Advective processes are recognized as being important in structuring and maintaining marine ecosystems. In the Southern Ocean advective effects are perhaps most clearly observed because the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) provides a connection between most parts of the system, including open ocean and continental shelf regions. The ACC also provides a mechanism for large-scale transport of plankton, such as Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba Dana), which is an important component of the Southern Ocean food web. This overview provides a summary of recent observational and modelling results that consider the importance of advection to the Southern Ocean ecosystem and, in particular, the role of advection in structuring the large-scale distribution of Antarctic krill. The results of these studies show that advection is a dominant process controlling Antarctic krill distribution and by inference an important process affecting overall structure and production of the Southern Ocean food web. The overview shows that quantifying the roles of advective and retentive physical processes, and population dynamic and behavioural biological processes in determining the regional and local distribution of krill and abundance will be an important research focus. Strategies for future Antarctic multidisciplinary research programmes that are focused on understanding advective processes at a circumpolar scale are suggested.
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