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Antarctic marine biodiversity--what do we know about the distribution of life in the Southern Ocean?

Griffiths HJ - PLoS ONE (2010)

Bottom Line: The location of scientific bases heavily influences the distribution pattern of sample and observation data, and the logistical supply routes are the focus of much of the at-sea and pelagic work.Taxa such as mollusks and echinoderms are well represented within existing datasets with high numbers of georeferenced records.Other taxa, including the species-rich nematodes, are represented by just a handful of digital records.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, United Kingdom. hjg@bas.ac.uk

ABSTRACT
The remote and hostile Southern Ocean is home to a diverse and rich community of life that thrives in an environment dominated by glaciations and strong currents. Marine biological studies in the region date back to the nineteenth century, but despite this long history of research, relatively little is known about the complex interactions between the highly seasonal physical environment and the species that inhabit the Southern Ocean. Oceanographically, the Southern Ocean is a major driver of global ocean circulation and plays a vital role in interacting with the deep water circulation in each of the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans. The Census of Antarctic Marine Life and the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research Marine Biodiversity Information Network (SCAR-MarBIN) have strived to coordinate and unify the available scientific expertise and biodiversity data to improve our understanding of Southern Ocean biodiversity. Taxonomic lists for all marine species have been compiled to form the Register of Antarctic Marine Species, which currently includes over 8,200 species. SCAR-MarBIN has brought together over 1 million distribution records for Southern Ocean species, forming a baseline against which future change can be judged. The sample locations and numbers of known species from different regions were mapped and the depth distributions of benthic samples plotted. Our knowledge of the biodiversity of the Southern Ocean is largely determined by the relative inaccessibility of the region. Benthic sampling is largely restricted to the shelf; little is known about the fauna of the deep sea. The location of scientific bases heavily influences the distribution pattern of sample and observation data, and the logistical supply routes are the focus of much of the at-sea and pelagic work. Taxa such as mollusks and echinoderms are well represented within existing datasets with high numbers of georeferenced records. Other taxa, including the species-rich nematodes, are represented by just a handful of digital records.

Show MeSH
The rate of species description and biological research in the Southern Ocean through time.The history of Antarctic marine biological research (red arrows) plotted with the increase of new species descriptions for the region over time.
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pone-0011683-g005: The rate of species description and biological research in the Southern Ocean through time.The history of Antarctic marine biological research (red arrows) plotted with the increase of new species descriptions for the region over time.

Mentions: The economic exploitation of Antarctica's marine resources dates back to the eighteenth century [18]. However, scientific research into the marine ecosystem only began in the mid-nineteenth century. Expeditions such as Challenger, Belgica, and the Discovery (Figure 5) were among the first to catalog the benthos and plankton and became the foundation of modern taxonomy in the region. Recent advances in technology, such as scuba diving, underwater video footage, ice-capable research vessels, and remotely operated vehicles, have increased the rate of new species discovery (Figure 5). Molecular genetic techniques are revealing many established species to be, rather, groups of morphologically similar, but genetically distinct, cryptic species [19]. The age of marine biological exploration in Antarctica continues, as dedicated cruises sample its remotest and deepest areas for the first time under the auspices of the recent International Polar Year (IPY) in 2007–08 and CAML.


Antarctic marine biodiversity--what do we know about the distribution of life in the Southern Ocean?

Griffiths HJ - PLoS ONE (2010)

The rate of species description and biological research in the Southern Ocean through time.The history of Antarctic marine biological research (red arrows) plotted with the increase of new species descriptions for the region over time.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2914006&req=5

pone-0011683-g005: The rate of species description and biological research in the Southern Ocean through time.The history of Antarctic marine biological research (red arrows) plotted with the increase of new species descriptions for the region over time.
Mentions: The economic exploitation of Antarctica's marine resources dates back to the eighteenth century [18]. However, scientific research into the marine ecosystem only began in the mid-nineteenth century. Expeditions such as Challenger, Belgica, and the Discovery (Figure 5) were among the first to catalog the benthos and plankton and became the foundation of modern taxonomy in the region. Recent advances in technology, such as scuba diving, underwater video footage, ice-capable research vessels, and remotely operated vehicles, have increased the rate of new species discovery (Figure 5). Molecular genetic techniques are revealing many established species to be, rather, groups of morphologically similar, but genetically distinct, cryptic species [19]. The age of marine biological exploration in Antarctica continues, as dedicated cruises sample its remotest and deepest areas for the first time under the auspices of the recent International Polar Year (IPY) in 2007–08 and CAML.

Bottom Line: The location of scientific bases heavily influences the distribution pattern of sample and observation data, and the logistical supply routes are the focus of much of the at-sea and pelagic work.Taxa such as mollusks and echinoderms are well represented within existing datasets with high numbers of georeferenced records.Other taxa, including the species-rich nematodes, are represented by just a handful of digital records.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, United Kingdom. hjg@bas.ac.uk

ABSTRACT
The remote and hostile Southern Ocean is home to a diverse and rich community of life that thrives in an environment dominated by glaciations and strong currents. Marine biological studies in the region date back to the nineteenth century, but despite this long history of research, relatively little is known about the complex interactions between the highly seasonal physical environment and the species that inhabit the Southern Ocean. Oceanographically, the Southern Ocean is a major driver of global ocean circulation and plays a vital role in interacting with the deep water circulation in each of the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans. The Census of Antarctic Marine Life and the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research Marine Biodiversity Information Network (SCAR-MarBIN) have strived to coordinate and unify the available scientific expertise and biodiversity data to improve our understanding of Southern Ocean biodiversity. Taxonomic lists for all marine species have been compiled to form the Register of Antarctic Marine Species, which currently includes over 8,200 species. SCAR-MarBIN has brought together over 1 million distribution records for Southern Ocean species, forming a baseline against which future change can be judged. The sample locations and numbers of known species from different regions were mapped and the depth distributions of benthic samples plotted. Our knowledge of the biodiversity of the Southern Ocean is largely determined by the relative inaccessibility of the region. Benthic sampling is largely restricted to the shelf; little is known about the fauna of the deep sea. The location of scientific bases heavily influences the distribution pattern of sample and observation data, and the logistical supply routes are the focus of much of the at-sea and pelagic work. Taxa such as mollusks and echinoderms are well represented within existing datasets with high numbers of georeferenced records. Other taxa, including the species-rich nematodes, are represented by just a handful of digital records.

Show MeSH