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Antarctic benthic Mollusca: biodiversity, community and functional group structure in habitats influenced by varying ice-cover and the Weddell Gyre

Project Description

Project Rationale:
The Southern Ocean (SO) and its Antarctic component are globally important in understanding how ecosystems and biodiversity respond to climate change. Antarctica’s unique tectonic, oceanographic and climate history have led to the SO species’ evolution and diversification happening in relative isolation, leading to the current biogeographic community structures [Refs 1, 2]. Antarctica faced and is facing changes in key environmental factors including temperature, ice-shelf and sea-ice cover, which are likely to affect/have affected marine benthic biodiversity [Ref 3]. Mollusca are one of the better-known taxa in Southern Ocean biodiversity and a suitable taxon to study the influence of environmental factors on current biodiversity, community structure and biogeographic distribution [Ref 1] and predict their future [Ref 2]. A comprehensive and comparable set of molluscan samples collected in several Antarctic areas by the same epibenthic sledge (EBS) enables application of a quantitative and multiproxy approach to assess community structure and to predict and model its future changes as well as detailed ecological and evolutionary studies at the population level.
Quantitative assessments of molluscan diversity from the shelves of the Weddell Sea and South Orkney Islands are timely as the data will be relevant for Antarctic Marine Protected Area implementation and monitoring (

Funding Notes

You can apply for fully-funded studentships (stipend and fees) from INSPIRE if you:
Are a UK or EU national.
Have no restrictions on how long you can stay in the UK.
Have been 'ordinarily resident' in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the project.

Please click View Website for more information on eligibilty and how to apply


1) Linse K, Griffiths HJ, Barnes DKA, Clarke A (2006) Biodiversity and Biogeography of Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic Mollusca. Deep-Sea Research II 53:985-1008
2) Brandt A, Linse K, Ellingsen KE, Somerfield P (2016) Depth-related gradients in community structure and relatedness of bivalves and isopods in the Southern Ocean Progress in Oceanography 144: 25-38
3) Griffiths HJ, Meijers AJS, Bracegirdle TJ (2017) More losers than winners in a century of future Southern Ocean seafloor warming. Nature climate change 7: 749-754

How good is research at University of Southampton in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 68.62

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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