Project Information
Monitoring the Human Impact and Environmental Variability on Adelie Penguins at Palmer Station, Antarctica
Start Date:
End Date:
The potential consequence of human impact on wildlife in Antarctica has been debated for many decades. Scientists, support staff and visitors in Antarctica may have an effect on the behavior and population dynamics of marine mammals and seabirds. Since the early 1970's, shipboard tourism has expanded to the point where it is timely to address the question, using a scientific research approach. The focus of this study is to examine the potential effect of tourist activities on the Adelie Penguins (Pygoscelis adeliae) in the Antarctic Peninsula. The topic has gathered the interest and opinions of those in private industry, the scientific community, government organizations and environmental groups. A key concern is that increases in these activities may eventually overcome the ability of research to address critical issues in a timely and biologically meaningful manner. The approach to understanding how tourism might affect Adelie Penguins must involve both a study of human activity and a study of natural variability in the physical environment. The ongoing Palmer Long Term Ecological Research program focuses on the ecosystem and its components and thus addresses the issues of natural variability. This project focuses on the human dimension and continues a tourist-monitoring program begun as a pilot project near Palmer Station. This site is in a geographic location that mirrors current patterns in tourism and tourist-wildlife interactions in the western Antarctic Peninsula. It also offers a setting that provides unique opportunities for human impacts research. This includes the presence of long-term databases that document environmental variability over multiple time and space scales in both marine and terrestrial habitats, and the ability to examine potential tourist impacts as part of controlled experiments. The results of the study will have important implications to understanding interactions between climate change and ecosystem response, and for detecting, mitigating and managing the consequences of human activities such as tourism.
Person Role
Fraser, William Investigator
Smith, Raymond Investigator
Antarctic Organisms and Ecosystems Award # 0130525
AMD - DIF Record(s)
Deployment Type
NBP0105 ship expedition
Data Management Plan
None in the Database
Product Level:
Not provided
Repository Title (link) Format(s) Status
R2R Expedition data of NBP0105 None exists
  1. Cimino, M. A., Patterson‐Fraser, D. L., Stammerjohn, S., & Fraser, W. R. (2019). The interaction between island geomorphology and environmental parameters drives Adélie penguin breeding phenology on neighboring islands near Palmer Station, Antarctica. Ecology and Evolution, 9(16), 9334–9349. (doi:10.1002/ece3.5481)
Platforms and Instruments

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