Antarctic macrobenthic communities: a compilation of circumpolar information
Comprehensive information on Antarctic macrobenthic community structure has been publicly available since the 1960s. It stems from trawl, dredge, grab, and corer samples as well as from direct and camera observations (Table 1–2). The quality of this information varies considerably; it consists of pure descriptions, figures for presence (absence) and abundance of some key taxa or proxies for such parameters, e.g. sea-floor cover. Some data sets even cover a defined and complete proportion of the macrobenthos with further analyses on diversity and zoogeography. As a consequence the acquisition of data from approximately 90 different campaigns assembled here was not standardised. Nevertheless, it was possible to classify this broad variety of known macrobenthic assemblages to the best of expert knowledge (Gutt 2007; Fig. 1). This overview does not replace statistically sound community and diversity analyses. However, it shows from where which kind of information is available and it acts as an example of the feasibility and power of such data collections. The data set provides unique georeferenced biological basic information for the planning of future coordinated research activities, e.g. under the umbrella of the biology program “Antarctic Thresholds - Ecosystem Resilience and Adaptation” (AnT-ERA) of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) and especially for actual conservation issues, e.g. the planning of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).
Authors: Gutt, Julian, Barnes, David K.A., Lockhart, Susanne J., van de Putte, Anton