Trip preparation: Falklands

Ben Collen

Having successfully met up with Tom in Port Stanley after his trip to the South Sandwich Islands, we are now preparing for the next phase of the trip.  We have 5 days in the Falkands to sort ourselves our, process the South Sandwich Island penguin samples, and ready our kit, before joining the Akademik Ioffee for our voyage to South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula.

Falkland Islands, on flight in from Punta Arenas Chile We have 2 main aims for the trip.  Our first is to collect penguin feather samples from as many penguin colonies as possible.  The DNA which we can collect from theses feathers extends the work that Tom has done in previous seasons, and will give us vital information on how penguins are moving around between colonies, and how those colonies are faring. Our second aim is to trial a new array of automatically triggered cameras.  This is a completely new venture for us, but we’re excited by the prospects.  We’ve been using similar cameras on projects such as the one in Liberia  which are triggered by animals walking through an infrared beam.  However, here we are going to use time lapse to automatically trigger the cameras 3 times a day, to take photos overlooking penguin colonies. Taken through a season, these will cameras give us information on penguin breeding, and dates of arrival and departure as the penguins move, and an increased number of monitoring stations around the regions – all things which we expect to shift as the effects of a changing climate take hold.  As this technology is new, we are running this field season as a test, and will place 7 cameras over the course of our trip around the Antarctic.  Fingers crossed. Our route will take us to South Georgia, then down to the South Orkney Islands, and onto the Antarctic Peninsular.  More updates to follow from the Ioffe. Route of the Akademik Ioffe:






























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