In recent decades, advances in molecular systematics and intensive taxon sampling have provided new insights into Antarctic ecosystem diversity and functioning. The Antarctic Circumpolar Current acts as an oceanographic barrier around the Southern Ocean, leading to the characteristic environmental conditions that have shaped unique benthic ecosystems. In the warmth of the upcoming years, shifts in sea ice regime and seawater biogeochemistry are predicted to alter Antarctic benthic communities both at a compositional and functional level. This Special Issue aims to gather research pieces both at a community and species-specific level to help to solve the puzzling ecological and faunistic functioning of the Southern Ocean seafloor. This information will be beneficial to predict future changes during the Anthropocene. Manuscripts directed at the diversity and phylogeny of marine invertebrates with a large biogeographic scale are encouraged, as are those using integrative tools for understanding community structure and ecological interactions.
Dr. Juan Moles