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SCAR XXXI WP19c: Report on Proposed PPG State of the Antarctic Ecosystem (AntEco)
XXXI SCAR Delegates Meeting
9-11 August 2010, Buenos Aires, Argentina

SCAR XXXI WP19c: Report on Proposed PPG State of the Antarctic Ecosystem (AntEco)

Working Paper 19c
Agenda Item: 5.2
Person Responsible: Convey/Conlan

Executive Summary

(to be discussed and modified during SCAR Business Meetings)

Title: State of the Antarctic Ecosystem (AntEco)

Authors: Pete Convey, Dom Hodgson, Brent Sinclair, Kathleen Conlan on behalf of AntEco planning workshop group

Introduction/ Background: Biological diversity is the sum of all those organisms that dictate how ecosystems function, and underpins the life-support system of our planet.  This programme has been designed to focus on patterns of biodiversity across terrestrial, limnological, glacial and marine environments within the Antarctic, sub-Antarctic and Southern Ocean regions, to provide the scientific knowledge on biodiversity that can be also used for conservation and management.

Important Issues or Factors:  In essence we propose to explain what biodiversity is there, how it got there, why it is there, what threatens it, and also provide recommendations for its management and conservation. In particular to answer the following key scientific questions:

  • How do we explain the origin, current distribution and abundance of biodiversity?
  • How has Antarctic biodiversity responded to past change and what does this tell us about its capacity to respond to future change?
  • What are the threats and what are the implications for the maintenance of biodiversity?

Recommendations/Actions and Justification:  To form a Programme Planning Group, AntEco

Expected Benefits/Outcomes:  

  • A major deliverable will be a State of the Antarctic Ecosystem Report, analogous to the recent ACCE, but concentrating on biological aspects.
  • There will be significant progress with database population and integration (e.g. MarBIN, RiSCC, ANTABIF), formulation of new databases (Terrestrial ‘CAML’ including ICEMATE, genetic and barcoding metadatabase) and GIS products (visualising bioregionalisation). Where possible these will be integrated with global databases such as GEO BON.
  • The programme will provide recommendations towards the CEP’s 5-year plan e.g. prediction of distribution and biodiversity changes (vulnerable species and systems), ship-borne tourism, Marine Protected Areas, ASPAs, and CCAMLR.
  • The creation of an Expert Group concerned with human impacts and invasive species in collaboration with the AntETR programme.
  • Provide new data for glaciological and geological and other SCAR SRPs
  • The creation of the Biological Material Repository
  • The promotion of workshops on specific aspects of biodiversity and taxonomy

Partners: ACE, AGCS, SALE, EBA (and their successors), other Antarctic initiatives such as ACCE, CCAMLR, COML, ANTABIF, and inform stakeholders in the ATS and CEP. The programme is outward looking with targeted stakeholders including IPCC, SOOS, IPBES, ICED, and PAGES. 

Budget Implications: $5000 a year for two years