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IP088: Practical Biological Indicators of Human Impacts in Antarctica

ATCM XXIX and CEP IX 2006, Edinburgh, Scotland

Information Paper

IP088: Practical Biological Indicators of Human Impacts in Antarctica (with COMNAP)


Protection of the environment is a high priority for all nations that conduct science and operate in Antarctica. The Antarctic Treaty System, with its Agreed Measures for the Conservation of Fauna and Flora (1964) and its Protocol on Environmental Protection (1998), prescribes comprehensive protective measures and monitoring activities to assess outcomes. All signatories to the Antarctic Treaty pledge to uphold these principles in accordance with international requirements and domestic legislation regarding protection of the environment.

Over the past decade the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) and the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs (COMNAP) have been investigating the most practical and useful monitoring methods and design elements to determine the extent and significance of human impacts on the Antarctic to meet international and national obligations. In the course of this physical, chemical and biological measures have been considered in detail.

For the most recent discussions forty-four (44) participants from fourteen (14) countries gathered for two and a half days to discuss the status of biological indicators of human impact in Antarctica. The workshop was held in Bryan/College Station, Texas, USA from 16-18 March, 2005. The US National Science Foundation’s Office of Polar Programs, COMNAP, SCAR and Texas A&M University provided financial support to convene the workshop. This paper gives the workshop terms of reference, general discussions, key findings and recommendations.

ATCM - Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting
CEP - Committee for Environmental Protection
29th Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting
12 Jun 2006 - 23 Jun 2006