Pygoscelis antarcticus (Hombron & Jacquinot, 1841) observed in Antarctica by timhoffm (licensed under

CCAMLR Ecosystem Monitoring Program (CEMP) indicator species

CCAMLR Ecosystem Monitoring Program (CEMP) and the CEMP indicator species

CCAMLR Ecosystem Monitoring Program (CEMP)


In order to provide information of the effects of fishing on dependent species, CCAMLR set up the CCAMLR Ecosystem Monitoring Program (CEMP) in 1989. The two aims of CEMP are to:

  1. detect and record significant changes in critical components of the marine ecosystem within the Convention Area, to serve as a basis for the conservation of Antarctic marine living resources
  2. distinguish between changes due to harvesting of commercial species and changes due to environmental variability, both physical and biological.

CEMP’s major function is to monitor the key life-history parameters of selected dependent species to detect changes in the abundance of harvested species. ‘Dependent species’ are marine predators for which species targeted by commercial fisheries are a major component of their diet. In the case of ‘krill-dependent species’ used in CEMP they include land-based species such as seals and penguins.

Indicator species

Suitable ‘indicator species’ should show measurable responses to changes in the availability of the harvested species, for example in changes in population size, breeding success, body mass and foraging behaviour. The spatial and temporal scales over which different CEMP parameters reflect changes in the status of the ecosystem may be over a few days within a relatively small distance from the breeding site (e.g. foraging trip duration and offspring growth rates) to months (e.g. breeding success) whereas indices of population size reflect a combination of multi-year factors including adult survival/condition and juvenile recruitment.

Pygoscelis adeliae - Time to take a leap of faith by Anne-Mathilde Thierry licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0

Adélie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae)

Adélie penguin is one of the most common penguin species along the Antarctic coast, and it is probably also the most studied species. They are obligate inhabitants of the pack ice that surrounds the Antarctic continent. They breed from late October to early March in colonies that are found on ice-free coastal areas. During this time, they alternate between foraging trips at sea and sojourns on land to incubate the egg or rear their two chicks. After breeding and moulting, they spend the winter in the pack ice. Provided by EG-BAMM, Anne-Mathilde Thierry

Pygoscelis antarcticus licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0

Chinstrap penguin (Pygoscelis antarcticus)

First described by Johan Reinhold Forster (1781), chinstrap penguins are an ice-intolerant species. They are one of the most easily recognisable penguin species, named for a distinctive, thin band of black feathers that runs across their chin, appearing as a chinstrap connecting black feathers across the crown of their skull and back against an otherwise white body. The penguin phylogenetic tree finds pygoscelid (“brush-tailed”) species branching off from a common ancestor of extant penguins anywhere between 20 and 38 million years ago, with chinstrap penguins diversifying from Adélies several million years later. Provided by EG-BAMM, Alexander E. Thornton & Andres Barbosa

Pygoscelis papua (J.R.Forster, 1781) observed in Antarctica by msr (licensed under

Gentoo penguin (Pygoscelis papua)

Gentoo penguins belong to the pygoscelid or brush tail penguins that also include Chinstrap and Adélie penguins. Males and females look very much alike but females tend to be slightly smaller, particularly with regard to the beak depth and length. Gentoo penguins stand about 60 cm tall with both feet on the ground and their heads pulled in. The colouration of the sexes is identical; head, throat, back and flippers are dark bluish-black while the chest, belly and underside of the flippers are white. The black and white body parts are clearly separated. Above the eyes are two white patches that often join across the crown. A dusting of white feathers is sprinkled around their head, nape and upper back. The top of the beaks and their tips are black but the sides are orange to red. The feet are pinkish-orange to red and the irises are brown. Provided by EG-BAMM, B. Wienecke

Eudyptes chrysolophus - Southern rockhopper penguins in group by Laurent Demongin licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0

Macaroni penguin (Eudyptes chrysolophus)

Southern rockhopper penguins belong to the crested penguins, the largest genus of the Spheniciforms including seven other species of Eudyptes - eastern rockhopper penguin Eudyptes filholi, northern rockhopper penguin Eudyptes moseleyi, macaroni penguin Eudyptes chrysolophus, royal penguin Eudyptes schlegeli, Fiordland penguin Eudyptes pachyrhynchus, Snares penguin Eudyptes robustus and erect-crested penguin Eudyptes sclateri. Pprovided by EG-BAMM, Maud Poisbleau & Laurent Demongin

Thalassarche melanophris - Black-browed albatross in flight by Jose Xavier licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0

Black-browed albatross (Thalassarche melanophris)

Thalassarche melanophris (first named Diomedea melanophris by Coenraad Jacob Temminck), is a large seabird of the albatross family, Diomedeidae; it is the most numerous, widespread and common member of its family around the Southern Ocean (particularly in the Atlantic sector). Provided by EG-BAMM, Richard Phillips & Jose Xavier

Thalassoica antarctica in flight by Sebastien Descamps licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0

Antarctic petrel (Thalassoica antarctica)

The Antarctic petrel is a medium-sized petrel with a dark brown and white plumage. The dark brown parts may fade during the breeding season to pale brown. Head, neck and back are chocolate brown. Bill is very dark to black. The upperwing is dark brown with a large white bar over the secondary and first primary feathers, which is visible in flight. The underwing and belly are largely white. The sexes are alike, although males are slightly larger. The weight of adult birds fluctuates throughout the year between 550-800g, with peak weight around egg laying. Provided by EG-BAMM, Jeroen CS Creuwels & Øystein Varpe

Daption capense subsp. australe Mathews, 1913 observed in Australia by Ian Melbourne (licensed under

Cape petrel (Daption capense)

During breeding season, Cape petrels feed around Antarctica’s shelf and during the winter they range further north, as far as Angola and the Galapagos Islands. They breed on many islands of Antarctica and the subantarctic islands, some going as far as the Auckland Islands, the Chatham Islands, Campbell Island. Their main breeding grounds are on the Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia, the Balleny Islands, the Kerguelen Islands, as well as islands in the Scotia Sea - ZipCode Zoo (3 July 2009)

Arctocephalus gazella (Peters, 1875) observed in Antarctica by Sebastián Lescano (licensed under

Antarctic fur seal (Arctocephalus gazella)

Antarctic fur seals are one of the most numerous mammalian predators in the Antarctic. The population was hunted to near extinction at the start of the 20th Century for its pelt. It has subsequently recovered with the current population estimated to be in the region of 3-4 million. Around breeding beaches small groups or individuals can often be seen porpoising through the water and will often stop to investigate ships or small boats. On land they are often aggressive and, during the breeding season, large aggregations can make access to beaches difficult. Provided by EG-BAMM, Ian Staniland