Australia has been studying changes in plankton communities in the Southern Ocean every year since 1991. Over that time, significant changes have been found.

Continuous Plankton Recorders are used to collect samples in the Southern Ocean. By looking at these samples, AAD scientists have found changes in the composition, distribution and diversity of plankton and krill.

This work has shown that species from further north (in warmer waters) are moving further south. This is consistent with changes found in ocean water quality and temperature.

The International Polar Year (2007–2009) provided a benchmark of biodiversity in the Southern Ocean. From that point, future changes are being observed.

Changes have also been seen on land. Terrestrial research in the sub-Antarctic has shown changes in the dates of flowering and seed setting, as temperatures rise.