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Antarctic Research Series



  • Ecology—Research—Antarctica—Antarctic Peninsula Region

Index Terms

  • 4207 Oceanography: General: Arctic and Antarctic oceanography
  • 4219 Oceanography: General: Continental shelf processes
  • 4540 Oceanography: Physical: Ice mechanics and air/sea/ice exchange processes
  • 4558 Oceanography: Physical: Sediment transport



Benthic marine habitats in Antarctica

A. Clarke

Benthic habitats in Antarctica differ from those in other parts of the world in several important characteristics. Most of the Southern Ocean overlies the abyssal plain, where the sediments are primarily siliceous. Ice-rafted debris provides isolated patches of hard substratum but otherwise little is known of the biology of the deep-sea in Antarctica. Shallow water habitats are heavily influenced by ice, with typical intertidal habitats being almost devoid of life. Continental shelves are unusually deep around Antarctica and the sediments are predominantly glacial-marine. Antarctica lacks typical fluvial habitats such as rivers, estuaries and has very few intertidal mudflats, and away from the immediate sublittoral the habitats suffer less physical and biological disturbance than the continental shelves of the Arctic.

Citation: Clarke, A. (1996), Benthic marine habitats in Antarctica, in Foundations for Ecological Research West of the Antarctic Peninsula, Antarct. Res. Ser., vol. 70, edited by E. E. Hofmann, R. M. Ross, and L. B. Quetin, pp. 123–133, AGU, Washington, D. C., doi:10.1029/AR070p0123.

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