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Soils of Seabee Hook, Cape Hallett, northern Victoria Land, Antarctica

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 November 2006

Erica H. Hofstee
Affiliation:
Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of Waikato, Private Bag 3105, Hamilton, New Zealand
Megan R. Balks
Affiliation:
Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of Waikato, Private Bag 3105, Hamilton, New Zealand
Fiona Petchey
Affiliation:
Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Waikato Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory, University of Waikato, Private Bag 3105, Hamilton, New Zealand
David I. Campbell
Affiliation:
Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of Waikato, Private Bag 3105, Hamilton, New Zealand

Abstract

The soils of the Seabee Hook area of Cape Hallett in northern Victoria Land, Antarctica, were mapped and characterized. Seabee Hook is a low-lying gravel spit of beach deposits built up by coastal currents carrying basalt material from nearby cliffs. Seabee Hook is the location of an Adélie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) colony which influences the soils with additions of guano, dead birds, eggshells and feathers. A soil-landscape model was developed and a soil association was identified between the soils formed on mounds (relict beach ridges) favoured by penguins for nests (Typic Haplorthel) and the soils in the areas between the mounds (Typic Haplorthel/Typic Aquorthel). Soils formed on the mounds inhabited by penguins contained guano in the upper 50 cm, overlying sub-rounded beach-deposited gravel and sand. Soils between mounds had a thin veneer (< 5 cm) of guano overlying basaltic gravelly sand similar to that in the lower parts of the mound soils. The soils had high concentrations of nitrogen, organic carbon, phosphorus, cadmium, zinc, copper, and increased electrical conductivity, within horizons influenced by penguin guano. Five buried penguin bones were collected from the base of soil profiles and radiocarbon dated. The dates indicate that Seabee Hook has been colonized by penguins for at least 1000 years.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Antarctic Science Ltd 2006

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