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Featured Science Paper

Spatial and temporal operation of the Scotia Sea ecosystem: a review of large-scale links in a krill centred food web

The paper reviews the operation of the Scotia Sea ecosystem and is generated by the Discovery 2010 Programme group. It is interdisciplinary, considering the operation of the system from the physical oceanography and sea-ice through the primary producers (phytoplankton), krill and zooplankton, fish and higher predators. It is the most comprehensive synthesis for any oceanic area of the Southern Ocean and one of the few end-to-end views of large scale ecosystem operation for any part of the global ocean.

The paper also provides major new insights into the structure and function of ecosystems; the basis for the maintenance of biodiversity. These insights are already having a major influence on the development of international ocean ecosystem programmes. In particular:

  • It shows the importance of alternative pathways in the food web in maintaining ecosystem structure, which will be crucial in determining the system response to variability and change.
  • It demonstrates that advection is a fundamental process in determining ecosystem structure.
  • It provides the basis for developing a framework for the next generation of models of ocean ecosystems: describing the multi-scale process interactions determining structure and dynamics.
Find link to the full paper in the NERC Open Research Archive


E.J. Murphy , J.L. Watkins , P.N. Trathan , K. Reid , M.P. Meredith , S.E. Thorpe , N.M. Johnston , A. Clarke , G.A. Tarling , M.A. Collins , J. Forcada , R.S. Shreeve , A. Atkinson , R. Korb , M.J. Whitehouse , P. Ward , P.G. Rodhouse , P. Enderlein , A.G. Hirst , A.R. Martin , S.L. Hill , I.J. Staniland , D.W. Pond , D.R. Briggs , N.J. Cunningham , A.H. Fleming


Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 362, (1477): 113 � 148. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2006.1957