Antarctic ecosystem responses following ice-shelf collapse and iceberg calving: Science review and future research

Jeroen Ingels, Richard B. Aronson, Craig R. Smith, Amy Baco, Holly M. Bik, James A. Blake, Angelika Brandt, Mattias Cape, David Demaster, Emily Dolan, Eugene Domack, Spencer Fire, Heidi Geisz, Michael Gigliotti, Huw Griffiths, Kenneth M. Halanych, Charlotte Havermans, Falk Huettmann, Scott Ishman, Sven A. KranzAmy Leventer, Andrew R. Mahon, James McClintock, Michael L. McCormick, B. Greg Mitchell, Alison E. Murray, Lloyd Peck, Alex Rogers, Barbara Shoplock, Kathryn E. Smith, Brittan Steffel, Michael R. Stukel, Andrew K. Sweetman, Michelle Taylor, Andrew R. Thurber, Martin Truffer, Anton van de Putte, Ann Vanreusel, Maria Angelica Zamora-Duran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


The calving of A-68, the 5,800-km2, 1-trillion-ton iceberg shed from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in July 2017, is one of over 10 significant ice-shelf loss events in the past few decades resulting from rapid warming around the Antarctic Peninsula. The rapid thinning, retreat, and collapse of ice shelves along the Antarctic Peninsula are harbingers of warming effects around the entire continent. Ice shelves cover more than 1.5 million km2 and fringe 75% of Antarctica's coastline, delineating the primary connections between the Antarctic continent, the continental ice, and the Southern Ocean. Changes in Antarctic ice shelves bring dramatic and large-scale modifications to Southern Ocean ecosystems and continental ice movements, with global-scale implications. The thinning and rate of future ice-shelf demise is notoriously unpredictable, but models suggest increased shelf-melt and calving will become more common. To date, little is known about sub-ice-shelf ecosystems, and our understanding of ecosystem change following collapse and calving is predominantly based on responsive science once collapses have occurred. In this review, we outline what is known about (a) ice-shelf melt, volume loss, retreat, and calving, (b) ice-shelf-associated ecosystems through sub-ice, sediment-core, and pre-collapse and post-collapse studies, and (c) ecological responses in pelagic, sympagic, and benthic ecosystems. We then discuss major knowledge gaps and how science might address these gaps. This article is categorized under: Climate, Ecology, and Conservation > Modeling Species and Community Interactions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021


  • Antarctic
  • climate change
  • ecosystems
  • ice shelf


Dive into the research topics of 'Antarctic ecosystem responses following ice-shelf collapse and iceberg calving: Science review and future research'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this