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Maritime Forum

Map of the Week – Underwater gliders

The Map of the Week shows the position of underwater gliders in the ocean and seas worldwide. Underwater gliders are oceanographic instruments that automatically collect ocean data and monitor the seas.


This week, the Euronews Ocean Episode focused on Antarctica and the Southern Ocean! The episode provides information on an expedition which aimed to explore the marine biodiversity of the West Antarctic Peninsula. It also discusses, ahead of an important meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) in October, the current status of efforts to designate two large zones in the region as marine protected areas (MPAs). To date, only two MPAs have been designated, respectively in the Ross Sea and in the Southern Orkney Islands Southern Shelf. Two new MPAs have been proposed by the European Union, respectively in the Eastern waters and in the Weddell Sea. A third MPA proposal has also been presented by Argentina and Chile in the Western Antarctic Peninsula and in the South Scotia Arc. [1] Watch the video to learn more about the expedition and see where the proposed MPAs are located!

CCAMLR was established by international convention in 1982 with the objective of conserving Antarctic marine life. It implements a comprehensive set of measures in order to support the conservation of Antarctic marine living resources and the management of fisheries in the Southern Ocean. These conservation measures are reviewed and developed at each annual meeting of the Commission. Measures are grouped in the following categories: compliance, general fishery matters, fishery regulations and protected areas. [2]

Wish to know more about ocean observations in the Southern Ocean, Antarctic biodiversity and scientific research in Antarctica?

  • Explore the Map of the Week to learn about underwater gliders. These oceanographic instruments follow an up-and-down, sawtooth-like profile through the water. They have a range of sensors taking measurements such as temperature, conductivity (to calculate salinity), currents, chlorophyll fluorescence (a proxy for phytoplankton), optical backscatter, bottom depth, and (occasionally) acoustic backscatter. Look south in the map to see the position of underwater gliders near the coasts of Antarctica and click on them to see what parameters they are measuring!
  • Discover the Southern Ocean Observing System (SOOS), an international initiative of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) and the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR), whose mission is to facilitate the collection and delivery of essential observations on dynamics and change of Southern Ocean systems to all international stakeholders.
  • Learn about the SCAR Antarctic Biodiversity Portal, an international effort that seeks to increase our knowledge and understanding of Antarctic and Southern Ocean biodiversity.
  • Read about the Southern Ocean United Nations Decade.
  • Make sure to have a look at the programme of the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) International Polar week that will take place on 19-25 September 2021.

Access the map

The data in this map are provided by EMODnet.