The ecology and physiology of Antarctic invertebrates at Cape Bird
The effect of temperature on the terrestrial arthropod fauna at Cape Bird was investigated. The work was carried out over three field season and the site was visited for three periods during each field season (October, December and February). Samples were collected of both mites and springtails from Keble Valley (Caughley Beach, SSSI No.10, Cape Bird) and frozen and returned to New Zealand for ... analysis of ployol cryoprotectants and thermal hysteresis (antifreeze proteins) and microscopic analysis of age, sex and gut contents. An HPLC system to examine sugar alcohol cryoprotectants and the splat freezing technique were used to screen for ice active proteins. The supercooling point (the temperature at which their bodies freeze) of both springtails and mites was determined for different periods during the season. Invertebrate samples were removed to measure water content of invertebrates bodies to investigate the effects of surface water on cold tolerance of this species. A cloche (small greenhouses) experiments was installed and the invertebrate population within was monitored over the three seasons to study responses to temperature changes expected from global warming. Micro arthropods populations were removed from the soil and from the ground surface and rocks, sorted, counted and measured. A map was made of the pattern and longevity of snow banks and the whole study site was mapped (450m2 to c10cm resolution). The habitat requirements and the factors affecting invertebrate distribution were investigated at two scales: a transect across a stream in November (before snowmelt) and January (after snowmelt) and a broadscale survey to cover a representation of ice free areas. The ability of springtails to live in dry or salty habitats was determined The wider icefree area was surveyed (rock undersides and soil samples) with a sampling trip in the area near Harrison Bluff, South of Cape Bird southern rookery and Shell Glacier. The hameolymph concentrations (an indication of the quantity of carbohydrate cryoprotectants and other solutes in the animals blood) and the thermal hysteresis (indicative of the presence of antifreeze proteins) in mites and springtails was investigated. The distribution of invertebrates was studied by setting out sticky traps to intercept windborne animals, placing a drift net across a stream to capture water dispersed animals and checking the feet of penguins in the area for micro invertebrates. A data logger was installed to measure air temperatures and soil temperatures (at five different depths) throughout the year to determine relationships with the temperatures that the mites and springtails experience.
All collected specimens are held by the Otago Museum in Dunedin, New Zealand. Specimens are preserved in ethanol and are accompanied by both hard and electronic inventories and descriptions of the data. For more information, please contact:
Registrar - Natural Sciences
PO Box 6202
Dunedin 9059, New Zealand
Ph: (03) 474 7474 ext 862
Fax: (03) 477 5993
Data Set Progress
+1-519-661-2111 Ext 83138
bsincla7 at uwo.ca
Department of Biology
Room 2078, Biological & Geological Sciences Building
1151 Richmond St North
University of Western Ontario
Province or State:
+64 3 358 0200
+64 3 358 0211
s.gordon at antarcticanz.govt.nz
Antarctica New Zealand
Private Bag 4745
Sinclair, B.J. 1998. Cloche experiments at high latitudes: Investigating microarthropod response to elevated temperatures at Cape Bird, Ross Island, Antarctica. NZ Nat. Sci. 23 (suppl): 185
Sinclair, B.J. Sjursen, H. Terrestrial invertebrate abundance across a habitat transect in Keble Valley, Ross Island, Antarctica. Pedobiologia 45: 134-145, 2001.
Sinclair, B.J. ... Antarctica-realm of the springtail. New Zealand alpine journal : 113-114, 2000.
Sinclair, B.J. The ecology and physiology of New Zealand Alpine and Antarctic arthropods. Ph.D., University of Otago : . 2000.
Sinclair, B.J. On the distribution of terrestrial invertebrates at Cape Bird, Ross Island, Antarctica. Polar biology 24: 394-400, 2001.
Sinclair, B.J. Sjursen, H. Cold tolerance of the Antarctic springtail Gomphiocephalus hodgsoni (Collembola, Hypogastruridae). Antarctic science 13(3): 271-279, 2001.
Sinclair, B. Effects of increased temperatures simulating climate change on terrestrial invertebrates on Ross Island, Antarctica. Pedobiologia 46: 150-160, 2002.
Sjursen, H. Sinclair, B.J. On the cold hardiness of Stereotydeus mollis (Acari: Prostigmata) from Ross Island, Antarctica. Pedobiologia 46: 188-195, 2002.
Title page story: 'Research Update'. National Geographic Magazine, February 2001.
Chilling Out in Antarctica. Earth Almanac. National Geographic Magazine, July 2000.
Creation and Review Dates
DIF Creation Date:
Last DIF Revision Date: