Oceanites is a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization founded by Ron Naveen in 1987. Its mission is utilizing the power of science, policy, and education programs to monitor and assess penguins, the Southern Ocean ecosystem, and our fragile, changing planet.
On the science side, Oceanites manages and oversees the seminal, long-running Antarctic Site Inventory project (ASI), which, since 1994, has been monitoring penguin population changes in the vastly warming Antarctic Peninsula.
Regarding policy, Ron has served as a public sector adviser on the US Delegation to Antarctic Treaty Meetings since 1992. Notably, the comprehensive, 20-year old ASI database is the principal reference relied upon by Antarctic Treaty nations in adopting site management guidelines for all Antarctic visitors.
As to education, data and information about the ASI are available on the Oceanites website (www.oceanites.org) and the news/content Oceanites Feed site (http://oceanitesfeed.wordpress.com/), as well as the Oceanites iPhone App, which is freely downloadable from Appleʼs iTunes Store. In addition, Ron and Oceanites have been doing SKYPE Virtual Classroom sessions with schoolchildren since 2011. Further, it is expected that the forthcoming documentary film about Ron and the ASI — THE PENGUIN COUNTERS — will raise awareness nationally and worldwide about our changing, warming planet.
Monitoring climate and penguin population changes
Significantly, the ASI is the only nongovernmental, publicly supported, scientific research project working in Antarctica — and the only project monitoring penguin population changes across the entirety of the Antarctic Peninsula. In that region, it’s warming as fast as anywhere else on Earth (over the last 60 years, by 3˚C./5˚F. year-round and by 5˚C./9˚F. in the austral winter).
In the Peninsula, penguins are the proverbial "canaries in the coal mine,” whose populations are radically changing. Gentoo penguins are significantly increasing their numbers and expanding their range, while Adélie and chinstrap numbers are plunging significantly.
On the cutting edge of science, implementing the Antarctic Treaty
With the advent of the 1991 Antarctic Environmental Protocol, the ASI was born. The Protocol required environmental impact assessments about all human activities and, to that point, no project had begun compiling the necessary site-specific data and information for such critical assessments. Oceanites addressed this need, with ASI fieldwork commencing in November 1994. The ASI’s 21st consecutive field season commences in November 2014.
In 21 seasons through February 2015, the ASI now has made 1,582 site visits and collected data at 226 Antarctic Peninsula locations, building a comprehensive database that implements the Protocol and which everyone uses — from diplomats, other Antarctic scientists, and the environmental community, to expedition tour operators and concerned citizens. ASI results and analyses are reported annually at Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings.
Discerning how Antarctic species are changing in abundance and relative abundance, and more importantly, identifying the factors driving these long-term changes, are the core efforts of Oceanites and the ASI.
These steps assist an improved understanding of the Antarctic ecosystem and climate change in this critical part of the world, and are essential for effective stewardship of Antarctica.
The Penguin Counters Documentary
In 2014, Getzels Gordon Productions will complete THE PENGUIN COUNTERS, a documentary film about Ron, penguins, and the work of the Antarctic Site Inventory. The film documents the work confirming the significant decline of chinstrap penguins in the Antarctic Peninsula region.
Publicly supported conservation of Antarctica
The 2015-16 field season will be the ASI’s 22nd field season — and we’d value your becoming ‘penguin supporters’ who assist and maintain this work. You may do so through the Oceanites website —
Utilizing the power of science, policy, and education programs to monitor and assess penguins, the Southern Ocean ecosystem, and our fragile, changing planet.