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  • The palaeontology collection at the British Antarctic Survey is a unique and internationally important collection of specimens sourced predominantly from the Antarctic Peninsula and Scotia Arc. The collection was started in the 1940s and continues to be added to frequently through ongoing BAS research. Its importance lies not only in the fact that it is globally one of the main reference collections of Antarctic palaeontological material, but also in its high proportion of Mesozoic flora and fauna which can be used to understand evolutionary dynamics, continental movements and climatic changes over the past 250 ma. In addition to molluscs and other major animal phyla, the collection is particularly strong in plant material, ranging from fossilised wood and exceptionally preserved leaves to pollen and spores. Given the logistical challenges of sampling material from the Antarctic continent, this collection represents a wealth of taxa which were previously unknown to science and consequently houses a high number of taxonomic types. A project is underway to digitally catalogue the BAS Type and Figured fossil collection and make the data easily accessible to researchers worldwide. Currently the data from over 2000 fossil specimens are available online, together with high resolution photographs. Over the next year further specimens, including palynological samples, will be added to the database and photographs will be made available of the entire collection. Please direct any comments, questions or enquiries to:

  • The British Antarctic Survey holds one of the most extensive collections of Antarctic rocks and fossils anywhere in the world. These are predominately from the Antarctic Peninsula region and Scotia Arc, although there is also important material from areas such as the Ellsworth Mountains, Marie Byrd Land and the Transantarctic Mountains. Some of these specimens go back to the very earliest days of the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey in the 1940s, and include collections made by the pioneer geologists at bases such as Hope Bay and Deception Island. Right from the outset, every specimen collected in Antarctica has been numbered and catalogued, and a vast reference archive is now available for use by the geoscience community. We currently have information relating to 150,000 field samples often with associated analysis data such as geochemistry. Additionally we hold a variety of data for nearly 500 marine cores. Metadata and data are stored digitally within a number of Oracle 10g database tables and for some datasets such as the type and figured fossil collection there is external access through a web interface. However, a significant number of datasets exist only in analog form and are held within the BAS archives organised by individual geologist. This abstract acts as an overview of the BAS geological data - both terrestrial and marine.

  • Sediments cores collected aboard the RRS James Clark Ross (JR104) in the Bellingshausen Sea, 2004. This work was carried out as part of the first systematic investigation of the former ice drainage basin in the southern Bellingshausen Sea. Reconnaissance data collected on previous cruises JR04 (1993) and cruises of R/V Polarstern in 1994 and 1995 suggested that this area contained the outlet of a very large ice drainage basin during late Quaternary glacial periods. The data and samples collected allowed us to address questions about the timing and rate of grounding line retreat from the continental shelf, the dynamic character of the ice that covered the shelf, and its influence on glaciomarine processes on the adjacent continental slope.