On this page:
- Outline of Biota to be covered
- Expectations for each section in a Biota page
Outline of Biota to be covered
The Biota section of the Assessment aims to be a collection of brief, dot-point fact sheets (metadata record of knowledge) that will help support discussions, planning and publications on (text colours indicates how far they have been developed: advanced, started, yet-to-start):
- Primary producers
- Other microbes
- Benthos (currently under discussion)
- zooplankton (including copepods, pteropods and salps)
- toothfish (separate pages for Patagonian and Antarctic)
- other fish (as needed)
- pygoscelid penguins (separate pages for Adélie, chinstrap and gentoo penguins)
- aptenodytid penguins (emperor and king penguins)
- eudyptid penguins (combined page for macaroni and royal penguins)
- albatross and petrels
- other birds
- Marine mammals
- fur seals (combined page for Antarctic and sub-Antarctic fur seals)
- pack-ice seals (combined page for Weddell, Ross, leopard and crabeater seals)
- elephant seals
- baleen whales (combined page for blue, fin, humpback and minke whales)
- toothed whales (separate pages for sperm and killer whales)
Expectations for each section in a Biota page
MEASO Biota Assessment pages should be titled: MEASO Biota: Species name/group
The purpose of these assessment pages is to summarise basic information for a species or taxonomic group and how the status and ecology of the group may be changing over time (link here to the framework for assessing biota within the MEASO framework):
- General Description
- Autecology (species' ecology: life history, phenology, food, energetics, movement, rate processes)
- Habitat (physical environment, biological dependencies,Relationships, thresholds and limits )
- Population (distribution, status and trends in abundance)
- Synecology (species interactions: food webs, competitors)
- Assessments of status (critical state of population e.g. IUCN Red List)
- Contributing authors and experts
Authors are encouraged to use the spatial partitioning of the marine ecosystem assessment (sectors etc - link here), as well as circumpolar information where available. Assessments of change can include, where possible, historical change, current trends and prognoses for future change. Generalities should be avoided and, instead, replaced with specific quantities of change and parameters, including error/uncertainty. Qualitative statements are acceptable provided the reasons for the qualitative conclusions are given, along with the scope for the application of the statements, and the uncertainty surrounding them.
In the case of Parameter Tables, authors are asked to include estimates of parameters and their error, wherever possible. Delete parameters that are not relevant. Add parameters that are relevant but not included in the tables. The reference/s estimating the parameters should be cited, along with any statements as to the maturity of the estimates if known (e.g. under development, personal communications, future work is examining.....). For some species, life history information and parameters are co-opted from areas outside of the subject area, e.g. from outside the Southern Ocean. This proxy information is reasonable to include. Please include also the rationale for co-opting these data, and citations.
Biota pages need to be written concisely, well-referenced, and using the uncertainty language of the IPCC. In the first instance, references can be from peer-reviewed literature, reports that are publicly available or references in the grey literature that could be obtained from repositories. If the information is known but the references cannot be sourced in the first instance that put a placeholder for filling in the citation. This is useful for translating common ideas into this assessment without worrying about the pedigree of the idea in the first instance.
Under each heading is a list of information (in red italics) that is desirable for that section. Please do not change these main headings. If needed, a section can be further subdivided. Please delete the red italics and the instructions window from the page when it is completed (when the page is in edit mode you can select it for deletion).
On photographs, figures and tables:
If these are taken from publications or libraries that require recognition of copyright then we need to secure the necessary permissions to include them on these pages. Put a placeholder with a reference to the material and then seek permission for use. Or contact us and we will undertake this process.
All materials taken from libraries or references need to be cited appropriately, including photographs and text from web sites. See citation instructions (link here)
Other finalised MEASO Biota pages provide good examples of how to populate these assessments.
Brief description of the body form and size, recognisable attributes
Why do scientists study these organisms and why are they important to the public at large (e.g. important to CCAMLR policy-makers)
Summarise the taxa included in this group (Classification if available)
Summary role in ecosystem
Summary statement of role in ecosystems, global significance and known/expected significance in Southern Ocean.
Auteology is the ecology of an individual species, and includes its life history, movement, food, energetics, and rate processes. Here we summarise the autecology of the group and whether this differs between sectors, and/or over years.
Include at the beginning a general description of the important features of the group's autecology. As far as possible, include this general detail in figures (rather than text) illustrating the life cycle, phenology (timing of events) and other general attributes. (please put figures in placeholders in the template)
The following sections provide specific estimates/conclusions about how to represent these attributes in models of this group, which may be qualitative network models or dynamic models.
Include in the table only available estimates of life history parameters and their error, wherever possible. Delete parameters that are not relevant. Add parameters that are relevant but not included in the tables. The reference/s estimating the parameters should be cited, along with any statements as to the maturity of the estimates if known (e.g. under development, personal communications, future work is examining.....). For some species, life history information and parameters are co-opted from areas outside of the subject area, e.g. from outside the Southern Ocean. This proxy information is reasonable to include. Please include also the rationale for co-opting these data, and citations. If the parameters are different between locations/sectors then include those differences in the table.
Average adult size
Age at maturity
Size at maturity
Location of recruits
Size of recruits
|Overall natural mortality rate|
Non-predation natural mortality rates
Depending on species group - this could be large movements of populations in and out of the region (e.g. whales) or it could detail diurnal vertical migration of fish/plankton species.
Population scale - need to include time of year when migration/movement might be more prevalent. Small scale migration - time of day, depths etc
Diet (foraging and consumption)
Summary dietary information - e.g. "This species feeds predominantly on krill, with a small percentage of it's diet made up of mesopelagic fish species. Winter diets are predominantly fish based and located north of 60degS." Summaries from the Southern Ocean Dietary Database would be useful to include here. If there are variations in diet between sectors or locations then include those differences as well. Also include assessment of change in diet, when available, seasonally and over years. Isotopic or genetic analyses would be useful to include.
Include basic estimates for energetic calculations here. If measures of these parameters are available for considering changes over time then this may help identification of system-level change.
The summary table here can have references to more detailed tables compiled from many references etc.
|Ingestion rate||Insert values and short citations here|
Size at age
|Population Productivity (average life time)|
This section describes the kinds of conditions that the group would be found in.
In the introduction to this section, provide a general description of the locations where the group is expected to be found, including depth, proximity to the continent/islands/shelf areas. Can also introduce the physical and biological dependencies of the group. e.g. distribution is constrained by the temperature range, or the group is only found in sedimentary environments and so on.
Relationships, thresholds and limits
Relationships between the group and physical and biological environmental attributes. These may be qualitative and/or quantitative relationships, including descriptions/estimates of uncertainties. Justification will be needed for the qualitative relationships. Critical thresholds/ranges/non-linear relationships of the group with habitat variables are important to identify if present, including how they will affect the ecology of the species/group.
Summarise the population status, trends and prognoses for the species/group and whether this differs between sectors, and/or over years. Consideration of threshold population sizes, the location of local populations with respect to the range (habitat conditions) etc. will be beneficial.
Range and Structure
Distribution and abundance of the population. Consideration of the abundances relative to an assessed range of the species would be beneficial.
- If available, place the latest static map of distribution in the placeholder (from biodiversity.aq and the SCAR Biogeographic Atlas of the Southern Ocean)
- Relative abundance in different sectors (importance of different sectors to the group) - ensure units are expressed and, where possible, standardised between studies.
Assessments of variability, trends over time and prognoses. Analyses of possible links to drivers (habitat, food web) to be included here.
- Abundance information - general overview, comment on increases or decreases in population size and where/why?
- Placeholder for trends in abundance in different sectors
Synecology refers to the ecology of interactions between species, including food webs (consumers), competition, disease and so on.
2-3 sentence summary of the type of consumers at different times of the year, including evidence of whether these have changed over time..
Assessment of overlap with potential competitors of the species/group.
Other interactions e.g. disease
Assessments of Status
IUCN Red List
Add the following table or simply say 'None of these species has been assessed for the Red List'
|Year of classification:|
|Red List Category & Criteria:|
|Assessment Justification:||include description and link to the web site|
Include assessments from other bodies if available.
Include list of authors of the page. Also include 'Other relevant experts' if not authors.
A list of references referred to on this page.