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Analysis of the variation patterns of biogenic sterols as a result of environmental changes in the antarctic ecosystem over the past two decades.

Abstract

The Antarctic continent is widely recognized as one of the most pristine regions on the planet, due to its remote geographical location far from populated areas. However, in recent decades, the Antarctic Peninsula has experienced a significant increase in temperature, surpassing the global average. This temperature rise has led to the loss of glacier area and volume, resulting in greater discharge of continental material into the glacio-marine environment and affecting carbon dynamics in the region.In this context, sterols have emerged as important biogeochemical tools to understand the sources, transport, and fate of organic compounds in the marine environment. Additionally, they serve as indicators of primary production on different time scales. Therefore, this study aims to investigate the spatial and temporal distribution of biogenic sterols in surface sediment samples across the three main bays of Admiralty Bay, on King George Island, Antarctica, over the past two decades.Through this research, we seek to understand the role of climate change in the transfer of these compounds and, consequently, the potential effects of global warming in an environment particularly vulnerable to climate change, such as Antarctica. Furthermore, sampling methods, analytical and instrumental analysis will be implemented and optimized, contributing to the global inventory of organic compounds.These investigations are aligned with the Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty on Environmental Protection, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations' Agenda 2030, and the expected outcomes for the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030). (AU)

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