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EARTH SCIENCE > Biosphere > Ecological Dynamics > Biodiversity

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  • The Antarctic food webs represent two entire above-belowground communities from Signy Island Reference Sites on Signy Island, one of the South Orkney Islands in the Maritime Antarctic. The two communities are a dry moss community (Antarctic dry tundra) and a wet moss community (Antarctic wet tundra). These two communities were the focus of intensive biological study by personnel from the British Antarctic Survey over the course of a decade in the 1970''s, of which the results were finally compiled into a meta-analysis by Davis (1981). The Jacobians of the dry and wet tundra were calculated by Neutel and Thorne (2014) using the empirical biomass and flow data of the respective systems from Davis'' analysis. The Jacobians represent the interaction strengths of the species in the two food webs, evaluated at equilibrium.

  • Mesozooplankton were collected with a motion-compensated Bongo net (61 cm mouth diameter, 100 and 200 micrometre meshes) and a mini- Bongo net (18 cm mouth diameter, 50 micrometre mesh nets). Both nets fished to a maximum depth of 400 m but sometimes shallower. Specimens were categorised to the lowest possible taxonomic level, which in some cases encompassed developmental stages but in other cases was limited to higher order taxa. Each taxa was enumerated to determine abundance in units of individuals m-2. The dataset allows examination of the distribution and abundance of these species within the Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean over a number of years and covering much of the productive season from spring to autumn. The data for the North Atlantic and Arctic covers one season only (summer) and is limited to providing a spatial perspective on the distribution and abundance of mesozooplankton.

  • Macrozooplankton and nekton were collected with a Rectangular Midwater Trawl 25 (RMT25) at locations within the Benguela Current region in May and June 2018. The work was carried out as part of the NERC Large Grant, COMICS (Controls on Mesopelagic Interior Carbon) on board the RRS Discovery (cruise DY090). Depth-discrete samples were collected across four time stations (BS1, BN1-3) between 0-750 m at intervals of 750-500m, 500-250m, 250-125m and 125-10 m. At each time station, two RMT25 hauls were deployed in the hours of darkness and two in daylight, with 16 deployments being undertaken overall. The RMT25 was operated via a downwire net monitor and was equipped with a flow meter, and temperature and salinity sensors. Nets in the deep strata (750-500m and 500-250m) were sampled for approximately 40 mins. and nets in the shallow strata (250-125m, 125-10m) for approximately 20mins. Catches were immediately sorted on board and identified to the lowest taxonomic level feasible. All fishes and subsamples of the other parts of the catch were retained (frozen), principally for subsequent biochemical and physiological analyses. In total, 1917 fish were caught and preserved (not including Cyclothone spp.). Catches were dominated by the myctophids and various other mesopelagic fish species. The water column below 250m was dominated by Bathylagus spp. and genus Melamphidae spp. The most numerous fish overall were the Cyclothone spp. which occurred in large numbers below 500m. In deeper depth intervals (250m-750m), the macrozooplankton component of the RMT25 net catches was mostly dominated by Decapoda and hydromedusae of the genus Atolla spp.. Salps, smaller hydromedusa species and small euphausiids Euphausia hanseni and Nematocelis megalops dominated the shallower depths (10-250m).

  • In-situ underwater images were gathered during the expedition JR17003a of RRS James Clark Ross to the eastern Antarctic Peninsula in March 2018. The BAS'' Shallow Underwater Camera System (SUCS) has been used to estimate faunal density, biomass and species abundance of the benthos and to provide an overview of the conditions of the underwater landscape. Funding was provided by NERC urgency grant NE/R012296/1 ''Benthic biodiversity under Antarctic ice-shelves - baseline assessment of the seabed exposed by the 2017 calving of the Larsen-C Ice Shelf''.

  • Mesozooplankton were collected with a MOCNESS net system during the oceanographic cruise JR16003 (Dec 2016 to Jan 2017). The MOCNESS comprised 9 separate nets which opened in sequence such that the closing of one net opened the next; net 1 was open during the descent of the net to its maximum depth (1000 m) while the remaining 8 depths opened at regular intervals during the reascent to the surface. All catches were immediately preserved in 4% buffered formaldehyde. Identification of taxa was performed by the Morski Institute (Poland). Specimens were categorised to the lowest possible taxonomic level, which, in some cases, encompassed developmental stages but, in other cases, was limited to higher order taxa. Each taxa was enumerated to determine abundance in units of individuals m-3. The dataset allows examination of the distribution and abundance of these species across Polar Frontal Zone in Southern Ocean Atlantic sector. The survey was funded by The UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and carried out as part of the POETS Wester Core Box and SCOOBIES programmes at British Antarctic Survey. The time of Geraint Tarling and the analysis of the MOCNESS nets was funded by the NERC grant "SeaDNA - Assessing marine biodiversity and structure using environmental DNA: from groundtruthing to food web structure and stability" NE/N00616X/1 PI: Stefano Mariani.

  • Datasets from a deep sediment trap (3200m) mooring deployed in the Southern Ocean, south-west of South Georgia in December 2009 during the marine cruise JR228 and recovered in November 2011 by the marine cruise JR260a.

  • Datasets from a deep sediment trap (3200m) mooring deployed in the Southern Ocean, south-west of South Georgia in April 2007 during the marine cruise JR167 and recovered in January 2008 by the marine cruise JR177.

  • Datasets from a deep sediment trap (3200m) mooring deployed in the Southern Ocean, south-west of South Georgia in January 2008 during the marine cruise JR177 and recovered in November 2008 by the marine cruise JR187.

  • Datasets from a deep sediment trap (3200m) mooring deployed in the Southern Ocean, south-west of South Georgia in December 2015 during the marine cruise JR15002 and recovered in December 2016 by the marine cruise JR16003.

  • Datasets from a deep sediment trap (3200m) mooring deployed in the Southern Ocean, south-west of South Georgia in December 2013 during the marine cruise JR291 and recovered in November 2014 by the marine cruise JR304.