BAS Dynamics and Management of Ocean Ecosystems

Lead Research Organisation: NERC British Antarctic Survey


In the oceans, interactive ecological systems play a key role in determining the Earth's climate. Antarctica is surrounded by the Southern Ocean, which connects the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans. Although cold and often ice-covered, biologically the Southern Ocean is extremely rich. Changes in the Antarctic environment affect the biological communities that live in this ocean in ways we do not fully understand. The Southern Ocean has a history of uncontrolled exploitation. To manage the globally significant communities of finfish, squid and krill, and avoid future long-term damage from over-fishing, scientific data are needed. This program worked to study the ocean ecosystems, particularly in the Scotia Sea area around South Georgia. it built on existing studies to try and predict how human activity and climate changes will affect this environment and how biological communities will respond. Objectives were: a) to develop a spatial analysis of how Southern Ocean ecosystems work; b) to quantify the importance of ocean currents in the transport of biological material in Southern Ocean food-webs; c) to examine how Southern Ocean ecosystems respond to variability and change, focusing on links between krill and predators; d) to develop an ecosystem approach to the management of Southern Ocean fisheries.


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BOYD I.L. (2002) Dispersal ecology

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Linse K (2006) Body size and growth of benthic invertebrates along an Antarctic latitudinal gradient in Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography