“This is a proposal Argentina is working on together with Chile and it’s being discussed in CCAMLR which is The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources. To adopt the MPA (Marine Protected Area) you need consensus from every country part of the CCAMLR so it’s quite the challenge. We have been working on this since 2012 and it’s come a long way but still, we don’t have an MPA – but it’s necessary to keep trying.” 25 countries as well as the European Union are involved in this mission. The MPA seeks to lessen the stress on the ecosystem and wildlife, thus enabling better recovery from climate change. Research shows that the Antarctic Peninsula is where the negative impact of climate change is greatest and it is also where the largest krill fishery operates.
As part of their research, Santos and her team study breeding and feeding ecology of penguins in Antarctica, focusing particularly on three species of penguin: chinstrap, gentoos and Adélies. While gentoos are increasing in number due to their flexible behaviour, Adélies and chinstraps are declining in population between 40 and 70 percent, notably due to the impact of climate change. This is one reason why Santos’ research is so important.