April 2018

The opening up of new areas for benthic colonisation is an important effect of the loss of ice in Antarctic Peninsula. Particularly, in Potter Cove (25 de Mayo/King George Island, South Shetland Islands), the remarkable retreat of several hundred metres of Fourcade Glacier uncovered a new rocky island. This new island offers an excellent opportunity to study colonisation and primary succession in polar coastal areas. Using photo-transects taken up to 30 m depth, an unexpected benthic assemblage characterised by high species richness, diversity and structural complexity with a well-developed three-dimensional structure was documented. Moreover, recorded densities of some filter-feeders groups were an order of magnitude higher than previous Antarctic reports on early colonisation. Here, a real photo of the island and a schematic drawing of the underwater topography. Pictures of different organisms (macroalgae, ascidians, sponges, sea-stars) found on the island are shown in the circles.​ Full paper here

Download high resolution file: ecog_41_04_cover.pdf