A century of oceanographic and fisheries exploration on the continental shelf off Argentina
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AbstractA detailed analysis is presented of the main contributions, both local and international, to the fields of oceanography and fishery sciences resulting from exploratory cruises carried out on the continental shelf off Argentina over the last 100 years. The end of the 19th century is chosen as a starting point for this analysis as it marks the beginning of active marine research by Argentinian scientists and an accumulation of information on Antarctic and Subantarctic organisms in foreign journals. Mention is also made of previous contributions derived from the classic expeditions and global circumnavigational voyages during the 18th and 19th centuries. Although the aims of those were not always strictly oceanographic, they rendered significant information to this field of knowledge. In the early years, references arose mainly from the particular geographic situation of the Argentinian shelf, a necessary passage in the navigation routes to the Pacific Ocean, and later on the way to Antarctica. Sources of information are divided into four categories: (a) foreign scientific projects in the area; (b) investigation by Argentinian scientists and research vessels; (c) joint projects between Argentinian and foreign institutions; and (d) contributions from sources other than oceanographic cruises (commercial navigation, maritime weather reports, satellite images, etc.). The analysis includes an updated and classified bibliographical list of the main contributions to the fields of oceanography and fishery sciences derived from those sources, published either in international or local journals or appearing as technical and internal reports. The motivations, objectives and main achievements of foreign surveys and programmes in the area and their impact on local scientific progress are discussed. The early 'sixties mark a turning point in the evolution of international research in the area. The creation of biological stations along the Argentinian coast, and the support given to the pooling of human resources set the basis for the development of bilateral programmes. Similar progress in Brazil and Uruguay led to the outgrowth of regional activities. Joint scientific efforts described in this analysis include the programmes carried out by the research vessels of Germany (''Walther Herwig'', ''Meteor''), Japan (''Kaiyo Maru'', ''Orient Maru'', ''Shinkai Maru''), Poland (''Professor Siedlecki''), Russia (''Evrika'', ''Dimitry Stefanov'') and the USA (''Vema'', ''Atlantis II''), the achievements of which are a landmark in the evolution of marine science in the area.