The Bonner Laboratory has state-of-the-art research facilities, an aquarium and dive facility complete with recompression chamber as well as offices and a library. During the Antarctic summer research teams from British Antarctic Survey, UK universities and international partners use the lab.
The Bonner Laboratory opened austral summer 1996–97. With its incorporated dive facility, it provides an excellent center for the study of terrestrial and marine biology. The scientific dive programme continues year-round with divers accessing the water through holes cut in the sea ice during the winter.
The Bonner Laboratory supports marine and terrestrial long-term monitoring programmes and a broad range of specific shorter-term studies, many of which are supported by boat and year-round diving.
Bi-weekly (weekly in winter) measurements of sea temperature, salinity, water chlorophyll content as well as major nutrients provide data for the Rothera Time Series (RaTS) project, which has been ongoing since 1997.
Monitoring of the skua population on Rothera Point has been ongoing since 1999. The initial intention was to monitor possible impacts of the station, but the data also provide useful indicators of local prey availability at sea, effects of changes in sea-ice coverage etc.
Short term studies vary more in their requirements and range from in-situ data collection to collection and preservation of biological samples – for laboratory studies in Rothera or for return to the UK to support BAS projects at Cambridge and science at collaborating institutes worldwide. Recent projects have included:
Assessing the impact of changing conditions (deglaciation, temperature rise) on the performance of local Antarctic macroalgae using PAM fluorometry and investigating the physiology of Antarctic macroalgae during the polar winter: how are they able to survive without light for a long period of time?
Investigating how resilient Antarctic benthic communities are to destructive ice scouring impact exacerbated by climate change. In particular, we monitored the recovery of a shallow near coast benthic ecosystem in Ryder Bay a decade after a period of catastrophic high frequency ice scouring affected more than 50 % of the sea floor. This is in connection with the IBIS project. Additionally, we compiled a food web model of the benthic ecosystem in Ryder Bay to estimate potential changes in food web structure with increasing ice-scour impact and are looking at how prolonged periods of high intensity disturbance affects competitive interactions in benthic secondary consumers.
Researching growth and seasonality in shallow Antarctic benthos, specifically for sea cucumbers, sponges and anemones. Using photogrammetry to measure growth in the Antarctic sponge Mycale acerata and the anemones Urticinopsis antarctica and Isotelia Antarctica and charting the seasonal physiology and diet of the sea cucumbers Heterocucumis steineni and Cucumaria georgiana. The aim is to relate the findings to the factors influencing the onset of summer feeding after winter dormancy.
Diving science projects at Rothera are varied and demanding and are at the cutting edge of polar marine biology.
Rothera Marine Biologist Nadia Frontier and Rothera Marine Assistant Ryan Mathews spoke about the work of the Bonner Laboratory and dive facility at Rothera Research Station during the Global Biodiversity …
Episode 6: Underwater Blue carbon capture, cold water gigantism, iceberg scouring, algal blooms…this episode covers a lot of ground! Rothera Field Guide Rob Taylor speaks with Aurelia Reichardt, Nadescha Zwerschke …
Scientific labs at British Antarctic Survey (BAS) in their Cambridge headquarters and at Rothera Research Station in Antarctica have achieved a sustainability award from the Laboratory Sustainability Efficiency Assessment (LEAF) …