The ROSS SEA is a deep bay of the
Southern Ocean in
Victoria Land and
Marie Byrd Land . It derives its name from
the British explorer James Ross who visited this area in 1841. To the
west of the sea lies
Ross Island and to the east Roosevelt Island ,
while the southernmost part is covered by the
Ross Ice Shelf , and is
about 200 miles (320 km) from the
South Pole .
The underlying rocks are of upper
Precambrian to lower
and are partly composed of calcium carbonate. The circulation of the
Sea is dominated by a wind-driven ocean gyre and the flow is
strongly influenced by three submarine ridges that run from southwest
to northeast. The circumpolar deep water current is a relatively warm,
salty and nutrient-rich water mass that flows onto the continental
shelf at certain locations. The Ross
Sea is covered with ice for most
of the year.
The nutrient-laden water supports an abundance of plankton and this
encourages a rich marine fauna. At least ten mammal species, six bird
species and 95 fish species are found here, as well as many
invertebrates, and the sea remains relatively unaffected by human
New Zealand has claimed that the sea comes under their
jurisdiction as part of the
Ross Dependency , but this is disputed by
other nations. Marine biologists consider the sea to have a high level
of biological diversity and it is the site of much scientific
research. It is also the focus of some environmentalist groups who
have campaigned to have the area proclaimed as a world marine reserve.
* 1 Description
* 2 Geology
* 2.1 The Ross System
* 3 Oceanography
* 3.1 Circulation
* 4 Ecological importance and conservation
* 4.1 Biodiversity
Marine Protected Area
* 5 See also
* 6 References
* 7 External links
Sea was discovered by James Ross in 1841. In the west of the
Ross Island with the Mt. Erebus volcano , in the east
Roosevelt Island . The southern part is covered by the Ross Ice Shelf
Roald Amundsen started his
South Pole expedition in 1911 from the
Bay of Whales
Bay of Whales , which was located at the shelf. In the west of the
McMurdo Sound is a port which is usually free of ice during
the summer. The southernmost part of the Ross
Gould Coast ,
which is approximately two hundred miles from the Geographic South
All land masses in the Ross
Sea are claimed by
New Zealand to fall
under the jurisdiction of the
Ross Dependency , but few
non-Commonwealth nations recognise this claim.
A 10-metre (32.8 feet) long colossal squid weighing 495 kilograms
(1,091 lb) was captured in the Ross
Sea on February 22, 2007.
THE ROSS SYSTEM
Ross System rocks are of upper
Precambrian to lower
Paleozoic age and
each group of Ross System have an echelon vein pattern demonstrating
possible dextral faulting. These miogeosyncline metasedimentary rocks
are usually folded about northwest and southeast axes and are partly
composed of calcium carbonate , often including limestone . Groups
within the Ross System include the Robertson Bay Group, Priestley
Group, Skelton Group, Beardmore Group, Byrd Group, Queen Maud Group,
and Koettlitz Group. The Robertson Bay Group ranges from 56 to 76%
silica and compares closely with other Ross System members. The
Priestley Group rocks are similar to those of the Robertson Bay Group
and include dark slates, argillites , siltstones , fine sandstones and
limestones. They can be found near the Priestley and Campbell
glaciers. For thirty miles along the lower
Skelton Glacier are the
calcareous greywackes and argillites of the Skelton Group. The region
between the lower
Beardmore Glacier and the lower Shackelton Glacier
sits the Beardmore Group. North of the
Nimrod Glacier are four block
faulted ranges that make up the Byrd Group. The contents of the Queen
Maud Group area are mainly post-tectonic granite .
Bloom in the Ross Sea, January 2011
Sea circulation, dominated by polynya processes, is in
general very slow-moving.
Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW) is a relatively
warm, salty and nutrient-rich water mass that flows onto the
continental shelf at certain locations in the Ross Sea. Through heat
flux, this water mass moderates the ice cover. The near-surface water
also provides a warm environment for some animals and nutrients to
excite primary production. CDW transport onto the shelf is known to be
persistent and periodic, and is thought to occur at specific locations
influenced by bottom topography. The circulation of the Ross
dominated by a wind-driven gyre . The flow is strongly influenced by
three submarine ridges that run from southwest to northeast. Flow over
the shelf below the surface layer consists of two anticyclonic gyres
connected by a central cyclonic flow. The flow is considerable in
spring and winter, due to influencing tides. The Ross
Sea is covered
with ice for much of the year and ice concentrations and in the
south-central region little melting occurs. Ice concentrations in the
Sea are influenced by winds with ice remaining in the western
region throughout the austral spring and generally melting in January
due to local heating. This leads to extremely strong stratification
and shallow mixed layers in the western Ross Sea.
ECOLOGICAL IMPORTANCE AND CONSERVATION
Sea is one of the last stretches of seas on
remains relatively unaffected by human activities. Because of this,
it remains almost totally free from pollution and the introduction of
invasive species . Consequently, the Ross
Sea has become a focus of
numerous environmentalist groups who have campaigned to make the area
a world marine reserve, citing the rare opportunity to protect the
Sea from a growing number of threats and destruction. The Ross
Sea is regarded by marine biologists as having a very high biological
diversity and as such has a long history of human exploration and
scientific research, with some datasets going back over 150 years.
Sea is home to at least 10 mammal species, half a dozen
species of birds, 95 species of fish, and over 1,000 invertebrate
species. Some species of birds that nest in and near the Ross Sea
Adélie penguin , emperor penguin ,
Antarctic petrel ,
snow petrel , and south polar skua . Marine mammals in the Ross Sea
Antarctic minke whale
Antarctic minke whale , killer whale ,
Weddell seal ,
crabeater seal , and leopard seal .
Antarctic toothfish , Antarctic
Antarctic krill , and crystal krill also swim in the cold
Antarctic water of the Ross Sea.
The flora and fauna are considered similar to other southern
Antarctic marine regions. Particularly in Summer, the nutrient-rich
sea water supports an abundant planktonic life in turn providing food
for larger species, such as fish , seals , whales , and sea- and
Albatrosses rely on wind to travel and cannot get airborne in a calm.
The westerlies do not extend as far south as the ice edge and
therefore albatrosses do not travel often to the ice-pack. An
albatross would be trapped on an ice floe for many days if it landed
in the calm.
The coastal parts of the sea contain a number of rookeries of Adélie
and Emperor penguins, which have been observed at a number of places
around the Ross Sea, both towards the coast and outwards in open sea.
In 2010, the Ross
Antarctic toothfish fishery was independently
certified by the Marine Stewardship Council, and has been rated as a
'Good Alternative' by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program.
However, a 2008 document submitted to the CCAMLR reported significant
declines in toothfish populations of
McMurdo Sound coinciding with the
development of the industrial toothfishing industry since 1996, and
other reports have noted a coincident decrease in the number of orcas.
The report recommended a full moratorium on fishing over the Ross
shelf. In October 2012, Philippa Ross , James Ross' great, great,
great granddaughter, voiced her opposition to fishing in the area.
In the southern winter of 2017
New Zealand scientists discovered the
breeding ground of the Antarctic
Toothfish in the northern Ross Sea
seamounts for the first time underscoring how little is known about
MARINE PROTECTED AREA
Beginning in 2005, the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic
Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) commissioned scientific analysis and
planning for Marine Protected Areas (MPA) in the Antarctic. In 2010,
the CCAMLR endorsed their Scientific Committee’s proposal to develop
Antarctic MPAs for conservation purposes. The US State Department
submitted a proposal for a Ross
Sea MPA at the September 2012 meeting
of the CCAMLR. At this stage, a sustained campaign by various
international and national NGOs commenced to accelerate the process .
In July 2013, the CCAMLR held a meeting in
Bremerhaven in Germany, to
decide whether to turn the Ross
Sea into an MPA. The deal failed due
to Russia voting against it, citing uncertainty about whether the
commission had the authority to establish a marine protected area.
In October 2014, the MPA proposal was again defeated at the CCAMLR by
votes against from China and Russia. At the October 2015 meeting a
revised MPA proposal from the US and
New Zealand was expanded with the
assistance of China, who however shifted the MPA's priorities from
conservation by allowing commercial fishing. The proposal was again
blocked by Russia.
On 28 October 2016, at its annual meeting in
Hobart , a Ross Sea
marine park was finally declared by the CCAMLR, under an agreement
signed by 24 countries and the
European Union . It protects over 1.5
million square kilometres of sea, and is the world's largest. However,
a sunset provision of 35 years was inserted as part of negotiations,
which means it does not meet the International Union for Conservation
of Nature definition of a marine protected area, which requires it to
Ross Ice Shelf
* ^ A B "Ross
Sea (sea, Pacific Ocean) - Britannica Online
Encyclopedia". Britannica.com. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
* ^ "World\'s largest squid landed in NZ - Beehive (Govt of NZ)".
2007-02-22. Archived from the original on 23 May 2010. Retrieved
* ^ "NZ fishermen land colossal squid - BBC News". 2007-02-22.
* ^ "Colossal squid\'s headache for science - BBC News".
2007-03-15. Retrieved 2013-06-11.
* ^ "Size matters on \'squid row\' (+photos, video) - The New
Zealand Herald". 2008-05-01. Retrieved 2013-06-11.
* ^ "Colossal squid\'s big eye revealed - BBC News". 2008-04-30.
* ^ http://www.ccpo.odu.edu/~klinck/Reprints/PDF/dinnimanDSR03.pdf
* ^ Ballard, Grant; Jongsomjit, Dennis; Veloz, Samuel D.; Ainley,
David G. (1 November 2012). "Coexistence of mesopredators in an intact
polar ocean ecosystem: The basis for defining a Ross
protected area". Biological Conservation. 156: 72–82. doi
* ^ (dead link)
* ^ Antarctic and
Southern Ocean Coalition. "The Ross Sea" (PDF).
Sea - Antarctic and
Southern Ocean Coalition. ASOC. Retrieved
26 April 2016.
* ^ Marine Stewardship Council. "Ross
Sea toothfish longline —
Marine Stewardship Council". www.msc.org. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
* ^ DeVries, Arthur L.; Ainley, David G.; Ballard, Grant. "Decline
Antarctic toothfish and its predators in
McMurdo Sound and the
southern Ross Sea, and recommendations for restoration." (PDF).
CCAMLR. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
* ^ "Ross descendant wants sea protected". 3 News NZ. 29 October
* ^ "Peeping in on the Mile Deep Club Hakai Magazine". Hakai
Magazine. Retrieved 2017-08-16.
* ^ Delegation of the United States. "A PROPOSAL FOR THE ROSS SEA
REGION MARINE PROTECTED AREA" (PDF). Proposed
Marine Protected Area in
Antarctica's Ross Sea. U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 26 April
* ^ "Antarctic Oceans Alliance". www.antarcticocean.org. Retrieved
NewScientist , No. 2926, 20 July, "Fight to preserve last
pristine ecosystem fails"
* ^ Mathiesen, Karl (31 October 2014). "Russia accused of blocking
creation of vast Antarctic marine reserves". The Guardian. Retrieved
26 April 2016.
* ^ The Pew Charitable Trusts. "Pew: Nations Miss Histo