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Antarctica Report - the environment and scientific research

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Emperor penguins during summer (Gaidos, 2009) Arial photo of Mawson Station (Australian Antarctic Division, 2012) Emperor penguins swimming near Antarctica (Wienecke, 2011) Contents Report????????????.?????????....... Pg. 3-8 Introduction?????????????????........... Pg. 3 Climate???????...?????????????..... Pg. 3-5 Location And Purpose Of Mawson Station?????... Pg. 6-8 Adaptions To The Antarctic Environment??????. Pg. 8-10 * Human Adaption?????????????...??????... Pg. 8-9 * Animal Adaption???????????...????????? Pg. 9-10 Conclusion???????????????????? Pg. 10 References????????????????????? Pg. 11 Appendix??????????????????????Pg. 12-17 Antarctica lit up by a colourful aura (Maugans Corporation , 2012) Antarctica Report Introduction: The great icy continent of Antarctica is located at the south-most point on Earth and in the heart of the Antarctic Circle, referred to as the ice-cold desert. Antarctica covers the entire land and water region south of the latitude 600 S with no defined longitude, the continent spans around the entire Antarctic Circle. In reference to Australia, the eastern half of Antarctica ranges from a close 3,800km south of mainland Australia with Mawson Station located further west. Due to its location, early expeditions to Antarctica were usually carried out on boat with a stop at islands along the way i.e. Macquarie Island- now one of the four main Australian research bases in Australian Territory of the Antarctic Peninsula. Australia controls the largest part of Antarctica (43%) because of Sir Douglas Mawson?s expedition to Antarctica in 1929-31. During this expedition, Mawson and his team mapped majority of the Eastern coast, setting up camps along the way and eventually other Australian expeditions set up stations using these maps. Later when the Antarctic Treaty was established, this link with Antarctica and the fact that Australia was the first nation to map the eastern coast was considered, resulting in Australia?s claim to this area being granted, leaving them with majority of Antarctica. The governing of Antarctica is unique and very different from the rest of the world. It is governed by many nations that have all claimed parts of the continent for scientific research who all are guided and bound by ?The Antarctic Treaty?. ...read more.

Middle

Their nasal chambers also recover much of the heat that is normally lost during exhalation. They also possess strong claws in their feet for gripping the ice and slippery surfaces, allowing them to waddle instead of sliding around on their bellies all the time. Another special physical adaptation of the emperor penguin is the ability to 'recycle' its own body heat. The emperor's arteries and veins lie close together so that blood is pre-cooled on the way to the bird's feet, wings and bill and warmed on the way back to the heart. Emperor penguins have large reserves of energy-giving body fat to use during low-level activities during winter. The emperor penguin also possesses many behavioral advantages to survive in the climate of Antarctica. They are very social creatures, and one of their survival mechanisms is an urge to huddle together to keep warm. To keep warm, the males close ranks to share their warmth. Even though Emperors are large birds and when carrying their incubation fat, they are about as large around the chest as a human, they still huddle on very cold days, with as many as ten packed into every square metre, cutting heat loss by as much as 50%. This huddling instinct means that they do not defend any territory (the emperor penguin is the only species of penguin that is not territorial) and instead radiate heat and keep warm together. Another behavioral technique used by the emperor penguin to survive the conditions in Antarctica is their ability to mate and reproduce during winter rather than in summer and take care of their eggs. Like most penguins, emperor parents closely share parental duties. What is unique about emperors however, is the co-operation between males while carrying out their parenting duties. Once the egg has been laid during winter, the male emperor puts the egg under his brood flap to keep it warm at about 380C so that the egg can eventually hatch instead of dying inside. ...read more.

Conclusion

These include activities like swimming, movies, dining, whale watching, witnessing sights found nowhere else on Earth and other activities to pass time. Once arriving at a station in Antarctica, tourists spend their time on the continent in and around the station, undertaking numerous activities ranging from casual indoor activities like rock climbing, viewing scientific programs and spending time in the library to outdoor activities like watching the penguins, taking a sea kayak to get a close up on sea birds and whales, trekking past and up majestic mountains, scuba diving, walking on the ice and exploring historic huts left behind by various expeditions. There are many impacts on the environment and wildlife in Antarctica caused mainly by the tourists that come and go. The tourism industry to Antarctica involves much more than just the tourists as it involves the ships, accommodation, vehicles and other amenities required for the tourists. Because of this, the wildlife is having a major impact with usual feeding and huddling grounds for penguins being disturbed ad in some cases destroyed along with other places for other species like the rocks being used for construction, taking away the habitat of the seals. Tourists also have an impact on the environment like they do all around the world with specific places being developed especially for them. Parts of Mawson Station has been developed and built recently just for tourists, destroying parts of the natural environment as many of the materials like rocks come from Antarctica instead of being shipped over. The transport in which tourists arrive, boats, also have effect the waters as oil spills- regular due to the ice- pollute the waters harming the whales and other marine life. As a result of this, large ships have been prohibited from the waters around Antarctica as they not only pollute the water, but also disturb and crack the ice. Waste management is another problem occurring at Mawson Station with tonnes of waste accumulating on the continent, creating a major headache for workers to clean up before it?s the toxic chemicals start having an impact on the environment. ...read more.

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