Project Information
Collaborative Research: Multispecies, Multiscale Investigations of Longterm Changes in Penguin and Seabird Populations on the Antarctic Peninsula
This five-year project seeks to characterize decadal scale changes in penguin and seabird populations on the Antarctic Peninsula, and to identify the factors driving these long-term changes. Two interconnected research activities are proposed: 1. Continued, long-term monitoring and censusing of penguin and seabird populations at >117 sites throughout the Antarctic Peninsula via opportunistic ship-based data collection. 2. Synthesis and quantitative analyses of datasets detailing long-term changes in five penguin and seabird species from diverse sites throughout the Antarctic Peninsula. When complete, the penguin/seabird database will incorporate data from the Antarctic Site Inventory (ASI), the CCAMLR database, the US AMLR database, the LTER database from Palmer Station, data from British and Argentine researchers, historic census data compiled by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), and, when possible, additional privately held datasets. Additional data for temperature change, sea ice coverage, the seasonal timing and intensity of human visitation, and other factors have been gathered and will be analyzed together with population trajectories within a spatially explicit framework. The research will include hierarchical statistical analyses to characterize the long-term population dynamics of several key polar species across multiple spatial scales (sites, regions, and the Peninsula). Analyses also will focus on specific subsets of the overall database to contrast visitor impacts on paired colonies, sites, and regions that share similar environmental conditions but differ in the intensity of tourism.

The Broader Impacts include (1) research training and first-time Antarctic experiences for a postdoctoral researcher and several graduate students, all of whom will then be better positioned to bring their expertise in spatial and/or quantitative/theoretical ecology to bear on questions in polar research; (2) assembly and analysis of a large, multi-season database of penguin and seabird time series from the Antarctic Peninsula that will be publicly available, (3) assistance in distinguishing the impacts of tourism versus climate change on seabird populations. Under the Environmental Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty, Treaty Parties are charged with regular and effective monitoring to assess the impacts of human activities. This project will uniquely assist Parties in fulfilling this mandate.
Person Role
Fagan, William Investigator
Lynch, Heather Co-Investigator
Antarctic Organisms and Ecosystems Award # 0739515
AMD - DIF Record(s)
Data Management Plan
None in the Database
Repository Title (link) Status
Publication Data Paper, ESA Ecology exist
  1. Lynch, H. J., White, R., Naveen, R., Black, A., Meixler, M. S., & Fagan, W. F. (2016). In stark contrast to widespread declines along the Scotia Arc, a survey of the South Sandwich Islands finds a robust seabird community. Polar Biology, 39(9), 1615–1625. (doi:10.1007/s00300-015-1886-6)