TRophic Ecology of the Nearshore Zone

Project Description
TRENZ aims to:
1) Describe trophic relationships in near shore marine benthic ecosystems of East Antarctica and determine the importance of environmental forces (such as sea ice and primary production) to the structure of food webs and biological interactions in benthic assemblages.

2) Examine how marine benthic food webs in East Antarctica respond to local scale disturbances (such as sewage outfalls and abandoned waste disposal sites) and develop predictive models of the influence of local human activities on trophic relationships.

3) Develop predictive models for the potential effects of global climate change on the trophic structure and function of near shore marine benthic assemblages and determine the sensitivity of Antarctic near shore marine ecosystems as sentinels of climate change.

4) Measure toxicity of organic contaminants to Antarctic marine benthic invertebrates, determine concentrations in upper trophic level fauna and to model the risk of bioaccumulation of organic contaminants (from local and global sources) in near shore marine food webs in East Antarctica.

5) Examine trophic links between nearshore and offshore (shelf) benthic ecosystems.