Biogeographic Atlas of the Southern Ocean

Covering an incredible 9,064 species, ranging from plankton to whales, the most comprehensive census of Antarctic marine life has been published by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR). The Atlas is comprised from over 1 million records dating from early explorations in the time of Captain Cook through to the present day, and it has taken 4 years to put together.

This vast undertaking has been a collaboration between scientists from 91 institutions in 22 countries and it is expected to be a crucial tool in informing conservation policy in the Antarctic. Equally importantly, it could also be vital in helping to determine whether or not to designate areas of the Antarctic as marine protected zones.

The Atlas covers the current distribution of Antarctic species and how the distribution of key species may be altered by climate change. It also looks in detail at the evolution and genetics of a wide array of organisms including seaweeds, crustaceans, molluscs, jellyfish, fish, seals and birds.

Speaking about the Atlas, Dr Huw Griffiths, one of the book’s authors and editors said “It’s been an enormous international effort and will serve as a legacy to the dedicated team of scientists who have contributed to it. The Atlas is a must-read for anyone interested in the animals living at the end of the Earth.”

 

 

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A nature writer and ecological advisor with wide experience of writing about wildlife and working in freshwater, marine and terrestrial environments. Website: www.phoebecarter.co.uk. Twitter: @DrPhoebeCarter

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