ANTARCTIC RESEARCH SERIES, VOL. 70, PP. 401-415, 1996
Marine disturbance: Contaminants
Contaminant inventories, sources, transport and depositional processes, and potential biological impacts along the Antarctic
Peninsula are summarized and discussed. In general, contaminants along the Peninsula have not been thoroughly or systematically
studied. When reported, the most frequently measured contaminants are hydrocarbons, chlorinated organic compounds and metals.
The greatest perturbations of the peninsular environment are related to the presence of humans and are generally local in
extent (100's of meters). All stations studied to date exhibit a “halo” of contaminants, primarily hydrocarbons and trace
metals. Catastrophic releases of contaminants have occurred (i.e., the Bahia Paraiso diesel fuel spill in Arthur Harbor). Long distance atmospheric transport of contaminants to Antarctica appears to be a minor
input and the resultant concentrations are expected to be far below known thresholds for toxic or lethal biological effects.
Measures of biological response, both inducible enzymes and metabolite formation, demonstrate that organisms are being exposed
and have responded to this exposure in close proximity to a scientific station in Arthur Harbor, Anvers Island. Based on the
available data, the peninsula appears to be relatively pristine and exhibits contaminant accumulation and measurable biological
responses in close proximity to human settlements (i.e., stations).
Citation: Kennicutt, M. C., II, and