, however, there was a second significant increase, when compared to the levels at 15 minutes. Upon release all birds were unconscious; they then showed symptoms of hysteria, such as disorientation and shaking of the head. Corticosterone levels in the blood of hooded penguins rose significantly after 5 minutes. After 10 minutes, the mean concentration showed a tendency to decrease, when compared to the 5 minute levels. This, however, did not differ significantly to concentrations immediately after restraint. After 20 minutes concentrations rose again, and were again significantly higher than at the same time of restraint and after 15 minutes. Both groups showed the same levels of corticosterone upon restraint. Hood restraint led overall to a lower increase in corticosterone levels than restraint with a bag. After 5, 10, 15 and 20 minutes, statistically significant lower levels in the blood were detected in hood restrained birds. The penguin's reaction to both restraint methods was identical in two respects: There was no significant increase in corticsterone concentration between 10 and 15 minutes. Secondly, concentrations were significantly higher after 20 minutes than at 15 minutes.

  • This dataset contains the results from satellite tracking the movements of Adelie Penguins (Pygoscelis adeliae) from Shirley Island near Casey Station, Antarctica. By the use of satellite fixes the foraging locations of the penguins were determined. Monitoring occurred during the 1995-1996 summer season. This work was compeleted as part of ASAC project 2205 (ASAC_2205), 'Adelie penguin research and monitoring in support of the CCAMLR Ecosystem Monitoring Project'.

  • This dataset contains the results from satellite tracking the movements of Adelie Penguins (Pygoscelis adeliae) from Magnetic Island near Davis Station, Antarctica. By the use of satellite fixes the foraging locations of the penguins were determined. Monitoring occurred during the 1993-94 and 1994-95 summer seasons. This work was completed as part of ASAC project 2205 (ASAC_2205), 'Adelie penguin research and monitoring in support of the CCAMLR Ecosystem Monitoring Project'. Further work in the Davis area was completed under other projects.