Biological observations from the Discovery Investigations 1925-1952

Latest version published by Southwestern Pacific Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) Node on 15 March 2019 Southwestern Pacific Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) Node

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The Discovery Investigations were a series of expeditions to the Southern Oceans funded out of proceeds from the sale of whaling licenses that took place between 1925 and 1951. The investigations had three main components: a marine laboratory at King Edward Point on South Georgia; the fast-sailing 326-ton RRS William Scoresby; and studies undertaken by the RSS Discovery. In 1929, the Discovery was replaced by the 1000-ton steel-hulled RRS Discovery II when the older ship was found to be simply too slow and cumbersome to carry out all the work required.

A variety of sampling methods were deployed, including otter trawls, beam trawls, dredges, fish traps, and a variety of fine-meshed nets tow in the horizontal, vertical, or oblique.

Data Records

The data in this occurrence 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 37,916 records.

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:

Southwestern Pacific OBIS (2014). Biological observations from the Discovery Investigations 1925-1935. Southwestern Pacific OBIS, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), Wellington, New Zealand, 33337 records, Online http://nzobisipt.niwa.co.nz/resource.do?r=discovery_reports released on January 23, 2015.


Researchers should respect the following rights statement:

The publisher and rights holder of this work is Southwestern Pacific Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) Node. To the extent possible under law, the publisher has waived all rights to these data and has dedicated them to the Public Domain (CC0 1.0). Users may copy, modify, distribute and use the work, including for commercial purposes, without restriction.

GBIF Registration

This resource has been registered with GBIF, and assigned the following GBIF UUID: 96385e98-93b5-4e4a-8081-6e30b738816a.  Southwestern Pacific Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) Node publishes this resource, and is itself registered in GBIF as a data publisher endorsed by Ocean Biodiversity Information System.


Occurrence; Observation


Kevin Mackay
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Marine Data Manager
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New Zealand

Geographic Coverage

Mainly in the South Atlantic and around the Antarctic Peninsula. But also in the Southern Ocean, and the southern Indian and Pacific Oceans

Bounding Coordinates South West [-70.567, -180], North East [41.617, 180]

Temporal Coverage

Start Date / End Date 1873-01-01 / 1952-01-01

Bibliographic Citations

  1. Barnard, K.H. (1932). Amphipoda. Discovery Reports, V. University Press: Cambridge. 326, plate I pp
  2. Heengaard, P. (1951). Antarctic parasitic copepods and an ascothoracid cirriped from brittle-stars. Vidensk. Medd. Dan. Naturhist. Foren. 113: 171-190, II plates
  3. John, C.C. (1932). Cephalodiscus. Discovery Reports, III. University Press: Cambridge. 223-260, plates XXXIII-XXXVIII pp.
  4. Mortensen, T. (1936). Echinoidea and Ophiuroidea. Discovery Reports, 12. Cambridge University Press: London. 199-348, plate I-IX pp.
  5. Heron-Allen, E.; Earland, A. (1932). Foraminifera. Part I. The ice-free area of the Falkland Islands and adjacent seas. Discovery Reports, IV. University Press: Cambridge. 291-460, plates VI-XVII pp
  6. Massy, A.L. (1932). Mollusca: Gastropoda Thecosomata and Gymnosomata. Discovery Reports, III. University Press: Cambridge. 267-296, plate XXXIX pp
  7. Graham Cannon, H. (1932). Nebaliacea. Discovery Reports, III. University Press: Cambridge. 199-222, plate XXXII pp
  8. Gordon, I. (1932). Pycnogonida. Discovery Reports, VI. University Press: Cambridge. 1-137 pp
  9. Burton, M. (1932). Sponges. Discovery Reports, VI. Cambridge University Press: London. 237-392, Plates XLVIII-LVII pp

Additional Metadata

marine, harvested by iOBIS

Alternative Identifiers 96385e98-93b5-4e4a-8081-6e30b738816a