Biodiversity change after climate-induced ice-shelf collapse in the Antarctic

The marine ecosystem on the eastern shelf of the Antarctic Peninsula was surveyed 5 and 12 years after the climate-induced collapse of the Larsen A and B ice shelves. An impoverished benthic fauna was discovered, that included deep-sea species presumed to be remnants from ice-covered conditions. The current structure of various ecosystem components appears to result from extremely different response rates to the change from an oligotrophic sub-ice-shelf ecosystem to a productive shelf ecosystem. Meiobenthic communities remained impoverished only inside the embayments. On local scales, macro- and mega-epibenthic diversity was generally low, with pioneer species and typical Antarctic megabenthic shelf species interspersed. Antarctic Minke whales and seals utilised the Larsen A/B area to feed on presumably newly established krill and pelagic fish biomass. Ecosystem impacts also extended well beyond the zone of ice-shelf collapse, with areas of high benthic disturbance resulting from scour by icebergs discharged from the Larsen embayments.


Publication status:
Authors: Gutt, Julian, Barratt, Iain, Domack, Eugene, d'Udekem d'Acoz, Cédric, Dimmler, Werner, Grémare, Antoine, Heilmayer, Olaf, Isla, Enrique, Janussen, Dorte, Jorgensen, Elaina, Kock, Karl-Hermann, Lehnert, Linn Sophia, López-Gonzáles, Pablo, Langner, Stephanie, Linse, Katrin ORCIDORCID record for Katrin Linse, Manjón-Cabeza, Maria Eugenia, Meißner, Meike, Montiel, Americo, Raes, Maarten, Robert, Henri, Rose, Armin, Sañé Schepisi, Elisabet Sañé, Saucéde, Thomas, Scheidat, Meike, Schenke, Hans-Werner, Seiler, Jan, Smith, Craig

On this site: Katrin Linse
1 January, 2011
Deep Sea Research Part II / 58
Link to published article: