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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  • Atlas of Southern Ocean Life Released

    The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research released the world’s most comprehensive review of life in the Southern Ocean on Aug. 25. The atlas discovered numerous species and gathered new insights into the behavioral patterns and evolution of already well-known creatures. It highlights the complexity of the Southern Ocean ecosystem and provides a window into how much there is still to learn... Read More

  • A Need for New Antarctic Protections

    Spared from much of the widespread pollution, invasive species, and large-scale commercial fishing imperiling the world’s oceans, the waters surrounding Antarctica hold some of the most pristine and diverse marine ecosystems on earth. However, conditions are changing and there is an urgent need to protect the Southern Ocean from overfishing and to address the impacts of climate change. Read More

  • Melting Ice and the Benefits of Marine Reserves

    Recent reports indicate that Antarctica is undergoing an accelerated ice melt that is likely to lead to a significant rise in sea levels over time. Scientific evidence clearly shows that the melting ice is already having a detrimental effect on parts of the Southern Ocean ecosystem and penguin habitats. Read More