Future of the Environment

From arm-sized worms to the Screaming Sixties, this is everything to know about the Southern Ocean

Penguins are one of Antarctica's most well-known species. Image: REUTERS/Pauline Askin

Ceridwen Fraser

Associate professor, University of Otago

Christina Hulbe

Professor, University of Otago School of Surveying

Craig Stevens

Associate Professor in Ocean Physics, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research

Huw Griffiths

Marine Biogeographer, British Antarctic Survey


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Future of the Environment

The Spilhaus projection shows the connect nature of the world's ocean basins Image: Spilhaus ArcGIS project, CC BY-ND
The Southern Ocean is our planet’s primary storage of heat and carbon. Image: Crag Stevens
Strong westerly winds and the circumpolar current create massive waves in the Southern Ocean. Image: Craig Stevens
Ocean currents with different properties mix, rise and sink. Image: Craig Stevens
Argo probes measure salinity and temperature. Image: NIWA/Daniel Jones
The RV Polarstern battles through a storm in the Southern Ocean. Image: Huw Griffiths
Algae growing on the underside of sea ice. Image: Andrew Thurber
Antarctic krill is a key species in the Antarctic marine ecosystem. Image: British Antarctic Survey
An Antarctic hydrothermal vent on the East Scotia Ridge. The image was taken by a remotely operated vehicle during the ChEsSO expedition. Image: chEsSO/NERC
A selection of invertebrates commonly found by scientists diving at Rothera Station, Antarctica. Image: British Antarctic Survey
Marine invertebrates on the seafloor off the Antarctic coast. Image: Alfred Wegener Institute, OFOBS team
Chinstrap penguins on Deception Island. Image: Michelle LaRue
Many whale species depend on Antarctic ecosystems for summer feeding and migrate to warmer, lower latitudes for winter breeding Image: Huw Griffiths
An abandoned whaling station. Image: Ceridwen Fraser
Humans are changing Southern Ocean ecosystems in many ways, both directly (purple-blue arrows) and indirectly (red arrows). Image: Chown et al (2015) The changing form of Antarctic biodiversity. Nature, 522: 431-438, CC BY-ND
Antarctic ocean waters are warming dramatically. Image: Ceridwen Fraser
Southern bull kelp does not grow in the Antarctic, but it floats well and recent research has shown that it can drift to Antarctica, travelling tens of thousands of kilometres. Image: Author provided
Adélie penguins rest and breed on land, but go to sea to forage for food. Image: Michelle LaRue

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Related topics:

Future of the EnvironmentThe OceanRestoring ocean lifeClimate Change


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