European Directory of Marine Environmental Data (EDMED)

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Data set name

Biological Investigations of Marine Antarctic Systems and Stocks (BIOMASS) Data Set (1980-1985)

Data holding centreBritish Antarctic Survey
CountryUnited Kingdom  United Kingdom
Time periodDecember 1980 - April 1981; October 1983 - May 1984; November 1984 - April 1985
Geographical area

The Southern Ocean, mainly the Antarctic Peninsula, Bransfield Strait, and the Prydz Bay sectors


Zooplankton and zoobenthos morphological parameters; Bird counts; Chlorophyll pigment concentrations in water bodies; Nitrate concentration parameters in the water column; Phosphate concentration parameters in the water column; Salinity of the water column; Silicate concentration parameters in the water column; Temperature of the water column; Zooplankton taxonomy-related abundance per unit volume of the water column; Zooplankton non taxonomy-related abundance per unit volume of the water column


Fluorometers; nutrient analysers; plankton nets; discrete water samplers; salinity sensor; manual biota samplers; observers


BIOMASS (Biological Investigations of Marine Antarctic Systems and Stocks) was a major multi-national scientific programme for the study of the Antarctic marine ecosystem and its living resources, with emphasis on krill (Euphausia superba). It was co-sponsored by The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) and The Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR) in collaboration with the International Association for Biological Oceanography and the Advisory Committee on Marine Resources Research of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN. Data were collected during 34 cruises, involving 13 countries, during 3 field experiments. The First International BIOMASS Experiment (FIBEX), November 1980 to April 1981; The Second International BIOMASS Experiment (SIBEX), Part 1, October 1983 to April 1984 and Part 2, November 1984 to April 1985. The aim of FIBEX was to carry out a quasi-synoptic survey over a wide area of the South Atlantic, Indian Ocean and Pacific sectors of the Southern Ocean. SIBEX 1 and 2 were designed to produce a temporal sequence of observations focused on much smaller areas of the Bransfield Strait and Prydz Bay regions. Data were collected on krill distribution from acoustic surveys and krill population structure from net-hauls. Supporting data from ichthyoplankton net-hauls, oceanographic stations (temperature, salinity, nutrients and chlorophyll-a) and observations of sea-birds at sea were also collected. Data were collated and standardised by the BIOMASS Data Centre, at the British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK. The validation and correction of the data were carried out during data analysis workshops, by the BIOMASS scientists who collected the data. The majority of the BIOMASS data have been utilized during BIOMASS workshops. However, some have not been used and must be regarded as unvalidated. The documentation accompanying the BIOMASS data set lists the known problems and validation status of the data. At the end of the BIOMASS Programme, the BIOMASS data were made freely available to any researchers. This is on the understanding that due acknowledgement to the BIOMASS Programme and the original data collectors is made in any resulting publications.

OriginatorsBritish Antarctic Survey

El-Sayed, S. (1994) Southern Ocean Ecology: The BIOMASS Perspective., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

OrganisationBritish Antarctic Survey
AvailabilityCommercial charge; organisation
ContactAEDC Manager

British Antarctic Survey
High Cross Madingley Road

United Kingdom

Telephone+44 1223 251400
Collating centreBritish Oceanographic Data Centre
Local identifier1046007
Global identifier628
Last revised2009-10-15