Special Section on the 18th International Conference on Environmental Indicators

Ecosystem evolution of seal colony and the influencing factors in the 20thcentury on Fildes Peninsula,West Antarctica

Jing Huang , Liguang Sun , Xinming Wang , Yuhong Wang , Tao Huang


Received November 10, 2010,Revised March 23, 2011, Accepted , Available online

Volume 23,2011,Pages 1431-1436

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As the topmost predator in Antarctica, the seal is a unique indicator of Antarctic environment and climate changes. In this study, we collected a sediment core from the Fildes Peninsula of West Antarctica, and used cholesterol, cholestanol, epicoprostanol, coprostanol, and seal hair numbers as the proxy indicators of seal population size and phytol as of general vegetation, and we reconstructed the 20th century history of variation of the seal population and vegetation abundance on this island. The sealing industry in the early 20th century caused the dramatic decline of seal population, and the ban of seal hunting since the 1960s led to its recovery of seal population. The seal population during the past century was primarily controlled by human activities and krill density. The reconstructed relation between seal population and vegetation abundance may offer new insights into Antarctic environment and ecology.

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