Antarctic Science

IX SCAR International Biology Symposium

Antarctic marine biology – two centuries of research

Gotthilf Hempela1

a1 Institute for Polar Ecology, Wischhofstr. 1-3, Geb. 12, D-24148 Kiel, Germany


Whilst interest in the economic exploitation of the Southern Ocean resources dates back to the last part of the 18th century scientific research into elements of the marine ecosystem only began in the mid 19th century. As far as plankton and benthos are concerned the great exploratory voyages and expeditions laid a firm taxonomic foundation on which later work was built. The most outstanding expedition contribution was from the Discovery Investigations. Concern about uncontrolled exploitation stimulated the SCAR BIOMASS programme which in turn led to CCAMLR with its modelling programmes and top predator monitoring. Recent research on pack ice communities has been aided by dedicated ice-capable research vessels whilst unmanned photographic techniques as well as SCUBA diving and experimental research facilities in the Antarctic have encouraged major research on benthos. International collaboration, interdisciplinary research and good ideas suggest Antarctic marine biology has a bright future.

(Received 2006)

(Accepted February 05 2007)