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Ecofunctional biodiversity of benthic crustacean taxocoenoses in the Southern Ocean

Antarctica phase IV (1997-2000)

Ecofunctional biodiversity of benthic crustacean taxocoenoses in the Southern Ocean


Dr Claude De Broyer
Belgian Royal Museum of Natural Sciences
Rue Vautier, 29
Phone: +32 (0)2 627 41 27
Fax: +32 (0)2 627 42 77


Description and evaluation of the role of biodiversity of the macrobenthos, in particular of the peracarid crustaceans, in the structure and functioning of the antarctic coastal and shelf ecosystem. In the Southern Ocean, the peracarid crustaceans represents the most speciose vagile macrobenthic group and probably more diversified in terms of habitats, trophic types and size spectra and the key-ecosystem is recognized like the most complex, most productive and probably most sensitive to global environmental changes.


  • To characterize the structural aspects of the peracarid crustaceans biodiversity (specific richness, distribution, bio-ecological features), and in particular of the amphipods, in the benthic communities of the "Antarctic Sea-Ice Zone ", as well as their variability in space and time.
  • To develop a "reference centre" for the biodiversity of antarctic amphipod crustaceans, gathering specialized databases, validated reference collections and a network of contributing specialists. On this basis, to develop new synthetic tools to describe the biodiversity of the Southern Ocean peracarid crustacean.
  • To evaluate the ecofunctional role of the biodiversity of crustacean taxocoenoses in the benthic ecosystem of the "Antarctic Sea-Ice Zone". In particular, to evaluate the importance of the biodiversity in the production, by the study of the various trophodynamical roles, and the significance of the gigantism of the crustacean amphipods in two reference benthic communities.

Related Projects

  • Meiobenthic biodiversity and fluxes within the Antarctic biogeochemical environment
    Prof. M. VINCX -- Universiteit Gent
    Research contract # A4/02/B01
  • An integrated approach to assess carbon dynamics in the Southern Ocean
    Dr F. DEHAIRS -- Vrije Universiteit Brussel (coordinator)
    I : New and export production
    Dr F. DEHAIRS -- Vrije Universiteit Brussel
    Research contract # A4/03/B11
    II : Study and modelisation of the planktonic system
    Dr Ch. LANCELOT -- Université Libre de Bruxelles
    Research contract # A4/11/B12
    III : Barite geochemistry
    Dr L. ANDRÉ -- Royal Museum for Central Africa
    Research contract # A4/37/B13
    IV : Air/sea exchanges
    Dr M. FRANKIGNOULLE -- Université de Liège
    Research contract # A4/12/B14
    V : 1D Modelling of the sea-ice and water column
    Dr E. DELEERSNIJDER -- Université Catholique de Louvain
    Research contract # A4/10/B15
  • Response of the Southern Ocean global ecosystem to physical and trophic constraints
    Dr J.-H. HECQ -- Université de Liège (coordinator)
    I : Ecosystem functioning and modelling
    Dr J.H. HECQ -- Université de Liège
    Research contract # A4/12/B21
    II : Physical modelling
    Dr G. PICHOT -- Management Unit of the North Sea and Scheldt Estuary Mathematical Model (MUMM) - Belgian Royal Institute of Natural Sciences
    Research contract # A4/36/B22
    III : Role of the picophytoplankton
    Prof. V. DEMOULIN -- Université de Liège
    Research contract # A4/12/B23


  • Ant'Phipoda: the Antarctic Marine Biodiversity Referende Centre devoted to Amphipod Crustaceans

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