Abstract in English:Abstract Organic contamination has been less investigated in Antarctic snow and ice than in other matrices due to analytical operational problems. In this study, the concentration of 14 Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons was determined in a shallow firn core by Homogeneous Liquid-Liquid Extraction and High–Performance Liquid Chromatography with a Fluorescence Detector. This investigation aimed to develop a simple analytical methodology for future application directly in fieldwork, taking advantage of the simplicity and small sample volumes. The analyte recoveries were 71–99% considering a 100 ng L-1 initial concentration of each compound, with a relative standard deviation of 1.1–9.9%. Analytical sensitivity/ detection limit/ quantification limits varied from 7.8/ 20.3/ 67.6 ng L-1 for fluoranthene to 0.6/ 1.5/ 5.1 ng L-1 for anthracene. These analytical parameters allow us to apply the method to real samples. We found visible differences at various firn core depths when considering the sum of total analytes under study. The highest total concentration was 741 ng L-1 and the lowest one 134.9 ng L-1. The methodology can be applied without mixing samples with adequate analytical parameters, and it can preserve the firn core temporal resolution, which is an advantage for application in fieldwork.
Abstract in English:Abstract We evaluated the influence of a 32-day camping in Antarctica on physical performance and exercise-induced thermoregulatory responses. In Brazil, before and after the Antarctic camping, the volunteers performed an incremental exercise at temperate conditions and, two days later, an exercise heat stress protocol (45-min running at 60% of maximum aerobic speed, at 31°C and 60% of relative humidity). In Antarctica, core temperature was assessed on a day of fieldwork, and average values higher than 38.5°C were reported. At pre- and post-Antarctica, physiological (whole-body and local sweat rate, number of active sweat glands, sweat gland output, core and skin temperatures) and perceptual (thermal comfort and sensation) variables were measured. The Antarctic camping improved the participants’ performance and induced heat-related adaptations, as evidenced by sweat redistribution (lower in the chest but higher in grouped data from the forehead, forearm, and thigh) and reduced skin temperatures in the forehead and chest during the exercise heat stress protocol. Notwithstanding the acclimatization, the participants did not report differences of the thermal sensation and comfort. In conclusion, staying in an Antarctic camp for 32 days improved physical performance and elicited physiological adaptations to heat due to the physical exertion-induced hyperthermia in the field.
Abstract in English:Abstract Open-water diving in a polar environment is a psychophysiological challenge to the human organism. We evaluated the effect of short-term diving (i.e., 10 min) in Antarctic waters on autonomic cardiac control, thyroid hormone concentration, body temperatures, mood, and neuropsychological responses (working memory and sleepiness). Data collection was carried out at baseline, before, and after diving in four individuals divided into the supporting (n=2) and diving (n=2) groups. In the latter group, autonomic cardiac control (by measuring heart rate variability) was also assessed during diving. Diving decreased thyroid-stimulating hormone (effect size = 1.6) and thyroxine (effect size = 2.1) concentrations; these responses were not observed for the supporting group. Diving also reduced both the parasympathetic (effect size = 2.6) and sympathetic activities to the heart (ES > 3.0). Besides, diving reduced auricular (effect size > 3.0), skin [i.e., hand (effect size = 1.2) and face (effect size = 1.5)] temperatures compared to pre-dive and reduced sleepiness state (effect size = 1.3) compared to basal, without changing performance in the working memory test. In conclusion, short-term diving in icy waters affects the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis, modulates autonomic cardiac control, and reduces body temperature, which seems to decrease sleepiness.
Abstract in English:Abstract This study analyzed the effect of thermal stress on erythrocytes of Notothenia rossii and Notothenia coriiceps, abundant notothenioids in Admiralty Bay, Antarctic Peninsula. In both species, the antioxidant defense system enzymes, superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase, glutathione-S transferase, glutathione reductase were punctually altered (8°C for 1, 3 and 6 days) in erythrocytes, indicating that these markers are not ideal for termal stress. However, under the influence of thermal stress, morphological changes in Notothenia coriiceps erythrocytes were observed at all exposure times (1, 3 and 6 days at 8°C), and in Notothenia rossii occurred in 6 days. These results suggest that Notothenia corriceps presents a lower tolerance to thermal stress at 8°C for up to 6 days, since the cellular and nuclear alterations recorded are pathological and may be deleterious to the cells. Among the morphological markers analyzed in this work, we believe that the shape change and nuclear bubble formation may be good stress biomarkers in erythrocytes of Notothenia rossii and Notothenia coriiceps.
Abstract in English:Abstract Antarctica has one of the most hostile conditions on the planet. The environmental characteristics found in this region favor the development of extremophile microorganisms, which are poorly explored biotechnologically. In this context, this study aimed at selectively isolating fungi with potential for the bioremediation of a textile dye. A total of 11 filamentous fungi were isolated from Antarctic samples after incubation in Minimal Mineral medium with the addition of Sulphur Indigo Blue dye. The Antarctic-derived fungi were submitted to textile dye decolorization analysis and biomass production. Isolates LAMAI 2400 and LAMAI 2402 showed more than 90% of decolorization at 15 °C, whereas at 28 °C these isolates showed 81.86 and 98.89%, respectively. In general, the toxicity of the bioassays, evaluated using Cucumis sativus, was higher than in the control. Both isolates, LAMAI 2400 and LAMAI 2402, were identified as Penicillium cf. oxalicum and classified as mesophilic-psychrotolerant. This fungal species has rarely been reported in the Antarctic environments. The results presented herein indicate the potential of the fungi recovered from Antarctic marine sediments for bioremediation of textile dyes at low and moderate temperatures, broadening the perspectives in the field of Antarctic mycology.
Abstract in English:Abstract Microbial therapeutic enzymes are the protagonists in the pharmacological treatment of different human diseases. The intrinsic enzymatic characteristics, such as high affinity and specificity to the corresponding substrate, enable effective therapies, with minimal adverse effects and complete remission. However, immunogenicity, short half-life, low enzymatic yield, and low selectivity regarding available enzyme drugs are currently the main obstacles to their development and the broad adherence to therapeutic protocols. By harboring adapted and still unexplored microbial life, environments of extreme conditions, such as Antarctica, become especially important in the prospecting and development of new enzymatic compounds that present higher yields and the possibility of genetic improvement. Antarctic microorganisms have adaptation mechanisms, such as more fluid cell membranes, production of antifreeze proteins and enzymes with more malleable structures, more robust, stable, selective catalytic sites for their respective substrates, and high antioxidant capacity. In this context, this review aims to explore enzymes synthesized by bacteria and fungi from Antarctica as potential drug producers, capable of providing therapeutic efficacy, less adverse effects, and lower production costs with highlight to L-Asparaginase, collagenase, superoxide dismutase and ribonucleases. In addition, this review highlights the unique biotechnological profile of these Antarctic extremophile microorganisms.
Abstract in English:Abstract Antarctica contains most of the glacial ice on the planet, a habitat that is largely unexplored by biologists. Recent warming in parts of Antarctica, particularly the Antarctic Peninsula region, is leading to widespread glacial retreat, releasing melt water and, potentially, contained biological material and propagules. In this study, we used a DNA metabarcoding approach to characterize Viridiplantae DNA present in Antarctic glacial ice. Ice samples from six glaciers in the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula were analysed, detecting the presence of DNA representing a total of 16 taxa including 11 Chlorophyta (green algae) and five Magnoliophyta (flowering plants). The green algae may indicate the presence of a viable algal community in the ice or simply of preserved DNA, and the sequence diversity assigned included representatives of Chlorophyta not previously recorded in Antarctica. The presence of flowering plant DNA is most likely to be associated with pollen or tissue fragments introduced by humans.
Abstract in English:Abstract Diatoms are successful in occupying a wide range of ecological niches and biomes along the global ocean. Although there is a recognized importance of diatoms for the Southern Ocean ecosystems and biogeochemical cycles, the current knowledge on their ecology and distribution along the impacted Antarctic coastal regions remains generalized at best. HPLC–CHEMTAX approaches have been extensively used to this purpose, providing valuable information about the whole phytoplankton community, even for those small-size species which are normally difficult to identify by light microscopy. Despite that, the chemotaxonomic method has reserved minimal focus on great diversity of types associated with diatom genera or species. Here, we show a coupling between the key genera and the corresponding chemotaxonomic subgroup type-A or type-B of diatoms via HPLC–CHEMTAX and microscopic analysis, using chlorophyll–c 1 and chlorophyll–c 3 as biomarker pigments, respectively. The results demonstrated strong correlations for nine of the fifteen most abundant diatom genera observed along the Northern Antarctic Peninsula, from which five (four) were statistically associated with chlorophyll–c 1 (chlorophyll–c 3). Our study highlights the importance to observe diatoms in greater detail, beyond being only one functional group, for a better understanding on their responses under a climate change scenario.
Abstract in English:Abstract We identified cultivable fungi present on the surface of five archaeological sealers’ artifacts from the beginning of the 19th century collected on Livingston Island, Antarctica. Twenty fungal isolates were recovered and identified using biology molecular methods as taxa of Antarctomyces, Linnemannia, Penicillium, Mortierella, Talaromyces, and Trichoderma. Penicillium was dominant on artifacts stored at 10 and 25 °C. In contrast, Antarctomyces, Linnemania, Mortierella, and Trichoderma occurred only on artifacts stored between 8 °C and 10 °C. Our results showed that the Antarctic artifacts harboured cosmopolitan mesophilic, cold-tolerant, and endemic psychrophilic fungal taxa. The mesophilic fungi might have contaminated the artifacts in situ, during sampling, transport, and/or storage in the laboratory collection or represent dormant but viable form capable to grow on the objects. However, the detection of cold-tolerant and endemic fungi shows that these fungi, when stored between 8 ° and 10 °C, continue growing on the objects, which may supply them with organic nutrients; this may accelerate degradation of artifacts in the collection. Preventive steps should be adopted to avoid further microbial contamination. Sterilised microbiological conditions can be followed during fieldwork and transportation to Brazil. The preventive protocol may represent a better alternative to avoid artifact microbial proliferation to preserve rare Antarctic archaeological heritage.
Abstract in English:Abstract Industrial sectors are searching for new compounds to improve the preservation of food and blood, human tissues, and fuels used at low temperatures. Antarctic microorganisms have mechanisms to overcome injuries caused by low temperatures, making them sources of compounds with antifreeze activity. However, it is mandatory that such compounds do not pose a risk to human health. The present study evaluated the potential of Antarctic bacteria to resist freezing, produce virulence factors, their tolerance to physiological pHs/temperature and resistance to antibiotics. Sixty-five isolates were tested for antifreeze compound production, among which, 31 grew after the test. Of these, 3 strains of Arthrobacter sp. (356, 358 and 443), one Psychromonas arctica (ESH238) and one unidentified strain (363) showed positive results for hemolytic activity. Psychrobacter sp. 456 showed proteinase activity. None of the isolates showed resistance to the antibiotics. All isolates were able to grow in one of the three pHs (4, 7 and 8) and/or temperature (36, 38 and 40 ºC). Antarctic bacterial present potential for the production of antifreeze compounds and may be considered safe in industrial processes. The characterization of the genes responsible for virulence factors should be carried out to reinforce the potential applicability of such bacteria.
Abstract in English:Abstract In the Antarctic environment, yeasts are versatile eukaryotes that have shown wide dispersion in different substrates, producing active enzymes in extreme conditions, but their relevance in biotechnological applications is largely unknown. The aim of this study was to evaluate the production of extracellular hydrolases by yeasts isolated from Antarctic lichens and molecularly identify these isolates. From a total of 144 isolates on the screening, 109 (76%) produced at least one of the hydrolases tested, with most activities for proteases 59 (41%), cellulases 58 (40%), esterases 57 (39%), lipases 29 (20%), amylases 23 (16%) and pectinases 20 (14%). Among these isolates, 76 were identified, most belonged to the phylum Basidiomycota (n=73) with the dominance of Vishniacozyma victoriae (n=27), Cystobasidium alpinum (n=3), Mrakia niccombsii (n=3), Cystobasidium laryngis (n=2), Bannozyma yamatoana (n=2), Holtermanniella nyarrowii (n=2), and Glaciozyma martinii (n=2). This study is the first one reporting extracellular enzyme production by yeasts isolated from thallus of the species of Antarctic lichens Lecania brialmontii, Polycauliona candelaria, Usnea capillacea, Cladonia metacorallifera, and Polycauliona regalis. With these data, it’s possible to confirm lichens as a source of hydrolase-producing yeasts, reinforcing the potential of these microorganisms in bioprospecting studies of catalytic molecules from polar regions that may be useful in promising biotechnological applications.
Abstract in English:Abstract Antarctic harsh conditions favor the development of microbial adaptations. In this study, a molecular approach was applied to identify/refine the taxonomy of five yeasts isolated from different Antarctic samples, which were tested against ranges of temperature, UV radiations, salinity, and pH. Based on sequencing and phylogenetic analysis, strain CRM 1839 was confirmed as Naganishia sp., and strains CRM 1874, CRM 1565, CRM 2571, and CRM 2576 were identified as Goffeauzyma gilvescens, Goffeauzyma gastrica, Candida atlantica, and Camptobasidium sp., respectively, being this last one possibly a new species. Growth at different temperatures indicates that these yeasts are psychrotolerant, with the exception of Camptobasidium sp., which presents psychrophilic characteristics. G. gastrica recovered from marine sediment showed the best results of resistance to UV radiation, being able to grow even after the exposure to UVB dose of 9144 J/m² and UVC dose of 6102 J/m². C. atlantica isolated from glacier soil showed high cellular growth from 3 to 10% NaCl. The majority of the strains produced higher biomass at pH 7; nevertheless, G. gilvescens showed higher biomass production at pH 9. The studied Antarctic-derived yeasts have adaptations to extreme conditions, which makes them useful for biotechnological applications and studies of extremophiles.
Abstract in English:Abstract Currently, antimicrobial resistance has become a global public health problem, which has made the need for new antimicrobial compounds to deal with resistant infections an emergency. However, environments that once offered so many innovative molecules, now already exhaustively exploited, do not meet this need. In this context, a geographically isolated, under-explored and extreme environment, such as Antarctica, which holds organisms with unique physiological and biochemical characteristics, assumes great importance as a potential source of new compounds with antimicrobial activity. In this patent review, we investigate the state of technological development in the field of antimicrobial compounds obtained from Antarctic organisms, highlighting the main countries and researchers active in the field, the species utilized, the compounds obtained, and their possible therapeutic applications. As results, few patent documents were found, however they encompass a wide diversity of compounds and species, indicating a great antimicrobial potential present in Antarctic biota, including compounds active against the most important human pathogenic microorganisms, such as including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus spp. and multi-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Furthermore, due to the increasing trend in patent applications, a significant rise in the number of patents in this area is expected in the coming years.
Abstract in English:Abstract Benthic cyanobacterial assemblages from ponds distributed along inland-coastal gradients in the McMurdo Sound region were studied during the 2011/12 Antarctic summer season. Twenty-five ponds were sampled in four distinct geographic locations, including the Lower and Upper Wright Valleys, Ross Island and the McMurdo Ice Shelf. For morphological identification, benthic mat samples were thawed and a subsample was directly observed by light microscopy. Remaining sample material was stored in 50 ml sterile polycarbonate bottles containing the mineral nutrient medium MLA for future studies, maintained at a temperature of 21°C. Ten morphological criteria were used to describe the morphotypes (trichome shape, number of trichomes in sheath, presence or absence of terminal attenuation of trichome, calyptra on mature apical cell, shape of apical cell, presence or absence of constrictions at transverse walls, granules, branching, range in width of trichomes and range of cell length) with reference to available identification literature. All morphospecies were documented using photomicrography. In total, 29 morphospecies were described, four assigned to the order Chroococcales, three to Nostocales and 22 to Oscillatoriales. The four geographic locations had similar taxonomic richness, sharing many morphospecies. However, each also contained distinct floristic elements that were rare or absent from the others.
Abstract in English:Abstract Antarctic active volcanoes can disperse pyroclastic minerals at long distances, transporting nutrients and microorganisms to the surrounding glacial environment. The sedimented volcanic materials – called tephras – may interact with glacier ice and produce a unique environment for microbial life. This study aimed to describe the microbial community structure of an Antarctic glacier ice with tephra layers in terms of its taxonomic and functional diversity. Ice samples from Collins Glacier (King George Island) containing tephra layers of Deception Island volcano were analyzed by a whole shotgun metagenomic approach. Taxonomic analysis revealed a highly diverse community dominated by phyla Bacteroidetes, Cyanobacteria and Proteobacteria. The dominant genera were Chitinophaga (13%), Acidobacterium (8%), and Cyanothece (4%), being all of these known to include psychrotolerant and psychrophilic strains. Functional diversity analysis revealed almost complete carbon, nitrogen and sulfur biogeochemical cycles. Carbohydrate metabolism of the ice-tephra community uses both organic and inorganic carbon inputs, where photosynthesis plays an important role through CO2 fixation. Our results also demonstrate a biotechnological potential for this glacial community, with functional annotations for styrene degradation and carotenoid pigment genes. Future metatranscriptomic studies shall further reveal the active strategies and the biotechnology potential of extremophiles from this unique ice-tephra microbial community.
Abstract in English:Abstract Maritime Antarctica is one of the major terrestrial ecosystems dominated by lichens and mosses, which represent important ecological indicators. Thus, we aimed to evaluate the changes in associated communities of mosses-lichens diversity and coverage along a pedoenvironmental gradient on Half Moon Island, Maritime Antarctica. We focused on how patterns in associated communities of mosses-lichens species diversity (richness, species composition and beta diversity) and coverage are associated with soil properties using plant inventory data from 174 plots across 14 contrasting pedoenvironments. The results clearly show marked differences in soil properties along the pedoenvironmental gradient, which determine variations in species composition, richness and coverage. We presumed that these variations are common in Maritime Antarctica owing to varying periglacial processes, weathering degree, parent material and biological influence (especially by penguins and other birds). The community species richness and coverage along the pedoenvironmental gradient differ, nevertheless share common species present in most pedoenvironments, despite differences in coverage. We assume that most of the pedoenvironments are habitats to rare species that occur only under specific soil conditions, additionally promotes high β-diversity between pedoenvironments and low species similarity.
Abstract in English:Abstract Activities at the Brazilian Antarctic Station (EACF) may cause damage to surrounding environment. Meiofauna was used to evaluate this impact. One area possibly impacted by the stations’ presence (CF) and a reference area (BP) were compared. Sediment samples for meiofauna and environmental variables were obtained in two periods, at two sites and depths in each area. Densities were higher at 20-30m and nematodes were the dominant taxa (90%). Nematode densities ranged from 1,278±599 (BP1 50-60m) to 16,021±12,298 ind.10 cm-² (BP2 20-30m). A total of 68 genera were found. Sample richness ranged from 8 to 26 and diversity from 1.4 to 3.6 bits/ind, both being higher at BP 50-60m, where dominance of epistrate feeders was lower. Selective and non-selective deposit feeders were codominant with similar proportions. Maturity index was high and constant between samples. Aponema, Sabatieria, Daptonema, Dichromadora and Halalaimus were dominant, with higher densities at 20-30m. In contrast, Actinonema, Molgolaimus, Oxystomina and Marylynnia were more abundant at 50-60m. Differences in meiofauna community were found mainly between depths, but not between sites or periods, suggesting no anthropogenic impact. Nevertheless, lower Nematoda diversities and maturity index at 50-60m in CF when compared to BP may indicate a possible anthropogenic effect near EACF.
Abstract in English:Abstract Southern giant petrels (Macronectes giganteus) are found in the Antarctic. They build their nests with rock fragments, disturbing large areas during incubation and chick feeding periods; however, their impact on vegetation is unknown. Thus, we aimed to evaluate the effect of Petrel nests and associated breeding activities on the diversity and structure of cryptogam communities of Stinker Point, Elephant Island. We selected 13 nests in February and March 2012 and continue the monitoring in 2018. The area of direct influence of breeding activities was photographed to calculate plant community coverage. The results demonstrated that species richness, community coverage and composition, and beta diversity showed significant differences between active and inactive nests. The linear mixed-effect models revealed that the positive effect of nest area mainly caused variation in community coverage, but had a negative effect on beta diversity. Sphaerophorus globosus (lichen) grew around the inactive nests, sometimes forming a ring up to 1 m in diameter. This ring was then surrounded by the Chorisodontium acyphyllum moss colonized by S. globosus, and a final ring of Sanionia uncinata, colonized by the same lichen. Recently constructed nests are generally surrounded by Prasiola crispa and Sanionia uncinata carpets.
Abstract in English:Abstract Ice-free areas of Antarctica represent an important study region that helps us understand how human activity affects plant communities and soil properties. The goal of this study was to determine the changes in plant composition and soil properties around a whale bone skeleton (WB) near Ferraz Station, King George Island, Antarctica from 1972 to 2020 (48 years). The WB was assembled in 1972 by Jacques-Yves Cousteau and his team. It is located in a large moss field and visited by many tourists. We studied the plant composition and development based on historical and recent photographs and phytosociological studies from 1986 to 2020. The soil was sampled in February 2009 to determine general properties. The results showed that human activity surrounding the WB directly affected the plant community composition and soil properties. The Syntrichia cushions were positively affected by the calcium deposits from bone dissolution. The principal component analysis revealed that mineralization of the bones increased soil nutrient assembly. A strong phosphatization process was observed in the WB area, similar to that in ornithogenic soils. The WB on the marine terrace enhanced soil fertility and changed the plant community.
Abstract in English:Abstract The Antarctic Peninsula has experienced some of the most accelerated warming worldwide, resulting in the retreat of glaciers and creation of new areas for plant development. Information regarding the plant dispersal processes to these new niches is scarce in Antarctica, despite birds being important vectors elsewhere. Many bird pellets (with feed remains such as bones and feathers) are generated annually in Antarctica, which are light and easily transported by the wind and include vegetation that is accidentally or purposely swallowed. The aim of this study was to analyze the presence of plant fragments within skua (Stercorarius/Catharacta spp.) pellets collected from two sampling areas in the Maritime Antarctic: Stinker Point (Elephant Island, 17 samples) and Byers Peninsula (Livingston Island, 60 samples), in the South Shetland Archipelago, during the austral summers of 2018 and 2020. In both study areas, five species of Bryophyta were found that were associated with the pellets and viable in germination tests in a humid chamber. The ingestion of Bryophyta for the skuas contribute to the dispersion of different moss species, including to areas recently exposed by the ice retreat. This is the first demonstration that skua pellets effectively act in the dispersion of Antarctic mosses.
Abstract in English:Abstract The remote sensing techniques must be used to obtain long-term information in remote areas, like the Antarctic continent, to monitor the environmental productivity and its changes. The aim of this work was to analyze the surface reflectance profile patterns for the Antarctic biological soil crusts (algae, lichens, and mosses) in an area of Nelson Island (South Shetland Islands, maritime Antarctic), calculated from Landsat and Sentinel-2 images to identify its similarities and differences due to targets, sensors and acquired date. The surface reflectance values for Antarctic biological soil crusts are similar for those observed for biological soil crusts in other Earth extreme environments, like deserts. In Landsat images, the differences among biological soil crusts surface reflectance were identified at visible and near-infrared wavelengths and for Sentinel-2 images, the differences occur at visible, red-edge and shortwave infrared wavelengths, showing the feasibility of using surface reflectance products to identify these different crusts, despite its inherent pixel spectral mixture. Long-term biophysical parameters from such crusts as retrieved from orbital data is not possible due to very low cloud-free images over the Antarctic, which prevents building a consistent surface reflectance time-series which covers all biological soil crusts growth season.
Abstract in English:Abstract Antarctic plant communities show a close relationship with soil types across the landscape, where vegetation cover changes, biological influence, and soil characteristics can affect the dynamic of greenhouse gases emissions. Thus, the objective of this study was to evaluate greenhouse gases emissions in lab conditions of ice-free areas along a topographic gradient (from sea level up to 300 meters). We selected 11 distinct vegetation compositions areas and assessed greenhouse gases production potentials through 20 days of laboratory incubations varying temperatures at -2, 4, 6, and 22 °C. High N2O production potential was associated with the Phanerogamic Community under the strong ornithogenic influence (phosphorus, nitrogen, and organic matter contents). Seven different areas acted as N2O sink at a temperature of -2 °C, demonstrating the impact of low-temperature conditions contributing to store N in soils. Moss Carpets had the highest CH4 emissions and low CO2 production potential. Fruticose Lichens had a CH4 sink effect and the highest values of CO2. The low rate of organic matter provided the CO2 sink effect on the bare soil (up to 6 °C). There is an overall trend of increasing greenhouse gases production potential with increasing temperature along a toposequence.
Abstract in English:Abstract The majority of ornithogenic soils studied in Antarctica focus on the influence of penguins, wherever little reports evaluated the influence of flying birds on soil genesis. This study aimed to characterize the morphologic, chemic, physic, mineralogic, and micromorphologic ornithogenic soil pockets influenced by flying birds in Snow Island, Maritime Antarctica. Fifteen soil pockets were selected, described, sampled and analyzed, these sites constitute the main areas with intense long-term terrestrial biological activity in Snow Island. In order to investigate the impact of phosphatization, we compared the soil pockets with the surrounding soils and soils affected by penguins. Zone of phosphatization have a high concentration of P, K, and Ca. The XRD patterns for the clay fraction of ornithogenic soils show that phosphate minerals are the main crystalline phases (leucophosphite, minyulite, fluorapatite, and apatite). We show that even under typical periglacial conditions, sites influenced by flying birds present active chemical weathering processes. The phosphatization release exchangeable bases and accelerate mineralogical and micromorphological transformations in soils. Under the current global warming trend and expected sea-level rise, the ornithogenic environments are susceptible to accelerated erosion rates and a great part of these hotspots may be lost for the open sea.
Abstract in English:Abstract Heat transfer process in the soil active layer is important for the knowledge of its thermal properties linked with climate issues. The objective of this work was to analyze the energy flux in different soil profiles by estimating the apparent soil thermal diffusivity ($ATD$). The study was carried out in Keller Peninsula, located at King George Island in four different sites differing by soil characteristics, as well as vegetation coverage and landscape setting. The $ATD$ was estimated in function of the long-term hourly temperature records at different soil depths. In addition, we estimated the seasonal mean of the $ATD$ and the freezing $N$-factor. Results showed that $ATD$ values were smaller at shallow depths and increased with depth. The diffusivity values presented lower variability in colder conditions, especially at deeper soil layers. Water content was the main factor affecting soil thermal diffusivity at sites $1$ and $3$ (more than $70$ and $63\%$ of probability). At sites $3$ and $4$ lower $N$-factors were observed, suggesting higher snow pack and permafrost closer to the soil surface. Hence, positive $ATD$ appears in the summer due to thawing increases soil moisture, while negative $ATD$ appears during the freeze of the snow pack and precipitation.
Abstract in English:Abstract The classification of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) images by knowledge-based algorithms with elevation and backscatter thresholds were used in several studies to detect the Wet Snow Radar Zone (WSZ) in the Antarctic Peninsula. To identify it more accurately based on its seasonal variations, this study proposed the additional use of a threshold in synthetic images, created by rationing summer and winter sigma linear images. In our algorithm we used the following thresholds to detect the WSZ in Envisat ASAR imageries, using the Radarsat Antarctic Map Digital Elevation Model as ancillary data: i) -25 dB < s0 < -14 dB; ii) slinear summer / slinear winter < 0.4; iii) elevation H < 1,200 m for northern tip and H < 800 m for southern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. The classified images were post-processed by a focal majority 5 x 5 filter and superimposed by an image of rock outcrops derived from the Antarctic Digital Database. The ratio image threshold allowed discriminating the WSZ from the Dry Snow Radar Zone and radar shadows, as well as transitional areas between this glacier zone and the Frozen Percolation Radar Zone, which would be classified incorrectly if we used only elevation and backscatter thresholds.
Abstract in English:Abstract Polar regions are among the most affected areas by the current global warming. In the Southern Hemisphere (SH), impacts of a warmer climate include decrease in sea-ice extent, changes in oceanic and in atmospheric circulation. Recently, some of these impacts were reinforced by the positive phase of the Southern Annular Mode (SAM). SAM is the dominant mode of variability of the SH extratropical climate and manifests as a “ring-shape” regular pattern of atmospheric mean sea level pressure (MSLP) with opposite sign between mid and high SH latitudes. Over the last three decades, SAM has presented a positive trend, and some studies associate it to stratospheric ozone depletion and to an increase in greenhouse gases concentration. As this debate is still open, climate models constitute useful tools to understand the SH variability in future scenarios. Here we use monthly MSLP outputs from the Brazilian Earth System Model (BESM) to examine SAM temporal and spatial behavior in future climate scenarios compared to the historical period. Our results for the BESM simulations suggest that the mean spatial pattern of SAM does not change with global warming, but an increase in the radiative forcing may reinforce positive SAM values obtained for the historical period.
Abstract in English:Abstract The variability of Antarctic sea ice (ASI) has great potential to affect atmospheric circulation, with impacts that can extend from the surface to the middle and high levels of troposphere. The present study has evaluated the response of South Atlantic tropospheric circulation to increased coverage in area and volume of ASI. Monthly data of air temperature, zonal and meridional wind and mean sea level pressure were obtained from two ensemble simulations performed with the GDFL/CM2.1 model, covering the period from July 2020 to June 2030. In general, the response of South Atlantic tropospheric circulation to increased ASI showed that the climatic signal extended up from the surface to the high levels, propagating as a South Pole–Tropics teleconnection. The results show a general cooling of the southern troposphere, which for instance lead to the strengthening and northward shift of the polar jet and the southward shift of the subtropical jet and to an inversion from the positive to negative phase of the Southern Annular Mode. This study has great relevance for understanding the global climate changes in short term, by assessing the sensitivity of South Atlantic tropospheric circulation to extreme variations in ASI.
Abstract in English:Abstract This study characterized the physical, chemical, macro- and micromorphological soil properties from three successive marine terrace levels from Harmony Point (Nelson Island, Maritime Antarctica) in order to understand the pedological signatures of Quaternary coastal landscape evolution of Maritime Antarctica. Soils were sampled on the Late Holocene beach (current beach) and Mid Holocene marine terraces higher up, at 3, 8, and 12 m a.s.l. At the lower levels, the predominant soils were Gelorthents, whereas Haplogelepts dominate the higher terraces. Soil properties are mostly influenced by parent material and faunal activity, in which cryoclastic (thermal weathering) and phosphatization are the main soil-forming processes. Soils from the upper levels are more developed, deeper with reddish colors, granular structures and incipient formation B horizon. These horizonation features highlight that soils vary according with age of glacier-isostatic terrace uplift, representing a Quaternary soil chronosequence. All marine terrace levels are Ornithogenic soils, at varying degrees. However, the presence of old bird nesting sites for long periods led to formation of phosphatic horizons, stable Fe-phosphate minerals and abundant vegetation in the highest terraces of this part of Maritime Antarctica.
Abstract in English:Abstract This work aims to analyze and compare the sedimentological data of Ellsworth Mountains, West Antarctica: Patriot/Independence Hills and Union Glacier, and how sedimentological data can be used to infer sediment entrainment. Particular attention was concentrated on morainic deposits. Remote sensing data was used in the identification of deposits and the ice flow; granulometric, morphoscopic, and geochemical analyses were applied to investigate the sedimentary origin and transport history. Sediment rich in Si Al, Fe, and Ca predominate in Independence Hills and Rossman Cove but Ca prevails in Elephant Head. CIA indicated low values, which depict low chemical weathering processes. X-ray diffraction reveals the presence of minerals that constitute the local rocks in the Union Glacier area, and from the unexposed basement rocks in Independence Hills. Principal Component Analysis and Cluster Analysis results suggest the sediment is related to the local rocks in the Union Glacier and distinct exotic sources in Independence Hills, associated with far-traveled sediment. It is also observed the influence of distinct processes of entrainment sediment on its granulometric and morphoscopic characteristics.
Abstract in English:Abstract The surface global air temperature (SGAT) and the solar activity presented near similar trends until approximately the 1980’s decade, when they start to diverge significantly. This divergence in both time series is attributed to the impact of addition players acting in the climate system as the greenhouse gas emissions and a more active ENSO (El Niño Southern Oscillation). For the period before this “turning point” we have made an exploratory investigation on the imprint of both SGAT and the solar activity (represented by the Sunspot Number – SSN) at δ18O isotopic ratios retrieved from ice cores, a proxy commonly used to describe past climate changes. In this work δ18O isotopic ratios, dated from 1861 to 1997, from three distinct global sites: (1) the Greenland Ice Sheet Project 2 (GISP2); (2) Quelccaya ice cap/Andes (Peru); and (1) Dronning Maud Land (DML)/East Antarctica were investigated. The wavelet decomposition method and regressions applied to these databases successfully allowed the isotopic reconstructions from both SGAT and SSN. We found that the reconstructions differ significantly depending on the geographical site.
Abstract in English:Abstract This paper aims to analyze the relationships among tropical (Atlantic Meridional Mode - AMM), subtropical (South Atlantic Subtropical Gradient - SASG), and extratropical (Southern Annular Mode - SAM) teleconnection patterns, the Weddell Sea (WS) sea ice extents, and the climate in South America. Warm anomalies are observed in most of South America for maximum WS ice extent combinations (negative SAM/positive AMM and negative SAM/positive SASG composites), with an opposite signal at tropical South America for minimum WS ice extent combinations (positive SAM/negative AMM and positive SAM/negative SASG). Over Southern Argentina, colder (warmer) temperatures are seen at the negative SAM/positive SASG (positive SAM/negative SASG). Drier (wetter) conditions are found over most South America at maximum (minimum) WS ice extent combinations. Wavetrains from different Pacific and Indian Oceans regions are related to high-level anomalous cyclonic (anticyclonic) circulation over the continent at maximum (minimum) WS ice extent configuration, which explains the climate impacts found. The SASG signal displaces the anomaly circulations eastward from South America, impacting the adjacent Atlantic Ocean region more intensely concerning the other modes. The results discussed here indicated that these patterns (SAM, AMM, SASG, and sea ice extent) have significant links with the South American climate variability.
Abstract in English:Abstract The formation of dense water masses at polar regions has been largely influenced by climate changes arising from global warming. In this context, based on ensemble simulations with a coupled model we evaluate the meridional shift of a climate signal (i.e., a cold and fresh water input pulse generated from melting of positive Antarctic sea ice (ASI) extremes) towards the Tropical Atlantic Ocean (TAO). This oceanic signal propagated from Southern Ocean towards the equator through the upper layers due to an increase in its buoyance. Its northward shift has given by the Subantarctic Mode Water (SAMW) and Antarctic Intermediate Water (AAIW) flows, that inject cold and fresh mode/intermediate waters from into subtropical basin. The signal has reached low latitudes through the equatorial upwelling and spreads out southwards, through the upper branch of southern subtropical gyre. We concluded that 10 years of coupled simulations was enough time to propagate the climate signal generated by ASI positive extremes melting, which reached TOA around 2 year later. The oceanic connection between Southern Ocean and TAO is indeed established within the timescale analyzed in the study (10 years). Nonetheless, the period needed to completely dissipate the disturbance generated from ASI seems to be longer.
Abstract in English:Abstract It is estimated that the explosive Hudson volcano eruption in Southern Chile injected approximately 2.7 km3 of basalt and trachyandesite tephra into the troposphere between August 8-15, 1991. The Hudson signal has been detected in Antarctica at the eastern sector and in South Pole snow. In this work, we track the Hudson volcanic plume using a dispersion model, remote sensing, and a re-analysis of a high-resolution ice core analysis from the Detroit Plateau in the Antarctic Peninsula and sedimentary records from shallow lakes from King George Island (KGI). The Hudson eruption imprint in these records is confirmed by using a weekly resolved aerosol concentration database from KGI demonstrating that the regional impact of Hudson eruption predominates over the Mount Pinatubo/Phillippines volcanic signal, dated from June 1991, in terms of particulate matter depositions. The aerosol elemental composition of Ca, Fe, Ti, Si, Al, Zn, and Pb increases from 2 to 3 orders of magnitude in background level during the days following the eruption of the Hudson volcano.
Abstract in English:Abstract The Antarctic region has experienced recent climate and environmental variations due to climate change, such as ice sheets and ice shelves loss, and changes in the production, extension, and thickness of sea-ice. These processes mainly affect the freshwater supply to the Southern Ocean and its water masses formation and export, being crucial to changes in the global climate. Here, we review the influence of the glacial freshwater input on the Antarctic Peninsula adjacent ocean. We highlight each climate process’ relevance on freshwater contribution to the sea and present a current overview of how these processes are being addressed and studied. The increase of freshwater input into the ocean carries several implications on climate, regionally and globally. Due to glacier melting, the intrusion of colder and lighter water into the ocean increases the stratification of the water column, influencing the sea-ice increase and reducing ocean-atmosphere exchanges, affecting the global water cycle. This study shows the role of each hydrological cycle processes and their contributions to the regional oceanography and potentially to climate.
Abstract in English:Abstract Trace elements are emitted to the atmosphere from natural and anthropogenic sources. The increase in industrialization and mining occurring from the late 19th century released large quantities of toxic trace elements into the Earth’s atmosphere. Here we investigate the variability of concentrations of bismuth, cadmium, chromium, and lead in two Mount Johns – MJ (79°55’28”S, 94°23’18”W, 2100 m a.s.l) ice cores over 132 years (1883-2015). Trace element concentrations were determined using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (CCI/UMaine). The data show evidence of pollution for these elements in Antarctica as early as the 1883. Several maxima concentrations were observed: first at the beginning of the 20th century and the last from 1970s to 1990s, with a clear decrease during recent years. Emissions occur from different anthropogenic sources and appear to be variable throughout the record. The main source of these elements is attributed to mining and smelting of non-ferrous metals in South America, Africa, and Australia. As well as a probable lead enrichment due to the use of fossil fuels. The MJ ice core record also reflects changes in atmospheric circulation and transport processes, probably associated with a strengthening of the westerlies.
Abstract in English:Abstract This research aims to investigate sediment cores from a glaciomarine environment based on their petrophysical parameters to elucidate lithological and sedimentary issues, as well as to identify a geophysical signature based on their parameter’s response. To achieve this objective, six marine sediment cores were collected in the Central Bransfield Basin - Antarctica, the lengths ranging from 1.5 to 5.2 meters in water depths ranging from 304 to 1463 meters. The cores were submitted to different analyses and values from density, magnetic susceptibility, electrical resistivity, p-wave velocity, total gamma radiation, silt, clay and sand contents, and mean grain size for each core location were considered. Four large lithologies were identified according to their geological and geophysical characteristics. The first group is subglacial deformation till (GC16); the second is massive diamicton (GC13 and GC12), the third group is composed of diamictons from the basin (AM10) and lower slope (GC09); the fourth lithological group is composed of siliceous mud from an upper slope location (GC06A). The characteristics recorded across Central Bransfield Basin (from South Shetlands Islands to Antarctic Peninsula) highlighted the relationship between the lithological content and associated depositional processes with the geophysical proprieties as density and magnetic susceptibility.
Abstract in English:Abstract The ionospheric investigations have improved our understanding of the space weather role in the upper atmosphere conditions, particularly at higher latitudes where the geospace phenomena print their signatures. The simultaneous observations using multi-instruments have improved our knowledge of the coupling processes inside the ionosphere, and their connection with the magnetosphere and neutral atmosphere processes under the space weather phenomena. The ionosphere probing at EACF started on 1986 using an analogical very low frequency (VLF) system, and after the year 2004 using digital VLF system, global navigation satellite system (GNSS), riometers and Canadian digital ionosonde (CADI). This paper presents the different radio techniques that have been used at Brazilian Antarctic Station Comandante Ferraz (EACF) to characterize the ionospheric conditions, and the highlights of the studies using multi-instrument observations performed in the last few decades.
Abstract in English:Abstract This paper documents an increase in the number of observed explosive cyclones (EC) at King George Island, South Shetland Islands, Antarctica, over the 1989‒2020 period. In ECs at 60o latitudes the surface atmospheric pressure drops ≥24 hPA in 24 hours. The annual EC frequency time series shows a significant positive trend of ~2.7 cyclones/decade, with a break in 2003 and average numbers of 7.3 and 11.8 events before and after that break, respectively. The increase follows closely earlier documented global sea surface temperature (SST) anomaly trends for the 1981‒2018 period, partially attributed to global warming and to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). Connections between EC frequency and SST might occur through variations in SST in the southeastern Pacific and southwestern Atlantic, with anomalous cold conditions favoring an increase in ECs. We also found close relations between the number of ECs with simultaneous occurrences of PDO and Atlantic multidecadal oscillation in opposite phases, so that after 2003 they were in the cold and warm phases, respectively, and vice-versa before 2003. Both low-frequency modes seem to modulate the number of ECs. As per the authors knowledge these results have not been discussed before and may help climate modeling studies and weather forecasts.
Abstract in English:Abstract Carbonaceous aerosols can affect climate, especially particles containing black carbon (BC). BC originated from the incomplete combustion of fossil fuel and biomass, which can heat the atmosphere and increase ice melting, but little is known about BC sources to Antarctica. We quantified the contribution of distant origin (biomass burning) and local emissions (fossil fuel) to atmospheric BC concentration in the King George Island (Antarctic Peninsula) and the Southern Ocean. We examine the BC concentrations using a multi-wavelength Aethalometer AE-33 and AE-42 aboard the Brazilian Oceanographic Research Ship Almirante Maximiano. The results indicate that the region is influenced by local sources and air masses coming from surrounding continents. Fossil fuel combustion was the major source of carbonaceous aerosols in the region, whereas the total average concentration was 41.8 ± 22.8 ng m-3. The findings indicate a contribution of biomass burning coming from low and mid-latitudes of South America over the Antarctic Peninsula and the Southern Ocean around 62ºS latitude. We demonstrated that fossil fuel is the main contributor to atmospheric BC concentration for the Austral summer and autumn. Scientific stations, local tourism, and traffic are possible local BC sources. Our work invokes the urgency of questionable sustainability issues about Antarctica exploration.
Abstract in English:Abstract Monitoring and inventorying proglacial lakes in the Maritime Antarctica region is essential for understanding the effects of climate change on these environments. This study uses Landsat images to create a map of lakes in ice-free areas of the South Shetlands Islands (SSI) for 1986/89, 2000/03 and 2020, and verification of patterns of change in lake areas and numbers. Normalized water difference index (NDWI) products, image segmentation, field records, and cartographic products from other studies were used to validate the results. Results show a 60% increase in the number of lakes from 1986/89 to 2000/03; and a 55% increase from 2000/03 to 2020. There was a 52% increase in lake areas from 1986/89 to 2000/03; a 79% increase from 2000/03 to 2020; and a 173% increase from 1986 to 2020. From 1986 to 2020, the most significant changes were a decrease in the average elevation and distance from glaciers and an increase in distance from the sea. In 2020, SSI lakes were predominantly coastal and ice-marginal, with an E and S orientations, flat surfaces, and a low declivity.
Abstract in English:Abstract Among the regions of the Southern Ocean, the northern Antarctic Peninsula (NAP) has emerged as a hotspot of climate change investigation. Nonetheless, studies have indicated issues and knowledge gaps that must be addressed to expand the understanding of the carbonate system in the region. Therefore, we focused on identifying current knowledge about sea-air CO2 fluxes (FCO2), anthropogenic carbon (Cant) and ocean acidification along NAP and provide a better comprehension of the key physical processes controlling the carbonate system. Regarding physical dynamics, we discuss the role of water masses formation, climate modes, upwelling and intrusions of Circumpolar Deep Water, and mesoscale processes. For FCO2, we show that the summer season corresponds to a strong sink in coastal areas, leading to CO2 uptake that is greater than or equal to that of the open ocean. We highlight that the prevalence of summer studies prevents comprehending processes occurring throughout the year and the net annual CO2 balance in the region. Thus, temporal investigations are necessary to determine natural environmental fluctuations and to distinguish natural variability from anthropogenically driven changes. We emphasize the importance of more studies regarding Cant uptake rate, accumulation, and export to global oceans.
Abstract in English:Abstract This study investigated whether there are differences in the frequency and position of Southern Hemisphere atmospheric blockings between Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 models with different representations of Antarctic sea ice extent in historical experiments. In the model with the greatest sea ice underestimation (Model for Interdisciplinary Research on Climate version 5) there is a weakening of the polar jet and an increase in 500-hPa height. These atmospheric conditions favor the predomination of simulated blocking frequency overestimations (autumn-winter), in relation to the observed (ERA-Interim). On the other hand, in the models with the greatest sea ice overestimations (Community Climate System Model version 4) and the better sea ice representation (Norwegian Earth System Model version 1) there is a strengthening of the polar jet and weaker positive differences in 500-hPa height in the Antarctic region. These atmospheric conditions favor a predominance of simulated blocking frequency underestimations (all seasons). All models present a good representation of the preferred blocking regions (South Pacific), although they do not represent the longitudinal location of the maximum frequency. In years of sea ice retraction (expansion), there is a predominance of a higher (lower) blocking frequency in the 60°S for all models and observed data.
Abstract in English:Abstract Global climate change is expected to increasingly affect climate-sensitive sectors of society, such as the economy and environment, with significant impacts on water, energy, agriculture and fisheries. This is the case in South America, whose economy is highly dependent on the agricultural sector. Here, we analyzed the sensitivity of South American climate to positive extremes of Antarctic sea ice (ASI) extent and volume at continental and regional scales. Sensitivity ensemble experiments were conducted with the GFDL-CM2.1 model and compared with the ERA-Interim reanalysis dataset. The results have shown significant impacts on the seasonal regime of precipitation, air temperature and humidity in South America, such as a gradual establishment of the South Atlantic Convergence Zone, the formation of the Upper Tropospheric Cyclonic Vortex, the strengthening of Bolivian High and the presence of a low level cyclonic circulation anomaly over the South Atlantic Subtropical High region which contributed, for instance, to increased precipitation over the Southeastern Brazil. A northward shift of the Intertropical Convergence Zone was initially also a response pattern to the increased ASI. Moreover, the greatest variance of the climatic signal generated from the disturbances applied on the high southern latitudes has occurred in the interseasonal timescale (110–120 days), especially over the Brazilian Amazon and the Southeastern Brazil regions.
Abstract in English:Abstract We have estimated a 1-D permittivity model from a 100m long variable offset GPR in the West Antarctic ice sheet. That model inherits the inaccuracies in depth from the velocity model, which should be corrected before attempting to correlate it with the density log from a close-by borehole. We performed that correction by aligning a synthetic ice density derived from a Maxwell Garnett two-phase mixture model to the ice core density measurements through dynamic time warping. The shifts to bring the permittivity estimates to their proper depths suggest a direct correlation of radar-derived data to borehole depths may suffer from noise to an unknown degree. The present methodology is within reach of a standard GPR survey, having at least one variable offset gather.
Abstract in English:Abstract This study investigated the water isotopic content (δ18O, δD, d-excess) of the surface snow along a 995 km traverse over the West Antarctic Ice Sheet from the Möller Ice Stream – Institute Ice Stream to the upper reaches of the Pine Island Glacier drainage basin. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the climatic record preserved in the snow. We analyzed 92 surface samples (~0.15–0.20 m deep), retrieved during 2014/2015 austral summer from every ~10 km along the traverse route, using the laser spectroscopy technique. We computed the isotopic-geographical characteristics and spatial co-isotopic empirical relationships and compared the isotopic results with the tropospheric mean annual temperature and air mass trajectories. Our isotopic results were sensitive to capturing the well-known climatic asymmetry between the Amundsen-Bellingshausen Sea (ABS; which receives more influence from warmer (oceanic) air masses) and Weddell Sea (WS; more influenced by colder (continental) air masses) sectors. Further, the spatial distribution of δs and d-excess and the co-isotopic relationships reflect two preferential fractionation paths: one from the coast of the ABS sector to the WS sector, and another from the coast of the WS sector to the inland. The Pacific Ocean is confirmed as the primary source of moisture.
Abstract in English:Abstract This study investigated the terrestrial and submarine geomorphology and glacial landform records in the Martel inlet (King George Island) using a multi-resolution topobathymetric data based on seismic, multibeam surveys and terrestrial satellite datasets (REMA DEM). Geomorphometric analysis provided glacial landforms and sedimentary processes interpretation. The submarine sector has a mean depth of 143 m, a maximum depth of 398 m, and most of it has a low slope (0°–16°). Steep slopes (>30°) are found along the mid-outer sectors transition area. The continental shelf was divided into inner fjord (49 m depth), middle fjord (119 m), and outer fjord (259 m), based on depth, elevation and slope. The topobathymetric digital model provides evidence of geomorphological contrasts between these zones in the fjord’s seafloor and subaerial environments. A prominent morainal bank in the transition between the inner and middle parts marks the limit of a past stationary stage of the Dobrowolski-Goetel ice margin. Streamlined glacial lineations demonstrate an NE-SW past ice flow direction and a wet-based thermal regime. The combined analysis of submarine and subaerial landforms enable the understanding of the former glacier configuration and its deglaciation history.
Abstract in English:Abstract Global warming and its consequences on polar regions have been thoroughly discussed in recent times. One of those consequences is the freshwater flux and the associated cooling and freshening that result from iceberg melting. Despite the potential impact, large uncertainties exist resulting mostly from the complexity to follow icebergs from space, which make the few existing estimates essentially model-based. This study takes advantage of state-of-art machine learning methods to present novel prevalent trajectories and potential freshwater input from 450 icebergs ranging from 1 to 2765 km2 across the northwestern Weddell Sea, Antarctica. The main results highlight the predominance of a northward flux and the entrance of icebergs up to 10 km2 into Bransfield Strait associated with the main current systems along the Antarctic Peninsula. The present analysis on such a large number of icebergs unveils an average drift speed of 3.4 ± 2.7 km day-1 and an average disintegration rate of ~62% per year, representing an integrated potential regional freshwater input of 133.62 Gt yr-1. Altogether, this study adds new knowledge to the complex problem of autonomous applications for iceberg detection and tracking, further exploring such methods on a very dynamic region of singular importance for the ocean and climate studies.
Abstract in English:Abstract A study of macro and microfacies, palynoflora and palynofacies of the non-marine Cerro Negro Formation at President Head Peninsula, Snow Island, northwest of the Antarctic Peninsula, was developed. Two assemblages were recognized: Palynofacies assemblage 1 (P1) at the base of the section with a dominance of fern spores and conifer pollen grains, and facies association consisting of a clastic layer, with the predominance of mudstones; and Palynofacies assemblage 2 (P2) at the top of the section, with remarkable abundance of AOM/Pseudoamorphous particles, associated with facies that includes tuffs. The complete section shows in some levels the presence of freshwater algae and translucent phytoclasts. The integrated data characterizes a fluvial-lacustrine environment, what is reinforced by the occurrence of freshwater algae (Botryococcus) in some levels of P1 and P2. We could verify an increase in volcanic activity towards the top of the section that apparently has played an important role in the collapse of the palynoflora. The occurrence of the spore species Muricingulisporis annulatus, Sotasporites elegans, S. triangularis, Foraminisporis wonthaggiensis, and F. asymmetricus in the Cerro Negro Formation allows the correlation with sections in South America and Australia, suggesting an Aptian age for these deposits.
Abstract in English:Abstract The Snow Hill Island Formation (SHIF; late Campanian – early Maastrichtian) crops out in the northeast of the Antarctic Peninsula and constitutes the basal part of the late Campanian-early Maastrichtian sedimentary succession of the James Ross Basin (NG Sequence). Its major exposures occur at the James Ross and Vega islands. Several fossil-bearing localities have been identified in the SHIF providing a valuable fauna of invertebrates and vertebrates, and flora. Our study focuses on the vertebrate fauna recovered at Gamma and Cape Lamb members of the SHIF. The marine vertebrate assemblages include chondrichthyans, actinopterygians, and marine reptiles (elasmosaurid plesiosaurs and mosasaurs). A diverse terrestrial vertebrate assemblage has been reported being characterized by dinosaurs (sauropod, elasmarian ornithopods, nodosaurid ankylosaur, and a paravian theropod), pterosaurs and birds. Most SHIF dinosaurs share close affinities with penecontemporaneous taxa from southern South America, indicating that at least some continental vertebrates could disperse between southern South America and Antarctica during the Late Cretaceous. The Snow Hill Island Formation provides the most diverse Late Cretaceous marine and continental faunas from Antarctica. The present study summarizes previous and new vertebrate findings with the best actualized stratigraphical framework, providing a more complete fauna association and analyzing further perspectives.
Abstract in English:Abstract Through evolutionary time, seal lice have developed morphological, behavioral, and ecological adaptations to cope with the amphibious lifestyle of their hosts in a co-evolutionary process. Consequently, the dynamics of lice populations are determined by seals behavior. We aim to study the effects of host sex, age class, year, and sampling location, on the prevalence and mean abundance of Antarctophthirus carlinii, on Weddell seals (WS) Leptonychotes wedelli. The study was conducted at two sites in the Antarctic Peninsula, namely, Marambio/Seymour Island (MI) and the Danco Coast (DC). We collected lice from 71 WS: 33 from MI, during the reproductive season, and 38 from DC, during the molting season, between 2014 and 2017. According to our analyses, host age class and sex were the variables that affected prevalence levels of lice on WS. Whereas, age class, year, site, and sex affected lice mean abundance. Juveniles presented higher prevalence and mean abundance than adults, possibly acting as reservoirs for lice as they move through different colonies until they reach reproductive age. Concurrently, seals during molting season were more infested. Unlike nursing, during the molting season seals spend much time ashore forming mixed groups that favor both egg development and lice transmission.
Abstract in English:Abstract Human activities are increased in Antarctica during decades, primarily due to the logistic and tourism operations, which consequent negative impact on penguin populations, altering their physiological responses. Therefore, we aimed to assess the blood biochemistry and oxidant/antioxidant balance of Adélie penguins (Pygoscelis adeliae) inhabiting two selected colonies: Potter Peninsula, considered as a low impacted colony, and Esperanza/Hope Bay as a high impacted colony. The levels of calcium, uric acid, and fructosamine, showed significant high values (p<0.05) for the Potter Peninsula´s penguins. Besides, this population showed high levels of plasma protein oxidation and erythrocyte lipid peroxidation (p<0.005) while the Esperanza/Hope Bay population presented high levels of erythrocyte protein oxidation and plasma lipid peroxidation (p<0.005). The oxidative damage values were similar in the Potter Peninsula population and slightly lower in the Esperanza/Hope Bay penguins if the results were compared to previous reports. The enzymes superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase had significantly (p<0.005) high activity in the Esperanza/Hope Bay population, which also showed high reduced glutathione levels. The glutathione S-transferase activity was significantly high (p<0.005) in the Potter Peninsula population. The obtained results might take into account for making decisions about management and protection plans for the different penguin nesting areas in Antarctica.
Abstract in English:Abstract Sulfurization is a pedogenic process that involves pyrite oxidation and strong soil acidification, accounting for the formation of acid sulfate soils. In Antarctica, acid sulfate soils are related to specific parent materials, such as sulfide-bearing andesites in Maritime Antarctica and pyritized sedimentary rocks in James Ross Archipelago. The hypothesis is that the acid sulfate soils of these regions vary according with a climate gradient. The reviewing of current data showed that the acid sulfate soils of warmer and wetter Maritime Antarctica have a greater weathering degree, higher acidity, leaching, phosphorus adsorption capacity, structural development, and well-crystallized iron oxides and kaolinite formation. On the other hand, the sulfurization at the drier region of James Ross Archipelago is counterbalanced by the semiaridity, resulting in lower acidity and higher base contents combined with little morphological and mineralogical evolution besides presence of weatherable minerals in the clay fraction. The sulfurization process interplays with other pedogenic processes, such as the phosphatization in Maritime Antarctica and salinization in James Ross Archipelago. Higher temperatures and soil moisture enhance the pedogenesis, showing that even the Antarctic sulfate soils, which originated from specific parent materials, have their development and characteristics controlled by a clear climatic gradient.
Abstract in English:Abstract The behavior and feeding habits of different species of seabirds can influence the enrichment of trace metals in Antarctic soils. This study aimed to evaluate the influence of different species of seabirds on the concentrations of potentially toxic metals in Antarctic soils. For this, we collected soil samples in areas influenced by penguins, kelp gulls, and giant petrels. We analyzed the concentration of total organic carbon (TOC), total nitrogen (TN), available phosphorus (P) and metals by three different methods of extraction: USEPA 3051A, Mehlich-1, and distilled water. The concentrations of Cr and Hg presented positive correlations with P, TOC, and TN by the USEPA 3051A method, indicating the biotransport of these metals by seabirds. Soils influenced by penguins showed higher levels of P, TOC, TN, Cr, and Hg. Comparing the results from the different extractors, we found that Hg had the highest relative levels in the exchangeable fraction and the soil solution. Therefore, the soils with the influence of penguins present higher levels of biotransported trace metals, but this does not necessarily mean that these birds have a higher biotransport potential, since the concentration of trace metals in these soils may be related to their degree of ornithogenesis.
Abstract in English:Abstract The geomorphic dynamics on ice-free areas are crucial for understanding soil formation, vegetation and landscape stability in maritime Antarctic. We aimed to describe the soil formation on different landforms, following the Holocene glacial retreat at Stinker Point. Twenty profiles were sampled and classified, grouped into three landforms units: middle platforms and scarps, till/glacial deposits and present/Holocene raised beaches. Soil chemical and physical attributes were determined, and the vegetation type identified and quantified. Soils from till and glacial deposits can be separated by the age of exposure: older soils are stony, skeletic; and recently exposed till has soils with moderate depth, alkaline reaction and very high base saturation. Soils at the middle platforms are shallow, coarse-grained, skeletic, with abundant vegetation. Soils from the present-day beaches are alkaline, very coarse with no horizon differentiation, whereas soils on Holocene beaches are acid and nutrient-rich due to past or present-day influence of fauna. Soils from Stinker Point are generally shallow, skeletic and strongly related to the landforms and biogenic influences. Compared with other islands of the South Shetlands, in Elephant Island soil development is less pronounced, being this mainly attributed to the metamorphic nature of parent material, with greater resistance to weathering.
Abstract in English:Abstract Antarctic environmental and climatic conditions have repercussions in Brazil and South America and are a central focus of concern as their balance may be affected. Therefore, legal instruments of environmental protection such as the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty are fundamental. To streamline its application, the Protocol foresees accelerated mechanism for the approval and entry into force of “Measures” that modify provisions in its Annexes. This basis makes it unnecessary to submit amendments to domestic processes of international treaties approval in member countries of the Antarctic Treaty – in the case of Brazil, National Congress approval. This could give rise to a violation of Articles 49, item I, and 84, item VIII, of the 1988 Brazilian Constitution. This paper claims that there is no violation. This conclusion was based on an approach that supports constitutionality based on formal foundations and interpretation of the law, so that, mainly, the provisions and norms arising therefrom are understood in the context of Executive Agreements. The methodological construction is supported by the deductive method and assumes that the research hypothesis is controlled.
Abstract in English:Abstract We summarize and elaborate on the challenges of researching in the field of human health in Antarctica based on the conceptual and methodological specificities of a line of investigation that aims to study the human presence in Antarctica in all of its dimensions (biological, psychological, and socio-anthropological). Herein, we discuss the principal results and limitations of the research carried out by researchers of MEDIANTAR (Antarctic medicine, physiology, and anthropology) group of Programa Antártico Brasileiro in isolated, confined, and extreme environments over the last six years. Fieldwork has been carried out in remote research camps, Brazilian navy ships (Almirante Maximiano/H-41 and Ary Rongel/H-44), and Comandante Ferraz Antarctic Station. Adaptative responses to isolated, confined, and extreme environments were studied based on questionnaires, interviews, participative observation, biological samples, anthropometric, and physiological parameters. Our researchers face the unique situation of concomitantly working under the stressful living conditions that are the object of their investigation. A critical examination of the socio-methodological characteristics and challenges of this research niche indicates the need for exchanging the lessons learned and limitations of these practices with researchers in the humanities field, with attention to the human resources needs in multidisciplinary human-related studies.
Abstract in English:Abstract Since 1961 the Antarctic Treaty has been acknowledged internationally as the legitimate forum through which decision-making for the region takes place. Membership growth and the establishment of new conventions are strong indicators of how this international regime has overcome challenges to its functioning, while preserving peace maintenance, scientific cooperation and environmental protection as the main pillars of Antarctic governance. For this special volume of Annals of the Brazilian Academy of Science, this work provides an overview of the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings’ operation, highlighting how they established specific diplomatic practices: the progressive introduction of issues, the avoidance of contentious issues, and “watered-down”, ambiguous text, all of which have enabled parties to circumvent conflict and reach consensual agreement. Based on analysis of the Antarctic Treaty Database, this work shows the main practices developed through the Antarctic Treaty and concludes that the adaptability of Treaty Parties to manage challenges over the last 60 years will unquestionably continue to underpin the regime.