Antarctic Science

Cambridge Journals Online - CUP Full-Text Page
Antarctic Science (2010), 22:123-130 Cambridge University Press
Copyright © Antarctic Science Ltd 2009

Biological Sciences

Spatial patterns of tour ship traffic in the Antarctic Peninsula region

H.J. Lyncha1 c1, K. Crosbiea2, W.F. Fagana3 and R. Naveena4

a1 Biology Department, 3237 Biology-Psychology Building, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
a2 International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators, 11 S. Angell St 302, Providence, RI 02906, USA
a3 Biology Department, 3235 Biology-Psychology Building, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
a4 Oceanites, Inc, PO Box 15259, Chevy Chase, MD 20825, USA
Article author query
lynch hj [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
crosbie k [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
fagan wf [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
naveen r [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]


Commercial, shipborne tourism along the Antarctic Peninsula grew exponentially between 1989–90 and 2007–08, raising concern about the impact such activity may have on the environment of the region. Previous analyses of Antarctic tourism have focused narrowly on patterns of visitation and potential impacts at terrestrial landing sites. Here, using 19 years of passenger landing statistics and five years of reconstructed ship itineraries, we explore patterns of tourism activities in the Antarctic Peninsula region using a spatially explicit network theory analysis of ship itineraries. We find that passenger landings and marine traffic are highly concentrated at a few specific locations and that growth in tourism activity occurred disproportionally rapidly at these sites relative to growth in visitation of the Peninsula as a whole. We conclude by discussing the pros and cons of spatially concentrated tourism activity and the associated implications for ecosystem management.

(Received July 24 2009)

(Accepted September 22 2009)

(Online publication November 17 2009)

Key wordsAntarctica; environmental management; marine traffic; seabird conservation; tourism