University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > British Antarctic Survey > Extending our knowledge into the Past: The rescue, reanalysis and accessibility of historic plankton data from the Discovery Investigations 1925-1951

Extending our knowledge into the Past: The rescue, reanalysis and accessibility of historic plankton data from the Discovery Investigations 1925-1951

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Sophie Fielding.

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The Discovery Investigations were a series of cruises commissioned by the Royal Society over the period 1925-1951. Originally with the aim of investigating whale stocks and their feeding grounds the cruises constituted some of the earliest comprehensive scientific work in the Southern Ocean. The investigations totalled thousands of stations involving coordinated sampling that contributed enormously to our understanding, describing the Antarctic convergence and the importance of krill as food for whales. Despite their significance most of the original ecological data used in the synthesis of the Discovery Reports is not available to the scientific community with much of the collections having become separated and disparate over the past decades. As a result this unique data is missing from any detailed comparisons between historic and modern ecological Southern Ocean analysis. In collaboration with the Natural History Museum and the National Oceanography Centre, BAS are addressing this through two main objectives: (1) the production of a free single web based data portal, providing the user with access to original raw data rescued from the archived collections; and (2) illustrate the value of the historic raw data by using it to help answer important questions about Southern Ocean plankton ecology. This talk will explain the problems faced and how they are being overcome, along with a look at the potential scientific questions we hope to help answer through this project.

This talk is part of the British Antarctic Survey series.

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