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Environmental Monitoring in Antarctica

Environmental monitoring is essential in Antarctica to allow assessment of the impacts of human activities. Examples of the this monitoring work carried out by BAS are given below.

Sewage outfall monitoring, Rothera Station
Until 2003, untreated sewage was discharged into the sea from Rothera Station. Monitoring of the receiving water before and after installation of a biological treatment plant showed a dramatic reduction in the sewage plume as indicated by faecal coliforms.

Concentrations of heavy metals in lichens and marine bivalves around Rothera Research Station.
Concentrations of lead, zinc, cadmium and other heavy metals in lichens and marine bivalves are measured. The results are used to assess whether any observed pollution is due to station activities, and to determine the area of contamination.

Skua Population breeding success
The impact of Rothera Research Station on the local South Polar Skua (Stercorarius maccormicki) population has been monitored for over 12 years. The monitoring programme has recently been expanded to include measurements such as chick weight, survival and egg dimensions.

Skua chick on  Rothera Point, Adelaide Island, Antarctica