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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  • Take the #PenguinPlunge

    In March, Lewis Pugh, the United Nations Environment Programme Patron of the Oceans, took on a seemingly impossible challenge—swimming the frigid waters of the Bay of Whales in Antarctica’s Ross Sea. Pugh made history by swimming 350 meters (1,150 feet) in the 1 degree Celsius (30 degrees Fahrenheit) waters of the Southern Ocean, breaking the world record for the most southerly swim... Read More

  • Ross Sea Marine Reserve Proposal

    The remote Ross Sea supports a biologically diverse ecosystem that has thrived essentially unchanged for millenniums. In fact, a 2011 study published in the journal Biological Conservation called the Ross Sea “the least altered marine ecosystem on Earth.” Read More

  • World Penguin Day 2015

    April 25 marks World Penguin Day, a chance to celebrate all 18 species of penguin and the quirky traits that place them among the world’s most charismatic birds. Read More