Southern Ocean Ecosystems

A black-browed albatross chick eagerly awaits its meal.

A black-browed albatross chick eagerly awaits its meal.
Photo: Roger Kirkwood

The Southern Ocean represents a vast international resource and national resource to Australia. Elevated productivity in parts of the region, such as in the sea ice zone, supports a high biomass of certain species, and considerable biodiversity. Australia is a leading nation in the Commission for Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) and Australia's CCAMLR policy position is underpinned by sound scientific research. This research focuses on the species that are targets, or potential targets, for commercial fisheries and on the dependent and related species in the ecosystem.

Among the outcomes of this program were the development of a significant research capability in cetacean biology, to provide scientific data to support Australia's policy position in the International Whaling Commission. Scientific research also contributed to other international treaties such as the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP), the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Seals (CCAS), and to international research programs such as Southern Ocean GLOBEC (Global Ocean Ecosystem Dynamics) and the Census of Marine Life (CoML).

Read more about this program in the 2004/05-2008/09 science strategy.

The new Southern Ocean Ecosystems: Environmental Change and Conservation Theme (2011-12 to 2020-21) builds on and extends the work conducted under this program.

This page was last modified on 24 March 2004.