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sssi 34

SCAR Bulletin No 144, January 2002

Management Plan for Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) No. 34
Lions Rump, King George Island, South Shetland Islands

1. Description of Values to be Protected

The Area was originally designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest in Recommendation XVI-2 (1991, SSSI No. 34) after a proposal by Poland on the grounds that it contains diverse biota and geological features and is a representative example of the terrestrial, limnological, and littoral habitats of the maritime Antarctic. The Area is designated primarily to protect the site's ecological values. It is also valuable as a reference site with its diverse avian and mammalian Antarctic fauna, against which disturbance at other site can be measured.

The grounds are still relevant. There is rich lichen flora and frequent stands of Colobanthus quitensis and Deschampsia antarctica. There are colonies of Adelie Penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae), Gentoo Penguin (Pygoscelis papua) and Chinstrap Penguin (Pygoscelis antarctica) and breeding areas of nine other birds: Giant Petrel (Macronectes giganteus), Cape Pigeon (Daption capense), Wilson's Storm Petrel (Oceanites oceanicus), Black-bellied Storm Petrel (Fregatea tropica), Sheathbill (Chionis alba), McCormick's Skua (Catharacta maccormicki), Antarctic Skua (Catharacta antarctica), Dominican Gull (Larus dominicanus), and Antarctic Tern (Sterna vittata). Furthermore, Elephant Seals (Mirounga leonina), Weddell Seals (Leptonychotes weddelli), and Fur Seals (Arctocephalus gazella) breed on the beaches.

In the littoral zone of the Area approximately 13 taxa of benthic macroalgae are represented. The Rhodophyta are represented by 5 species, Chlorophyta by 5 species and Phaeophyta by 3 species. Macroalgae colonize King George Bay to depths of 90-100 m. Both considerable abundance and biomass values of benthic fauna were noted. Bivalve molluscs are clearly dominant. Both Amphipoda and Polychaeta contribute significantly to benthic fauna abundance. The species composition and proportion of endemics indicate that King George Bay is transitional between Subantarctic and coastal zone of the Antarctic continent.

The Area includes several features of geological interest, such as raised beaches, Tertiary lavas and tuffs with brown coal intercalations, and silicified wood fragments.

The Area takes its name from the distinctive rocky hill lying between the southern extremity of King George Bay and Lions Cove.

The values to be protected are those associated with an example of a site which has been subjected to minimal disturbance by human activity, except for occasional monitoring studies of the mammal and bird populations, and geological and geomorphological studies.

2. Aims and Objectives

Management of the Area aims to:

3. Management Activities

Ensure that the biological condition of the Area is adequately monitored, preferably by non-invasive methods, and that any sign-boards and boundary markers are serviced.

4. Period of Designation

The Area is designated for an indefinite period.

5. Maps

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6. Description of the Area

6.(i) Geographical co-ordinates, boundary markers and natural features

The site is located on the southern coast of King George Bay, King George Island, in the South Shetlands Islands. It is described as all the land and sea falling within the area bounded by the following co-ordinates:

62° 07'48''S, 58° 09'17''W;

62° 07'49''S, 58° 07'14''W;

62° 08'19''S, 58° 07'19''W;

62° 08'16''S, 58° 09'15''W.

The Area includes the littoral and sublittoral zones extending from the eastern end of Lajkonik Rock to the most northerly point of Twin Pinnacles. From this point the boundary extends to the easternmost end of the columnar plug of Lions Head to the east of White Eagle Glacier. On land, the Area includes the coast of raised beaches, freshwater pools and streams on the south side of King George Bay, around Lions Cove, and the moraines and slopes which lead to the lower ice tongue of White Eagle Glacier, then westward to a small moraine which protrudes through the ice cap south-east of Sukiennice Hills.

The ice-free area exhibits a range of geomorphological features, including beaches of various width and length, moraines, hills and inland rocks. The highest point rises to an altitude c. 190 m.

Geologically, Lions Rump consists of Tertiary lavas and tuff containing thin brown coal intercalations and petrified wood fragments. The front of White Eagle Glacier is marked by large, dome-shaped moraine ridges belonging to several Holocene stages of glacier advance and retreat.

Large numbers of penguins breed throughout the Area. There were: 7825 pairs of Adelie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) in 1995/96, 7 pairs of Chinstrap penguin (Pygoscelis antarctica) in 1995/96, and 2207 pairs of Gentoo Penguin (Pygoscelis papua) in 1995/96.

There are at least 9 other breeding species of bird.

Approximately 13 taxa of macroalgae were found in the littoral zone of the Area. The most common among them were: green alga (Monostroma hariotti), red algae (Georgiella confluens, Iridaea cordata and Leptosarca simplex), and brown algae (Adenocystis utricularis and Ascoseira mirabilis).

The lichen flora of the Area consists of 104 taxa. The most diverse genera are Caloplaca (16 species) and Buellia (7 species). The highest species richness was found in places with diversified habitats, e.g. with rocks, near penguin colonies or in places of bird perching. The lowest species richness was found in recently deglaciated terraine (young moraines) or in snowbeds. Liverworts have little importance in local plant communities. They most frequently occur in moss banks. Fungi are rare or uncommon. Knowledge of the Area freshwater algae is poor.

6 (ii) Restricted zones within the Area

None.

6 (iii) Location of structures within the Area

Removable caravan (belonging to Poland) functioning as a summer field laboratory for two persons.

6 (iv) Location of other Protected Areas within close proximity

Fildes Peninsula, SSSI No. 5 and SSSI No. 33, Ardley Island lie about 50 km west of Lions Rump. Potter Peninsula, SSSI No. 13 lies about 35 km to the west and Antarctic Specially Managed Area (ASMA), Admiralty Bay, King George Island (South Shetland Islands) containing the western shore of Admiralty Bay, SSSI No. 8, lies about 20 km to the west.

7. Permit Conditions

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Permits may be issued only by appropriate national authorities as designated under Annex V Article 7 of the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty.

Conditions for issuing a permit for the Area are that:

7 (i) Access to and movement within the Area

No helicopters or terrestrial vehicles are allowed within the Area. Overflights of the Area, either by helicopters or fixed wings aeroplanes must be offshore 250m. Helicopters should land only outside the Area.

Access to the Area from the sea must be to the west of the Area . No pedestrian routes are designated within the Area, but persons on foot should avoid walking on vegetated areas or disturbing wildlife whenever possible.

7 (ii) Activities which are or may be conducted within the Area, including restrictions on time and place

* Scientific research which cannot be conducted outside the Area, and which will not damage or interfere with any aspect of the Area's biological, geological, or aesthetic values.

* Essential management activities, including monitoring.

7 (iii) Installation, modification or removal of structures

No further structures are to be erected in the Area, or scientific equipment installed, except for essential scientific or management activities, as specified in the Permit. The temporary refuge will be removed when appropriate.

7 (iv) Location of the field camp

If camping in the Area, is necessary it should be close to the caravan. The caravan is normally available to two persons.

7 (v) Restrictions on materials and organisms which may be brought into the Area

No living animals or plant material shall be deliberately introduced into the Area.

No poultry products, including food products containing uncooked dried eggs, shall be taken into the Area.

Any chemical which may be introduced for compelling scientific purposes specified in the Permit, shall be removed from the Area at or before the conclusion of the activity for which the permit was granted.

Fuel, food and other materials are not to be stored in the Area except in support of activities for which the Permit has been granted. All such materials should be kept to a minimum, made secure against the elements and removed when no longer required.

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7 (vi) Taking or harmful interference within native flora and fauna

This is prohibited, except in accordance with a Permit. Any animal sampling or interference involved should be in accordance with the SCAR Code of Conduct for Use of Animal for Scientific Purpose in Antarctica, as a minimum standard.

7 (vii) Collection and removal of anything not brought into the Area by the Permit holder

Material may be collected or removed from the Area only in accordance with a Permit. Marine debris may be removed from the beaches of the Area. Exceptionally, dead specimens of fauna or flora may be removed for laboratory examination without a Permit.

7 (viii) Disposal of waste

All waste shall be removed from the Area, with the exception that human waste should be deposited in the sea.

7 (ix) Measures that may be necessary to ensure that the aims and objects of the Management Plan continue to be met

The Permit, or a copy, must be carried within the Area.

Permits may be granted to enter the Area to carry out biological monitoring and site inspection activities, which may involve the collection of small samples for analysis or audit, or to erect or maintain signpost, or protective measures.

Access to and movement within the Area shall, in any case, be limited in order to avoid disturbance to birds, and damage to vegetation and geological features.

7 (x) Requirements for reports

The principal Permit Holder for each issued Permit shall submit a report of activities conducted in the Area. The Visit Report form suggested by SCAR provides a suitable model. This report shall be submitted to the authority named in the Permit as soon as practicable, but no later than 6 months after the visit has taken place. Such reports should be stored indefinitely and made accessible to interested Parties, SCAR, CCAMLR and COMNAP if requested, to provide the documentation of human activities within the Area, which could be utilized for good management.

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Maps

Map A. Location of King George Island.

 

Map B. Lions Rump, SSSI No. 34, in relation to Antarctic Specially Managed Area (ASMA) and other SSSI`s on King George Island.

Map C. Lions Rump, SSSI No. 34.

1. cliffs and rocks
2. recent moraines and glaciers
3. lakes and streams
4. boundary of the SSSI No. 34
5. seal colony
6. penguin rookery
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Map D. Vegetation map of Lions Rump SSSI No. 34.

1. Ornithocoprophilous lichen communities.

2. Mosaic composed of communities with screes on the hill sides, moraine slopes and snowbeds with primary lichen communities; There are sparse saxicolous and terricolous lichens such as Lecanora polytropa, Rhizocarpon geographicum, Carbonea assenitiens and Leptogium puberulum. In moister areast he community with Leptogium puberulum, Staurothele gelida and Aspicilia sp. dominates.

3. Terricolous lichens communities with Usnea antarctica; A mosaic of communities with abundant of Usnea antarctica, Ochrolechia frigida, Psoroma hypnotum, Leptogium puberulum. There are also mosses and locally Deschamsia antarctica, Colobanthus quitensis. The communities develop on the tops of moraines and also on their gentle slopes.

4. Moraines with plants. Usually the youngest moraines with substratum.

5. Community of Drepanocladus uncinatus occurs on beaches, floristically poor.

6. Prasiola crispa and Deschamsia antarctica communities. The nitrophilous alga, Prasiola crispa dominates here in cover. Locally associated with tussocks of Deschampsia.
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Map E. Geological map of Lions Rump.

1. glacier margin

2. scarps

3. waterfall

4. Quaternary cover (moraines, alluvium, talus, recent and raised beaches, etc.)

5. faults (ticks on downthrown side)

6. Cape Syrezol (d - basaltic dyke, p - basaltic plug)

7. lava, tuffs and agglomerates

8. arkosic sandstone devoid of marine shells

9. basaltic sandstone, passing to conglomerate, with scattered dropstones

10. basaltic lava flows

11. basaltic hyaloclastite and basaltic conglomerate/breccias

12. fine- to medium-grained sandstone

13. basaltic conglomerate and sandstone, and basaltic hyaloclastite

14. coarse diamictite

15. basaltic lava with columns 1-3 m in diameter

16. basaltic lave flow and tuffs

17. agglomerate

18. hypersthene-augite-andesite

19. agglomerate and shale with coal

20. augite-andesite

21. tuff agglomerate and clay

22. tuff agglomerate and clay

23. tuff agglomerate and clay

24. tuff-shale with feldspar-rich sand and conglomerate interactions, with coal and petrified wood in the lower part

25. tuff-shale with feldspar-rich sand and conglomerate interactions, with coal and petrified wood in the lower part

26. vesicular andesite