Protecting Antarctica's Southern Ocean

Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy 

Antarctica’s Southern Ocean is one of the world’s last great wilderness areas, surrounding the coldest, driest, windiest, and least altered continent.

The ocean’s frigid waters bustle with thousands of species found nowhere else, from brilliantly hued starfish and bioluminescent worms to pastel octopuses. Nutrients that well up from the icy depths ride currents great distances to nourish wildlife in faraway seas.

Antarctica is also home to millions of penguins that feed on large swarms of krill, a tiny shrimplike crustacean, and other forage species in the region’s delicate food web.

But those predator-prey relationships are in jeopardy, scientists say, in large part because the Southern Ocean ecosystems are being modified by the impacts of climate change. Temperatures there are warming faster than nearly anywhere else on Earth.

To protect this spectacular region and the species that rely on it, Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy and its partners are working with the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR)—the body responsible for conserving biodiversity in the Southern Ocean—and its member governments to establish a network of large-scale marine protected areas (MPAs) around Antarctica.

The Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy Project 

The Pew Charitable Trusts and Dona Bertarelli joined forces in 2017 to create the Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy Project, with the shared goal of establishing the first generation of ecologically significant, large, and effective marine protected areas (MPAs) around the world. Today, the Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy Project also seeks to connect MPAs and help conserve key migratory species and entire marine ecosystems. These efforts build on more than a decade of work by Pew and the Bertarelli Foundation, led by Dona Bertarelli, to create large-scale highly or fully protected MPAs. Between them, they have helped to obtain designations to safeguard nearly 9 million square kilometers (3.5 million square miles) of ocean by working with communities, local leaders, philanthropic partners, Indigenous groups, government officials, and scientists. Dona Bertarelli is a philanthropist, investor, sportswoman, and strong advocate for ocean conservation. The Pew Charitable Trusts is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today’s most challenging problems, including the need for effective marine conservation.

Issue Brief


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Issue Brief

南大洋是地球上受人类行为影响程度最小的海洋生态系统之一。南极洲周围的这片海域占世界海洋的 10%,拥有数千种独特物种,从巨大的鱿鱼和血液中含有抗冻蛋白的鱼类,到生物发光的蠕虫和色彩鲜明的海星,多种多样。这里还生活着数以百万计的捕食动物,其中包括企鹅、海豹和鲸类,它们依赖于构成脆弱食物网基础的大群南极磷虾,这是一种小型的甲壳类动物。这片海域会产生强大的上升洋流,携带着赤道以北的关键营养物质,并且与其他海洋一起在调节气候方面发挥作用,因此对于地球的健康至关重要。

Our Work

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Antarctic Krill—the Unsung Heroes of Climate Mitigation in the Southern Ocean

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CCAMLR 101: How to Protect Antarctica's Marine Life