Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 3

Arctic Related Abstracts

3 Polar Bears in Antarctica: An Analysis of Treaty Barriers

Authors: Madison Hall

Abstract:

The Assisted Colonization of Polar Bears to Antarctica requires a careful analysis of treaties to understand existing legal barriers to Ursus maritimus transport and movement. An absence of land-based migration routes prevent polar bears from accessing southern polar regions on their own. This lack of access is compounded by current treaties which limit human intervention and assistance to ford these physical and legal barriers. In a time of massive planetary extinctions, Assisted Colonization posits that certain endangered species may be prime candidates for relocation to hospitable environments to which they have never previously had access. By analyzing existing treaties, this paper will examine how polar bears are limited in movement by humankind’s legal barriers. International treaties may be considered codified reflections of anthropocentric values of the best knowledge and understanding of an identified problem at a set point in time, as understood through the human lens. Even as human social values and scientific insights evolve, so too must treaties evolve which specify legal frameworks and structures impacting keystone species and related biomes. Due to costs and other myriad difficulties, only a very select number of species will be given this opportunity. While some species move into new regions and are then deemed invasive, Assisted Colonization considers that some assistance may be mandated due to the nature of humankind’s role in climate change. This moral question and ethical imperative against the backdrop of escalating climate impacts, drives the question forward; what is the potential for successfully relocating a select handful of charismatic and ecologically important life forms? Is it possible to reimagine a different, but balanced Antarctic ecosystem? Listed as a threatened species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, a result of the ongoing loss of critical habitat by melting sea ice, polar bears have limited options for long term survival in the wild. Our current regime for safeguarding animals facing extinction frequently utilizes zoos and their breeding programs, to keep alive the genetic diversity of the species until some future time when reintroduction, somewhere, may be attempted. By exploring the potential for polar bears to be relocated to Antarctica, we must analyze the complex ethical, legal, political, financial, and biological realms, which are the backdrop to framing all questions in this arena. Can we do it? Should we do it? By utilizing an environmental ethics perspective, we propose that the Ecological Commons of the Arctic and Antarctic should not be viewed solely through the lens of human resource management needs. From this perspective, polar bears do not need our permission, they need our assistance. Antarctica therefore represents a second, if imperfect chance, to buy time for polar bears, in a world where polar regimes, not yet fully understood, are themselves quickly changing as a result of climate change.

Keywords: Climate Change, Environmental Ethics, Arctic, polar bear, Antarctica, assisted colonization, treaty

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2 Fort Conger: A Virtual Museum and Virtual Interactive World for Exploring Science in the 19th Century

Authors: Richard Levy, Peter Dawson

Abstract:

Ft. Conger, located in the Canadian Arctic was one of the most remote 19th-century scientific stations. Established in 1881 on Ellesmere Island, a wood framed structure established a permanent base from which to conduct scientific research. Under the charge of Lt. Greely, Ft. Conger was one of 14 expeditions conducted during the First International Polar Year (FIPY). Our research project “From Science to Survival: Using Virtual Exhibits to Communicate the Significance of Polar Heritage Sites in the Canadian Arctic” focused on the creation of a virtual museum website dedicated to one of the most important polar heritage site in the Canadian Arctic. This website was developed under a grant from Virtual Museum of Canada and enables visitors to explore the fort’s site from 1875 to the present, http://fortconger.org. Heritage sites are often viewed as static places. A goal of this project was to present the change that occurred over time as each new group of explorers adapted the site to their needs. The site was first visited by British explorer George Nares in 1875 – 76. Only later did the United States government select this site for the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition (1881-84) with research to be conducted under the FIPY (1882 – 83). Still later Robert Peary and Matthew Henson attempted to reach the North Pole from Ft. Conger in 1899, 1905 and 1908. A central focus of this research is on the virtual reconstruction of the Ft. Conger. In the summer of 2010, a Zoller+Fröhlich Imager 5006i and Minolta Vivid 910 laser scanner were used to scan terrain and artifacts. Once the scanning was completed, the point clouds were registered and edited to form the basis of a virtual reconstruction. A goal of this project has been to allow visitors to step back in time and explore the interior of these buildings with all of its artifacts. Links to text, historic documents, animations, panorama images, computer games and virtual labs provide explanations of how science was conducted during the 19th century. A major feature of this virtual world is the timeline. Visitors to the website can begin to explore the site when George Nares, in his ship the HMS Discovery, appeared in the harbor in 1875. With the emergence of Lt Greely’s expedition in 1881, we can track the progress made in establishing a scientific outpost. Still later in 1901, with Peary’s presence, the site is transformed again, with the huts having been built from materials salvaged from Greely’s main building. Still later in 2010, we can visit the site during its present state of deterioration and learn about the laser scanning technology which was used to document the site. The Science and Survival at Fort Conger project represents one of the first attempts to use virtual worlds to communicate the historical and scientific significance of polar heritage sites where opportunities for first-hand visitor experiences are not possible because of remote location.

Keywords: Virtual Reality, Multimedia, Arctic

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1 Near Bottom Concentrations of Krill in Two Arctic Fjords, Spitsbergen

Authors: Kajetan Deja, Katarzyna Draganska-Deja, Mateusz Ormanczyk, Michał Procajlo

Abstract:

Two glaciated fjords on Spitsbergen (Hornsund 77°N) and Kongsfjorden (79°N) were studied for the occurrence of macroplankton (mostly euphausids, hyperiids, chaetognaths) with the use of drop down the camera. The underwater imagery demonstrates that closer to the glacier front, where turbid and freshwater occurs, most of the macroplankters leave the upper water column and descends to the bottom (about 100m depth). Concentrations of macroplankton in the immediate vicinity of the sediment reach over 500 specimens per m² - what corresponds to the biomass of 10g C/m³. Such concentrations of macroplankton are of prime interest for fish, seals and other carnivores. Conditions in the near-bottom waters are in many respects better than in the upper water column- better oxygenated, cold, fully saline and transparent waters with rich food deposited on the seabed from the surface (sinking microplankton). We suggest that near bottom occurrence of macroplankton is related to the increase of glacier melt and freshwater discharge intensity.

Keywords: Ecosystem, Arctic, fjords, Krill

Procedia PDF Downloads 110