Article

Identification and Assessment of Contaminated Sites at Casey Station, Wilkes Land, Antarctica

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Abstract

In December 1993 a study of contaminated sites at Casey Station, Wilkes Land, Antarctica, was undertaken. The preliminary assessment of these contaminated sites is presented here. A register of contaminated sites for Casey Station was developed, based on a survey of past Antarctic expeditioners, relevant literature, and in-house reports relating to site usage and history. On this basis a sampling strategy was devised for the highest priority, potentially contaminated sites at Casey Station. Samples were collected from the refuse disposal site (tip site) at Thala Valley and the mechanical workshop/powerhouse areas of ‘Old’ Casey. The results indicated that copper, lead, and zinc were leaching from the tip site into adjacent Brown Bay, with ‘hot spots’ of high petroleum hydrocarbon levels. The mechanical workshop/powerhouse area was also shown to be contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and metals such as copper, lead, and zinc. Several recommendations were made, including the removal of rubbish mixed with soil at the bottom end of Thala Valley in such a manner as to prevent any further release of contaminants, with subsequent site monitoring to verify effective removal of contaminants to acceptable environmental levels. It was also recommended that further investigations be carried out on the ecosystem of Brown Bay, the large fuel spill site, the upper and lower fuel-storage areas, and the area around the incinerator. There is scope for monitoring the natural breakdown and migration of contaminants at the mechanical workshop/powerhouse site. This should include studies on bioremediation of hydrocarbon-contaminated soils. Mechanisms for arresting surface migration should be investigated in those sites identified. In addition to meeting some of the international obligations of the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty, this work also contributes towards the development of an approach to assessment and management of contaminated sites that is uniquely adapted to the Antarctic environment and could be applied at other Antarctic stations. to the assessment and management of contaminated sites that is uniquely adapted to the Antarctic environment. This approach could be utilised for site assessments at other Antarctic stations.

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... Recent studies (Snape et al. 2001, Scouller et al. 2000 have demonstrated higher concentrations of some metals and petroleum hydrocarbons in sediments collected from bays adjacent to Casey Station compared with locations further away. This contamination has been linked to both the operation of a waste disposal site and hydrocarbon spills (Deprez et al. 1999). Brown Bay, adjacent to the waste disposal site, is the worst affected, with some metals (including copper, lead, iron, and zinc) occurring in the sediments at concentrations 10 to 100 times higher than background levels. ...
... In contrast, petroleum hydrocarbons were not detected in sediments from reference locations (Snape et al. 2001). Seawater collected from Brown Bay also contained elevated concentrations of copper, cadmium, lead, and zinc (Deprez et al. 1999, Snape et al. 2001. ...
... The Thala Valley disposal site received waste material from Old Casey Station between 1969 and 1986. This material included domestic waste and waste, such as batteries and fuel drums, from mechanical workshops (Deprez et al. 1999). Despite an earlier clean-up effort, approximately 2500 m 3 of the waste generated by Old Casey station still remains in Thala Valley (Deprez et al. 1999, Snape et al. 2001. ...
Article
The effects of metals and petroleum hydrocarbons on benthic marine diatom communities were assessed using a manipulative field experiment at Casey Station, Antarctica. Uncontaminated, metal contaminated, and petroleum hydrocarbon contaminated sediments were deployed for 11 weeks during the 1999 austral summer. The treatments were deployed at three different locations: Brown Bay, which has elevated levels of anthropogenic contaminants, and two uncontaminated reference locations, O'Brien Bay and Sparkes Bay, the latter of which has naturally occurring high concentrations of some heavy metals. At each location, significant differences between the composition of diatom communities recruiting to control and petroleum hydrocarbon contaminated treatments were observed. Navicula directa (Smith) Ralfs occurred at lower abundances in the petroleum hydrocarbon contaminated treatments than in the control treatments. In contrast, Navicula cancellata Donkin occurred at higher relative abundances in both contaminated treatments relative to the control treatment. Interactions between treatment and location were also observed for several species, including Navicula glaciei Van Heurck. Significant differences in the overall community composition of diatom communities between control and metal contaminated treatments and metal contaminated and petroleum hydrocarbon contaminated treatments were only observed within Brown Bay. The location of deployment also had a significant influence on the composition of diatom communities. Brown Bay had higher abundances of Achnanthes brevipes Agardh but lower abundances of Navicula aff. cincta (Ehrenberg) Van Heurck than either reference locations. This experiment demonstrated that benthic diatom communities are sensitive to sediment contamination and would be suitable for future monitoring work within this and other areas of Antarctica.
... In contrast, fixation of zinc depends largely on the phosphate source and the effects of competing ions (Cao et al., 2004;Zwonitzer et al., 2003). Due to a common geological source or co-disposal, Cu, Zn and Pb may cooccur (Chen et al., 2007;Deprez et al., 1999;Ma et al., 1994b;Pierzynski et al., 2005;Zwonitzer et al., 2003), creating the need and the opportunity to treat multiple contaminants in waters or soils. ...
... This paper is the third in a series of laboratory and field experiments (Hafsteinsdóttir et al., 2011;White et al., 2012) which aim to assess the efficiency of orthophosphate fixation in metal contaminated soils and sediments exposed to cold and freezing conditions. Copper, Pb and Zn have previously been identified as the main contaminants of concern at Thala Valley landfill, Casey Station, Antarctica (Deprez et al., 1999;Snape et al., 2001), and are therefore the focus of these experiments. The objective of this paper is to study the formation and stability of copper and zinc phosphates during freezeethaw cycling, and the potential for competing ion effects on Cu-, Pb-and Zn-phosphate formation in single and multi-metal laboratory systems under desiccating conditions through successive freezeethaw cycles. ...
... Lead, Cu and Zn were chosen for this study as they have been identified as the main metal contaminants in Thala Valley landfill, Casey Station, Antarctica (Deprez et al., 1999). As the formation and stability of lead phosphate minerals during freezeethaw cycles in single metal systems has been identified (Hafsteinsdóttir et al., 2011), our aim was to assess competing ion effects on the lead phosphate. ...
Article
Freeze-thaw cycling may influence the chemistry, mineral stability and reaction rate during metal orthophosphate fixation. This study assessed the formation and stability of Cu-, Pb-, and Zn-phosphates in chemically simple laboratory systems during 240 freeze-thaw cycles (120 days) from +10 to -20 °C, using X-ray diffractometry. In single heavy metal systems, chloro- and hydroxy-pyromorphite (Pb(5)(PO(4))(3)(Cl,OH)), sodalite (Na(6)Zn(6)(PO(4))(6)·8H(2)O), chiral zincophosphate (Na(12)(Zn(12)P(12)O(48))·12H(2)O), and copper phosphate hydrate (Cu(3)(PO(4))(2)·3H(2)O) were the primary phosphate minerals that formed, and were typically stable during the experiment. Zinc and Cu-phosphate formation was reduced in multi heavy metal systems, and was substantially lower in abundance than chloropyromorphite. Successful Cu-, Pb- and Zn-phosphate formation can be expected in cold and freezing environments like the polar regions. However, field implementation of orthophosphate fixation needs to consider competing ion effects, concentration of the phosphate source, and the amount of free-water.
... Antarctica, the coldest, driest and most remote continent, has experienced a major increase in human activity over the last 50 years following the International Geophysical Year (IGY) in 1958-1959, when 55 research stations commenced operation (Bargagli, 2008). Early waste management consisted mainly of incineration, dumping of domestic, construction, and scientific waste in landfills near the stations, or disposing waste onto the sea ice where it sank into the sea or dispersed upon sea ice breakage (Deprez et al., 1999;Snape et al., 2001b;Stark et al., 2006;Bargagli, 2008). Consequently, many contaminated sites are now located around the continent, mostly on the coast, where freezethaw cycling of soil and meltwater runoff into the adjacent marine environment occurs (Deprez et al., 1999;Snape et al., 2001b;Stark et al., 2003a;Fryirs et al., 2013Fryirs et al., , 2014. ...
... Early waste management consisted mainly of incineration, dumping of domestic, construction, and scientific waste in landfills near the stations, or disposing waste onto the sea ice where it sank into the sea or dispersed upon sea ice breakage (Deprez et al., 1999;Snape et al., 2001b;Stark et al., 2006;Bargagli, 2008). Consequently, many contaminated sites are now located around the continent, mostly on the coast, where freezethaw cycling of soil and meltwater runoff into the adjacent marine environment occurs (Deprez et al., 1999;Snape et al., 2001b;Stark et al., 2003a;Fryirs et al., 2013Fryirs et al., , 2014. This is of great concern as the terrestrial and marine ecosystems around the continent may be especially vulnerable to contamination due to their unique adaptation to the harsh, isolated, Antarctic conditions (Bargagli, 2008). ...
... Metal contamination in landfills is a concern at Australian Antarctic stations (Deprez et al., 1999;Snape et al., 2001b;Stark et al., 2003b;Fryirs et al., 2013). Landfills contain complex mixtures of metals that can create environmental risk if allowed to leach offsite (Snape et al., 2001b;Stark et al., 2003aStark et al., , 2005. ...
Article
Remediation of metal-contaminated soils by phosphate fixation is successful in temperate environments, whereas its efficacy in cold and freezing environments is understudied. Phosphate fixation is a low-cost technique and is potentially very useful in these remote environments where the logistics of remediation are difficult and expensive. Here we describe a field study at Casey Station, East Antarctica, where phosphate (triple superphosphate and phosphate rock) and a buffer, Emag (magnesium carbonate and magnesium oxide), were introduced to contaminated soil from nearby Thala Valley landfill. A pilot scale experiment was set up, sampled and monitored from December 2008 to February 2010. Relative to levels in the untreated landfill material, concentrations of Cd, Cu, Co, Fe, Mn, Pb and Zn in leachates were decreased by phosphate addition (fixation most effective for Mn and Zn), whereas the technique increased concentrations of As, Cr and Ni. The most successful fixation was found for the 3:2 ratio of triple superphosphate and Emag, and the least effective fixation occurred with the 2:1:1 ratio of triple superphosphate, Emag and phosphate rock. Although there was an undesirable initial flush of metals from the contaminated soil in the 24-48 hours after treatment addition, concentrations in leachate were reduced and stabilised in the second summer. During a full-scale field implementation, complementary techniques would be required to contain and treat contaminated runoff until leachates have reduced to acceptable concentrations.
... These obstacles have the potential to lengthen timeframes for remediation or entirely prevent the commencement of remediation operations at petroleum hydrocarbon contaminated sites in the Antarctic and Arctic (Poland et al. 2003; Filler et al. 2006; Camenzuli et al. 2013). Remediation in the Antarctic and Arctic has traditionally relied upon ex situ remediation strategies which require the removal of contaminated material by excavation with subsequent treatment or off-site storage (Deprez et al. 1999; Martin & Ruby 2004; Harms & Wick 2006; Camenzuli et al. 2013). Ex situ remediation approaches can be advantageous in the presence of severe contamination of highly hazardous compounds (Tomei & Daugulis 2013 ). ...
... Snape et al. (2001) identified petroleum-derived contamination as the most significant environmental pollution issue in the Antarctic. In recent years, several studies describing the distribution and environmental effects of petroleum-derived contamination at Antarctic research sites have addressed localized contamination at the US McMurdo Station, Australia's Casey Station, the British Rothera Station and New Zealand's Scott Base (Deprez et al. 1999; Snape et al. 2001; Poland et al. 2003; Saul et al. 2005; Stark et al. 2006; Klein et al. 2012). In the Arctic, exploration, extraction and transport of petroleum reserves are the primary sources of petroleum hydrocarbon contamination (Poland et al. 2003; Aislabie et al. 2004; Fritt-Rasmussen et al. 2012; Akbari & Ghoshal 2014; Manzetti 2014). ...
... Similarly, petroleum hydrocarbons in sandy Arctic soils exposed to freezeÁthaw can move ahead of the freezing front, implying that when soils are cooled from the surface down through the active layer, hydrocarbons can migrate toward the permafrost (Chuvilin et al. 2001; Aislabie et al. 2004). Dissolved and particle-associated petroleum hydrocarbons in surface and subsurface soils can also be mobilized upon thawing and have the potential to migrate to offshore marine environments (Kennicutt & Sweet 1992; Deprez et al. 1999; Snape et al. 2001; Aislabie et al. 2004). Residual petroleum hydrocarbons in soil are also an issue in cold regions and have been found to contaminate soils for more than 40 years at Antarctic research stations such as McMurdo and Wilkes, which were established during the International Geophysical Year of 1958 (Aislabie et al. 2004; Klein et al. 2012; Fryirs et al. 2013; Fryirs et al. 2014). ...
Article
Full-text available
Petroleum hydrocarbon contaminated sites, associated with the contemporary and legacy effects of human activities, remain a serious environmental problem in the Antarctic and Arctic. The management of contaminated sites in these regions is often confounded by the logistical, environmental, legislative and financial challenges associated with operating in polar environments. In response to the need for efficient and safe methods for managing contaminated sites, several technologies have been adapted for on-site or in situ application in these regions. This article reviews six technologies which are currently being adapted or developed for the remediation of petroleum hydrocarbon contaminated sites in the Antarctic and Arctic. Bioremediation, landfarming, biopiles, phytoremediation, electrokinetic remediation and permeable reactive barriers are reviewed and discussed with respect to their advantages, limitations and potential for the long-term management of soil and groundwater contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons in the Antarctic and Arctic. Although these technologies demonstrate potential for application in the Antarctic and Arctic, their effectiveness is dependent on site-specific factors including terrain, soil moisture and temperature, freeze-thaw processes and the indigenous microbial population. The importance of detailed site assessment prior to on-site or in situ implementation is emphasized, and it is argued that coupling of technologies represents one strategy for effective, long-term management of petroleum hydrocarbon contaminated sites in the Antarctic and Arctic.
... Australia's Casey station has had many oil spills, mostly at sites of bulk fuel handling and storage [129]. Despite an increase in preventative measures, and thorough documentation of operational procedures, large oil spills still occur. ...
... It covered an area of approximately 3000 m 2 and contained at least 2000 m 3 of waste, much of it present on the foreshore of Brown Bay. At various times rubbish was also bulldozed onto sea ice where it later sank into Brown Bay with the summer melt [129]. In 1982 about 20% of the waste was deliberately disposed in Brown Bay by blasting a hole into the sea ice. ...
... The Thala valley site was subject to tidal inundation, strong winds, and each summer a melt stream ran through the matrix of the waste disposal site, causing active erosion of an estimated 4e8 m 3 annually of contaminated material into Brown Bay as well as leaching contaminants into the marine environment [133]. Oil slicks were reported in Brown Bay with petroleum hydrocarbons detected in the soil, melt pools, and bay [129]. A marine environmental impact assessment of Brown Bay demonstrated significant impacts to benthic communities in the bay, with reduced diversity and dominance by tolerant fauna [134,135]. ...
Chapter
Oil pollution across Antarctica is low compared with other regions of the world, concentrated at sites of human activity near rare ice-free coastal areas. It occurs from a range of activities including national Antarctic programs, tourism and fishing. Historic sources exist from abandoned infrastructure and stations, vehicle wrecks, waste disposal sites, waste water discharge, and past whaling activities. The oils polluting the Antarctic environment are varied and so are the residual properties and toxicities as a result of differing degrees of weathering and degradation. In recognition of the risk that oil pollution presents to the Antarctic environment, preventive measures exist under binding international agreements: the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (Protocol) prohibits mining and oil drilling, requires waste oils be removed from Antarctica, and generally prohibits the discharge of oils or oily mixtures into the sea; and the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) prohibits heavy fuel use with a new annex adopted, the Polar Code, with standards for ship design and operation in polar waters that aims to reduce the likelihood of a major oil spill of heavy recalcitrant oils. Environmental conditions severely impact response to oil pollution with geographical isolation and extreme conditions making any response logistically challenging. Freezing temperatures, freeze-thaw cycles, the high-energy marine environment, and the presence of ice must all be taken into account. Some restrictions in place under the protocol could prevent, or limit, the application of response actions. Response in the terrestrial environment must manage the permafrost that underlies exposed ground surfaces, the seasonally thawed active layer, and porous soils that are low in organic matter, nutrients, and freely available water for much of the year. Response in the marine environment must take into account strong winds, currents, and ice with varying degrees of stability. There are no environmental quality guidelines to direct remediation efforts and those developed for temperate regions are likely not suitable for Antarctic conditions. The development of guidelines and remediation targets suitable for Antarctica is acknowledged as a priority. Response to oil spills has previously relied on natural attenuation or excavation and disposal outside of Antarctica. More recently, other techniques have been adapted to allow on-site treatment, such as permeable reactive barriers and biopiles. The ability to respond to small- and medium-sized spills in Antarctica has improved over the years, but response to a major spill would be limited by harsh environmental conditions, ability to access the area, time required to deploy equipment, lack of standard procedures for international coordination, self-regulation, and limited monetary incentive with no liability in place. Such factors limited the response after the Bahia Paraiso was grounded and sank over 2 decades ago, and national Antarctic programs and tourist operators are not much better prepared today for a large disaster than they were 20 years ago. Oil spills are likely to continue to increase in the future as activities in Antarctica grow, along with an increase in migration of current oil spills with climate change.
... Many reports of small-scale fuel spills have been made in the vicinity of Antarctic research stations, the majority of which lie near the coastline [12,14,15]. Such terrestrial fuel spills also pose a risk to the marine environment due to the likelihood of fuel runoff into the nearby marine environment. ...
... During the subsequent clean-up, only 100,000 L of fuel were recovered, and the remainder soaked into the snow and ice, eventually calving into the sea [16]. A further significant spill took place at Casey Station on the East Antarctic coastline in 1990 [15]. Recorded spills have generally been smaller at stations in the maritime Antarctic. ...
Article
Full-text available
Bioremediation of hydrocarbons has received much attention in recent decades, particularly relating to fuel and other oils. While of great relevance globally, there has recently been increasing interest in hydrocarbon bioremediation in the marine environments of Antarctica. To provide an objective assessment of the research interest in this field we used VOSviewer software to analyze publication data obtained from the ScienceDirect database covering the period 1970 to the present, but with a primary focus on the years 2000–2020. A bibliometric analysis of the database allowed identification of the co-occurrence of keywords. There was an increasing trend over time for publications relating to oil bioremediation in maritime Antarctica, including both studies on marine bioremediation and of the metabolic pathways of hydrocarbon degradation. Studies of marine anaerobic degradation remain under-represented compared to those of aerobic degradation. Emerging keywords in recent years included bioprospecting, metagenomic, bioindicator, and giving insight into changing research foci, such as increasing attention to microbial diversity. The study of microbial genomes using metagenomic approaches or whole genome studies is increasing rapidly and is likely to drive emerging fields in future, including rapid expansion of bioprospecting in diverse fields of biotechnology.
... However, elevated concentrations do occur at contaminated sites near the coastline, including those adjacent to abandoned waste tips and in the vicinity of wastewater outfalls. Sediments collected from bays surrounding Australian research stations are known to be contaminated with copper (10-13 500 mg/kg), zinc (20-8300 mg/kg), and lead (50-4890 mg/kg) [39]. These sediments are a source of metal fluxes to the water phase, both in porewaters and in the water column, via bioturbation, mixing by currents and tides, as well as iceberg scour [40]. ...
... These sediments are a source of metal fluxes to the water phase, both in porewaters and in the water column, via bioturbation, mixing by currents and tides, as well as iceberg scour [40]. In addition, during the summer season, meltwater runs through abandoned waste tips, mobilizing contaminants and redistributing them into the receiving nearshore environment and coastal waters [39]. ...
Article
Despite evidence of contamination in Antarctic coastal marine environments, no water quality guidelines have been established for the region due to a paucity of biological effects data for local Antarctic species. Currently there is limited information on the sensitivity of Antarctic microalgae to metal contamination, which is exacerbated by the lack of standard toxicity testing protocols for local marine species. In the present study, a routine and robust toxicity test protocol was developed using the Antarctic marine microalga Phaeocystis antarctica, and its sensitivity investigated following 10-d exposures to dissolved copper, cadmium, lead, zinc, and nickel. In comparisons of IC10 (10% inhibition of population growth rate) values, P. antarctica was most sensitive to copper (3.3 µg/L), followed by cadmium (135 µg/L), lead (260 µg/L) and zinc (450 µg/L). While an IC10 value for nickel could not be accurately estimated, the NOEC value for nickel was 1070 µg/L. Exposure to copper and cadmium caused changes in internal cell granularity, and increased chlorophyll a fluorescence. Lead, zinc and nickel had no effect on any of the cellular parameters measured. The present study provides valuable metal-ecotoxicity data for an Antarctic marine microalga, with P. antarctica representing one of the most sensitive microalgal species to dissolved copper ever reported when compared to temperate and tropical species. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
... Several studies have identified nearshore marine environments, communities and biota in Antarctica that have been significantly affected by anthropogenic chemical contamination (Cunningham et al. 2005;Deprez et al. 1999;Duquesne and Riddle 2002;Lenihan 1992;Lenihan and Oliver 1995;Stark et al. 2003Stark et al. , 2004. This contamination is mostly associated with past and current human activities at Antarctic research stations, including waste disposal to tip sites, ''sea-icing'' of waste material, discharge of wastewaters, and accidental fuel spills, all of which have resulted in organic and metal contaminant inputs to nearshore ecosystems (Snape et al. 2001aTownsend and Snape 2008). ...
... This study had 3 main objectives: (1) develop appropriate methods for a longer duration bioassay using the common Antarctic benthic amphipod Orchomenella pinguides (Walker 1903) (Lysianassidae) as a representative coastal marine invertebrate in East Antarctica; (2) examine the sensitivity and response time of O. pinguides to five metals (copper, cadmium, zinc, lead and nickel) which are common at contaminated sites in Antarctica (Cunningham et al. 2005;Deprez et al. 1999;Snape et al. 2001b); and (3) develop a statistical model to analyse mortality data from multiple observations through time to more accurately assess the sensitivity of this species and to produce more robust point estimate concentrations in comparison to a traditional statistical approach using the probit analysis method. This new model is described in detail in Candy et al. (2014). ...
Article
Full-text available
A method for combining a proportional-hazards survival time model with a bioassay model where the log-hazard function is modelled as a linear or smoothing spline function of log-concentration combined with a smoothing spline function of time is described. The combined model is fitted to mortality numbers, resulting from survival times that are grouped due to a common set of observation times, using Generalized Additive Models (GAMs). The GAM fits mortalities as conditional binomials using an approximation to the log of the integral of the hazard function and is implemented using freely-available, general software for fitting GAMs. Extensions of the GAM are described to allow random effects to be fitted and to allow for time-varying concentrations by replacing time with a calibrated cumulative exposure variable with calibration parameter estimated using profile likelihood. The models are demonstrated using data from a studies of a marine and a, previously published, freshwater taxa. The marine study involved two replicate bioassays of the effect of zinc exposure on survival of an Antarctic amphipod, Orchomenella pinguides. The other example modelled survival of the daphnid, Daphnia magna, exposed to potassium dichromate and was fitted by both the GAM and the process-based DEBtox model. The GAM fitted with a cubic regression spline in time gave a 61 % improvement in fit to the daphnid data compared to DEBtox due to a non-monotonic hazard function. A simulation study using each of these hazard functions as operating models demonstrated that the GAM is overall more accurate in recovering lethal concentration values across the range of forms of the underlying hazard function compared to DEBtox and standard multiple endpoint probit analyses.
... This is because these two pollutants have different characteristics and usually have to be treated separately. Co-contamination of petroleum hydrocarbons, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and metals such as Co, Pb and Zn in Antarctica have been reported at Thala Valley and Casey Station (Deprez et al., 1999). At a site near Marambio Station, Seymour Island, the baseline levels of soil heavy metals were 6.1 mg· kg −1 Cu, 10.2 mg· kg −1 Pb and 36 mg· kg −1 Zn (Chaparro et al., 2007). ...
... The comparison of kinetic data will allow researchers to predict the critical heavy metals concentration which can completely inhibit bacterial growth. The results from this study will be important for field trials where bioremediation of hydrocarbons is conducted in areas co-contaminated with heavy metals (Deprez et al., 1999). ...
Article
Full-text available
Co-contamination of diesel fuel and heavy metals can be challenging for microbial remediation due to the complex composition of the fuel and the inhibitory effect of heavy metals. There is an urgent need to study this interaction to improve the pollutant removal efficiency in the Polar Regions. The growth of an Antarctic bacterium, Rhodococcus sp. was studied by comparing the growth at the logarithmic phase under the effect of selected heavy metals (Pb, Cr, As, Cd, Cu, Zn, Ni, Hg and Co). The selected heavy metals inhibited the growth of the Rhodococcus sp. on diesel fuel in an order from highest to lowest of: Hg > Zn > Cd > Cu > Co > Ni > As >Pb> Cr. Growth on diesel fuel co-contaminated with Hg and Zn were 2.95% and 5.71%, respectively compared to the no-metal control. A further experiment with various Zn concentrations was conducted. The specific growth rate of Rhodococcus sp. co-contaminated with different concentrations of Zn showed a correlation coefficient (r) of 0.916, and was modelled with an exponential decay model. Additional investigation is needed to determine the effect of low concentration of Zn on hydrocarbon degradation. It is important to understand the relationships between microbes, hydrocarbons and heavy metals, especially in the Polar Regions because this interaction might be promising in treating hydrocarbon-polluted sites containing heavy metals. The data and results also provide baseline tools of bioremediation processes at low temperatures and the knowledge of the ecological roles of Rhodococcus sp. in Antarctica.
... rt of a research program to examine marine benthic environments and potential human impacts at Casey Station, in the Windmill Islands, east Antarctica. Very little is known of the marine benthic habitats and fauna of east Antarctica, or of the impacts of human activity. Contaminated 'hot spots' have been found at several locations at Casey Station (Deprez et al . 1999) and an overview of the scale of the contamination and associated issues of management and remediation was given by Snape et al . (2001). The types of activities with the potential to cause impacts at Casey Station are typical of those at other Antarctic stations and include the abandoned 'Old Casey' waste disposal dump on the shore of B ...
... small boats and is also the area where the fuel re-supply lines are run ashore from vessels moored several hundred metres offshore. A fuel storage facility is located approximately 50 m inland from the wharf, from which there have been several significant fuel spills, the largest in 1991 of approximately 90000 L Special Antarctic Blend diesel fuel (Deprez et al . 1999). The marine benthic habitat around the wharf is shallow (2-10 m) and consists of sand and rocky reefs that are usually covered by macroalgae in summer. It is moderately sheltered and is ice free for approximately 3-4 months over summer. Sediments consist of poorly sorted very-fine to fine sand, which has strongly coarse-skewed mesokurti ...
Article
Abstract Differences between marine soft-sediment assemblages at disturbed (two waste dumps, a sewage outfall and a wharf) and control locations were found at Casey Station, Antarctica. These differences were significant against considerable background spatial variability. Core samples were collected by divers using a hierarchical, spatially nested sampling design incorporating four scales: (i) locations (thousands of metres apart); (ii) sites (hundreds of metres apart); (iii) plots (tens of metres apart); and (iv) among replicates within plots (approximately 1 metre apart). Control locations had greater species richness and diversity than disturbed locations and there were many taxa found at control locations that were not recorded at disturbed locations. Assemblages at disturbed locations were less variable than those at control locations. In contrast, populations of some dominant species were more variable at disturbed locations than at control locations. Significant variation in populations of individual taxa was also found at all scales and although greatest at the level of location, variation was also large at the smallest scale, between replicate cores, indicating significant small-scale patchiness in populations of taxa. Patterns of assemblage structure were similar at fine (77 taxa) and medium (aggregated to 33 taxa) levels of taxonomic resolution, but changed at coarse levels of resolution (nine phyla). Soft-sediment assemblages at Casey Station are markedly different from those reported from other areas of Antarctica. Assemblages at Casey are almost completely dominated by crustaceans (up to 99% total abundance) and polychaetes are rare or in very low abundances in most areas investigated in the region. This is also the first demonstration that small Antarctic research stations (population 20–50 people) may cause impacts that are detectable in the adjacent marine environment.
... However, metals and other contaminants of anthropogenic origin are found at much higher levels in sediments and seawater at some locations. In particular, sites previously used for waste disposal or currently used for fuel han-dling and sites adjacent to sewage outfalls often have increased levels of contaminants (Lenihan et al. 1990, Risebrough et al. 1990, Cripps 1992a,b, Green & Nichols 1995, Deprez et al. 1999. Concentrations of 200 µg l -1 copper, 6 µg l -1 cadmium and 2000 µg l -1 zinc have been reported in water from a melt-pond at a disused waste disposal site near Casey Station, Wilkes Land, Antarctica (Cole et al. 2000), and 25 mg kg -1 copper and 70 mg kg -1 zinc were reported in marine sediments from a bay adjacent to the site (Scouller et al. 2000). ...
... Metal stock solutions were made in deionised water prior to tests and stored in airtight polyethylene containers at 4°C. Four metals that are common in meltwater and sediments from contaminated sites in Antarctica, including at Casey (Deprez et al. 1999), were tested; they are copper (CuSO 4 ·5H 2 O), cadmium (CdCl 2 ), zinc (ZnSO 4 ·7H 2 O), and lead [(CH 3 COO) 2 Pb · 3H 2 O]. Metal stock solutions were diluted to the required concentrations in test tubes immediately prior to induction of spawning on the day of testing. ...
Article
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A toxicity test was developed to examine the effects of metal contaminants on the sensitive early Life history stages of the common Antarctic echinoid Sterechinus neumayeri (Meissner). Embryos and larvae of the sea urchin were exposed to the metals copper, cadmium, zinc and lead, and the effects of each metal on development to hatched blastulae after 6 to 8 d, and to 2-arm plutei after 20 to 23 d were monitored. These metals are common in Antarctic marine environments and are often found at elevated levels at sites subject to anthropogenic inputs. For all metals tested, the longterm test to the 2-arm pluteus stage was more sensitive than the short-term test. Copper was the metal most toxic to developing embryos and larvae of S, neumayeri with EC50s of 11.4 mug l(-1) and 1.4 mug l(-1) following 6 to 8 d and 20 to 23 d exposure respectively. Exposure to cadmium at concentrations greater than 2 mg l(-1) caused a significant decrease in the proportion of embryos developing normally to hatched blastulae (EC50 = 6.9 mg l(-1)) and concentrations greater than 0.2 mg l(-1), caused a decrease in normal 2-arm plutei. EC50 values calculated for zinc were 2230 and 326.8 mug l(-1) for the short- and long-term tests respectively. Lead had no effect on development of embryos following 7 d exposure at all concentrations tested (up to 3.2 mg l(-1)). As the concentration of Cu shown to inhibit development of S. neumayeri is similar to levels found at impacted sites in Antarctic nearshore environments, results of this study indicate that this metal may have an impact on the development of S. neumayeri. The sensitivity of S, neumayeri to copper and cadmium in tests based on development to hatched blastulae (6 to 8 d) are generally comparable to results of tests on echinoids from tropical and temperate regions that use development to 2-arm plutei (2 to 4 d) as the end-point. However, the Antarctic species is more sensitive to copper and cadmium than the tropical and temperate species if the tests are continued to the same stage of development, the pluteus larva (20 to 23 d for the Antarctic species). Comparing the tolerance of a key developmental stage common to all planktotrophic sea urchins may be more ecologically relevant than simply comparing exposure over a fixed period of time, because for an embryo to survive to adulthood it must successfully complete all development stages. This is the first reported evidence that Antarctic species could be more sensitive to contaminants than species from warmer regions.
... Several studies have identified nearshore marine environments, communities and biota in Antarctica that have been significantly affected by anthropogenic chemical contamination (Cunningham et al. 2005;Deprez et al. 1999;Duquesne and Riddle 2002;Lenihan 1992;Lenihan and Oliver 1995;Stark et al. 2003Stark et al. , 2004. This contamination is mostly associated with past and current human activities at Antarctic research stations, including waste disposal to tip sites, ''sea-icing'' of waste material, discharge of wastewaters, and accidental fuel spills, all of which have resulted in organic and metal contaminant inputs to nearshore ecosystems (Snape et al. 2001aTownsend and Snape 2008). ...
... This study had 3 main objectives: (1) develop appropriate methods for a longer duration bioassay using the common Antarctic benthic amphipod Orchomenella pinguides (Walker 1903) (Lysianassidae) as a representative coastal marine invertebrate in East Antarctica; (2) examine the sensitivity and response time of O. pinguides to five metals (copper, cadmium, zinc, lead and nickel) which are common at contaminated sites in Antarctica (Cunningham et al. 2005;Deprez et al. 1999;Snape et al. 2001b); and (3) develop a statistical model to analyse mortality data from multiple observations through time to more accurately assess the sensitivity of this species and to produce more robust point estimate concentrations in comparison to a traditional statistical approach using the probit analysis method. This new model is described in detail in Candy et al. (2014). ...
Article
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Developing water quality guidelines for Antarctic marine environments requires understanding the sensitivity of local biota to contaminant exposure. Antarctic invertebrates have shown slower contaminant responses in previous experiments compared to temperate and tropical species in standard toxicity tests. Consequently, test methods which take into account environmental conditions and biological characteristics of cold climate species need to be developed. This study investigated the effects of five metals on the survival of a common Antarctic amphipod, Orchomenella pinguides. Multiple observations assessing mortality to metal exposure were made over the 30 days exposure period. Traditional toxicity tests with quantal data sets are analysed using methods such as maximum likelihood regression (probit analysis) and Spearman–Kärber which treat individual time period endpoints independently. A new statistical model was developed to integrate the time-series concentration–response data obtained in this study. Grouped survival data were modelled using a generalized additive mixed model (GAMM) which incorporates all the data obtained from multiple observation times to derive time integrated point estimates. The sensitivity of the amphipod, O. pinguides, to metals increased with increasing exposure time. Response times varied for different metals with amphipods responding faster to copper than to cadmium, lead or zinc. As indicated by 30 days lethal concentration (LC50) estimates, copper was the most toxic metal (31 µg/L), followed by cadmium (168 µg/L), lead (256 µg/L) and zinc (822 µg/L). Nickel exposure (up to 1.12 mg/L) did not affect amphipod survival. Using longer exposure durations and utilising the GAMM model provides an improved methodology for assessing sensitivities of slow responding Antarctic marine invertebrates to contaminants.
... While the Antarctic environment is considered to be pristine, these anthropogenic activities have left a potentially toxic legacy of organic and inorganic contamination in localised areas particularly around research stations (Bargagli, 2008;Tin et al., 2009). Metal contamination is of particular concern due to its toxic effects on the Antarctic coastal ecosystem (Cunningham et al., 2005;Deprez et al., 1999;Stark et al., 2014). Environmental management practices in the early 20 th century were less stringent and resulted in waste being burned, discarded to the sea ice and coastal environment, or stored in open waste sites (Crockett and White, 1997;Deprez et al., 1999). ...
... Metal contamination is of particular concern due to its toxic effects on the Antarctic coastal ecosystem (Cunningham et al., 2005;Deprez et al., 1999;Stark et al., 2014). Environmental management practices in the early 20 th century were less stringent and resulted in waste being burned, discarded to the sea ice and coastal environment, or stored in open waste sites (Crockett and White, 1997;Deprez et al., 1999). Contaminants from these sites are still mobilised to the coastal environment through processes of dissolution, or particle entrainment from melt waters running through the sites during the summer season (Snape et al., 2001). ...
Article
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The paucity of ecotoxicological data for Antarctic organisms is impeding the development of region-specific water quality guidelines. To address this limitation, toxicity testing protocols need to be developed to account for the unique physiology of polar organisms, in particular their slow growth rates. In this study, a toxicity test protocol was developed to investigate the toxicities of five metals to the polar marine microalga Cryothecomonas armigera. The concentrations which reduced population growth rate by 10% (EC10) after 24-d for Cu, Pb, Zn, Cd and Ni were 21.6, 152, 366, 454, and 1220 μg.L−1, respectively. At the concentrations used in tests, only Cu and Ni were sufficiently toxic to enable the derivation of EC50 values of 63.1 and 1570 μg.L−1 respectively. All metals affected C. armigera's cellular physiology including cellular chlorophyll a fluorescence, cell complexity and size, and lipid concentrations. However, no changes to cellular membrane permeability were observed. The reduction in cellular lipid concentrations was a more sensitive indicator of toxicity for Cd, Ni, and Pb than growth rate inhibition, with EC10 values of 89, 894, and 11 μg.L−1, respectively, highlighting its potential as a sensitive measure of metal toxicity.
... Lighter PAHs volatise readily from Antarctic soils and can migrate through soil layers [53]. Less volatile fractions tend not to migrate far from their point of deposition [42]. Lighter molecular weight PAHs are expected to be available for microbial degradation in Antarctic soils [7] because these soils are typically dry and have low organic matter contents. ...
Article
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Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are an important class of organic contaminants ubiquitously found in soils globally. Their fate in soil varies depending on both soil properties and chemical structure; however, microbial degradation represents the most significant means of loss. It is therefore important to understand the factors that control PAH biodegradation in different soil environments. This review considers PAH biodegradation in “pristine” Antarctic, temperate, tropical and hot desert soils. Pre-exposure of indigenous microbes to PAHs is important for the development of the capacity to degrade PAHs so PAH sources to these soils are discussed. The role of PAH bioavailability in the biodegradation of PAHs in ‘pristine’ soils from the different climatic regions is also discussed as well as the factors that control it. Soil organic matter, water content and temperature are seen as the main environmental factors that control PAH bioavailability in these soils. With most studies focussing on temperate soils, there is need for more research on soils from other climatic zones.
... Petroleum spills have been reported at most scientific research stations including Amundsen-Scott at the South Pole (Wilkniss 1990), Palmer Station on the Antarctic Peninsula (Kennicut et al. 1990) and Casey Station in the Windmill Islands (Deprez et al. 1999). ...
Article
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Throughout the last century the increasing human activities in Antarctic region, particularly research expeditions, fishing, and tourism amplified the risk of oils spills at these high latitudes of the meridional hemisphere. A number of studies have been focused on chronic hydrocarbon contamination near Antarctic research stations revealing the presence and persistence of these human-derived contaminants. Marine ship-source oil spills in Antarctic region can have significant impacts on the marine environment. The key factors to effectively fight oil spills are a careful selection and proper use of the equipment and materials best suited to the critical local conditions. Despite the significant advances in the field of environmental recovery after an “oil spill” episode, research has recently shown that the usual techniques are often less effective than expected. This issue become much more relevant in the Antarctic case, not only for the incomparable environmental value of the Antarctic region but also for the extreme environmental conditions and the great distances from properly equipped centers, that make unfeasible sending naval vessels. Scope of the STRANgE Project is the preliminary design of a prototype floating platform, parachutable by plane, able to intervene as quickly as possible for the containment, removal and treatment/storage of the oil slick. New sorbent nanostructured materials and specialized Antarctic bacteria applications constitute the main innovations of this Project.
... The Old Casey Station waste disposal site was 450 m north-east of the current Casey Station, in Thala Valley, adjacent to Brown Bay (Fig. 1). Waste material was dumped at the seaward end of Thala Valley and directly into the bay between 1969 and 1986 and included ash, gravel, vehicle parts and other metal, batteries, oil drums, glass, plastics, paper, cardboard, wood, rope, clothing, construction materials, asbestos, cement, rubber, insulation batts and drums of unidentified waste chemical and oils (Deprez et al., 1999;Snape et al., 2001). During summer, melt water from the surround-ing slopes runs through the valley and percolates through the site, entraining contaminants before entering the marine environment and depositing them in Brown Bay (Snape et al., , 2001. ...
... The old Casey waste disposal site is in Thala Valley, 450 m northeast of Casey Station, adjacent to Brown Bay (Fig. 1d). Waste material was dumped at the seaward end of Thala Valley and directly into the bay between 1969 and 1986 (Deprez et al. 1999, Snape et al. 2001. During summer, melt water from the surrounding slopes runs through the valley and percolates through the site, entraining contaminants before entering the marine environment and depositing them in Brown Bay (Snape et al. 2001). ...
Article
Colonisation and development of sessile epibiotic assemblages on tiles was studied at Casey Station, East Antarctica, using a mix of higher taxon classifications (family to phylum). Tiles were deployed for 1 and 3 yr at 3 control and 2 impacted locations. Assemblages on upper and lower surfaces of tiles were very different, with little colonisation of upper surfaces (0 to 11 % after 3 yr) and extensive colonisation of lower surfaces (60 to 91 % after 3 yr), which is greater than previously reported from Antarctica. Hypotheses were tested relating to spatial variation, depth, human impacts (a sewage outfall and a waste disposal site) and period of deployment. Differences between control locations were only apparent after 3 yr, but there were significant differences between control and impacted locations after 1 yr. There were differences between assemblages at 7 to 10 m and 19 to 22 m. Assemblages were initially dominated by spirorbid polychaetes and bryozoans, but by 3 yr there was significant sponge cover at some locations. Both impacted locations had significantly greater cover on upper surfaces than controls. The waste disposal site had the least cover on lower surfaces, with almost no sponge and less bryozoans than controls. The outfall had the greatest cover on the lower surfaces, the greatest cover of spirorbids and sponges but the least cover of bryozoans. Higher taxa assemblage patterns of colonisation on settlement panels are potentially useful as a medium-to long-term monitoring tool for sheltered Antarctic nearshore waters.
... However, elevated metal concentrations relative to natural background levels have been found in sediments, water and biota in coastal areas of Antarctica that are close to scientific research stations as a result of local human activities. In particular, sites adjacent to abandoned waste tips, sewage outfalls, and sites where fuel spills have occurred report elevated levels of a range of contaminants (Deprez et al., 1999; Stark et al., 2006; Tin et al., 2009; Kennicutt II et al., 2010). Changes in benthic community composition and biomass have been observed in some of these sites as a result of elevated concentrations of bioavailable metals in the water and in sediments (Lenihan and Oliver, 1995; Stark et al., 2003; Stark, 2008). ...
... accessed 12 April 2010). Additionally, accidental oil spills, leaks from the storage of fuels and the refilling of motor vehicle, helicopter and airplane fuel tanks, or the discharge of contaminated wastewaters have been identified at the following stations: Palmer (Kennicutt et al. 1992), Henryk Arctowski (Krzyszowska 1990), McMurdo (Tumeo & Wolk 1994), Marambio (Pearce 1995), Casey (Deprez et al. 1999, Revill et al. 2007. ...
Article
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Alkanes and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons were quantified in samples of coastal sediments along Fildes Peninsula, King George Island, South Shetland Islands, Antarctica, during the summers of 2005 and 2007. Quantification was done by using GC-MS and applying the EPA 3550B method. Individual polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAHs) concentrations were below 14.4 ng g-1 dry wt in 2005 and below 88.7 ng g-1 dry wt in 2007. Alkanes concentrations were higher than those of PAHs and ranged from 8 to 2236 ng g-1 dry wt in 2005 and from 53 to 745 ng g-1 dry wt in 2007. Results of total PAHs and alkanes were integrated along with base administrative and geographic maps in a GIS environment to determine the geographic extent of hydrocarbons detected. The largest concentrations were found in areas near research stations where total n-alkanes suggest petrogenic sources and where some diagnostic ratios suggest the presence of some PAHs produced by pyrogenic processes. Even if concentrations of hydrocarbons are low, they seem to be a result of increases in scientific activities, in the activities of the stable population, in the number of tourists, or a combination of theses factors.
... During the summer thaw, melt-water flows through the tip and down towards the bay. Previous studies showed a concern about heavy-metal contamination (mainly Cu, Pb and Zn) in soil and leachates (Deprez et al. 1999, Snape et al. 2001. In this work we investigated the influence of this contami- (Fig. 1). ...
Article
A previous laboratory investigation showed that the Antarctic gammarid amphipod Paramorea walkeri is more sensitive to heavy metals when exposed to UV-B radiation. The question addressed in this study is whether this effect is also observed when the species is exposed to combined solar UV radiation and heavy-metal contamination under field conditions. In situ bioassays using P. walkeri showed that exposure to field contamination resulted in a significant decrease of survival. The effects observed were stronger than expected according to the characteristics of the contamination. The hypothesis that solar UV radiation can increase the sensitivity of organisms to metal contaminants was thus tested in an outdoor test system. This revealed that the mortality recorded under exposure to both parameters was increased compared to mortalities resulting from exposure to each single parameter. This increased sensitivity of amphipods to heavy metals in the presence of UV-radiation is discussed as an explanation for the absence of this species in contaminated shallow waters. The effects observed at the individual level would thus be reflected at a population level. This work highlights the necessity to consider environmental parameters such as UV radiation in Antarctica to improve the predictive power in ecological risk assessment.
... In the current project, sediment from a pristine site was subjected to one of 4 different treatments (addition of diesel or lubricant oils) before being incubated in situ in the Antarctic marine environment and then compared to clean sediments deployed at the same time (controls). Two of the oils are commonly used and spilled (see for example: Lenihan et al. 1990, Deprez et al. 1999) on Antarctic stations: SAB diesel fuel and a clean unused synthetic lubricant (Mobil 0W40). The Mobil 0W40 was also deployed as a treatment after use in a vehicle. ...
Article
A 5 yr field experiment was carried out comparing the effects of Special Antarctic Blend (SAB) diesel, synthetic lubricant (Mobil 0W40), used synthetic lubricant (used Mobil 0W40) and a biodegradable lubricant (Titan GT1) on Antarctic benthic microbial communities. Sediment from an uncontaminated site was collected, spiked with one of the oils and deployed in O'Brien Bay, East Antarctica. Sediment samples were then collected over 5 yr. All the oils caused changes in the microbial community in the top 1 cm of sediment, as determined by 16S ribosomal ribonucleic acid (rRNA) gene-based terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis. The greatest effect was observed in the SAB diesel treatment. The biodegradable oil did not have a significant effect on the communities initially, but the communities present at 2 and 5 yr were significantly different to the controls. The unused and used lubricants were both significantly different to the control treatment. All the oils degraded, with 39% of the SAB, 15% of the unused lubricant, 15% of the used lubricant and 12% of the biodegradable oil, remaining after 5 yr. These results show that the effects of all these oils will be evident in the Antarctic benthic ecosystem for longer than 5 yr. This highlights the need for studies into the longevity and ecotoxicology of oil products in the Antarctic environment.
... Brown Bay: Rubbish was dumped along the shoreline of and into Brown Bay for over 21 yr and was discontinued in 1986 (Deprez et al. 1999). During the annual summer thaw, a melt stream runs through the dump site and into Brown Bay, entraining contaminated particulates and dissolved material from the dump. ...
Article
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Abandoned waste dumps in Antarctica pose an environmental hazard due to contaminant mobilisation in marine and terrestrial habitats. At Casey Station, east Antarctica, a shoreline waste dump has contaminated adjacent marine sediments with metals, hydrocarbons and organic carbon. This study experimentally assessed a model whereby contamination of marine sediment can lead to changes in recruitment and differences in soft-sediment assemblages. We tested the hypotheses that recruitment would be different at disturbed 'station' locations compared to controls and different in contaminated sediment compared to control sediment. We conducted 2 reciprocal sediment-transplant field experiments over 2 consecutive years in which defaunated sediments were deployed at disturbed locations and control locations and were recovered after 9 mo (March to November: winter), and also after 12 mo. The majority of fauna recruiting to the experiment were highly motile species with non-pelagic lecithotrophic larvae, such as gammarids, tanaids, isopods and gastropods. There were large differences in recruiting assemblages between all locations and there were significant differences in recruitment between disturbed and control locations. Assemblages in contaminated sediment were significantly different from those in control sediment. Differences in abundances of individual taxa between control and contaminated sediment were complex and difficult to interpret. Assemblages recruiting to the control locations were more variable than those recruiting to disturbed locations. This study provides evidence that contaminants in marine sediments adjacent to the waste dump at Casey Station may be having an environmental impact.
... Most work has been done on the single metal sorption by biochars, however, due to a common geological source (Pierzynski et al., 2005), or co-disposal (Deprez et al., 1999), heavy metals such as Pb, Cu, Zn, and Cd often coexist in contaminated water (Mielke et al., 2000;Zwonitzer et al., 2003). Their association and interactions with one another and with other environmental components are known to influence their mobility (Mingorance and Oliva, 2006). ...
... Antarctic operations are dependent on the import of all fuels and oils for machinery, transport, and power (Aislabie et al., 2004). In Antarctica, spills and leakages have generally occurred close to fuel transfer, storage and refuelling facilities (Cripps and Priddle, 1991) or from abandoned waste disposal sites (Deprez et al., 1999). Hydrocarbon compositions from spills and leakages have mostly been from commonly used fuel and oil mixes, including Special Antarctic Blend diesel fuel, Mobil 0W40 lubricant, petrol, aviation kerosene and other less common fuels and oils (Powell et al., 2010). ...
... The assessment, remediation and monitoring of contaminated sites is necessary to ensure the preservation of biodiversity, environmental and aesthetic values of Antarctica. Contaminated sites are typically associated with waste disposal, storage and abandoned station sites (Deprez et al. 1999, Gore et al. 1999, Snape et al. 2001a, Townsend & Snape 2002, Scouller et al. 2006, Fryirs et al. 2013. Although waste management in the modern era includes treatment on-station or removal from Antarctica (e.g. ...
Article
The management of sediment and water contamination from legacy waste is a significant problem in Antarctica. Although several reports have noted that there are contaminated sites at the abandoned Wilkes Station, a systematic attempt to assess the spatial scale of the problem has not been made, making development of clean-up or preservation programmes difficult. A contaminated site assessment for the old Wilkes Station and surrounds is presented in this paper. The Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council (ANZECC) sediment and water quality guidelines and background concentration levels (BCL) were used to assess the extent of contamination across Clark Peninsula. Of 67 sediment sites sampled, 72% were contaminated with at least one metal or metalloid, with values exceeding the ANZECC ISQG-High or 2 x BCL. Moreover, 19% were contaminated with four or more metals/metalloids. Of the 93 water samples collected, all but one was contaminated with at least one metal/metalloid concentration exceeding the guidelines, and 96% were contaminated with two or more metals/metalloids. For hydrocarbons in sediment and water, most samples were below quantitation limits. There is a complex pattern of contamination across Clark Peninsula that needs to be considered in future waste treatment, containment or removal operations, and for protection of heritage items.
... Fuel spills, emissions from combustion or the incineration of waste, wastewater inputs, discarded station materials and abandoned waste all contribute contaminants, including metals, to the surrounding environments (Tin et al., 2009). Much of this waste resides immobilised in freshwater sediments or soils but can slowly leach contaminants into the surrounding ecosystem (Deprez et al., 1999). The consequence of these exposures is still poorly understood, and a better understanding of contaminant risk is needed to guide environmental management decision-making processes. ...
Article
Antarctic melt streams are important ecosystems that increasingly face contaminant pressures from anthropogenic sources. Metal contaminants are often reported in the limno-terrestrial environment but their speciation is not well characterised, making environmental risk assessments difficult. This paper characterises labile metal concentrations in five melt streams and three shallow lakes around the Casey and Wilkes research stations in East Antarctica using chemical extracts and field deployments of diffusive gradients in thin-film (DGT) samplers. An acute toxicity test with field-collected Ceratadon purpeus and taxonomic identification of diatoms in melt streams were used to infer environmental risk. Copper and zinc were the most labile metals in the melt streams. DGT-labile copper concentrations were up to 3 μg Cu L⁻¹ in melt-stream waters but not labile below the sediment-water interface. DGT-labile zinc concentrations were consistent above and below the sediment-water interface at concentrations up to 14 μg Zn L⁻¹ in four streams, but one stream showed evidence of zinc mineralisation in the sediment with a flux to overlying and pore waters attributed to the reductive dissolution of iron and manganese oxides. Other metals, such as chromium, nickel, and lead were acid-extractable from the sediments, but not labile in pore waters or overlying waters. All streams had unique compositions of freshwater diatoms, but one had particularly reduced diversity and richness, which correlated to metal contamination and sediment physico-chemical properties such as a finer particle size. In laboratory bioassays with field-collected samples of the Antarctic moss C. purpeus, there was no change in photosynthetic efficiency following 28-d exposure to 700, 900, 1060, or 530 μg L⁻¹ of cadmium, copper, nickel, and zinc, respectively. This study shows that microorganisms such as diatoms may be at greater risk from contaminants than mosses, and highlights the importance of geochemical factors controlling metal lability.
... There is also a risk of hydrocarbon spills from station fuel storage and resupply operations (Raymond et al., 2017). In 1990, a spill of 91,000 l of SAB diesel fuel occurred from a fuel storage facility at Casey Station (Deprez et al., 1999). Past research has shown that the coastal environment around Casey Station has been contaminated with heavy metals and petroleum hydrocarbons (Stark et al., 2014;Stark et al., 2005). ...
Article
The effects of hydrocarbons in marine sediments on Antarctic meiofaunal communities (nematodes and cope-pods) were investigated in a five year field experiment at Casey Station, East Antarctica. The effects of four different types of hydrocarbons were examined: clean mineral lube oil, used mineral lube oil, synthetic lube oil marketed as being rapidly biodegradable, and diesel fuel (Special Antarctic Blend). Sediments were sieved to remove macrofauna and then treated with one of the oils, then deployed in trays on the seabed (12–18 m) under sea ice, along with control, uncontaminated sediment. Samples of the meiofaunal communities were collected at one, two and five years and nematodes identified to genus and copepods to family. There were significant differences between meiofaunal communities in hydrocarbon-treated sediment compared to controls, but each hydrocarbon type had quite different effects. Effects persisted to five years and communities showed no signs of recovery or becoming more similar to controls. Nematodes were more sensitive to hydrocarbons than copepods, showing very distinct community differences between different treatments which persisted over the five years. In contrast, copepod communities showed less distinct, more variable changes, which decreased in severity over five years. Nematode abundance initially decreased in hydrocarbon treatments in comparison to controls, except for the biodegradable oil treatment, and this persisted also over five years. In contrast, copepod abundance initially increased in hydrocarbon treatments compared to controls, and then declined, and by five years abundances were lower in hydrocarbon treatments than in controls. Whilst structural community, abundance and diversity differences for nematodes and copepods remained after 5 years, the nematode functional parameters based on feeding types and maturity characteristics showed a substantial degree of recovery after 5 years, suggesting some functional recovery of the nematode community. This experiment demonstrates that different hydrocarbons can have very different effects on sediment meiofauna and that despite strong patterns of community effects it was very difficult to characterize effects on different taxa. The effects of oils in sediments are also likely to persist for periods greater than five years and could take decades to recover.
... Accidents with oil spills have occurred in the area, such as the Bahia Paraiso shipwreck in 1989 (Cripps 1992), the fuel spill at the Faraday Research Station in 1992 (Cripps and Shears 1997), the fire at the Brazilian Antarctic Station in 2012 (Colabuono et al. 2015) and others (Ruopollo et al. 2013). Chemical contamination from abandoned sites and past fuel spills are yet another source of contamination in Antarctica (Deprez et al. 1999;Tin et al. 2009). ...
Chapter
The global demand for materials and energy grows apace since the middle of last century and no stopping seems feasible in the next decades. Erosion of mangrove substrate results in mobilization of sediments enriched in metals and their release and availability to the biota. Changes in agricultural practices and the introduction of new practices can also result in increased flows of metals to the environment. The impacts of climate change on trace metal contamination have been fully discussed for marine ecosystems. Trace metal contamination often accumulates in the topsoil and the contaminant leaching is therefore controlled by the location of the water table. Total concentrations of heavy metals with high adsorption capacities to suspended solids also increase, due to increased resuspension of contaminated suspended sediment under high river discharge rates. The imbalance of heavy metals dynamics and circulation within marine environments has been fully modified during the last centuries, after the Industrial Revolution, but particularly in the last decade.
... Emerging contaminants such as flame retardants, phthalic acid esters, and plasticizers, due to similar qualities in terms of persistence and/or toxicity, are another focus area (AMAP, 2017;Möller et al., 2011). In addition to point source emissions (Deprez et al., 1999;Khairy et al., 2016;Stark et al., 2003;Suttie and Wolff, 1993), long-range atmospheric transport from lower latitudes, as well as ocean currents, particularly under ice-covered seas, largely contribute to these pollutants transporting to the polar regions (NCP, 2013;Piazza et al., 2013). However, differences in chemical properties, such as Henrys Law Constant, which states that the amount of dissolved gas in a liquid is proportional to its partial pressure above the liquid, lead to differing pathways of POPs entering the polar regions. ...
Article
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Polar marine ecosystems may have higher sensitivity than other ecosystems to plastic pollution due to recurrent physical and biological features; presence of ice and high UV radiation, slow growth rates and weak genetic differentiation of resident biota, accumulation of persistent organic pollutants and heavy metals, and fast rates of warming and global ocean acidification. Here, we discuss potential sources of and exposure to micro- and nano-plastic in polar marine ecosystems and potential mixture effects of micro- and nano-plastic coupled with chemical and climate related stressors. We address the anthropogenic contaminants likely to be ‘high risk’ for interactions in Arctic and Antarctic waters for reasons such as accumulation under sea-ice, a known sink for plastic particulates. Consequently, we address the potential for localised plastic-chemical interactions and possible seasonal fluctuations in interactions associated with freeze-thaw events. The risks for keystone polar species are also considered, incorporating the behavioural and physiological traits of biota and addressing potential ‘hotspot’ areas. Finally, we discuss a possible direction for future research.
... It has been observed that waste oils and fuels in the remaining garbage or fuel stations in these areas 1 have a negative impact on the environment over time. (Deprez et al. 1999) With the increase in awareness of environmental protection, efforts have begun to prevent garbage management plans, waste management and pollution from chemical and heavy metals at stations. Increased human activity on the continent has brought anthropogenic pollution, and worse, it has been found that it can harm the environment with the introduction of invasive species. ...
Article
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In Antarctica, the only place on Earth where humanity went later and did not live as a society, there has been an increase in human-induced environmental pollution for nearly half a century. This study examines environmental protection laws and practical practices in the southern polar region, including Antarctica, and examines waste and environmental management. By understanding the types and examples of human-induced pollution, the importance of the relationship between science and rule makers in the fight against pollutants that threaten the Antarctic and southern ocean environment is noted. Expert researchers report international efforts for the sustainable future of Antarctica that it is inevitable for the protection of the environment. The 1991 Madrid Environmental Protection Protocol, which forms the legal basis and backbone of environmental management in the region, was created as a product of these international scientific efforts and continues to evolve at the Antarctic Treaty Advisory Meetings (ATCM), the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research (SCAR) and the Environmental Protection Committee (CEP).
... Studies assessing the impact of heavy metal pollution on algal communities have been focused on polluted sites in Antarctica. One such area is at Brown Bay, Casey Station, where heavy metals such as Cu, Pb, Fe and Zn, at concentrations 10 to 100 times higher than background levels have been detected (Deprez et al., 2009). The area is adjacent to a waste disposal site at the station. ...
... Studies assessing the impact of heavy metal pollution on algal communities have been focused on polluted sites in Antarctica. One such area is at Brown Bay, Casey Station, where heavy metals such as Cu, Pb, Fe and Zn, at concentrations 10 to 100 times higher than background levels have been detected (Deprez et al., 2009). The area is adjacent to a waste disposal site at the station. ...
Article
Antarctica is not free from environmental pollutants although it is often perceived as the last pristine continent on Earth. Research stations represent one of the largest forms of anthropogenic activity and are the main source of locally derived contamination in Antarctica. Elevated levels of heavy metals such as copper (Cu), lead (Pb) and mercury (Hg) have been detected in Antarctica. Fuel combustion, accidental oil spills, waste incineration and sewage disposal are amongst the primary sources of heavy metal contaminants in Antarctica, besides natural sources such as animal excrements and volcanism. Studies on the impacts of heavy metals on biota in Antarctica have been focused mainly on invertebrates and cryptogams but not on algae. However, adverse impacts of heavy metals on sensitive algae may affect organisms at the higher trophic levels, and consequently disrupt Antarctic food chains. Heavy metals may be accumulated by algae and biomagnified through the food chain. The sensitivity and response of Antarctic algae to heavy metal toxicity have not been well studied. Robust toxicity protocols for the testing of the impacts of heavy metals on Antarctic algae need to be developed. This review aims to give an overview of the status of heavy metal pollution in Antarctica and its potential impacts on algae.
... Accidents with oil spills have occurred in the area, such as the Bahia Paraiso shipwreck in 1989 (Cripps 1992), the fuel spill at the Faraday Research Station in 1992 (Cripps and Shears 1997), the fire at the Brazilian Antarctic Station in 2012 (Colabuono et al. 2015) and others (Ruopollo et al. 2013). Chemical contamination from abandoned sites and past fuel spills are yet another source of contamination in Antarctica (Tin et al. 2009;Deprez et al. 1999). ...
... Unlike other inorganic and organic pollutants, heavy metals are non-degradable and therefore persistent. Moreover, multiple heavy metals often coexist in contaminated water [4,5] due to a common geological source or co-disposal in the wastewater [6]. For instance, Zn and Pb are simultaneously discharged into the environment during the mining and milling of copper [7]. ...
Article
A hydroxyapatite-biochar nanocomposite (HAP-BC) was successfully fabricated and its physicochemical properties characterized. The analyses showed that HAP nanoparticles were successfully loaded on the biochar surface. The adsorption of Pb(II), Cu(II), and Zn(II) by HAP-BC was systematically studied in single and ternary metal systems. The results demonstrated that pH affects the adsorption of heavy metals onto HAP-BC. Regarding the adsorption kinetics, the pseudo-second-order model showed the best fit for all three heavy metal ions on HAP-BC. In both single and ternary metal ion systems, the adsorption isotherm of Pb(II) by HAP-BC followed Langmuir model, while those of Cu(II) and Zn(II) fitted well with Freundlich model. The maximum adsorption capacity for each tested metal by HAP-BC was higher than that of pristine rice straw biochar (especially for Pb(II)) or those of other reported adsorbents. Therefore, HAP-BC could explore as a new material for future application in heavy metal removal.
... Initially, activities were conducted with little consideration of the long-term impacts on the environment and it is these sites, such as the now abandoned Wilkes Station in East Antarctica, built before heightened environmental awareness, that are most problematic for clean-up efforts. Rubbish dumps of these abandoned stations, for example, continue to leach chemicals and traces of heavy metals into the surrounding ice-free areas (Deprez et al. 1999) and warming temperatures will likely accelerate this damage (CEP 2015). Increased human activity also brings the risk of damage to the environment, particularly from fuel spills (Cury et al. 2012), and the introduction of invasive species (Vidas 2000). ...
Article
Full-text available
National Antarctic Programmes do not have a strict legal obligation to remediate the Antarctic environment following human activity. The Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (the "Madrid Protocol") obliges parties to conduct environmental impact assessments to prevent adverse impacts on the polar environment and to "clean up" pollution from waste disposal sites. The obligations stemming from the Madrid Protocol are not clearly defined, and give potential scope for parties to neglect past sites of human activity on the continent. This scope is narrowed by the work of the Committee for Environmental Protection in implementing clear practical clean-up guidelines for National Antarctic Programmes based on scientific-based recommendations from the Antarctic Treaty Parties. Despite better modern practice, Parties are still faced with damage from past activities. Some of these sites are deemed to be "beyond help." This article proposes that rather than abandoning waste disposal sites because of widely acknowledged difficulties, that National Antarctic Programmes prioritize research into restorative methodologies and techniques, while increasing cooperation with other parties to overcome the enormous logistical and economic costs of cleaning up pollution in Antarctica.
... 4,5 However, Snape and colleagues 6 estimated up to 10 million cubic meters of hydrocarbon contaminated soils in the Antarctic, with concentrations up to 59 000 mg kg À1 hydrocarbons reported in soils at Casey's Station. 7 In contrast to the relatively rapid recovery of oil spills in tropical climates, 8,9 cold climates have a number of characteristics that reduce the natural attenuation of petroleum hydrocarbons to negligible rates. Low temperatures, intrinsic nutrient limitations, and the anaerobic nature of soils caused by water saturation, combine to signicantly inhibit the metabolic activity of hydrocarbon-degrading microbes; low temperatures will also reduce rates of hydrocarbon volatilisation and evaporation. ...
Article
Full-text available
Special Antarctic Blend (SAB) is a diesel fuel dominated by aliphatic hydrocarbons that is commonly used in Antarctic and subantarctic regions. The past and present use of SAB fuel at Australia’s scientific research stations has resulted in multiple spills, contaminating soils in these pristine areas. Despite this, no soil quality guidelines or remediation targets have been developed for the region, primarily due to the lack of established indigenous test species and subsequent biological effects data. In this study, twelve plant species native to subantarctic regions were collected from Macquarie Island and evaluated to determine their suitably for use in laboratory-based toxicity testing, using germination success and seedling growth (shoot and root length) as end points. Two soil types (low and high organic carbon (OC)) were investigated to reflect the variable OC content found in soils on Macquarie Island. These soils were spiked with SAB fuel and aged for 14 d to generate a concentration series of SAB-contaminated soils. Exposure doses were quantified as the concentration of total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH, nC9-nC18) on a soil dry mass basis. Seven species successfully germinated on control soils under laboratory conditions, and four of these species (Colobanthus muscoides Hook.f., Deschampsia chapmanii, Epilobium pendunculare A.Cunn. and Luzula crinita Hook.f.) showed a dose-dependent inhibition of germination when exposed to SAB contaminated soils. Contaminated soils with low OC were generally more toxic to plants than high organic carbon soils. Increasing soil-TPH concentrations significantly inhibited shoot and root growth, and root length was identified as the most sensitive endpoint. Although the test species were tolerant to SAB contaminated soils in germination assays, development of early life stages (up to 28 d) were generally more sensitive indicator of exposure effects, and may be more useful endpoints for future testing.
... Bridand 1 terrestrial green alga, Prasiola crispa (Lightfoot) K€ utzing. Schistidium antarctici is endemic to Antarctica, C. purpureus has a cosmopolitan distribution, and B. pseudotriquetrum occurs throughout the polar regions [28]. These are the only moss species known to occur in the Windmill Islands, and availability of free water is believed to be the primary driver of their distributions. ...
Article
Fuel pollution is a significant problem in Antarctica, especially in areas where human activities occur, such as at scientific research stations. Despite this, there is little information on the effects of petroleum hydrocarbons on Antarctic terrestrial biota. This paper demonstrates that the Antarctic mosses Bryum pseudotriquetrum, Schistidium antarctici, Ceratodon purpureus and the Antarctic terrestrial alga Prasiola crispa are relatively tolerant to Special Antarctic Blend (SAB) fuel contaminated soil (measured as total petroleum hydrocarbons, TPH). Freshly-spiked soils were more toxic to all species than were aged soils containing degraded fuel, as measured by photosynthetic efficiency (Fv/Fm), pigment content and visual observations. Inhibitory concentration (IC20) values ranged from 16,600 to 53,200 mg/kg for freshly-spiked soils and from 30,100 to 56,200 mg/kg for aged soils. Photosynthetic efficiency of C. purpureus and S. antarctici was significantly inhibited by exposure to freshly-spiked soils with lowest observable effective concentrations (LOECs) of 27,900 and 40,400 mg/kg, respectively. Prasiola crispa was the most sensitive species to freshly-spiked soils (Fv/Fm LOEC of 6,700 mg/kg), whereas Fv/Fm of B. pseudotriquetrum was unaffected by exposure to SAB even at the highest concentration tested (62,900 mg/kg). Standard toxicity test methods developed here for non-vascular plants can be used in future risk assessments and sensitivity data will contribute to the development of remediation targets for petroleum hydrocarbons to guide remediation activities in Antarctica. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Article
Legacy waste is a significant problem in Antarctica. This is particularly the case where waste generated on stations prior to the 1980s was incinerated, placed in landfill sites or disposed of at sea. Although several Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) reports from the 1980s recognise that there are contaminated sites at the abandoned Wilkes Station, there has been no systematic attempt to classify the waste or define the spatial scale of the problem, making development of strategic and systematic clean-up or preservation programmes difficult. This article reports on a project to classify the waste remaining on Clark Peninsula using categories listed in Annex III, Article 2 of the Madrid Protocol (1991). 536 sites with one or more waste items have been identified in nine categories that are based on the degree of waste hazard, recyclability, heritage value and waste management potential. Fuel drums, petroleum hydrocarbons waste and contaminated sediment occur at 38% of the sites. This waste includes around 1020 partially full fuel drums. Heritage items that illustrate expedition life at Wilkes occur at about 10% of the sites. Solid, non-combustible waste, including scrap metal, copper wire and pipe, and steel mechanical parts, occurs at 25% of the sites. Potentially hazardous or harmful waste including electrical batteries, plastics including fuel bladders, food remains, treated timber and containers containing persistent compounds occur at 28% of sites. Although hazardous substances, such as caustic soda, explosives and asbestos, occur at only 9% of the sites, these items represent significant contamination and heath issues for the sites and for visiting explorers. Any future clean-up operations will require more than just the physical removal of waste. Preservation, removal and treatment of various types of waste from Wilkes will be required as part of a multi-year, multi-strategy approach.
Article
Full-text available
Fossil fuels are used throughout the United States Antarctic Program. Accidental releases of petroleum hydrocarbons are the leading source of environmental contamination. Since 1999 McMurdo Station has been the site of the most extensive environmental monitoring programme in Antarctica. Nearly 2500 surface soil samples were collected from 1999–2007 to determine the spatial “footprint” of petroleum hydrocarbons. Total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) concentrations were measured using a high-resolution capillary gas chromatographic method with flame ionization detection. Three distinct TPH patterns were detected: low molecular weight gasoline/JP5/AN8, residual weathered petroleum and an unresolved complex mixture of high molecular weight material. Overall TPH concentrations were low with 38% of the samples having TPH concentrations below 30 ppm and 58% below 100 ppm. Total petroleum hydrocarbon concentrations above 30 ppm are largely confined to the central portions of the station, along roads and in other areas where elevated TPH would be expected. Peripheral areas typically have TPH concentrations below 15 ppm. Areas of elevated TPH concentrations are patchy and of limited spatial extent, seldom extending over distances of 100 m. This environmental monitoring programme is ongoing and can serve as an example to other Antarctic programmes concerned with monitoring environmental impacts.
Article
Remediation of sites impacted by human activity in Antarctica is a difficult and resource intensive process. With increasing activity and climate change, the extent of damage from human activities is expected to increase and it will not be feasible to protect the environment entirely. We recommend a triage process be used to provide informed and transparent management decisions for comprehensive and adequate environmental remediation in Antarctica. We provide examples that demonstrate realistic outcomes where we have avoided tying up resources on disturbed sites that will recover naturally, are stable, or too damaged to recover, and that also incorporate feasible operational practices. Not all disturbed sites will be remediated and many of those that are, are unlikely to be returned to pristine condition. The decisions around remediation are not based solely on the desired environmental outcome. In the absence of effective legal obligation, we recognize that financial, social, policy, health and safety, technological confidence, and operational feasibility are part of the decision-making process.
Article
The Antarctic Treaty has been the principal governing force in Antarctica since 1961. The Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (Madrid Protocol) requires that all past and present work and waste-disposal sites are cleaned up unless doing so would cause greater environmental damage or the site is considered to be a monument of significant historical importance. Despite this requirement, legacy waste issues remain unresolved in parts of Antarctica. Clean-up operations in Antarctica are complicated by a combination of restricted access, extreme weather, financial limitations and logistical constraints. Further complications arise at sites such as Wilkes Station, where the requirement for clean-up coexists with the desire to preserve potentially valuable heritage items. Several buildings and artefacts with potential heritage value remain at Wilkes Station. However, Wilkes Station is not officially designated as a historic site or monument under the Antarctic Treaty, nor is it a national or world heritage place under Australian domestic legislation. Consequently the buildings and relics at Wilkes Station are afforded little protection under the existing relevant domestic and international legislative frameworks. This paper uses Wilkes Station as a case study of the complexities associated with conducting clean-up operations at contaminated sites with informal heritage value in Antarctica. The legislative and environmental considerations surrounding clean-up operations at Wilkes Station are also investigated. Furthermore, we argue the importance of a multi-disciplinary approach to operations which facilitate the clean-up of legacy waste and preservation of the potential heritage values at Wilkes. Finally, we recognise that the complexities discussed in this paper have wider applicability and we investigate the relevance of these issues to other Antarctic contaminated sites with formal or informal heritage value.
Article
200 лет назад русская экспедиция прошла южнее полярного круга, и 28 января (по новому стилю) 1820 г. моряки увидели берег Антарктического континента. Это было самое серьезное открытие XIX в. В Советском Союзе исследования в Антарктиде возобновились во время Международного геофизического года (1955). Сотрудники Института океанологии имени П.П.Ширшова РАН (ИО РАН) принимали активное участие в первых рейсах на Шестой континент, а с 2001 г. под руководством академика А.П.Лисицына совместно с Институтом Арктики и Антарктики стали регулярно проводиться экспедиции в Антарктиду, в состав которых входил сезонный отряд ИО РАН. В статье представлены результаты изучения аэрозолей на субширотном разрезе у берегов Антарктиды, а также результаты многолетних исследований взвеси и органических соединений: углеводородов, липидов, взвешенного органического углерода, хлорофилла а в припайных льдах, снеге, почвах и мхах в прибрежных районах антарктических станций «Молодежная», «Прогресс», «Новолазаревская», «Беллинсгаузен» и «Мирный».
Article
In situ chemical oxidation (ICO) has been identified as a potential technology for the remediation of petroleum hydrocarbon contaminated sites in Antarctica. ICO involves introducing reactive chemicals to contaminated soils so that organics such as petroleum hydrocarbons are oxidised to environmentally innocuous compounds. This paper details two field trials that were undertaken to evaluate the feasibility of using a surface application of these oxidative treatments (Fenton's reagent, hydrogen peroxide and sodium hypochlorite) to remediate petroleum contaminated soil at Old Casey Station, East Antarctica. Results show that the ICO technology used at this site, where contamination occurred over a decade ago, did not significantly reduce petroleum hydrocarbon concentrations and would likely hinder biodegradation through the destruction of subsurface microbial communities. Further treatment testing and optimisation is required before ICO would be an effective remediation strategy for petroleum contaminated sites in Antarctica. However, the near complete destruction of subsurface microbiota, coupled with a discoloured orange soil residue and soil heating, mean that other more environmentally sensitive techniques such as bioremediation are our preferred treatment methodology.
Chapter
Even the remote polar regions are not immune to oil and fuel spills and have suffered detrimental ecological impacts due to anthropogenic hydrocarbon releases to the environment. With the world focused on climate change and the projected new development of the Arctic Basin, it is timely to review what is known about oil spill response and mitigation in cold regions. The Polar Regions include some of the more sensitive and harsh environments on the planet. Polar conditions present unique and difficult challenges in dealing with oil and fuel released into the environment, especially in ice covered areas. Due to the presence of humans and significant economic interests in the north, the Arctic has been exposed to far more oil and fuel spills than the Antarctic. This chapter provides an overview of the history of oil and fuel spills in Polar Regions. The chapter includes discussion of spill occurrences, spill fates and effects, modes of transport of oil and fuel once spilled in terrestrial and marine environments, mitigation measures that have been developed, and the lessons learned from remediation efforts to date within the context of current regulations and policies in the Arctic Basin. In general, there is little experience in responding to oil and fuel spills in Arctic marine environments. However, projections of energy development and shipping may radically alter the situation in the not too distant future.
Article
The Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty requires that past and present work sites be cleaned up unless removal would result in greater adverse environmental impact than leaving the contaminant in its existing location. In the early 1990s Australia began the documentation of contaminated sites associated with its research stations, which resulted in an extensive record of contamination at abandoned stations and waste-disposal sites. Currently the technical capability to remediate these sites does not exist because of environmental challenges that are unique to the cold regions. Investigations indicate that clean-up operations in the past have proceeded without adequate precautions and without effective monitoring. To address these problems, three research priorities have been identified to assist meeting international and national obligations to clean up these sites. They are: understanding contaminant mobilisation processes; development of ecological risk assessment for use in monitoring and setting priorities; and development of clean-up and remediation procedures. This study provides sufficient information to guide the completion of a clean-up at Casey Station and to indicate how other similar sites should be managed. The next stage is to develop the theory into an operational plan to include detailed protocols for clean-up, monitoring, site remediation, and management of the waste stream from site to final repository. To achieve this, the Australian Antarctic Division has established a contaminated sites taskforce to facilitate the transition from research and development of techniques to implementation of suitable clean-up options.
Article
At former Antarctic research stations, legacy waste often remains in situ and concealed by ice. Consequently, the location, characteristics and potential environmental impact associated with legacy waste remains poorly documented. This study applies ground magnetometry to map the spatial extent of the landfill at the abandoned Wilkes Station. Magnetic anomalies indicate that the landfill extends north-west to south-east and is close to, and perhaps prograding into, the ocean. The landfill is characterized by large magnetic variations of > 1500 nT with asymmetrical magnetic anomalies which suggest variable orientations of material and random dumping. Magnetic susceptibilities > 0.02SI units beyond the landfill area reveal elevated magnetic properties of the basement geology. However, a contrast in anomaly shape reliably distinguishes large anomalies generated by landfill material. Surface and subsurface melt streams (observed at the shoreline) flowing from the survey area suggest elevated potential for metal contamination of the nearshore and marine environment. The survey demonstrates a cost-effective and non-invasive method for gathering information to guide the clean up of landfills beneath ice.
Article
Abandoned work sites, disposal sites, hazardous waste and untreated fuel spills in Antarctica have recently begun to receive significant attention. A profile of the clean-up at Casey waste disposal site demonstrates a suite of cultural, social, economic and scientific changes to the way Antarctica and its environmental management are viewed.
Article
Full-text available
Oil spills are rare in Antarctica. They threaten flying birds and penguins. This is the first report on the interactions of seabirds with oil in the area of the Mirny Station (East Antarctica). The purpose of the study is to determine the total number of seabird species interacting with oil in and around the Mirny Station, to assess the extent of pollution and to identify the most important sites of interactions. Oil pollution is found on the ground, on the continental ice and, on the seawater surface, both directly in the Mirny and beyond. Five species of seabirds were in contact with oil. Oil pollution threats have been identified for breeding and molting Adélie Penguins (Pygoscelis adeliae) and vagrant Macaroni Penguins (Eudyptes chrysolophus). Less affected by oil pollution during the breeding season were tube-nosed bird species and skuas. The most important places of interaction of seabirds with oil are at Cape Mabus, on the islands of Zykov, Tokarev, and Stroiteley. Evidence of long-term oil pollution of the environment is indicative of the chronic nature of the impacts on the coastal ecosystem.
Article
Outlines the nature of and need for conservation in the special circumstances of the Antarctic, and indicates actual and potential adverse impacts of human activities - not only from commerical activities such as fur sealing and whaling, but also from scientific expeditions. A synopsis of legislative controls includes comments on the Antarctic Treaty (1961), the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Seals (operational from 1978), and the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (1980). - P.J.Jarvis
Article
Environmental impact assessment is generally recognized as a useful tool in reducing human impacts on the environment. The Antarctic environment is especially sensitive to harmful perturbation. Regulations introduced under the Antarctic Treaty have provided limited environmental protection. Following proposals from the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, the XIV Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting in October 1987 adopted a Recommendation which suggested guidelines to be used in a formal system of environmental impact assessment for scientific research and associated logistic activities in the Antarctic. -Author
Article
Existing schemes of phytogeographic subdivision of Antarctica and adjacent ocean are reviewed. Russian studies which commenced in the 1950s are reviewed for the first time in the Western literature. Records of lichen and moss occurrence from seventy-five scattered locations in the Australian Antarctic Territory, eastern Antarctica, are analysed for phytogeographic patterns. Problems in the data are discussed; the main limitation is inconsistent quality of collecting. Using a polythetic agglomerative classification the localities form seven groups: large coastal outcrops of ice-free rock Mawson Coast, Framnes Mountains, peninsulas near Casey Station, Windmill Islands, Prince Charles Mountains and floristically rich islands. The thirty-six species of lichens and five species of mosses form five groups, each with a characteristic ecological pattern. The species-groups correspond reasonably well with communities described from elsewhere in Antarctica. We do not erect any new subdivisions but accept the following existing phytogeographic subdivisions: Subantarctic Zone with three Regions (Macquarie, Kergulen/South Georgia, Heard); Maritime Antarctic Zone; and Continental Antarctic Zone with four Regions (Ice Sheet, Ice Slope, Coast and Drift Ice).
Article
Rocks of the Windmill Islands, Antarctica (Lat. 66°S, Long. 110°E) consist of a layered sequence of schists, gneisses, and migmatites (the Windmill Metamorphics) intruded by a charnockite (the Ardery Charnockite) and a porphyritic granite (the Ford Granite), and cut by two swarms of easterly‐trending dolerite dykes.The rocks have undergone four deformations. The first two produced tight isoclinal folds, the third developed broader less appressed concentric folds, and the last deformation produced gentle warps which plunge steeply southwards.The metamorphic grade of the Windmill Metamorphics ranges from (i) upper amphibolite facies (sillimanite‐biotite‐orthoclase) in the north, through (ii) biotite‐cordierite‐almandine granulite to (iii) hornblende‐orthopyroxene‐granulite in the south. The boundary between (i) and (ii) above is marked by the incoming ortho‐pyroxene and also the outgoing of sphene, and that between (ii) and (iii) by the outgoing of cordierite. Other metamorphic variations, apparent in the field are (i), the southward colour change of biotite (sepia—>red‐brown) and hornblende (blue‐green—>brown‐green) and (ii) the greater abundance of migmatites and pegmatites in the north of the area.Major‐element rock chemistry suggests that the pre‐metamorphic nature of the schists and gneisses probably consisted of acid and basic volcanics interbedded with sediments ranging from greywacke‐type sandstones to shales. Partial melting of these rocks is thought to have produced some of the more acidic gneisses of the area.The abundances of the elements K, Rb, and Th are lower than those of terrains of similar grade elsewhere. This is regarded as reflecting original rock composition. The ratios K/Rb, Th/K, and K/(Rb/Sr), however, are comparable with those from similar terrains elsewhere where K, Rb, and Th enrichment by crustal fractionation has been suggested. This suggests that the Windmill Metamorphics were not derived by retrogression from upper granulite‐facies rocks.
Article
The Antarctic environment has undergone significant local environmental damage and degradation, with nations rebuilding, expanding, or developing stations and bases. The Australian Antarctic Division's ten-year (1985–95) A$76.704 million programme of rebuilding and expanding stations in Australian Antarctic Territory is representative of a continent-wide increase in station numbers and impact, increasing station size, human numbers, lengths of roads, buildings, waste material production, and energy requirements. Environmental planning and impact assessment have not been incorporated in official decision-making; human activities at Australian Antarctic Territory stations had serious impacts on the limited ice-free land and local flora and fauna. Casey, are-developed station, is examined with reference to environmental planning and management under Antarctic Treaty obligations and recent Australian environmental legislation. Recommendations include the setting up of an Australian Antarctic Resources Committee responsible inter alia for environmental planning and management, including regional and station management plans and cumulative and environmental impact assessment for all Antarctic operations.
Article
The effect of nutrient and water enhancement on the biodegradation of petroleum was tested in Antarctic mineral soils. Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium were applied in solution, with or without gum xanthan or plastic covers, to sites artificially contaminated with distillate. The effectiveness of these procedures was assessed by measuring changes in total petroleum hydrocarbons; heptadecane/pristane and octadecane/phytane ratios; in concentrations of major hydrocarbon components and in microbial numbers and activity. Significantly lower hydrocarbon concentrations were recorded after one year in soils treated with fertilizer solutions, but only in the surface 3 cm. These soils also showed lowered heptadecane/pristane and octadecane/ phytane ratios and had the highest levels of microbial activity relative to other plots. Soils treated with gum xanthan. or covered with plastic had the highest residual hydrocarbon levels. Both treatments inhibited evaporative loss of hydrocarbon, and there were indications that gum xanthan was utilized by the microbiota as an alternative carbon source to distillate. Higher temperatures were recordecd under the plastic but no stimulation of biodegradation was detected. Estimated numbers of metabolically active bacteria were in the range 107 to 108 g−1 dry weight of soil, with an estimated biomass of 0.03 to 0.26 mg g−1 soil. Estimated numbers of amoebae were in the range 106 to 107 g−1 soil (biomass of 2 to 4 mgg−1). The highest populations were recorded in fertilized, contaminated soils, the only soils where petroleum degradation was demonstrated.
Article
A survey of hydrocarbons and the sterol coprostanol, together with a hydrocarbon degradation experiment, was conducted in a coastal marine environment in East Antarctica. Aliphatic hydrocarbon levels in sea-ice algae were 1.9–12.5 mg m−2 and in seawater particulate matter 0.07–0.17 μg l−1. Sea-ice algae contained the diatom biomarker, the highly branched isoprenoid (ip) diene ipC25:2, and Southern Ocean seawater particulate matter samples were distinguished from near shore samples by the presence of nC21:6. Sea-ice algae and seawater particulate matter samples showed a predominance of even chain n-alkanes. Hydrocarbon levels in sediment samples from anoxic fjord basins were high (45–48 μg g−1) compared to a sub-tidal marine sample (0.7 μg g−1), and were predominantly of bacterial origin. Contaminants detected were linear alkyl benzenes in sewage effluent from Davis station, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) which were present in very low levels (parts per trillion) throughout the environment. High levels of 2,6-dimethylnaphthalene were found in anoxic sediment from Ellis Fjord and may arise from a novel bacterial source. Coprostanol concentrations in sediments ranged from 67 to 1280 ng g−1. A dual origin is proposed from marine mammalian faeces and, at several sites, from conversion of algal-derived sterols by anaerobic bacteria. Future studies examining the impact of human sewage from scientific bases or other ventures should use care in interpreting results when such high baseline values, from marine mammalian input, may occur naturally around the Antarctic coast. The potential exists, however, for the technique to distinguish between human and mammalian inputs through measurement of the coprostanol to epicoprostanol ratio, particularly if undertaken with appropriate comparative sampling. Results for a hydrocarbon degradation experiment where a light fuel was applied to an Antarctic beach, showed loss of up to 99% of the fuel within 2 months, mainly by volatilization.
Bioremediation of diesel contaminated soil and tundra in an Arctic environment Contaminated soils: diesel fuel contamination
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  • R G Aaserude
  • F J Schmidt
Piotrowski, M.R., R.G. Aaserude, and F.J. Schmidt. 1992. Bioremediation of diesel contaminated soil and tundra in an Arctic environment. In: Kostecki. P.T., and E.J. Calabrese (editors). Contaminated soils: diesel fuel contamination. Boca Raton: Lewis Publishers: 115-141.
Casey fuel spill -initial environmental report. Unpublished report prepared for the Australian Antarctic Division
  • D Melick
Melick, D. 1991. Casey fuel spill -initial environmental report. Unpublished report prepared for the Australian Antarctic Division.
Waste minimisation at Casey Station
  • G Canale
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Canale, G., B. Fulford, and H.L. Quilligan. 1990. Waste minimisation at Casey Station, Australian Antarctic Territory. Melbourne: Graduate School of Environmen-tal Science, Monash University.
Rational site investigations Contaminated land: problems and solutions
  • D M Hobson
Hobson, D.M. 1993. Rational site investigations. In: Cairney T. (editor). Contaminated land: problems and solutions.
Midwinter fuel spill contained ANARE News Winter: 13. ANARE News. 1993. Reconstructing our Antarctic stations -the end in site
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ANARENews. 1990. Midwinter fuel spill contained. ANARE News Winter: 13. ANARE News. 1993. Reconstructing our Antarctic stations -the end in site. ANARE News Winter: 21-22.
Preliminary site contamination report. Kingston, Tasmania: Australian Antarctic Division. Department of Environment and Planning. 1992. Contami-nated sites: their identification, assessment, manage-ment and remediation in Tasmania: a discussion paper
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Canning, E.A., and P. Goldsworthy. 1997. Preliminary site contamination report. Kingston, Tasmania: Australian Antarctic Division. Department of Environment and Planning. 1992. Contami-nated sites: their identification, assessment, manage-ment and remediation in Tasmania: a discussion paper. Hobart: Department of Environment and Planning.
Sampling and statistical analysis for assessing contaminated land sites In: The health risk assessment and management of contaminated sites: proceedings of a national workshop
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Heyworth, J.S. 1991. Sampling and statistical analysis for assessing contaminated land sites. In: The health risk assessment and management of contaminated sites: proceedings of a national workshop. Adelaide: South DEPREZ, ARENS, AND LOCHER Australian Health Commission: 15-25.
Physical/chemi-cal characteristics of soils. In: EPA contaminated sites seminar: speaker slides
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Determining background levels In: The health risk assessment and management of contami-nated sites: proceedings of a national workshop Ad-elaide: South Australian Health Commission: 98-101. The accuracy of references in the text and in this list is the responsibility of the authors
  • K G Tiller
Tiller, K.G. 1991. Determining background levels. In: The health risk assessment and management of contami-nated sites: proceedings of a national workshop. Ad-elaide: South Australian Health Commission: 98-101. The accuracy of references in the text and in this list is the responsibility of the authors, to whom queries should be addressed.
Technical parameters for soil assess-ment. In: The health risk assessment and management of contaminated sites: proceedings of a national work-shop
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McFarland, R. 1991. Technical parameters for soil assess-ment. In: The health risk assessment and management of contaminated sites: proceedings of a national work-shop. Adelaide: South Australian Health Commission: 93-94.
Reconstructing our Antarctic stations - the end in site
  • Anare News
Casey fuel spill - initial environmental report
  • D Melick
Midwinter fuel spill contained
  • Anare News