Why protect the Ross Sea

 

 
We refer to the Ross Sea as "The Last Ocean" because it is the last large oceanic region on Earth in which the ecosystem is structured by natural rather than human forces.

 

There are four key reasons why the entire Ross Sea ecosystem should be protected:

 

Most pristine ecosystem. The Ross Sea is the most pristine ocean ecosystem on Earth. The Ross Sea's remote location and harsh environment have helped protect it from widespread pollution, mining, invasive species and commercial fishing - until recently[1].  

 

Last intact marine ecosystem. The Ross Sea is the last large intact marine ecosystem on Earth. Unlike most other oceans around the world, all the top predators are still present and they influence the shape of the food web below. As such, it is a living laboratory and our last chance to understand how a healthy marine ecosystem functions[2].

 

Rich biodiversity. The Ross Sea is the most productive area in the Southern Ocean. Though it accounts for merely two percent of Antarctic waters, it has disproportionately large populations of wildlife with many species found only in the Ross Sea[3].

 

Long history of science. Since its discovery in 1841, the Ross Sea has been the focus of extensive scientific research, with some data sets spanning more than 150 years. A scientific record of this length is incredibly valuable for researchers, particularly in the face of climate change.

 

As the state of the world's oceans decline, it is becoming increasingly important to protect places like the Ross Sea.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

1] Halpern et al (2008) A global map of human impact on marine ecosystems. Science; 319: 948–51.

[2] Ainley (2004) Acquiring a 'base datum of normality' for a marine ecosystem: The Ross Sea, Antarctica. CCAMLR WG_EMM-04/20.

[3] Ainley et al (2010) Ross Sea Bioregionalization, Part I. CCAMLR WG_EMM-10/11.

The Ross Sea is a biodiversity hotspot. © John Weller

 

The Ross Sea is a biodiversity hotspot.

© John Weller

 

Killer whales cruising the ice edge.© John Weller

 

Killer whales cruising the ice edge.© John Weller

 

Over a third of all Adelie penguins live in the Ross Sea.© John Weller

 

Over a third of all Adelie penguins live in the Ross Sea.© John Weller

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