Course Summary


Unit 1: Why Is the Antarctic Continent a cold desert?

The last great wilderness, the Antarctic land mass, covers almost one tenth of Earth’s surface and is the world’s coldest, driest and windiest continent.

Unit 2: What landforms feature In the Antarctic?

The Antarctic continent supports the greatest mass of ice in the world and a closer look reveals a great variety of ice formations and landform features. Volcanoes, glaciers, dry valleys and icebergs are a few of these features.

Unit 3: Are the flora and fauna of Antarctica unique?

The harsh environment makes it difficult for plants and animals to survive. Lichens and mosses are found on ice-free areas and the only permanent residents are microscopic invertebrates. However varieties of penguins and other seabirds and seals are regular visitors to the continent and the surrounding seas contain a rich and diverse marine life.

Unit 4: Who were the first people to explore the Antarctic Region?

Because of its isolation Antarctica was not settled by any indigenous people. Discoveries by Europeans were at first accidental but following the voyages of Captain James Cook more and more ships arrived looking for valuable resources. Later, scientific expeditions and land claims followed. Ancient thoughts, early explorers, Captain Cook, sealers, whalers and other explorers.

Unit 5: How do the world's nations cooperate In managing the Antarctic?

After World War II, international tension, the USA and Russian cold war and territorial claims between Argentina, Chile and Great Britain led to a new period of conflict in Antarctic history. Later a major co-ordinated effort by the world’s scientists led to the current period of peaceful international co-operation.

Unit 6: Are the Sub-antarctic Islands unique?

Between Latitude 50°S and the Antarctic continent are some of the world’s most remote and unique islands with their own characteristic climate, plant and animal life. For a hundred years they were exploited by humans with severe consequences for the natural environment and wildlife. Today the fauna and flora of many of these areas are fully protected.

Unit 7: How Were The Natural Resources Of The Region Exploited?

The living resources of the sub-Antarctic islands were exploited by sealers and whalers. Huge profits attracted more and more commercial activities and before long the profitable wildlife resources were near extinction.

Unit 8: Should The Antarctic Be A World Heritage Area?

Should the Antarctic region be more fully protected with greater international controls to preserve the unique features of the region and to prevent further exploitation of the whales, fish and krill that are still being harvested?