Antarctic marine sample sets

We are examining biodiversity in the deep western Antarctic seas to inform climate change studies.

Antarctic ecosystems experience extreme variation in conditions between seasons and years, and are now under threat from climate change

The British Antarctic Survey’s BIOPEARL 1 and 2 expeditions recovered a huge sample set of organisms from the western Antarctic seas.

Using the samples

The Antarctic sample set is being used to:

  • build a polychaete biodiversity dataset, using both morphology and molecular techniques
  • discover new marine species of annelid worms by combining the data with detailed taxonomic studies
  • assess how the resident fauna deals with associated changes in productivity and food supply
  • assess the functional role of polychaetes in deep Antarctic sea ecosystems using stable-isotope techniques

This information will provide clues as to how marine communities might deal with Antarctic climate change.