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Antarctic macrobenthic communities: A compilation of circumpolar information
Citation
Gutt J, Barnes DKA, Lockhart S: Antarctic macrobenthic communities: A compilation of circumpolar information https://doi.org/10.15468/5yo0ii
Contact: Gutt, Julian

Access data
Archived data
Availability: Creative Commons License This dataset is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Description
Comprehensive information on Antarctic macrobenthic community structure is publicly available since the 1960s. It stems from trawl, dredge, grab, and corer samples as well as from direct and camera observations. The quality of this information varies considerably; it consists of pure descriptions, figures for presence (absence) and abundance of some key taxa or proxies for such parameters, e.g. sea-floor cover. Some data sets even cover a defined and complete proportion of the macrobenthos with further analyses on diversity and zoogeography. more

As a consequence the acquisition of data from approximately 90 different campaigns assembled here was not standardised. Nevertheless, it was possible to classify this broad variety of known macrobenthic assemblages to the best of experts knowledge (Gutt 2007; Fig. 1). This overview does not replace statistically sound community and diversity analyses. However, it shows from where which kind of information is available and it acts as an example of the feasibility and power of such data collections. The data set provides unique georeferenced biological basic information for the planning of future coordinated research activities, e.g. under the umbrella of the biology program "Antarctic Thresholds - Ecosystem Resilience and Adaptation" (AnT-ERA) of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) and especially for actual conservation issues, e.g. the planning of Marine Protected Areas (MPA's) by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).
Geographic coverage: The area generally covers almost the entire Southern Ocean, including some ice-shelf covered sites. The vast majority of information is from shelf areas around the continent at water depth shallower than 800m. Non-ice shelf covered shelf areas can be up to 300km wide or the shelf-edge at 600 to 800m depth can "disappear" beneath the floating ice-shelf. Shallow areas (<50m) are rare because 86% of the coast-line is glaciated or consists of an ice-shelf egde. A non-glaciated coast mainly exists along the Antarctic Peninsula. The coastline is either extremely complex with bays, channels , peninsulas, islands etc or less structured, especially where it is formed by the ice-shelf. Overdeepenend basins (inner-shelf depressions) can reach >1200m water depth. Most islands exist west of the Antarctic Peninsula and along the Scotia Arc linking the Peninsula with the southern tip of South America. The coastal waters are mainly affected by the Antarctic Coastal Current (East Wind Drift), whilst the largest off-shore part of the Southern Ocean is dominated by the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (West Wind Drift) with gyres of different size. Sediments are predominantly poorly sorted but also cobble "fields", bedrock and pure soft sediments exist. The Antarctic marine ecosystem is shaped by a distinct seasonality of the sea-ice cover affecting a short and intensive primary production in austral summer, by predominantly stable low temperature to which most organisms are specifically adapted and almost missing terrestrial run-off. Most of the shelf-inhabiting macrobenthic species are endemic; some taxa reach above-average species richness (Clarke & Johnston 2003). Only few marine habitats are protected, most of which are small. Plans and proposals for large Marine Protected Areas (MPA's), e.g. in East Antarctica, in the Ross and Weddell Seas exist and demand good scientific knowledge and data.
Taxonomic coverage:Macrobenthic communities have been uploaded in the category "vernacularNames", abbreviations in "taxonRemarks"
Sampling methods: This project aggregates data from various expeditions with a full range of benthic sampling methods, such as grabs, corers, dredges, and trawls as well as non-invasive observations by scuba divers, stationary, towed, or ROV-based still and video-cameras. A first version of the classification of the macrobenthic communities had been published in a peer-reviewed journal (Gutt 2007). A modified version had been published in the Antarctic Climate Change and the Environment report (ACCE, Turner et al. 2009).

Scope
Themes:
Biology > Benthos
Keywords:
Marine, Benthos, Corers, Data, Dredges, Grabs, Marine Genomics, Observation, Trawls, PS, Southern Ocean

Geographical coverage
PS, Southern Ocean [Marine Regions]

Temporal coverage
1 March 1965 - 21 February 2010

Parameter
Occurrence of biota

Contributors
Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar- and Marine Research (AWI), moredata creator
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Fisheries Service; Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC), moredata creator
Natural Environment Research Council; British Antarctic Survey (BAS), moredata creator

Related datasets
Published in:
AntOBIS: Antarctic Ocean Biogeographic Information System, more

Dataset status: Completed
Data type: Data
Data origin: Data collection
Metadatarecord created: 2017-08-23
Information last updated: 2019-04-09
All data in the Integrated Marine Information System (IMIS) is subject to the VLIZ privacy policy