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SCAR EXCOM 2013 WP10: Report on AntEco (State of the Antarctic Ecosystem)
SCAR Executive Committee Meeting
22-23 July 2013, Barcelona, Spain

SCAR EXCOM 2013 WP10: Report on AntEco (State of the Antarctic Ecosystem)

Working Paper 10
Agenda Item: 2.3.3
Deadline: 22 May 2013
Person Responsible: Don C.

Executive Summary

Title: State of the Antarctic Ecosystem (AntEco)

 Introduction/ Background: Biological diversity is the sum of all organisms that determine how ecosystems function, and underpins the life-support system of our planet. AntEco will be focusing on past and present patterns of biodiversity in the Antarctic, sub-Antarctic and Southern Ocean regions, to enhance scientific knowledge on biodiversity that, when coupled with increased knowledge of species biology, can be used for the conservation and management of Antarctic ecosystems. The new challenges are to distinguish the impact of present processes from historical signals, and to develop scenarios of potential future states through interdisciplinary approaches. Key scientific questions include:

  • How has Antarctic biodiversity evolved in response to past environmental change and what does this tell us about its capacity to respond to future change?
  • What are the systematic and environmental geographic features of Antarctic biodiversity, and what mechanisms underpin the current distribution and abundance of biodiversity?
  • Given the evolved geographic distribution of diversity and forecast threats, what conservation actions are required for mitigation of, and adaptation to, change?

The principal role of AntEco is to promote the use of established and innovative technologies in research and collaborations that will enable the synthesis and integration of biological, physical and temporal data at different resolutions in order to better understand the nature of Antarctic ecosystems.

Important Issues or Factors: AntEco is newly formed in 2013, and will develop its operational structure throughout this year.

Recommendations/Actions and Justification: To function effectively, it is important that both the existence and the purposes of the AntEco SRP are rapidly and widely communicated across the global Antarctic scientific community. AntEco therefore requests the assistance of SCAR and its instruments in establishing a comprehensive database of national Antarctic programs and contacts.

Expected Benefits/Outcomes: The following are projected outcomes of AntEco activities:

  • Potential linkages between SRPs
  • Publications (research publications and reviews)
  • Preparation of relevant strategy and advisory documents
  • Population of relevant databases with spatially significant population datasets
  • Presentations at appropriate scholarly meetings, workshops and conferences
  • Training and graduation of post graduate students (MSc and PhD)
  • Presentations at public (non-scientific) forums
  • Establishment of new public interaction sites (web pages etc.)
  • Media activities

Partners: AntEco activities will interface closely with new SCAR-sponsored programs (such as AnT-ERA, PAIS and AntClim21) and with existing peripheral SCAR programs (such as CCAMLR and ICED) [see Appendix 1]. AntEco activities will also provide valuable inputs to a range of international databases such as (incorporating SCAR-MarBIN and ANTABIF), SCAR Antarctic Biodiversity Database and Barcode of Life Database. At the research level, AntEco activities (workshops, etc.) are expected to stimulate collaborations and partnerships between international research groups. Such collaborations will naturally evolve through mutual interests, complementary and unique skills, coordinated logistics, and other synergistic drivers of research linkages.

Budget Implications: Estimated SCAR funding required over the total program lifetime (in US$): $160, 000 over 8 years = $20, 000 per year