|K082: Coastal Benthic Ecosystem Structure and Function|
What we do: We use natural gradients in environmental conditions (eg, sea ice, light regime) and productivity within the latitudinal range of the Ross Sea to address how the structure, diversity, trophic interactions and productivity of communities relate to site-specific physical variables. We will determine the source and magnitude of primary production, patterns of resource utilisation by macrobenthos and the biodiversity of benthic communities over different spatial scales.
Why we do it: Antarctica's coastal marine environments support diverse benthic communities, structured by a hierarchy of physical and biotic factors.Characterising the structure and function of benthic communities and their link to site-specific productivity is essential to an improved understanding of Antarctic ecology, and creates a baseline for distinguishing natural environmental variability, occurring over short ecological time and space scales, from larger scale phenomena such as global warming. This research contributes to the Latitudinal Gradient Project (LGP) and is an International Polar Year project.
Diversity of marine benthic communities at Granite Harbour, the effect of ocean acidification on the Antarctic gooeyduc Laternula elliptica and the effect of pulsed primary food source on the benthic community