Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search


Antarctic shores preserved by NZ scientists

Antarctic shores preserved by New Zealand scientists

New Zealand scientists have been working with scientists from the US to make sure our Antarctic shores are safe for future generations.

"How our activities degrade the Antarctic environment is of great concern," said research leader Dr Jackie Aislabie.

"In particular, the contamination of soils from fuel spills has been identified as a major concern.

"Accidental fuel spills on land occur mainly near scientific stations, where storage and refuelling of aircraft and vehicles can result in spills, and were a consequence of drilling activities.

"Given the lack of information on how oil spills effect these soils it is difficult to know how to clean them up or indeed whether it is best to leave them. For the last few years we have been investigating how Antarctic soils change after oil spills."

The research, an investment of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, has been comparing oil spill sites with nearby control sites that are oil-free. These studies have been done using soils from around Scott Base, and on the mainland at Marble Point and Bull Pass in the Dry Valleys.

"In collaboration with scientists from the United States Department of Agriculture, climate stations were installed at three locations to make continuous measurements of soil temperature and moisture at a range of depths," said Dr Aislabie.

"We have been comparing properties of the soil, like the microbes they contain, water content, the temperature of the soils and soil chemistry.

"Over the next few years we will be concluding these comparisons, and those properties that we have identified as changing will be studied in an oil spillage trial. We plan to spill oil on soils at Scott Base and monitor how long it takes for changes to occur," said Dr Aislabie.

"At the conclusion of the trial we will either clean up the soil we have contaminated or return it to New Zealand for disposal. All the information we have collected will be used to develop protocols for investigating oil spill sites.

"To make the information we are collecting more usable it is being collated into a Geographic Information System (GIS) and associated database."

For further information:

Jackie Aislabie, Tel 07-858-3713 email

Madeleine Setchell, Foundation for Research, Science and Technology Tel 04 9177 806, Mobile 025 40 60 40,,

© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Media Mega Merger: StuffMe Hearing Argues Over Moveable Feast

New Zealand's two largest news publishers are appealing against the Commerce Commission's rejection of the proposal to merge their operations. More>>


Approval: Northern Corridor Decision Released

The approval gives the green light to construction of the last link of Auckland’s Western Ring Route, providing an alternative route from South Auckland to the North Shore. More>>


Crown Accounts: $4.1 Billion Surplus

The New Zealand Government has achieved its third fiscal surplus in a row with the Crown accounts for the year ended 30 June 2017 showing an OBEGAL surplus of $4.1 billion, $2.2 billion stronger than last year, Finance Minister Steven Joyce says. More>>


Mycoplasma Bovis: One New Property Tests Positive

The newly identified property... was already under a Restricted Place notice under the Biosecurity Act. More>>

Accounting Scandal: Suspension Of Fuji Xerox From All-Of-Government Contract

General Manager of New Zealand Government Procurement John Ivil says, “FXNZ has been formally suspended from the Print Technology and Associated Services (PTAS) contract and terminated from the Office Supplies contract.” More>>