Seal pupping places and numbers of juveniles in specific bays of the Fildes Region coast from 2008 to 2012.

Seal pupping places and numbers of juveniles in specific bays of the Fildes Region coast from 2008 to 2012.

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With its airport and a high density of stations and field huts, the Fildes Peninsula forms the logistical centre of King George Island (South Shetland Islands) and the logistical hub for the northern Antarctic Peninsula area as a whole. Due to the severe overlapping of various interests, such as research, the conservation of flora and fauna, the pr...

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... Warming and cooling trends are important factors in penguin demographics, but other factors can also impact their distribution and breeding success. The populations of Ad elie penguin generally decreased at Antarctic Peninsula under the warming of last decades, while Gentoo penguins grew in number and expanded their colonies further south (Lynch et al., 2012;Peter, 2012;McClintock et al., 2008;Ducklow et al., 2007). Paleoecological records show that penguins will abandon breeding colonies and disperse to more suitable habitats in response to changing sea-ice regime (Emslie et al., 2007). ...
Article
Understanding responses by penguins to climate change in Antarctica is often complicated by other factors including microclimate and landscape effects. Here, we analyze an ornithogenic sediment profile to reconstruct penguin occupation history on the eastern side of Ardley Island, west Antarctic Peninsula, and synthesize the results from various studies on Ardley Island in the past 20 years. Penguins have inhabited the eastern side of this island since about 900 yr BP, with populations significantly increasing from ∼500 yr BP. On the western side, delineated by the Ardley Ridge Line, penguins began to abandon nest or molt sites at ∼1000 yr BP. By the time of 500 yr BP, the abandonment and population decline became a common tendency on the west side. This shift in occupation areas was likely driven by local microclimate and a change in wind patterns causing more snow to accumulate on the west side of the island. We found a linkage between this penguin movement and the Southern Westerly Winds, which became stronger at ∼1000 yr BP and impacted local conditions at Ardley Island, likely induced by more positive Southern Annular Mode (SAM). These results indicate that island topography, wind and snow patterns, combined with large-scale climate forcing can be just as important in determining penguin distribution as temperature and other environmental factors. This study provides a new perspective for investigating the possible impact of microclimate and site topography on penguin behavior.
... antarctica) and Adélies (P. adeliae) until ~10 years ago when they stabilized at low numbers (Peter et al. 2013 andBraun et al. 2017). ...
... Groups of nests at least 1 m from others were recorded separately. Surveys of the Ardley Island colony were usually carried out, for logistical reasons, from the beginning to the middle of December of each breeding season (Peter et al. 2013;Peter et al. 2008). This was also the case for the current investigation (Table 15). ...
... Detailed surveys of all penguin breeding colonies on Ardley Island have been carried out by the Polar and Bird Ecology group (Friedrich Schiller University, Jena). These took place in several breeding seasons 2003/04 -2005/06(Peter et al. 2008), and 2012/13(Peter et al. 2013) to 2015/16(Braun et al. 2017). ...
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In the context of the already observed population changes at specific time intervals and the shift in penguin breeding sites because of global warming and the fluctuations in availability of food, full-scale monitoring of Antarctic penguins seems reasonable. This report should contribute to choosing among the possible methods. Given the large number of colonies and their general inaccessibility, on-site counts can only sample bits of the breeding population. It can also be assumed that there is a considerable number of currently unidentified colonies. An extensive and comprehensive monitoring thus seems only possible based on remote sensing data. To be able to detect preferably all the penguin colonies in Antarctica, satellite data will be required, which should be relatively cheap to acquire given the enormous quantities of data needed, and coverage of the entire region is available. In this study, the Landsat 8 data, available since 2013, appeared to be most suitable for this purpose. In contrast to its predecessor, Landsat 7, which has had an error in its scan-line corrector since May 2003, it has the advantage that the complete image can be evaluated, which allows a higher temporal coverage of the entire Antarctic coastline. If the intention is to measure precisely the size of the colonies and detect small-scale changes, satellite data are required, as they have a high spatial and temporal resolution. In such cases, high-resolution, multi-spectral satellite data with ground resolutions of less than 0.6 m have proven to be the most suitable option. First of all, the high-resolution VNIR data from Worldview 3 satellites were also successfully tested. For the analysis, 12 high-resolution and over 50 medium-resolution, multi-spectral satelliteimages of the test region were obtained to investigate intra- and interseasonal variations. We were able to acquire four high-resolution, practically cloud-free images of Ardley Island in the 2014/15 season and three in the 2015/16 season despite frequent cloud cover. Using these data, a series of methods was tested for their capacity to detect details on high- and medium-resolution satellite images. The most difficult task proved to be classifying guano on the high-resolution images. Dark-appearing guano could hardly be detected with the methods tested. In contrast, the bright orange-reddish guano was easy to spot. This demonstrates in general that the classification conducted on the continentally located Cape Bird colony was more precise than that on Ardley Island, which could be ascribed to the relatively large areas of dark guano and the great variability in geomorphology and vegetation on Ardley Island. The tested methods revealed that the maximum likelihood and ACE classifications produced the best results for the detection of guano on high-resolution images. By comparing satelliteimages to the ground surveys, it became evident that it is not possible to identify all nest groups on Ardley Island from satellite images, not even manually. Good results were obtained with the ACE and SAM classifications using medium-resolution Landsat 8 images of continental and maritime Antarctica. Both methods seem suitable for an automated classification of the whole of Antarctica. Schwaller et al. (2013b) and Lynch & Schwaller (2014) have already impressively demonstrated that an automated detection of Adélie penguin colonies on continental and maritime Antarctica is possible with Landsat 7 images. To be able to evaluate the validity and the precision of information obtained from the satellite images, precise control data from the ground are required. Four different methods to obtain such reference data were investigated in this project and compared to one another. Panoramaphotography is the fastest method, but provides relatively imprecise results, just like GPS-based partial surveying. GPS-based full surveying produced the most accurate count of breeding pairsof all of the methods tried. It demands the greatest time investment, however, and has the disadvantage that it disturbs the breeding penguins the most. An intermediate option is provided by surveying with very high-resolution UAV orthomosaics, which can survey large areas in a short period of time. RGB orthomosaics were found to be most suitable for identifying breeding pairs, while NIR orthomosaics were the best for detecting guano and vegetation. Thermal infrared orthomosaics have a great potential for identifying penguins on or next to a nest. However, the method is not practical given the low resolution of thermalsensors. We started with a detailed examination of the potential of UAV-supported surveying to disturb the birds. Results showed that flyovers conducted more than 50 m above the ground (corresponding to the minimum flight altitude for UAV survey flights) triggered mild reactionscompared to the behaviour of penguins in response to lower flying heights. Furthermore, we investigated whether the guano coloration of a colony varied over the course of a season or whether there were differences between species which could be recognised with remote sensing methods. The results of tests with Munsell colour charts, photography on site and UAV and satellite images from two seasons revealed that the test areas with Adélie penguins could be distinguished from the gentoo penguin areas at the beginning of one season. The distinction consisted of the relative red and green components of guano being close together at the start of the breeding season, so the guano appeared greenish. In the rest of the season, the red component predominated for all species. Given this colour difference, it was possible to distinguish the Adélie penguin nest groups from the gentoo penguin ones onhigh-resolution satellite images. Along with guano coloration, the habitus as well as the breeding biology and phenology of penguins was explored as a possible distinguishing characteristic betweenPygoscelis species using remote sensing data. It is possible to distinguish the chicks of the three species on UAVimages with a ground resolution of at least 10 mm under optimal recording conditions. With adults, however, the only reliable characteristic detectable was the hourglass-shaped white patch on the top of gentoo penguins' heads, and even that only when the head is held upright. Differences in the breeding biology allowed chinstrap penguin nest groups (adults still breeding) to be distinguished clearly from gentoo penguin nest groups (chicks already hatched) using an UAV orthomosaic of Narebski Point. The intraseasonal variation in colony expansion and occupation was also extensively investigated with GPS-based partial surveying of the nest groups and the breeding phenology on Ardley Island. Results showed that the size of nest group areas remained extremely constant over the period examined (beginning of December to beginning of January), in contrast to the number of nests and thus the density of the nest groups, which decreased greatly. It was also observed that nest groups with 1-10 nests declined most clearly in the period investigated, which could possibly be ascribed to their location on the colony periphery and thus the entailing greater predation pressure. The investigation of Cape Bird with Landsat 8 imagesrevealed that no intraseasonal variations in colony expansion could be determined there. The likelihood that the colony is covered with snow, and thus allowing only partial or no detection, increases at the beginning and end of the season. However, high-resolution satellite images revealed clear confirmation of intraseasonal variation of the guano-covered areas on Ardley Island. The guano-covered areas of the colony increase radically at the end of the season until they decrease again under the influence of diminishing guano deposits and the constant presence of erosion. Further analysis showed that a correlation (R²= 0.84) exists between the time at which the satellite image was taken and the mean nest density of the guano-covered areas. The detectability of interseasonal variations in colony expansion and occupation were investigated with high- and medium-resolution satellite images of colonies on Ardley Island and Cape Bird. For Ardley Island, no correlation was found (R² = 0.05) between the number of nests and the nest group area determined from ground surveys. A similar result was noted for the Adélie penguin colony Cape Bird North according to high- and medium-resolution satelliteimages. Furthermore, Landsat images could not detect any changes in the number of breeding pairs from the guano-covered area data, not even when the number of breeding pairs more than tripled. This was the outcome of analyses of the Cape Bird North colony in the period between 1985 and 2016. The cause is probably the change in density within the nest groups.
... In this context, specific concern has been raised recently with regard to King George Island, and in particular the Fildes Peninsula, which holds a major logistic hub, the Chilean airport, as well as a high density of scientific stations and field huts (Braun et al., 2012;Peter et al., 2013). Fildes Peninsula is one of the relatively few large ice-free areas in Antarctica, supports relatively high biodiversity (ATS, 2009;Braun et al., 2012Braun et al., , 2014Peter et al., 2013;Zhao and Xu, 2000) and is considered to be of high ecological interest (ASOC, 2007). ...
... In this context, specific concern has been raised recently with regard to King George Island, and in particular the Fildes Peninsula, which holds a major logistic hub, the Chilean airport, as well as a high density of scientific stations and field huts (Braun et al., 2012;Peter et al., 2013). Fildes Peninsula is one of the relatively few large ice-free areas in Antarctica, supports relatively high biodiversity (ATS, 2009;Braun et al., 2012Braun et al., , 2014Peter et al., 2013;Zhao and Xu, 2000) and is considered to be of high ecological interest (ASOC, 2007). Although Fildes contains two Antarctic Specially Protected Areas (ASPAs; ATS, 2015), the extension of protective management measures in Fildes Peninsula following research that identified substantial environmental threats has been advocated (ASOC, 2007;Braun et al., 2012Braun et al., , 2014Peter et al., 2008). ...
... The Fildes Peninsula, located on King George Island ( Fig. 1), contains the greatest number of research stations in the Antarctic Treaty area (Peter et al., 2013). The only study of antibiotic resistance among E. coli isolates in the Fildes Peninsula was performed by Hern andez et al. (2012). ...
... The E. coli:total coliform ratio in the outfall seawater samples in this study was significantly higher in SFP (Great Wall station) than in NFP (INACH, FACH, and Bellinghausen stations). All four WWTPs declare that they treat wastewater both mechanically and biologically, but only the NFP stations use a physicochemical treatment to disinfect the water bodies before discharging them into the sea (Peter et al., 2013). UV light is used for this purpose at all three stations (ATIPR, 2012;Gómez-Fuentes and Calisto-Ulloa, 2013;Peter et al., 2013). ...
... All four WWTPs declare that they treat wastewater both mechanically and biologically, but only the NFP stations use a physicochemical treatment to disinfect the water bodies before discharging them into the sea (Peter et al., 2013). UV light is used for this purpose at all three stations (ATIPR, 2012;Gómez-Fuentes and Calisto-Ulloa, 2013;Peter et al., 2013). Chang et al. (1985) studied the influence of different doses of UV light on E. coli and total coliforms in water and demonstrated that E. coli is more susceptible to UV light than are other coliforms. ...
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Antibiotic resistance is a problem of global concern and is frequently associated with human activity. Studying antibiotic resistance in bacteria isolated from pristine environments, such as Antarctica, extends our understanding of these fragile ecosystems. Escherichia coli strains, important fecal indicator bacteria, were isolated on the Fildes Peninsula (which has the strongest human influence in Antarctica), from seawater, bird droppings, and water samples from inside a local wastewater treatment plant. The strains were subjected to molecular typing with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis to determine their genetic relationships, and tested for antibiotic susceptibility with disk diffusion tests for several antibiotic families: β-lactams, quinolones, aminoglycosides, tetracyclines, phenicols, and trimethoprim–sulfonamide. The highest E. coli count in seawater samples was 2400 cfu/100 mL. Only strains isolated from seawater and the wastewater treatment plant showed any genetic relatedness between groups. Strains of both these groups were resistant to β-lactams, aminoglycosides, tetracycline, and trimethoprim–sulfonamide.In contrast, strains from bird feces were susceptible to all the antibiotics tested. We conclude that naturally occurring antibiotic resistance in E. coli strains isolated from Antarctic bird feces is rare and the bacterial antibiotic resistance found in seawater is probably associated with discharged treated wastewater originating from Fildes Peninsula treatment plants.
... While much of the concern in this regard has focused on activities surrounding scientific research (e.g. station construction, transport activities; Tin et al. 2009, Peter et al. 2013), the spatial distribution of tourism activities and the movement patterns of tour vessels between sites (e.g. Lynch et al. 2010) are of particular interest for studies of biological invasion and cumulative anthropogenic impacts on the Antarctic environment (Frenot et al. 2005, Barnes et al. 2006). ...
Article
We extend a previous analysis of Antarctic tour ship vessel traffic to include 20 years of commercial cruise activity (1993/94–2012/13) using recently digitized historical records and new data on vessel landings since 2008/09. Using tourism statistics from 1989/90–2013/14, we also examine trends in passenger numbers, landings and the nationalities of passengers travelling to the Antarctic Peninsula region. This study represents the most comprehensive long-term perspective on how tour ship activity has changed spatially and temporally over a period in which visitation has grown ten-fold. Passenger landings and marine traffic are highly concentrated at a few specific locations, particularly along the Peninsula’s south-western coast. Antarctic tourism activity is closely correlated with measures of economic activity in those countries contributing the largest numbers of visitors to the region. The nationalities of Antarctic tourists have shifted over the years, particularly with respect to an increasing number of visitors from China. Since emerging markets for Antarctic travel are probably far from saturated, interest in travelling to Antarctica will probably continue to grow. Understanding visitation patterns will focus efforts to monitor potential anthropogenic impacts and inform management decisions regarding activities in and around the Antarctic region.
... papua) have increased in numbers markedly in recent times in Antarctica (Lynch et al. 2012), but have declined substantially in abundance at Admiralty Bay (Ciaputa and Sierakowski 1999are increasing (Lynch et al. 2008), they seem to be decreasing in the east Antarctic (Micol and Jouventin 2001). Scattered data from King George Island regarding other species also indicate a declining population trend (e.g., Sander et al. 2005Sander et al. , 2006), with few species remaining stable (e.g., Kelp Gulls Larus dominicanus) (Sander et al. 2006), or increasing in Admiralty Bay (e.g., skuas Catharacta maccormicki and C. antarctica) (Sander et al. 2005; Carneiro et al. 2010; Peter et al. 2013). Studies of population distribution and trends are necessary to monitor and support the conservation of Antarctic ecosystems (Barbraud et al. 1999). ...
... Local influence of extreme climate events could lead to low nesting habitat quality (for instance, snow accumulation), which is responsible for shifts in penguin nesting areas (Petry et al. 2010; Lynch et al. 2012). We hypothesize that, along with the contribution of climate events, the proximity of their breeding colony to research stations (e.g., Arctowski Station) may make them less attractive as breeding locations due to human interference (Peter et al. 2013). Thus, individuals may be shifting their breeding sites to new (as yet unsurveyed) areas (Lynch et al. 2012). ...
Article
The monitoring of the status and distribution of seabird populations is necessary to understand their spatial and temporal responses to rapid climate changes occurring in the Western Antarctic Peninsula area. We surveyed and mapped Admiralty Bay bird communities and related them to climate variables—temperature, temperature anomaly, Antarctic Oscillation Index and El-Niño Southern Oscillation Index. We recorded 13 breeding seabird species over three seasons (2009/2010, 2010/2011 and 2011/2012) and mapped 10 of them over an area of 149.5 ha. The ice-free areas with the greatest number of species were Point Thomas, Keller Peninsula and Hennequin Point. The most abundant species was the Adelie Penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) followed by the Chinstrap Penguin (P. antarcticus). We observed that the number of breeding pairs of Gentoo Penguins (P. papua), Chinstrap Penguins and skuas (Catharacta maccormicki and C. antarctica) are related to temperature, temperature anomaly and El-Niño Southern Oscillation Index. The size of breeding populations and their distributions have been fluctuating over the last 30 years in ice-free areas of Admiralty Bay. Most species showed a decreasing trend from 1978 to 2012, with the exception of Chinstrap Penguins, Southern Giant Petrels (Macronectes giganteus) and skuas, which seem to be stable in numbers in the last two decades. Decreases in seabird populations from the Antarctic Peninsula are widely recognized as a response to environmental change and anthropogenic influences such as tourism and building activities, thus highlighting the importance of monitoring to support mitigation measures.
... Humans have occupied the Fildes Bay area for over fifty years and in the past ten years the average number of people living and working in stations increased of about 26% during the summer and of 33% in winter. It is then possible to assume that this growth in the number of occupants of the stations will lead to a potential growing risk for the environment (Peter et al., 2013). Most human activity and terrestrial biological research in King George Island is concentrated in in Fildes Peninsula, where Chile, Russia, Uruguay, Germany, and China have established research stations and field huts. ...
... COMNAP 2008). However, within Fildes Peninsula, King George Island, which is located in one of the regions at highest risk of non-native species introductions (Chown et al. 2012b, Fig. 4), Peter et al. (2013) reported that 'The various stations of the Fildes Peninsula currently take either no measures or limited measures to prevent the introduction of non-native species… On the contrary, people still commonly keep house plants in a number of stations. To our knowledge, no measures are implemented to monitor nonnative species' (see Fig. 1f). ...
Chapter
Unlike virtually any other area of land on the planet, the Antarctic continent is still largely un-impacted by the introduction of non-native species. Only a handful of non-native plants and animals (all invertebrates) are known, most from the northern Antarctic Peninsula and Scotia Arc. While several are persistent, and slowly increasing in local distribution, none have yet become truly invasive. The same is not the case in many of the subantarctic islands, where two centuries or more of human occupation and exploitation have led to many both deliberate and accidental introductions, and to sometimes drastic and probably irreversible changes in ecosystems. Recent years have seen an upsurge in primary research documenting the presence and impacts of non-native species in Antarctica, and in applying this information to the governance mechanisms within the Antarctic Treaty area and those of the various subantarctic islands. Organisms arriving through human activities, today primarily in the form of governmental (science and support) and tourism operations, numerically far outweigh natural colonisation events to this very isolated continent. Added to this, current and in some areas very strong regional climate change trends act in synergy to increase both the numbers of potential colonists and their establishment probability. Continued and increasing human contact with the Antarctic region is inevitable, and this can never be entirely separated from the risk of new introductions. Practicable control and mitigation measures, based on high levels of awareness and robust monitoring, survey and response protocols, are therefore the primary mechanisms available to slow and control rates of introduction and establishment. © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015. All rights are reserved.
... adeliae), and Gentoo (P. papua)] and the number of chicks in crèches (end of January to February) were assessed [23,24]. The colony on Ardley Island (Fig. 1) was then subdivided into distinguishable groups that were mapped using GPS. ...
... In the 2011/2012 summer season, we counted a total of 5761 Gentoo, 408 Adélie and 11 Chinstrap penguin breeding pairs. The breeding success for these three species is 1.24, 1.45, and 1.73 chicks per breeding pair [24]. ...
... The Chinstrap penguin population (Fig. 4a) reached its highest numbers on Ardley Island at the end of the 1970s [23,24]. ...
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El Nio-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) has affected penguins and their habitats in the western Antarctic Peninsula. We used both historical penguin population dynamics data (1980-2012) and sedimentary lipids in penguin droppings (1916-2001) on Ardley Island to examine the responses of the Antarctic ecosystem to ENSO (El Nio/La Nia) events. The results showed that during the last 30 years, climate, marine food chain changes, and human activity have significantly affected penguin population sizes on Ardley Island. The Chinstrap (Pygoscelis antarctica) and Ad,lie (P. adeliae) penguin populations showed a good correlation with ENSO events. The Chinstrap penguin population decreased significantly because it was more sensitive to increasing human disturbance (e.g., scientific activity and tourism) than Ad,lie and Gentoo (P. papua), particularly during the breeding season. Compositional features of n-alkanes in penguin dropping sediments revealed that organic matter came from lower terrestrial plants, bacteria and algae. C-23 was the main n-alkane heavy hydrocarbon indicating mosses and lichens in the penguin's diet. Variation in the ratio of nC(23)/nC(17) was closely correlated with ENSO events. The bacteria intrusion index (ratio of (iC(15:0) + aC(15:0))/nC(15:0) for fatty acids) reflected significant increases in microorganism activity during several periods in this area. Meanwhile, the CPIA value for fatty acids decreased because micro-organisms contributed light hydrocarbon fatty acids to penguin droppings. Our results showed that the fine structure and molecular indices of fatty acids and n-alkanes in penguin dropping sediments can be used to explain climate-driven microbial processes, and to reveal the important role that microbes and bacteria play in the relatively simple Antarctic ecosystem.
... comm., 2011). Substantial levels of human impact and breaches of the Management Plan have been reported within ASPA 125 Fildes Peninsula, King George Island and ASPA 150 Ardley Island, Maxwell Bay, King George Island (Braun et al., 2012; Peter et al., 2013). Human activities within one or both of these ASPAs, causing impacts to both scientific and environmental values, included (i) release of waste originating from the local research stations, (ii) the collection of fossils for personal souvenirs, (iii) overflight of bird colonies contrary to the stipulated minimum flight heights and distances, (iv) scientific and unpermitted recreational visits that exceed the number of people permitted by the Management Plan to enter the area at any one time, (v) use of vehicles, (vi) trampling of vulnerable areas of vegetation and (vii) handling and interfering with wildlife (Braun et al., 2012; Peter et al., 2013). ...
... Substantial levels of human impact and breaches of the Management Plan have been reported within ASPA 125 Fildes Peninsula, King George Island and ASPA 150 Ardley Island, Maxwell Bay, King George Island (Braun et al., 2012; Peter et al., 2013). Human activities within one or both of these ASPAs, causing impacts to both scientific and environmental values, included (i) release of waste originating from the local research stations, (ii) the collection of fossils for personal souvenirs, (iii) overflight of bird colonies contrary to the stipulated minimum flight heights and distances, (iv) scientific and unpermitted recreational visits that exceed the number of people permitted by the Management Plan to enter the area at any one time, (v) use of vehicles, (vi) trampling of vulnerable areas of vegetation and (vii) handling and interfering with wildlife (Braun et al., 2012; Peter et al., 2013). These activities are contrary, not only to the ASPA Management Plans, but in some cases the minimum standards set out in the Environmental Protocol. ...
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Abstract. The footprint of human activities within Antarctica is increasing, making it essential to consider whether current conservation/protection of environmental and scientific values is adequate. The Antarctic protected area network has developed largely without any clear strategy, despite scientific attempts to promote protection of representative habitats. Many Antarctic Specially Protected Area (ASPA) Management Plans do not state clearly if conservation or science is the priority objective. This is problematic as science and conservation may have conflicting management requirements, i.e. visitation may benefit science, but harm conservation values. We examined recent estimated mean annual levels of visitation to ASPAs. On average, ASPAs protecting scientific research interests were visited twice as often as ASPAs conserving Antarctic habitat and biological communities. However, ASPAs protecting both science and conserving habitat were visited three times as often as ASPAs conserving habitat alone. Examination of visitation data showed that the proportion of visitors entering ASPAs for science, environmental management and/or education and tourism purposes, did not reflect the primary reason for designation, i.e. for science and/or conservation. One third of APSAs designated since the Environmental Protocol entered into force (1998) did not describe clearly the main reason for designation. Policy makers should consider for all Management Plans (i) stating unambiguously the reason an area has ASPA designation, e.g. either to protect habitat/environmental values or scientific research, in accordance with adopted guidance, (ii) designating new protected areas where visitation is kept to an absolute minimum to ensure the long-term conservation of Antarctic species and habitats without local human impacts (possibly located far from areas of human activity), and (iii) encouraging the use of zoning in ASPAs to help facilitate the current and future requirements of different scientific disciplines.