Structure and Dynamics of the Southern Ocean Ecosystem, Pelagic Ecosystem Studies (1980-)

Data set information

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Data holding centreBritish Antarctic Survey
CountryUnited Kingdom  United Kingdom
Time periodFrom 1980 onwards
Geographical area

Southern Ocean focused around the Antarctic Peninsula, Weddell and Bellingshausen Seas; South Georgia


Chlorophyll pigment concentrations in water bodies; Fish abundance in water bodies; Fish taxonomy-related abundance per unit area of the bed; Fish non taxonomy-related abundance per unit volume of the water column; Salinity of 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; Phytoplankton generic abundance in water bodies; Acoustic backscatter in the water column; Water column photography; Phytoplankton taxonomic abundance in water bodies


Bathythermographs; single-beam echosounders; underwater cameras; plankton recorders; plankton nets; pelagic trawl nets; discrete water samplers; salinity sensor; acoustic backscatter sensors; CTD


The overall science theme of the Marine Life Sciences Division of the British Antarctic Survey is the Structure and Dynamics of the Southern Ocean Ecosystem. Understanding the structure and dynamics of this ecosystem is a particularly urgent requirement given that it is probably a major sink for carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases and that its living resources are already being exploited. The Southern Ocean has a history of uncontrolled exploitation, first of fur seals and then whales. Several nations are now exploiting intermediate levels of the food web (krill, squid and fish). Until there is a quantitative understanding of the major energy pathways and principal interactions between components it will be impossible to use living resources wisely and conserve the ecosystem. Within the Pelagic Ecosystem Studies programme, field and laboratory research are combined with numerical modelling studies in an investigation of the Southern Ocean ecosystem. This encompasses all main components of the plankton and nekton together with their abiotic environment, in an attempt to evaluate possible impacts from natural and man-induced changes. The focus is mainly on those groups important as living resources, including krill squid and fish. Current areas of research include: ocean carbon cycling (as part of the UK Biogeochemical Ocean Flux Study (BOFS)); biogeochemistry; krill ecology; secondary production; resource biology; fish biology; cephalopod biology. A wide variety of data have been collected in support of this programme and data collection dates back to 1980. Parameters measured include biological and physical oceanography, ichthyoplankton, ichthyonekton and zooplankton composition, both from net hauls and acoustic surveys, and data supporting biogeochemical research.

OriginatorsBritish Antarctic Survey
OrganisationBritish Antarctic Survey
AvailabilityBy negotiation
ContactAEDC Manager

British Antarctic Survey
High Cross Madingley Road

United Kingdom

Telephone+44 1223 251400
Collating centreBritish Oceanographic Data Centre
Local identifier1046001
Global identifier623
Last revised2009-10-15