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Glacier retreat on South Georgia and implications for the spread of rats

  • A.J. Cook (a1), S. Poncet (a2), A.P.R. Cooper (a1), D.J. Herbert (a1) and D. Christie (a3)...
Abstract
Abstract

Using archival photography and satellite imagery, we have analysed the rates of advance or retreat of 103 coastal glaciers on South Georgia from the 1950s to the present. Ninety-seven percent of these glaciers have retreated over the period for which observations are available. The average rate of retreat has increased from 8 Ma-1 in the 1950s to 35 Ma-1 at present. The largest retreats have all taken place along the north-east coast, where retreat rates have increased to an average of 60 Ma-1 at present, but those on the south-west coast have also been steadily retreating since the 1950s. These data, along with environmental information about South Georgia, are included in a new Geographic Information System (GIS) of the island. By combining glacier change data with the present distribution of both endemic and invasive species we have identified areas where there is an increased risk of rat invasion to unoccupied coastal regions that are currently protected by glacial barriers. This risk has significant implications for the surrounding ecosystem, in particular depletion in numbers of important breeding populations of ground-nesting birds on the island.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
acook@bas.ac.uk
Linked references
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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

J.E. Gordon , V.M. Haynes A. Hubbard 2008. Recent glacier changes and climate trends on South Georgia. Global and Planetary Change, 60, 7284.

W.S.B. Paterson 1981. The physics of glaciers, 2nd ed. Oxford: Pergamon, 380 pp.

B.C. Robertson N.J. Gemmell 2004. Defining eradication units to control invasive species. Journal of Applied Ecology, 41, 10421048.

J. Turner , S.R. Colwell , G.J. Marshall , T.A. Lachlan-Cope , A.M. Carleton , P.D. Jones , V. Lagun , P.A. Reid J. Jagovkina 2004. The SCAR READER project: towards a high-quality data base of mean Antarctic meteorological observations. Journal of Climate, 17, 28902898.

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Antarctic Science
  • ISSN: 0954-1020
  • EISSN: 1365-2079
  • URL: /core/journals/antarctic-science
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