/ SOOS EG-ABI Essential Variables Workshop

Date: 10-11 August 2023
Time: 9am-5pm AEST
Location: Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) Wombat Room – 181 Macquarie Street, Hobart TAS
Convenors: Anton Van de Putte, Alyce Hancock, Ben Raymond

The Southern Ocean is a unique environment that experiences rapid change in some areas while remaining relatively untouched by human activities. At the same time, these ecosystems are under severe threat from climate change and other stressors. While our understanding of Southern biological processes (e.g., species distributions, feeding ecology, reproduction) has greatly improved in recent years (CAML), biological data for the region remains patchy, sparse, and unstandardized depending on taxonomic group. Because of the scarcity of standardised observations and data, it is difficult to model and predict Antarctic marine ecosystem responses to climate change, which frequently occurs in conjunction with increasing anthropogenic pressures such as fishing and tourism. Standardised observations and data are required for ecosystem-based management in Antarctica, including the establishment of protected areas (such as Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), Antarctic Specially Protected Areas (ASPAs), and Antarctic Specially Managed Areas (ASMAs). Synergistic methods for identifying selected variables for (life) monitoring include Essential Biodiversity Variables (EBVs), Essential Ocean Variables (EOVs), Essential Climate Variables (ECVs), and ecosystem Essential Ocean Variables (eEOVs). EBVs, which could be integrated into SOOS and SOOSmap, but also global systems, bridge the gap between primary observations and biodiversity indicators by measuring the status of key indicators and their trends.

Workshop goals:

  • Create an inventory of Essential variables relevant for the Southern Ocean based on existing efforts by GEO-BON and MBON.
  • Identify data requirements and data gaps for calculating such EVs
  • Prioritize EVs to work on
  • Identify existing workflows and tools
  • Develop a framework for developing the workflows required to turn public SO biodiversity data into relevant essential variables.