Ross Sea: a spectacular Antarctic landscape

One of the most beautiful natural treasures you can find on planet earth is the Ross Sea. The Ross Sea is not just any sea, in fact, it is known as the “last ocean”.

Located in Antarctica, the Ross Sea captivates with its beauty and biodiversity, so it also arouses great curiosity among the scientific community. In this article we will know the Ross Sea much better. Although it may not be as well known to many other people, here we are going to help you get to know it more.

Description of the Ross Sea

The Ross Sea is located at the northern tip of Antarctica. It is a very particular body of water that extends between the Ross Ice Shelf and the Ross Islands. The Ross Sea is the largest sea in Antarctica and is known as the “last ocean” due to its remote and isolated location.

As it can not be otherwise due to its location, it is a sea of cold and crystalline waters. With an approximate dimension of 1.2 million square kilometers , it offers an impressive landscape and biodiversity.

One of the most characteristic aspects of the Ross Sea is the frozen environment in which it is located. For much of the year, the Ross Sea is covered with an extensive layer of sea ice formed from frozen water. This large ice shelf manages to create a unique landscape, as the vast expanses of ice stretch as far as the eye can see.

Landscapes and highlights

The characteristics of the Ross Sea are unique, which is why it is so taken into consideration. The sea ice shelf that covers the waters of the Ross Sea for much of the year creates a unique landscape.

In addition to the giant ice shelf, we must also highlight the small ice shelves that extend into the Ross Sea. These small shelves are places where land ice meets the ocean, providing a commanding view of the melting of ice and water.

Usually, these platforms are also usually a resting place for the fauna of the Sea, such as penguins and seals. As we will see later, another of the most interesting features of the Ross Sea is the marine life it has. Its cold waters are very rich in nutrients, so it enjoys great marine life throughout the ocean.

Marine life and ecosystem

It is impossible to talk about the Ross Sea and not stop at its marine life and ecosystem. Let’s see some of the most important species that populate the waters and islands of the Ross Sea.

As we have mentioned before, due to the ice sheets and the usual climate of the Ross Sea it is common to find a large number of penguins. One of the predominant penguin species in this southern Ross Sea is the emperor, who chooses this region to breed. In addition to the emperor, Adélie penguins, Papuans and chinstraps also have a presence in the sea.

Another of the most characteristic species of the Ross Sea are seals. One of the most common is typical of the Weddell Sea, as is the Weddell seal. The Ross Sea also has its native seals, such as the Ross seals that you can find swimming under the water ice or resting on the large ice shelves. In fact, this ice is essential for their rest and the breeding of their young.

The Ross Sea is also a very important habitat for whales. In this sea you will find a large number of whales of several different species. Humpback whales migrate to the Ross Sea during the Antarctic summer to feed on one of the key species of the Ross Sea ecosystem, Antarctic krill.

In addition to humpback whales, you will also come across Antarctic minke whales, orca whales or Antarctic right whales. As we have mentioned, Antarctic krill is one of the most important species in the Ross Sea ecosystem. It is a very small species, a crustacean similar to a shrimp that is part of the food base of many of the marine species that inhabit the region.

In the Ross Sea you can also see other species such as Antarctic cod, icefish, starfish, sea urchins and all kinds of crustaceans. Birds also make an appearance in the sea, with the Antarctic Dominican gulls, Antarctic cormorants and shearwaters being some of the most important.

Scientific research and importance of conservation in the Ross Sea

The great biodiversity found in the Ross Sea is one of the main reasons why conservation is sought. In addition to the large number of species that inhabit, some of them are autochthonous, so they can only be found in this southern sea.

On the other hand, the Ross Sea has a great importance when carrying out studies on climate change. The cold waters and ice sheets found in the Ross Sea provide scientists with an environment very sensitive to climate variations, making it much easier to measure the impact that the melting of the poles is having on the planet.

Finally, all this scientific importance served to create the Ross Sea Marine Reserve in 2016. It is the largest marine reserve in the world and seeks to protect the entire ecosystem of the Ross Sea, prohibiting, among other aspects, commercial fishing in the sea area itself.


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