British biological research in the Antarctic

A tradition of biological research in the Antarctic was established by Cook 200 years ago. This tradition has been built on by other British expeditions, notably the ‘Discovery’ Investigations. The British Antarctic Survey, which arose from Operation Tabarin and the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey, now carries out a programme of coordinated and continuous biological research. The Atlantic sector of the Antarctic, in which the Survey operates, is of key importance biologically. The Antarctic provides a striking biological contrast between a species‐poor and very barren terrestrial ecosystem and the species‐rich and productive ocean which surrounds it. Severe climatic conditions and great isolation (a contrast to the Arctic) characterize the Antarctic environment. Work at the Survey's biological research stations is designed to study the distribution and interactions of organisms and communities, how they have adapted to Antarctic conditions, and which by their abundance may be deemed successful. Research is done into terrestrial, fresh‐water and marine systems. Additionally, there is a major research programme into the biologv, environment and principal predators of krill, Euphausia superba. The Antarctic is a laboratory where opportunities exist for natural experiments to test theories and elucidate basic biological problems.


Publication status:
Authors: Bonner, W.N.

1 August, 1980
Biological Journal of the Linnean Society / 14
Link to published article: