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Floristic Survey of Inland Rock Exposures & Nunataks

Programme Sponsor: Doctor R.I. Lewis-Smith.   British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge.

To provide a qualitative account of the vegetation at sites remote from the coast.  The main plant groups will be lichens and mosses.  All records will be supported by colour photography and by representative sampling.  Samples will be collected following strict guidelines for sampling in Antarctic and the collections will be determined and retained at the British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge.

Coastal regions have been sampled extensively due to the relative ease of access.  Inland rock exposures and nunataks have been remote from access by scientists and, by using the experience of the Expedition members, it is hoped to add to the knowledge of plant species along the Peninsula.

All sites will be recorded using GPS equipment along with surveying using more traditional methods.


Recording Breeding Site Information on Seabirds

Programme Sponsor: Prof.  J.P. Croxhall.   British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge.

The aim is to add to the knowledge about the breeding sites of the most poorly recorded species along the Peninsula: principally gulls, terns, skuas and stormy petrels. In particular, the Expedition will record sightings at sites remote from normal tourist locations and to report any non-breeding aggregations.

Whilst penguins are very well recorded, they make up only seven of the over 40 species of birds that breed in the polar regions.  In addition, some summer visitors travel south to take advantage of the rich waters.  Nearly all of the species present are oceanic, feeding almost exclusively at sea, and these include the albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters.  Birds found closer inshore include the Kelp Gull, two species of skua, the Antarctic Tern and a member of the cormorant family, the Blue Eyed Shag.


Recording Numbers of Seal Breeding Concentrations

Programme Sponsor: Prof.  J.P. Croxhall. British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge.

Whilst seal colonies are widespread through the region, information on the current status of colonies is always needed. Divided into two main divisions, the first (the ‘eared’ seals) is represented by the Fur Seal and only at the southern end of its range. The other ‘true’ seals have five representatives, of which, the Elephant Seal is also at the southern end of its range. The Crabeater, Weddell, Ross and Leopard Seals are truly Antarctic species and are quite similar in appearance.

Of particular interest to the Expedition, will be the Fur Seal, a species that was particularly badly hit by the activities of sealers in the early part of the last century. Protection, through strict regulation, has allowed their numbers to increase and it is this picture that needs to continually updated.


Geological Mapping of Antarctic Islands

Programme Sponsor: Prof. R. Mortimore Professor of Engineering Geology & Head of Applied Geology Research Group
School of the Environment, University of Brighton.

To add to work already carried out when Prof Mortimore was part of the British Antarctic Survey.  The main emphasis will be the collection of rock samples, fixed with GPS equipment, from selected smaller islands off the Peninsula.  By a combination of the yacht party and use of inflatables, this will make best use of the Expedition’s small boat resources in conjunction with the availability of technological assistance.

All sampling will be carried out in accordance with the strict guidelines for the region.  Dr Martin Smith and Dr Laurence Hopkinson of Brighton University will analyse the types of igneous rock samples and will be able to help to identify the rocks.  Prof Mortimore will deal with the sedimentary rocks and any fossils that might be found.  Geochemical analytical tools will be available to place the rocks in their regional context.

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University of Brighton

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