Antarctic News Archives - Living Organisms and Fossils
of older (2003-2004) news items that relate to living organisms and
fossils in Antarctica, the Southern Ocean and the Sub-antarctic islands.
All links will take you to sites outside of the PRISM site. Use your
back button to return.
Return to Archive
2004 - Penguins
Face Starvation Threat - BBC
A huge iceberg
blocks adult penguins' access to food for their chicks threatening
the survival of thousands of chicks on Cape Royds.
2004 - Australia
Gets Say On Whales - Australian
will bring legal action if necessary to protect Minke whales in
an Antarctic sanctuary from Japanese whalers.
2004 - Does
Life Exist In Antarctic Lake Buried Under Miles of Ice? - National
bacteria raised from the bottom of Lake Vostok several years ago
show diversity of physiology. These organisms also appear to be
abundant, though not all scientists are convinced that the bacteria
were not contaminants introduced by the drilling process.
2004 - Japanese
Whalers Set Off On Antarctic Hunt - IOL
whalers have departed on their mission to kill several hundred minke
whales in what they call scientific research whaling. They contend
that the whales have a negative effect on the number of other fish
that can be caught in Antarctic waters and the herds need to be
thinned.The whale meat from similar Japanese expeditions has ended
up in restaurants and grocery stores in Japan.
2004 - Toothfish
Pirates Reducing The Plunder.... - New Zealand Herald
indicate that efforts to control illegal fishing for Patagonian
and Antarctic toothfish has been relatively successful in the past
2004 - Seabirds
Follow Their Noses To Partners - IOL
prion, a seabird that mates for life, apparently can follow the
scents of fellow prion and uses scent as a way to find its partner.
2004 - Food
Shortages Threaten Antarctic Wildlife - Space Daily
population in the Southern Ocean is dramatically declining, probably
due to changes in the extent and thickness of winter sea ice. This
spells danger for whales, seals and penguins that depend on this
food source. (Similar story from UK
2004 - Japan
Accused of Killing Australian Whales - WYTOP News
rights group claims that Japan has illegally killed hundreds of
whales in an Australian whale sanctuary and has begun legal action
for stopping such hunts. Japan says the whaling was done for research
2004 - Korean
Scientists Discover 2 New Bacteria - Korea Times
unknown gram-negative bacteria have been discovered by a Korean
research team near King Sejong station.This group has been studying
microbes in Antarctica for several years.
2004 - Ocean-roaming
Birds Under Threat - New Zealand Herald
hooks set to catch fish in the Southern Ocean are causing the death
of as many as 3000,000 ocean birds who are attracted to the bait
on the hooks. Albatross, petrels, shearwaters, and frigate birds
are particularly affected.
2004 - More
Protection Urged For Rare Rare Chilean Sea Bass - Florida Museum
of Natural History
for the Patagonian toothfish, which is currently overfished, but
is being poached because of its market value, was urged at The Convention
for International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).Most of the
poaching of this "Chilean Sea Bass" occurs in the Southern
2004 - Japan
More Confident on CITES Whale Vote - Planet Ark
that this year they have enough to support to get the minke whale
removed from The Convention for International Trade in Endangered
Species (CITES) endangered species list.
2004 - Scientists Find
Surprising Polar Life - MSNBC
have been found alive and healthy under rocks in the Canadian High
Arctic and on Alexander Island in the Antarctic Peninsula. Most
of the rocks in these regions harbor these microbes showing life
can thrive under extreme conditions.
26, 2004 - Meet
The Singing Whales of Sainte-Marie - IOL
humpback whales congregate near Madagascar and are spawning a tourist
industry there. Many local authorities want to encourage the tourism
by protecting the whales, but there is also pressure to allow the
whales to be hunted.
1, 2004 - Egg-sperts
Tune In To African Penguins - IOL
have used plastic eggs with radio transmitters inside to determine
how tourism affects African penguins. The eggs allowed the researchers
to monitor the penguins' response to humans approaching the nesting
site. They plan to do a similar study on penguins on Marion Island,
near Antarctica. (Map
with Marion Island in the upper right. Take the link in the left-hand
navigation area to see photos of the island).
2004 - Watchers
Report Record Whale Season - ABC
in Australia reported seeing over 1000 whales migrating from Antarctica
over the past two months. Most were humpback whales but some minke
were also spotted.
2004 - Kamei
Blasts IWC For Its Rigidity - Japan Times
Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, lashed out at the
International Whaling Commission for their rejection of several
proposed measures to allow commercial whaling. One of the rejected
proposals was to abolish a whale sanctuary near Antarctica.
Scientific About Scientific Whaling? - Guardian Unlimited
groups decry Japanese scientific whaling as a commercial venture
in disguise, scientists from the Institute of Cetacean Research
in Tokyo says it is about obtaining data that improves the management
of whales and promotes an understanding of their role in the ecosystem.
2004 - "Crocodile
Hunter" Cleared of Charges - AustralianFauna
Government has cleared Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, of charges
that he had harassed penguins, seals and a whale in Antarctic waters.
2004 - Cook's
Petrel Expected To Thrive - Scoop NZ
Barrier Island of rats should ensure the survival of a bird, Cook's
petrel,that nests in this New Zealand nature reserve. The rats have
been poisoned to protect the chicks and eggs.
2004 - Croc
Star's "Whale Swim" Probed - BBC
the Crocodile Hunter, is being investigated after it was reported
that he was riding whales as part of a documentary film. Australian
law prohibits close contact with Antarctic wildlife. He denies the
2004 - Banding
Hurts Penguins ... - CNN
bands that have been attached to penguin flippers to aid in the
study of penguin breeding and migration patterns seem to adversely
affect the birds' ability to swim and fish. A study showed that
banded birds arrived at the breeding grounds later than unbanded
birds. (Similar story from NewScientist.)
2004 - Penguins
Ingest Mollusk Shells To Obtain Calcium for Thicker Eggshells
- University of Washington
penguins in the penguin reserve at Punta Tombo, Argentina were studied
to determine what factors affected their eggs. They found that females
were much more likely to have mollusk shells in their diet around
egg-laying time and have postulated that this provides a slow calcium
release that makes the shells stronger.
Japan's Whale Hunters Fight The Good Fight - Taipei Times
the international community should stop hassling them about their
whale hunts.They announced they plan to continue their hunts which
are undertaken as an ongoing research study and that those who oppose
whaling need to back down.The whalers believe the data don't support
20, 2004 -
Marine Researchers Fertilize Southern Ocean ... - Science Daily
have been fertilizing the Southern Ocean by adding iron to determine
the effect of such interventions on phytoplankton. Increasing numbers
of phytoplankton can help remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
16, 2004 -
Antarctic Fish Set To Survive In Warmer Seas - New Zealand Herald
the Antarctic toothfish, Pagothenia borchgrevinki, showed
that it was able to swim long distances in water 9 degrees warmer
than current conditions.
16, 2004 -
Penguins Survive Better With Visitors - New Zealand Herald
have come to the surprising conclusion that baby penguins survive
better in rookeries disturbed by humans than in more isolated rookeries.
It is thought that humans may disturb predators more than penguins.
8 , 2004 -
Court Decision Allows More Sea Lion Killing - Scoop
in New Zealand won a court battle in the Appeals court that will
allow them to double the number of sea lions allowed to be drowned
in their nets (124 instead of the 62 agreed on in March). This was
done in spite of the NZ sea lion being a threatened species that
suffered serious population losses due to disease last year.
Albatross Protection Plan Leaves Much In The Air - Scoop
Plan of Action for Seabirds has been released in New Zealand to
try to decrease the number of seabird deaths caused by entanglement
in fishing nets, but the plan is strictly voluntary.
Antarctic Fish May Aid Cardiac Research - Newswise
cod is able to withstand frigid temperatures by lowering its heart
rate and through "antifreeze" in its blood. Researchers
hope that learning more about this creature's physiology will help
make advances in heart surgery and in treatment of hypothermia.
Kemp Defends Toothfish Poaching Efforts - STH Australia
Environmental minister, David Kemp, defended his agency saying they
had stepped up efforts to stop poaching of the Patagonian toothfish
in Australian waters. He cited several examples of the efforts being
made by his agency.
Ruling in Favor of Sealions - New Zealand Herald
New Zealand sealion which breeds in sub-Antarctic islands has been
threatened by squid fishermen, whose nets capture and drown the
sealions. The NZ High Court has ruled that a seasonal limit of 62
sealions will continue to be enforced.
1 , 2004 -
New Dinosaur Species Dug Up in Antarctica - Science A GoGo
after a new dinosaur species was identified on a mountain near the
Beardmore glacier, another fossilized dinosaur has been located
thousands of miles away, in a sea bed. Researchers working off Ross
Island believe they have located a new species of carnivorous dinosaur.
More on this topic from Science
'Road" Safety Key to Survival - Guardian Unlimited
believe there is a need for mobile marine sanctuaries for several
marine creatures. The problem with static reserves is that the environment
moves with the current, so the animals travel to keep in optimum
habitat. This exposes them to areas where commercial fishing is
Antarctic Fossils Shed New Light On Dinosaurs - Seattle Times
fossil has been found on the side of Mount Kirkpatrick, about 400
miles from the South Pole. At this point, the scientists think it
may be an early species of sauropod. The fossil will be flown to
the US before spring for further analysis.
Antarctic Resources At Risk - BBC News
especially microbes, in Antarctic regions are being ruthlessly hunted
and harvested in order to profit from them. The possible value of
these life forms for new genetic manipulation and in pharmaceutical
research has the international community worrying about the environmental
consequences of this largely unregulated "bioprospecting".
(Similar story at Dawn.com)
Penguin Ranch Reveals Hunting, Swimming Secrets - National Geographic
has been used to shed light on the natural behavior of a colony
Emperor penguins on Ross Island. It shows that they can catch several
fish on a very deep dive. An explanation of why this is possible
Australian Fishing Crew Accused of Killing Whale... - NZ Herald
are looking into the report that an Australian vessel killed and
ate a whale while the animal was in protected waters near New Zealand.
The type of whale was not known when the report was made.
2004 - Hot
and Cold Penguins - NZ Herald
appears to be a factor in changes in the location of Adelie penguin
colonies. Over the past twenty years, many more penguins have resided
at Cape Royds and have begun to occupy a colony at Cape Barne which
had not been used for centuries. It appears that the loosening of
the pack ice has made it easier for the penguins to travel.
Living Organisms - 2003
2003 - Abandoned
Penguin Colonies May Refine Antarctic Climate Studies - NSF
years ago, a cooling trend apparently built up so much ice in the
Ross Sea that Adelie penguins abandoned their colonies in that area.
Radiocarbon data from abandoned colonies suggest that the current
ice-free condition of the area only began about 1000 years ago,
and penguin recolonization about 500 years ago.
2003 - Sea
Urchins Pay Price for Ozone Gap - New Zealand Herald
from Otago University confirmed that there was much higher ratio
of harmful UV light to visible light under the sea ice this year
than last. It is believed that this may negatively impact marine
creatures such as sea urchins.
2003 - Bare
Hooks Lure Tiny Fish... - Antarctic Sun
from Creighton University School of Medicine are studying tiny fish
(Trematomus bernacchii) to see how the species removes salt from
the water they drink.
2003 - Iceberg
Collapse Saves Penguin Colonies - New Zealand Herald
the B-15 iceberg has made it possible for nesting pairs of Adelie
penguins to more easily reach food. This may increase survival rates
in a colony where breeding rates have been negatively affected by
extensive sea ice.
2003 - Antarctic
Penguins Thrive in Ocean "Oases" - NASA
studies indicate that the health of Adelie penguin populations are
highly related to the productivity of plankton in open water "oases"
2003 - "Garden
of Eden" Lost in Iceberg Explosion - New Zealand News
a veritable "Garden of Eden" of sea creatures under an iceberg off
Scott Base, but then watched as the iceberg exploded and destroyed
the fragile ecosystem.
2003 - Pesticide
Residue Found in Bird Droppings..- China.org
have found high levels of organochlorines in the bird droppings
collected from King George Island, an island close to the Antarctic
2003 - Moby,
the White Whale Spotted... - Planet Ark
A rare white
humpback whale has been sighted off Australia's coast. Humpback
whales breed in Antarctic waters then migrate to waters off the
east coast of Australia.
2003 - Science
Seeks Clues to Pygmy Whale - BBC
accurate count of the number of pygmy blue whales is quite challenging
due to its similarities to the true blue whale.
2003 - Blue
Whales Show Gradual Growth - BBC
of Blue Whales in the Antarctic may be three times what it was 25
years ago, due to conservation efforts undertaken since the 1960s.
2003 - Plague
Of Rats On Sub-Antarctic Island Ends - ABC News
200,000 Norway rats were pillaging Campbell Island. The rats were
introduced by whalers and have thrived on the uninhabited island.
A poisoning campaign was begun last year to try to save native species.
2003 - Ancient
Fly Found At South Pole - CNN
has found the fossil of a fly 300 miles from the South Pole.This
fly may have been part of the animal life on the mega-continent
Gondwana. (More from Nature).
26, 2003 - Antarctic
Desert Rich with Insights... - National Geographic News
Valleys are providing scientists with a clear look into "life
on the edge" - organisms that function on the edge of survivable
2003 - Fresh
Secret of Penguin Dads Revealed - NewScientist.com
are able to keep undigested food in their stomachs for long periods.
It has just been discovered that they keep the food fresh by inhibiting
bacterial action in their stomachs. This allows them to feed their
young while "babysitting".
Seals Are Long Distance Lovers - NewScientist.com
seals travel extraordinary distances in the Antarctic seas during
the breeding season, whereas the females are less prone to roam.
This may cause more uniformity in the gene pool, especially if the
population is small.
2002 - Icebreaker
May Save Penguins From Starvation - Independent Online (IOL)
icebreaker, Polar Star, is attempting to carve a channel
in the Ross Sea which will hopefully help adult Adelie penguins
stranded at Cape Royds.
<<Back to top