Reviews and syntheses: A framework to observe, understand and project ecosystem response to environmental change in the East Antarctic Southern Ocean

Systematic long-term studies on ecosystem dynamics are largely lacking from the East Antarctic Southern Ocean, although it is well recognized that they are indispensable to identify the ecological impacts and risks of environmental change. Here, we present a framework for establishing a long-term cross-disciplinary study on decadal timescales. We argue that the eastern Weddell Sea and the adjacent sea to the east, off Dronning Maud Land, is a particularly well suited area for such a study, since it is based on findings from previous expeditions to this region. Moreover, since climate and environmental change have so far been comparatively muted in this area, as in the eastern Antarctic in general, a systematic long-term study of its environmental and ecological state can provide a baseline of the current situation, which will be important for an assessment of future changes from their very onset, with consistent and comparable time series data underpinning and testing models and their projections. By establishing an Integrated East Antarctic Marine Research (IEAMaR) observatory, long-term changes in ocean dynamics, geochemistry, biodiversity, and ecosystem functions and services will be systematically explored and mapped through regular autonomous and ship-based synoptic surveys. An associated long-term ecological research (LTER) programme, including experimental and modelling work, will allow for studying climate-driven ecosystem changes and interactions with impacts arising from other anthropogenic activities. This integrative approach will provide a level of long-term data availability and ecosystem understanding that are imperative to determine, understand, and project the consequences of climate change and support a sound science-informed management of future conservation efforts in the Southern Ocean.


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Authors: Gutt, Julian, Arndt, Stefanie, Barnes, David K.A. ORCIDORCID record for David K.A. Barnes, Bornemann, Horst, Brey, Thomas, Eisen, Olaf, Griffiths, Huw ORCIDORCID record for Huw Griffiths, Haas, Christian, Hain, Stefan, Hattermann, Tore, Held, Christoph, Hoppema, Mario, Isla, Enrique, Janout, Markus, Le Bohec, Céline, Link, Heike, Mark, Felix Christopher, Moreau, Sebastien, Trimborn, Scarlett, van Opzeeland, Ilse, Pörtner, Hans-Otto, Schaafsma, Fokje, Teschke, Katharina, Tippenhauer, Sandra, Van de Putte, Anton, Wege, Mia, Zitterbart, Daniel, Peipenburg, Dieter

On this site: David Barnes, Huw Griffiths
23 November, 2022
Biogeosciences / 19
30pp / 5313-5342
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