Submersible Gathered Evidence of a Vulnerable Marine Ecosystem at the Melchior Islands, Western Antarctic Peninsula (Subarea 48.1)

Sampling event
Latest version published by SCAR - AntOBIS on Jun 26, 2024 SCAR - AntOBIS
Publication date:
26 June 2024
Published by:
CC-BY 4.0

Download the latest version of this resource data as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A) or the resource metadata as EML or RTF:

Data as a DwC-A file download 20 records in English (11 KB) - Update frequency: unknown
Metadata as an EML file download in English (33 KB)
Metadata as an RTF file download in English (17 KB)


Imagery to support a proposed VME based on high abundances of VME indicator taxa that fall within the range of previously registered VMEs. The site is off the east coast of Lambda Island, Melchior Islands, Western Antarctic Peninsula. Video imagery was taken via submersible deployed by Seabourn Venture crewed by scientist and volunteer citizen science pilots. Data on the relative percent cover of all VME indicator taxa was sourced and analysed in the same manner as VMEs added to CCAMLR’s registry in 2018 (SC-CCAMLR-XXXVII) and 2022 (SC-CCAMLR-41) using all data from WG-EMM-18/35, WG-EMM-22/34Rev1 and WG-EMM-22/46Rev1 for a direct comparison. The present site clusters with previously registered VMEs. The site supports many large hexactinellid sponges and small bamboo corals. Notable also, is the presence of the rare and little-known hydroid, Candelabrum sp. – a VME indicator taxa that is particularly vulnerable to fishing gear as they can extend metres into the water column.

This dataset is published as open data with technical support provided by SCAR Antarctic Biodiversity Portal ( (BELSPO project RT/23/ADVANCE). Please follow the guidelines from the SCAR Data Policy (SCAR, 2023) when using the data. Please contact us via the contact information provided in the metadata or via for any inquiry about this dataset. Issues with dataset can be reported at

Data Records

The data in this sampling event resource has been published as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A), which is a standardized format for sharing biodiversity data as a set of one or more data tables. The core data table contains 20 records.

3 extension data tables also exist. An extension record supplies extra information about a core record. The number of records in each extension data table is illustrated below.

Event (core)

This IPT archives the data and thus serves as the data repository. The data and resource metadata are available for download in the downloads section. The versions table lists other versions of the resource that have been made publicly available and allows tracking changes made to the resource over time.


The table below shows only published versions of the resource that are publicly accessible.

How to cite

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

Lockhart S, Potter S, Gan Y (2024). Submersible Gathered Evidence of a Vulnerable Marine Ecosystem at the Melchior Islands, Western Antarctic Peninsula (Subarea 48.1). Version 1.6. SCAR - AntOBIS. Samplingevent dataset.


Researchers should respect the following rights statement:

The publisher and rights holder of this work is SCAR - AntOBIS. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY 4.0) License.

GBIF Registration

This resource has been registered with GBIF, and assigned the following GBIF UUID: a6f7215c-8238-4f45-8125-274a2b71e6bc.  SCAR - AntOBIS publishes this resource, and is itself registered in GBIF as a data publisher endorsed by Ocean Biodiversity Information System.




Susanne Lockhart
  • Metadata Provider
  • Originator
  • Point Of Contact
Southern Benthics
Shaylyn Potter
  • Originator
Yi-Ming Gan
  • Metadata Provider
  • Point Of Contact
Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences

Geographic Coverage

Lambda Island, Melchior Islands, Western Antarctic Peninsula

Bounding Coordinates South West [-64.302, -62.961], North East [-64.302, -62.961]

Taxonomic Coverage

No Description available

Kingdom Chromista, Animalia
Phylum Mollusca, Arthropoda, Porifera, Annelida, Brachiopoda, Chordata, Hemichordata, Foraminifera, Cnidaria, Bryozoa, Echinodermata
Class Demospongiae, Hydrozoa, Pterobranchia, Thecostraca, Xenophyophorea, Polychaeta, Hexacorallia, Bivalvia, Ascidiacea, Octocorallia, Echinoidea, Hexactinellida, Ophiuroidea, Crinoidea
Order Scleractinia, Pectinida, Zoantharia, Hydroida, Balanomorpha, Malacalcyonacea, Scleralcyonacea, Cidaroida, Euryalida, Anthoathecata, Sabellida, Antipatharia, Pennatulacea
Family Stylasteridae, Primnoidae, Coralliidae, Serpulidae, Isididae, Candelabridae, Bathylasmatidae, Paragorgiidae, Acanthogorgiidae, Actinacididae, Pectinidae, Chrysogorgiidae

Temporal Coverage

Start Date 2024-01-17

Project Data

A novel collaboration between commercial submersible pilots, and their organizations, with Southern Benthics to provide footage of the seabed around Antarctica for the purposes of securing protection for VMEs, and for monitoring the health of those VMEs in the long term in the face of the climate crisis.

Title Citizen Science Submersible Program
Funding ASOC; The Soap & The Sea

The personnel involved in the project:

Susanne Lockhart
  • Principal Investigator

Sampling Methods

Sampling was conducted by U Boat Worx Cruise Sub-7, recording imagery with Panasonic AW-UE150KEJ 4K Integrated PTZ camera operated with a Panasonic AW-RP60GJ remote camera controller.

Study Extent This database pertains to one dive site (Lambda Island, Melchior Islands, Western Antarctic Peninsula), proposed as a VME for inclusion in CCAMLR’s VME Registry.
Quality Control - All records were validated. - Coordinates were converted into decimal latitude and decimal -longitude and plotted on map to verify the actual geographical location corresponds to its locality. - All scientific names were checked for typo and matched to the species information backbone of Worlds Register of Marine Species ( and LSID were assigned to each taxa as scientificNameID whenever possible. - Event date and time were converted into ISO 8601 and verified with the data providers.

Method step description:

  1. DaVinci Resolve 18 was used to combine separate files where necessary and for editing.
  2. Clean-up followed the same methodology as was used for analyzing the submarine footage for the successful nomination of VMEs in WG-EMM-22/46Rev1 to remove unusable sequences. For the Lambda Is footage that meant the removal of any sequences where the submersible was too far from the wall, where the visibility was poor and when the submersible was stationary. Footage from Dive A was the longest resulting video after the completion of this clean-up procedure (Table 1), thus it became the footage that was analysed.
  3. Footage was color adjusted within DaVinci Resolve 18.
  4. The analysis methodology also followed that which was used in WG-EMM-22/46Rev1. To compare the relative percent abundance of VME indicator taxa to that of non-VME taxa and bare substrate at the Lambda Is site, frames were exported at regular intervals (30 secs) beginning at 0:00.
  5. The resulting series of images were then imported into the program PAPARA(ZZ)I (Marcon & Purser, 2017). Within this program images were further enhanced by adjusting brightness, contrast and gamma. As recommended by the authors, the usable area was then defined for each image allowing the exclusion of dark or blurred edges.
  6. Once images were prepared in this way, an array of 100 random points was overlayed. Each point in each image was assigned one of three designations: VME indicator taxa, non-VME taxa or bare substrate.

Bibliographic Citations

  1. SC-CAMLR-XXXVII (2018) Thirty-seventh Meeting of the Scientific Committee. CCAMLR. Hobart, Australia.
  2. SC-CAMLR-41 (2022) Forty-first meeting of the Scientific Committee. CCAMLR. Hobart, Australia.
  3. WG-EMM-18/35. Lockhart, S. & J. Hocevar (2018) Evidence of Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems documented via submarine in the Antarctic Sound and Gerlache Strait (Subarea 48.1). CCAMLR. Hobart, Australia.
  4. WG-EMM-22/34Rev1. Lockhart, S. & R. Izendooren (2022) Evidence of a Vulnerable Marine Ecosystem documented via tourist submarine off Cape Well-Met, Vega Island, Eastern Antarctic Peninsula (Subarea 48.1). CCAMLR. Hobart, Australia.
  5. WG-EMM-22/46Rev1. Lockhart, S., R. Downey, R. García-Roa, J. Hocevar & L. Weller (2022) Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems documented via submarine in the Bransfield Strait and the Eastern Antarctic Peninsula (Subarea 48.1). CCAMLR. Hobart, Australia.
  6. Marcon, Y. and Purser A. (2017) PAPARA(ZZ)I: An open-source software interface for annotating photographs of the deep-sea. SoftwareX. 6, 69-80.
  7. The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research. (2023). SCAR Report 42 - September 2022 - SCAR Data Policy (2022). Zenodo.
  8. Lockhart, Susanne, Shaylyn Potter, Chris Venus, Kara Weller, and Remy Izendooren. “Submersible Gathered Evidence of a Vulnerable Marine Ecosystem at the Melchior Islands, Western Antarctic Peninsula (subarea 48.1) - Multimedia”. Zenodo, June 26, 2024.

Additional Metadata

Alternative Identifiers a6f7215c-8238-4f45-8125-274a2b71e6bc