Long-term studies of the marine ecosystem along the west Antarctic Peninsula
Ducklow, Hugh W.
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Articles in this volume focus on longer-term studies of the marine ecosystem of the continental shelf west of the Antarctic Peninsula, principally by the Palmer, Antarctica Long- Term Ecological Research project (Ross et al., 1996; Ducklow et al., 2007). There is a rich history of oceanographic and ecological research in the Bellingshausen Sea region and on the continental shelf dating back to the 19th and early 20th centuries (El-Sayed, 1996). The modern era of scientific research started with the British Discovery Investigations of 1925-37 (Hardy, 1967), and included classic studies of phytoplankton (Hart, 1934) and krill (Marr, 1962). Hart’s report presciently suggested primary producers could be limited by iron availability. El-Sayed (1996) dissects the subsequent history of oceanographic research up to the advent of the Southern Ocean GLOBEC (Hofmann et al., 2001; Hofmann et al., 2004) and JGOFS (Anderson and Smith Jr., 2001) programs. The period from the 1970’s to the mid-90’s was dominated by expeditionary and process-level studies of particular regions and processes extending over a few seasons to a few years at most. The Research on Antarctic Coastal Ecosystem Rates (RACER) Program (Huntley et al., 1991; Karl, 1991) is the outstanding example of this mode of research, having focused on determination of key rate processes as a new approach to understanding ecosystem dynamics (Karl et al., 1991a; Karl et al., 1991b). RACER was a direct predecessor and major influence on Palmer LTER, GLOBEC and JGOFS. What was lacking in Antarctic waters, as in most other regions and ocean provinces were sustained, long-term observations of a variety of ocean properties and rates, conducted in the context of hypothesis-driven, experimental science (Ducklow et al., 2008a). The creation of the US LTER Network in 1980 (Magnuson, 1990) made this possible.
Author Posting. © The Author(s), 2008. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Elsevier B.V. for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography 55 (2008): 1945-1948, doi:10.1016/j.dsr2.2008.05.014.