Graham Land and Palmer Archipelago

The greenest part of Antarctica; volcanoes, penguins, and a melting ice shelf

Map boundaries: 60 to 70 degrees South; 60 to 80 degrees West

Countries: Antarctic Treaty Secretariat (stations operated by Argentina, Chile, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States)


The Antarctic Peninsula sticks out into the flow of the Southern Ocean around Antarctica and causes upwellings, creating a highly productive marine ecosystem, noted for penguins and marine mammals. East of the peninsula, the Larsen Ice Shelf is breaking up on the edges. The Wordie Ice Shelf, formerly in southeastern Marguerite Bay, had melted by 2009. In the South Shetland Islands, Deception Island volcano and Livingston Island harbor Antarctic flora and fauna while providing spectacular volcanic scenery. Much of the scientific research is situated around Anvers Island, where Palmer Station is located. Vascular plants are found as far south as Lagotellerie Island, near 68 degrees South.

Terrestrial Ecoregions

AN 1101, Marielandia Antarctic tundra. Found in Graham Land, Palmer Land, Palmer Archipelago, Biscoe Islands, and Marguerite Bay islands. Ice-free areas contain a tundra cushion of moss, lichens, and two flowering plants—the Antarctic hairgrass and Antarctic pearlwort.

AN 1103, Scotia Sea Islands tundra. Found in South Shetland Islands. A tundra of mosses, lichens, and algae. Islands contain important seabird, penguin and seal rookeries.

Marine Ecoregions of the World

Southern Ocean Realm

Scotia Sea Province

222. South Shetland Islands. Found off northern Antarctic Peninsula

223. Antarctic Peninsula. Found west off Graham land and along Nordenskjold Coast.

Continental High Arctic Province

227. Weddell Sea. Found on east side of Antarctic Peninsula and under Larsen Ice Shelf

228. Amundsen/Bellingshausen Sea. Found west of Alexander Island and surround Rothschild and Charcot Islands.

Points of interest:

Adelaide Island. Found to west of Graham Land. Rothera Point is Antarctic Specially Protected Area 129, established to monitor human impact of the British Rothera Station. Ecoregions 1101 and MEOW 223.

Anvers Island Southwest and Palmer Basin. Antarctic Specially Managed Area 7. The Antarctic circumpolar current upwells offshore and creates a highly productive marine ecosystem which attracts whales, seals and other marine life. Anvers Island is noted for nesting cape petrels, Antarctic blue-eyed shags, kelp gulls, and Antarctic terns. This area is a major tourist stop. Litchfield Island is specially protected area 113 because of a diverse bird assemblage and large extensive moss carpet. Biscoe Point is specially protected area 139 and contains Antarctic hairgrass and Antarctic pearlwort, along with Adelie and gentoo penguins. South Bay and Doumer Island are specially protected area 146, a marine ecology research area. Ecoregions AN 1101 and MEOW 223.

Bransfield Straight. Western Bransfield Straight Specially Protected Area 152, is a benthic fauna research area. Low Island harbors breeding chinstrap penguins. Ecoregions AN 1103 and MEOW 222.

Cierva Point. Found on Danco Coast. Antarctic Specially Protected Area 134 was established to protect breeding colonies of 12 birds, including Chinstrap penguin, gentoo penguin, Southerngiant petrel, Antarctic shag, sheathbill, skuas, gulls, and terns. Ecoregions AN1101 and MEOW 223.

Dallman Bay. Eastern Dallman Bay Specially Protected Area 153 is a benthic fauna research area and important habitat area for juvenile fish. Brabant Island harbors Chinstrap pengins. Ecoregion AN1101 and MEOW 223.

Deception Island. Specially Managed Area 4 and Antarctic Specially Protected Area 140. A unique ocean- flooded caldera and a glaciated eastern coastline with steaming beaches. Vessels can sail into the center of a volcano. The volcano erupted from 1967 to 1970. Land areas support moss, liverwort, bryophytes, lichen, and Antarctic pearlwort in its most extensive concentration. An intertidal lagoon with hot springs supports brackish water algae. The world’s largest colony of chinstrap penguins is also found on the island. Ecoregions AN1103 and MEOW 222.

Dion Islands, including Avian and Emperor Island. Emperor Island is Antarctic Specially Protected Area 107 and Avian Island is number 117. Emperor contains the only colony of emperor penguins on the west side of the Antarctic peninsula. Avian contains breeding seabirds ,petrel, and cormorants and one of the largest breeding colonies of Adelie penguins. Ecoregions AN1101 and MEOW 223.

Green Island. Antarctic Specially Protected Area 108. Found off Graham Coast. Moss turf on northern slopes, penguins, and blue-eyed cormorants. Ecoregion AN1101 and MEOW 223.

Lagotellerie Island. Found in Marguerite Bay. Antarctic Specially Protected Area 115. Noted for large stands of Antarctic pearlwort, hairgrass, and mosses. Also penguins and skuas. Ecoregions AN1101 and MEOW 223.

Livingston Island. This northernmost and warmest Antarctic Peninsula island contains several protected areas. The Byers Peninsula is Antarctic Specially Protected Area 126, known for southern elephant seals and fur seals, and Jurassic and Cretaceous sedimentary strata. Cape Shirreff and San Telmo Island are Specially Protected Area 149, preserving southern elephant seals, Antarctic fur seals, and breeding penguins. Fossils of Upper Triassic and Lower Jurassic megaflora and petrified wood can be found in the moraines of glaciers on Livingston Island. Ecoregions AN1103 and MEOW 222.

Llemand Fjord. Found in Loubet Coast. Fed by three glaciers, including 48-km long Sharp Glacier. Ecoregion MEOW 223.

Marion Nunatuks. Antarctic Specially Protected Area 170, located on Charcot Island, is the southernmost occurrence of several lichens, the southernmost colony of Adelie penguins, and contains lichen and moss flora. Ecoregions AN 1101 and MEOW 228.

Neny Fjord. Found on Falleries Coast. A cliff at the entrance gives the appearance of the Roman Numeral IV.

Palmer Station Long Term Ecological Research Site. Found on Anvers Island. Research focuses on Antarctic coastal marine ecosystems, terrestrial sea bird nesting sites, and regional oceanography. Ecoregions AN 1101 and MEOW 223.

Seal Nunatuks. Found off Oscar II Coast. A group of 16 islands emerging from the Larsen Ice Shelf; all pyroclastic cones. Ecoregion AN1101 and MEOW 227.

Wiencke Island, located between Anvers Island and Graham Land. On the west side is Port Lockroy and Goudier Island, which is Historic Site and Monument No. 61 under the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat.


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