Publication Date

Fall 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Moss Landing Marine Laboratories


Stacy Kim


Antarctica, Anthropogenic Disturbance, Iceberg Scour, Infauna, Natural Disturbance

Subject Areas

Ecology; Climate change; Conservation biology


The purpose of this study was to explore the impact of icebergs on infaunal communities in McMurdo Sound, using cores taken from naturally occurring scours, experimental plots simulating iceberg disturbance, and undisturbed reference areas spanning a 24 year time period. Iceberg scours and experimental plots altered infaunal abundances, reduced diversity, and changed species compositions. Abundances were lower at inside scour locations, dominated by a suite of mobile crustaceans. Common sessile space-dominating species were higher at scour edges, suggesting that recolonization of scours occur inward from the edges. When compared to other samples from the McMurdo Sound exposed to varying degrees of anthropogenic disturbance and environmental conditions, iceberg scour samples had high levels of abundance and species richness, with reduced levels of diversity. These results suggest Antarctic benthic communities are resilient to episodic iceberg disturbance, yet lack the ability to cope with high levels of human-derived pollutants.