Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Pelagic-Benthic Coupling
Iceberg Research

IcebergPack IceIceberg

Atmospheric warming has been associated with retreating ice shelves and glaciers in the Antarctic over the past decade, particularly around the Antarctic Peninsula.  The disintegration of ice shelves on both sides of the Antarctic Peninsula during the past 60 years has been attributed to atmospheric warming and has contributed to the increased frequency of icebergs in the Weddell Sea.

Little is known about the impact of free-drifting icebergs on the surrounding pelagic ecosystem.  Given the prevalence of icebergs in the Southern Ocean and the paucity of data concerning their impact on the surrounding ecosystem over their life span of months to years, we sought to study whether as drifting islands, icebergs impart chemical and biological characteristics to the surrounding ecosystem when compared with more peripheral waters some distance away.

The first cruise was conducted during November and December of 2005 in the Weddell Sea aboard the R/V Laurence M. Gould. A second cruise sailed during the Austral winter of 2008. A third cruise is planned during March and April of 2009.

RVIB Nathaniel B Palmer

Last updated: Feb. 05, 2009