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23 de February de 2016

Important meeting of polar scientists held in Cerro Castillo

An important group of members of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), whose primary focus is the integrated study of the sub-Antarctic region and its interaction with Antarctica, met in Cerro Castillo, Province of Ultima Esperanza, last January. The meeting gathered a multidisciplinary group of twelve people from the United States, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia and Chile.

During the encounter, the participants discussed the most relevant questions to answer in the forthcoming years, giving priority to Long Term Ecological Research (LTER), and the lack of these measuring instruments in the sub-Antarctic regions.

Dr. Marcelo Leppe, Head of the Scientific Department of the Chilean Antarctic Institute (INACH) and one of the hosts of this Meeting, pointed that “in the sub-Antarctic region, despite being an area where the influence of the Southern Ocean is predominant, there is human habitation on islands and there are nations that have sovereignty in this region, so it becomes more complex to develop integrated studies. There is an impact that exceeds two hundred years of human activity”.

The INACH investigator added that the definition of “sub-Antarctic region” varies according to the place and the discipline. In oceanographic studies, it is defined as the area between the polar front and the sub-tropical front, meaning the area located between the South Shetland Islands and Chiloé. “The sub-Antarctic region is subjected to the stresses of climate change, in addition to appearances of currents and intense fishing movement. There is also a very pristine and unique system given their confinement and isolation, so this meeting seeks to gather the most important questions about what is affecting the system”, said Leppe.

One of the objectives for this meeting is publishing a scientific article. For this, the participants will meet ‘virtually’ next March to discuss the scope and conclusions of this meeting, which will be published before the SCAR meeting to be held in August 2016.