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SCAR EXCOM 2015 WP11: Report on AntEco (State of the Antarctic Ecosystem)
Title: State of the Antarctic Ecosystem (AntEco)
Authors: Jan Strugnell, Huw Griffiths, Aleks Terauds, Pete Convey and the AntEco Steering Group.
Introduction/ Background: The Scientific Research Programme - AntEco (State of the Antarctic Ecosystem) has a focus on understanding and clarifying the processes driving patterns of biodiversity in all environments across the Antarctic, sub-Antarctic and Southern Ocean regions. The programme prioritises applied research and aims to provide scientific knowledge on biodiversity that can also be used for conservation and management.
Important Issues or Factors: Since its formal inception in 2013, AntEco has focused on building and extending research networks, facilitating research that is aligned with the research priorities of the programme, and publishing research findings. Members have not only published papers in high quality journals, but also ensured that findings are disseminated widely, through conference symposia, media and popular articles. Publications in high quality journals continue to be a priority, and we are currently on track to exceed the ambitious targets set out in the implementation plan. One of the primary goals of AntEco is to foster collaboration between scientists, institutions and countries. To this end, AntEco has provided several letters of support for a number of large-scale multinational research proposals. AntEco has secured a research cruise, largely funded by the British Antarctic Survey, to investigate the biodiversity, biogeography and the Marine Protected Area in the South Orkney plateau. This expedition includes AntEco participants from 16 institutes and 9 countries. As a group, we invested considerable time and resources into the 2014 SCAR OSC, with three workshops and a diverse range of sessions, all of which were very well attended. We also supported a session at the 2015 ISAES meeting in Goa, India. Over the next year, AntEco will not only continue to support new research, but also focus on the delivery of advice to stakeholders, in particular the ATCM through the CEP.
Recommendations/Actions and Justification: Given the substantial progress made in its first two years, and the momentum that is building in the AntEco research community, we recommend that the delegates (1) note and approve of AntEco actions to date, and (2) continue to support AntEco at current levels for the next two years.
Expected Benefits/Outcomes: Continuing support will allow the number and quality of important publications to continue, will ensure outreach delivery, facilitate advice to stakeholders and enhance SCAR’s profile and reputation.
Partners: All outputs to date involve partners and collaborators both within and external to SCAR. So far these groups include SC-ATS, EG-BI, AnT-ERA, CAML, APECS, and a range of research institutional partners. Cross-disciplinary and cross-group collaborations will continue to be a driving theme in AntEco supported research.
Budget Implications: To achieve the objectives and goals over the next two year period, we request that funding is maintained at $US20 000 per year.