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 for the East Antarctic Southern Ocean, although it is well recognized that such investigations are indispensable to identify the ecological impacts and risks of environmental change. Therefore, here we develop a framework for establishing a long-term cross-disciplinary study and argue why the eastern Weddell Sea and the easterly adjacent sea off Dronning Maud Land (WSoDML) is a well suited area for such an initiative. As in the Eastern Antarctic in general, climate and environmental change have so far been comparatively muted in this area. A systematic long-term study of its environmental and ecological state can thus provide a baseline of the current situation, an assessment of future changes, and sound data can act as a model to develop and calibrate projections. Establishing a long-term observation (LTO) and long-term ecological research (LTER) programme now would allow the study of climate-driven ecosystem changes and interactions with impacts arising from other anthropogenic activities, from their very onset. Through regular autonomous and ship-based LTO activities, changes in ocean dynamics, geochemistry, biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services can be systematically explored and mapped. This observational work should be accompanied by targeted LTER efforts, including experimental and modelling studies. This 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.
Authors: Gutt, Julian, Arndt, Stefanie, Barnes, David K.A. ORCID record for David K.A. Barnes, Bornemann, Horst, Brey, Thomas, Eisen, Olaf, Griffiths, Huw ORCID 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