The Southern Ocean, which encircles Antarctica and is generally defined as extending north to the 60th parallel, is the fourth largest ocean, unique in that it touches no other landmass except Antarctica.   In the icy blue waters of the Southern Ocean, there is a dazzling array of life.  Penguins, whales, toothfish, and krill thrive there, and upwelling currents from the ocean’s depths supply nutrients that support three-fourths of world’s marine life.  A half-century ago, countries agreed to declare Antarctica a place of peace and science.  A similar agreement would help protect the seas surrounding Antarctica.

By the numbers

  • 1 millionpairs of Adélie penguins in the Ross Sea area of the Southern Ocean

  • 16,000 estimated number of species living in
    Southern Ocean

  • 66% share of penguin species considered threatened

Our Work

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  • Antarctica Never Ceases to Amaze Me...

    As a child, I had vivid dreams about Antarctica: the solitude of its endless skies, the vast white landscapes, the adventures of the polar explorers—and especially the penguins, seals, whales, and other iconic species that make their home in and around the Southern Ocean. Read More

  • Celebrating Antarctica on Penguin Awareness Day

    The author, Dr. Rodolfo Werner, is a marine biologist and wildlife conservationist who has devoted his professional career to the study and conservation of the Patagonian Sea, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica. For the past 12 years, he has focused his work on Antarctic marine conservation. Werner is an adviser to the Antarctic Southern Ocean Coalition and The Pew Charitable Trusts on such... Read More

  • Pew Praises Adoption of Protections for Antarctic Krill

    The Pew Charitable Trusts commended the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) for acting to expand protections for krill, a critical species in the Southern Ocean’s food web, but noted the commission’s continued failure to designate what could have been the world’s largest marine reserve in Antarctica’s Southern Ocean. Read More