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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  • 2016 Our Ocean Conference

    Secretary of State John Kerry will host the third annual Our Ocean conference in Washington from Sept. 15 and 16. Global leaders, scientists, entrepreneurs, innovators, and representatives from nongovernmental organizations will discuss the major challenges facing the world’s oceans and how to address them. Read More

  • Retreating Sea Ice is Transforming the Bransfield Strait

    This is the second in a series of dispatches by Ryan Dolan of The Pew Charitable Trusts’ global penguin conservation campaign, who has joined a team of Southern Ocean experts on a research expedition to the Antarctic—in the middle of winter. Read More

  • Is the Emperor Your Favorite Penguin? Vote Today!

    The Pew Charitable Trusts’ 2016 Penguin Election is in full swing, with six species of these flightless birds each vying for your vote. All six live, feed, and breed in and around Antarctic and sub-Antarctic waters. This is valuable habitat that the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), which is responsible for rules concerning fishing and sustaining... Read More