Ukrainian Students to Research Antarctica Ecology

They will examine images of penguins to monitor and predict the state of the Southern Ocean's ecosystem and Antarctic krill stocks


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A project to attract school children to Antarctica ecology research was launched yesterday in Ukraine, Nov. 1, the Ministry of Education and Science reports.

It will be implemented by the National Antarctic Scientific Center (NASC), together with the National Ecological and Naturalistic Youth Center.

These studies are part of an international program to monitor and predict the state of the Southern Ocean’s ecosystem and Antarctic krill stocks.

Vernadsky Station was one of the first to join this monitoring program.

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“The ultimate goal of the research is a scientifically sound answer to the question: does the krill population really decrease dramatically and needs protection as some eco-activists warn, or krill can be caught unconditionally, as industrialists convinced. Calculating krill in the ocean is very difficult. Therefore, scientists from different countries have agreed to use the state of penguin populations as a kind of ‘barometer’ for krill stocks, because krill is the main food for penguins in Antarctica. Judging by the success of reproduction of penguin nesting pairs and the survival of chicks, it will be possible to assess the available food reserve, that is, krill stocks in a certain area,” said Evgen Dykyj, the acting head of the NASC of Ukraine.

Three cameras take images of penguins in the vicinity of Vernadsky Station. Several thousand pictures have accumulated that require processing and analysis. Scientists of the NASC decided to involve high school students to study the data.

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To do this, a special method has been developed. High school students will count the number of nests, the beginning and the end of nesting, the number of laid eggs, hatched chicks, and chicks that have grown and left the nest.

All this information will be put into a single database of the National Academy of Sciences. It will then be processed by scientists.

“This way, Ukrainian students will be able to put a small, but their own ‘brick’ to the construction of world science, to participate in a real not ‘educational’ international scientific project, to join in conserving the living nature of our planet,” Dykyj said.

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Source UATV
date 02.11.2018
categories Science
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