Ecological Resources

Exhibition on the Theme

‘Beyond 60°S’ Exhibition

30 August – 30 November 2018


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Leopard Seal swimming on the surface of the sea

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Gentoo Penguins chasing away a South Polar Skua

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Mosses in the Antarctic Peninsula


Ecological Resources

Only a tiny fraction of the continent, mostly on its periphery, is free of ice. The associated terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems are generally small and patchy, and the populations comprise mostly small invertebrates, lower plants, and microbes.

There are more marine than terrestrial species in the Antarctic ecosystems. The waters surrounding Antarctica are nutrient-rich and highly productive, and are characterized by an abundance of phytoplankton, zooplankton, fish, squid, benthic organisms, seals, whales and birds. Animals of higher trophic levels, such as seabirds, seals, and whales, are more abundant in the Southern Ocean than in other oceans. The average benthic biomass in the Antarctic is also higher than that of temperate and subtropical communities.

The marine resources of the Antarctic were over-exploited in previous centuries, leading to the depletion of different groups, such as seals and whales, krill, finfish, and toothfish. Two conventions associated with the Antarctic Treaty System are currently in force to conserve marine living resources: (1) Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Seals; and (2) Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.

Despite the enforcement of these two conventions, the ecosystems and resources around the Antarctic margin are facing pressing conservation threats, such as regional warming, ocean acidification, changes in sea ice distribution, tourism and growing pressure for marine resource extraction.

For further interests, more information is available from The Antarctic of our sustainability hub.

#Antarctic Life

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Yasumoto International Academic Park 8/F
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Shatin, NT, Hong Kong
3943 9632
Opening hours
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday to Saturday: 9:30 am – 5:00 pm
Wednesday, Sunday, Public Holidays and University Holidays
(24th and 31st December, and Lunar New Year Eve): Closed