center for synthesis
and analysis of biodiversity

A centre created and developed by the FRB
Retrospective Analysis of Antarctic Tracking data to identify areas of ecological significance in the Antarctic

Project leader: Yan Ropert-Coudert,  CNRS UMR, Chizé, France (CNRS - Université La Rochelle) (

Participants :  Horst Bornemann, Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Germany; Jean-Benoît Charrassin, LOCEAN, CNRS, National Natural History Museum, University of Pierre and Marie Curie, France; Bruno Danis, Free University of Brussells, Belgium; Mark Hindell, University of Tasmania, Australia; Luis Huckstadt, University of California, Santa Cruz, United States of America; Ian Jonsen, Macquarie University, Australia; Ben Raymond, Australian Antarctic Division, Australia; Philipp Trathan, British Antarctic Survey United Kingdom; Anton Van de Putte, Royal Belgian Institute for Natural Science, Belgium; David Thompson, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd., New Zealand; Leigh Torres, Oregon State University, United States of America.



The overarching goal of the Retrospective Analysis of Antarctic Tracking Data (RAATD) project is to undertake a multispecies assessment of habitat use of Antarctic meso and top predators in the Southern Ocean based on existing animal tracking data to identify Areas of Ecological Significance, i.e. regions that are important for foraging to a range of predators and which, consequently, present an important biodiversity.


The project will provide (i) a greater understanding of fundamental ecosystem processes in the Southern Ocean, (ii) facilitate future projections of predator distributions under varying climate regimes, and (iii) provide input into spatial management planning decisions for management authorities such as the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources. The synopsis of multi-predator tracking data will also expose potential gaps of data coverage in regions or seasons that are important but under-represented, possibly due to biases in the spatial, temporal, or taxonomic distribution of research effort. We have collated all available tracking data by research groups that worked in the Antarctic since the 1990s. We have then established a preliminary publicly accessible repository of these data. The final publicly available repository will only have the raw data that data holders have agreed to share and should contain data from more than 40 contributors from 12 national Antarctic programs. The dataset contains data on 15 predator species, with 3447 individual animals, and more than 2.4 million data points. We will also share the outputs of the project, including filtered and processed versions of these data, and habitat model outputs.