The specific goal of SO GLOBEC is to understand the physical and biological factors that contribute to enhanced Antarctic krill growth, reproduction, recruitment and survivorship throughout the year. Its focus also includes the predators and competitors of Antarctic krill, such as seal, penguins, whales, fish, seabirds and other zooplankton. The UK (west Antarctic Peninsula and Scotia Sea), Germany (west Antarctic Peninsula and Lazarev Sea), Korea (Bransfield Strait), the United States (west Antarctic Peninsula) and the International Whaling Commission (IWC) are the main participants. The field phase of the programme comes to an end in 2007, and will overlap with and be followed by an integration and synthesis phase that ended in 2009.

Building on its successes, SO GLOBEC has commenced planning a follow-up programme labelled ICCED (Integrated analysis of Circumpolar Climate Interactions and Ecosystem Dynamics in the Southern Ocean), which will be conducted under IMBER (Integrated Marine Biogeochemistry and Ecosystems Research). ICED will be a circum-polar, interdisciplinary approach to understand climate interactions in the Southern Ocean, their implications for ecosystem function and their feedbacks to biogeochemical cycles.