Photo by: Dr. Rodolfo Werner
Welcome to the coldest, driest and windiest continent on Earth
The Southern Ocean around Antarctica is home to thousands of species of marine animals. Antarctica is the highest continent in the world. Because of the thickness of its ice sheet, the average elevation is 2,300 meters (about 7,500 feet).
One and a half times the size of the United States, the Antarctic continent also boasts the world's largest desert. The record for the lowest temperature on earth (-89.2C /-128.6F) was set here, at the Vostok research station.
The Southern Ocean around Antarctica is home to approximately 7,500 species of marine animals.
These fascinating creatures range from penguins and seals to krill, glass sponges, and colossal squid.
Antarctica is governed by the Antarctic Treaty, which reserves the continent for peace and science. The Southern Ocean is governed by a treaty known as the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources that is dedicated to a precautionary, ecosystem-based approach to management. Both treaties have been signed by nations that have an interest in Antarctica.