Marine Biology

, Volume 160, Issue 9, pp 2295–2317

Patterns, processes and vulnerability of Southern Ocean benthos: a decadal leap in knowledge and understanding

Authors

    • Biocenter Grindel and Zoological MuseumUniversity of Hamburg
    • DZMB, German Centre for Marine Biodiversity Research, Senckenberg am Meer
    • National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research Ltd
    • National Oceanography CentreUniversity of Southampton Waterfront Campus European Way
  • Simone N. Brandão
    • Biocenter Grindel and Zoological MuseumUniversity of Hamburg
    • DZMB, German Centre for Marine Biodiversity Research, Senckenberg am Meer
  • Saskia Brix
    • DZMB, German Centre for Marine Biodiversity Research, Senckenberg am Meer
  • David K. A. Barnes
    • British Antarctic Survey
  • David A. Bowden
    • National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research Ltd
  • Jeroen Ingels
    • Marine Biology DepartmentGhent University
  • Florian Leese
    • Animal Ecology, Evolution and BiodiversityRuhr-Universität Bochum
  • Stefano Schiaparelli
    • Department of Earth, Environmental and Life Sciences (DISTAV)
  • Claudia P. Arango
    • Natural Environments ProgramQueensland Museum
  • Renuka Badhe
    • Scientific Committee on Antarctic ResearchScott Polar Research Institute
  • Narissa Bax
    • Institute for Marine & Antarctic Studies (IMAS)
  • Magdalena Blazewicz-Paszkowycz
    • Zakład Biologii Polarnej i OceanobiologiiUniwersytet Łódzki
  • Angelika Brandt
    • Biocenter Grindel and Zoological MuseumUniversity of Hamburg
  • Nils Brenke
    • DZMB, German Centre for Marine Biodiversity Research, Senckenberg am Meer
  • Ana I. Catarino
    • Laboratoire de Biologie Marine (CP160/15)Université Libre de Bruxelles
  • Bruno David
    • BiogéosciencesUniversité de Bourgogne, UMR CNRS 6282
  • Chantal De Ridder
    • Laboratoire de Biologie Marine (CP160/15)Université Libre de Bruxelles
  • Philippe Dubois
    • Laboratoire de Biologie Marine (CP160/15)Université Libre de Bruxelles
  • Kari E. Ellingsen
    • Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA)Fram Centre
  • Adrian G. Glover
    • Department of ZoologyThe Natural History Museum
  • Huw J. Griffiths
    • British Antarctic Survey
  • Julian Gutt
    • Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research
  • Kenneth M. Halanych
    • Department of Biological SciencesAuburn University
  • Charlotte Havermans
    • Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences
  • Christoph Held
    • Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research
  • Dorte Janussen
    • Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut und Naturmuseum, Sektion Marine Evertebraten I
  • Anne-Nina Lörz
    • National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research Ltd
  • David A. Pearce
    • British Antarctic Survey
  • Benjamin Pierrat
    • BiogéosciencesUniversité de Bourgogne, UMR CNRS 6282
  • Torben Riehl
    • Biocenter Grindel and Zoological MuseumUniversity of Hamburg
    • DZMB, German Centre for Marine Biodiversity Research, Senckenberg am Meer
  • Armin Rose
    • DZMB, German Centre for Marine Biodiversity Research, Senckenberg am Meer
  • Chester J. Sands
    • British Antarctic Survey
  • Anna Soler-Membrives
    • Unitat de ZoologiaUniversitat Autònoma de Barcelona
  • Myriam Schüller
    • Animal Ecology, Evolution and BiodiversityRuhr-Universität Bochum
  • Jan M. Strugnell
    • Department of Genetics, La Trobe Institute for Molecular ScienceLa Trobe University
  • Ann Vanreusel
    • Marine Biology DepartmentGhent University
  • Gritta Veit-Köhler
    • DZMB, German Centre for Marine Biodiversity Research, Senckenberg am Meer
  • Nerida G. Wilson
    • Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD
    • The Australian Museum
  • Moriaki Yasuhara
    • School of Biological Sciences, Swire Institute of Marine ScienceUniversity of Hong Kong
    • Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of Hong Kong
Review, Concept, and Synthesis

DOI: 10.1007/s00227-013-2232-6

Cite this article as:
Kaiser, S., Brandão, S.N., Brix, S. et al. Mar Biol (2013) 160: 2295. doi:10.1007/s00227-013-2232-6

Abstract

In the Southern Ocean, that is areas south of the Polar Front, long-term oceanographic cooling, geographic separation, development of isolating current and wind systems, tectonic drift and fluctuation of ice sheets amongst others have resulted in a highly endemic benthic fauna, which is generally adapted to the long-lasting, relatively stable environmental conditions. The Southern Ocean benthic ecosystem has been subject to minimal direct anthropogenic impact (compared to elsewhere) and thus presents unique opportunities to study biodiversity and its responses to environmental change. Since the beginning of the century, research under the Census of Marine Life and International Polar Year initiatives, as well as Scientific Committee of Antarctic Research biology programmes, have considerably advanced our understanding of the Southern Ocean benthos. In this paper, we evaluate recent progress in Southern Ocean benthic research and identify priorities for future research. Intense efforts to sample and describe the benthic fauna, coupled with coordination of information in global databases, have greatly enhanced understanding of the biodiversity and biogeography of the region. Some habitats, such as chemosynthetic systems, have been sampled for the first time, while application of new technologies and methods are yielding new insights into ecosystem structure and function. These advances have also highlighted important research gaps, notably the likely consequences of climate change. In a time of potentially pivotal environmental change, one of the greatest challenges is to balance conservation with increasing demands on the Southern Ocean’s natural resources and services. In this context, the characterization of Southern Ocean biodiversity is an urgent priority requiring timely and accurate species identifications, application of standardized sampling and reporting procedures, as well as cooperation between disciplines and nations.

Supplementary material

227_2013_2232_MOESM1_ESM.doc (62 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 62 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013