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pdf SCAR XXXI WP08: Report of the SCAR Standing Scientific Group – Life Sciences (SSG-LS)

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XXXI SCAR Delegates Meeting
9-11 August 2010, Buenos Aires, Argentina

SCAR XXXI WP08: Report of the SCAR Standing Scientific Group – Life Sciences (SSG-LS)

Working Paper 8
Agenda Item: 5.2
Posted/Revised: August 7
Person Responsible: Conlan

Executive Summary

Title: Report of the SCAR Standing Scientific Group – Life Sciences (SSG-LS), XXXI SCAR, 30 July - 2 August 2010, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Author: Kathleen Conlan, Chief Officer

Relevant URLs or references to other reports: https://www.scar.org/science/lsg/home/ (updated link)

Important Issues or Factors:

  1. With the planned end of the SCAR Scientific Research Programme “Evolution and Biodiversity in the Antarctic” (EBA) in 2013, the SSG-LS has separately endorsed each of the following new proposed Programme Planning Groups (PPGs) for Delegate approval:
  • State of the Antarctic Ecosystem (AntEco)
  • Antarctic Ecosystems: Adaptations, Thresholds and Resilience (AntETR)
  1. The SSG-LS ran the highly successful SCAR X Biology Symposium with 113 oral and 122 poster presentations given under the six sub-themes of EBA. A special issue of “Polar Science” will be published shortly.  New initiatives were a special session for APECS (Association of Polar Early Career Scientists), awards for the early career scientist presentations and an outreach session.
  2. South Africa and Spain offered to host the SCAR XI Biology Symposium in 2013. By closed ballot, Spain was selected.  This Symposium will showcase the accomplishments of EBA and set the stage for the two new SRPs (if approved).
  3. Members of the SSG-LS were co-authors of the ACCE Report, showing that Antarctic life is clearly showing climate change effects and predicting the scenario for the next 100 years.
  4. The EG-CPR has produced the Southern Ocean Zooplankton Atlas which will enable monitoring and prediction of zooplankton changes. The EG-CPR will be a core program of SOOS and provide a link to CCAMLR.
  5. The EG-Birds and Marine Mammals is establishing links with CCAMLR and SOOS through its top predator tracking database.
  6. The EG-Human Biology and Medicine is small but scientifically active. It wishes a closer link of SCAR with COMNAP in respect to research into human biology and medicine.
  7. The IPY programme Census of Antarctic Marine Life will end this year (2010). It will synthesize its achievements in a special science publication and a video.  It has been highly successful and has left a large legacy.
  8. The SSG-LS will sponsor a workshop on King George Island to establish the scope of current and future research and develop a strategic plan for handling future collaborative efforts there.
  9. The SSG-LS is forming two additional cross-linkages (in addition to its two current cross-linkages with the SSG-PS and GS): (1) ATHENA, an Expert Group to steward subglacial lake exploration and (2) a cross-Action group with the SSG-PS on Ocean Acidification. Further cross-linkages with both PS and GS will be established through its two proposed PPGs.
  10. Subsidiary group funding requests are in excess of expected allocation by 39% in 2011 and 51% in 2012, an indication that the SSG-LS may have difficulty completing its tasks.

Recommendations/Actions, Justification and Outcomes:

  1. The SSG-LS asks that the Delegates recommend to National Committees that they urge their national funding agencies to consider contributing to the SCAR Marine Biodiversity Information Network (SCAR-MarBIN) funding for the period 2011-2015. This will enable SCAR to continue to efficiently contribute data and expertise, enable SCAR-MarBIN to be the main biodiversity data provider to SOOS, and enable SCAR to be actively associated with emerging initiatives.
  2. The SSG-LS asks that the Delegates advise that SCAR adopt the revised Code of Conduct for Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes in Antarctica and requests that National Committees support the paper when it is submitted to the ATCM by SCAR in 2011. Recognising that animals are sentient beings and need to be treated ethically when involved in scientific experiments, this revised Code of Conduct will conform to good practice.
  3. The SSG-LS asks that SCAR reconsider the scheduling of the biennial Open Science Conference in the face of growing concerns over carbon release by participant travel and the known impacts of excess carbon on the Antarctic environment.
  4. The SSG-LS asks that SCAR consider ways in which to increase its allocations, given the large discrepancy between funds requested and allocated.