Marine Biology

The Weddell Sea extends over an area of approximately 2.8 million square kilometres and is one of the most pristine marine ecosystems in the world. Since the discovery of the Weddell Sea in 1823 by the British explorer James Weddell, there has been almost no commercial fishing in this area due to the thick sea ice.

This unique area is inhabited by marine animal communities and ecosystems that have adapted to Antarctic living conditions over millions of years. In fact, it is home to about 14,000 animal species, including globally significant populations of whales, seals and penguins. Marine biologists have compared the diversity of species found here to that of tropical coral reefs. Our team of marine biologists, with the help of our advanced technology, aim to create a better understanding of the marine life and environment of the Weddell Sea.

  • Glaciology

    The ice shelves that fringe the Weddell Sea, which include the Larsen C and Flincher-Ronne ice shelves, are the floating portions of glaciers that transfer ice from large ice-sheet interior drainage basins to the marine environment.

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  • Geology & Geophysics

    An understanding of the stability or otherwise of the floating ice shelves surrounding the Weddell Sea over the last few thousand years is needed to place recently observed changes within a long-term context.

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  • Marine Biology

    The Weddell Sea extends over an area of approximately 2.8 million square kilometres and is one of the most pristine marine ecosystems in the world.

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  • Sea Ice Research

    Approximately 25,000 years ago, during the coldest apart of the last glacial period, the ice in region of the Weddell Sea may have been up to 100m thicker and extended 400km North.

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  • Oceanography

    The Weddell Sea is one of the few areas where deep and bottom water masses are formed to contribute to the global thermohaline circulation.

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  • Marine Archaeology

    We have a team of leading marine archaeologists who hope to locate Shackleton’s lost Endurance ship. The 44m long sailing vessel journeyed into the southern regions of the Weddell Sea. The ship has still not been found.

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