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A workshop for planning the delivery of the first Marine Ecosystem Assessment for the Southern Ocean (MEASO) was hosted by WWF Antarctic Program at WWF Headquarters, Woking, UK on 3-7 June 2019.  Dr. Mike Barrett (WWF-UK, Executive Director of Conservation and Science) welcomed participants to their headquarters, provided some insights into the priorities and directions for WWF, and highlighted the timeliness and importance of work on assessing the state of ecosystems.  He wished everybody well for the week.

Support for the workshop was provided by WWF-UK, the Southern Ocean Observing System (SOOS) and the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre.


Andrew Constable introduced the workshop on behalf of the co-conveners, Jess Melbourne-Thomas and Andrea Piñones, and the MEASO_Steering Committee.  He gave a presentation (20190603 MEASO Introduction Constable.pdf) on the background to MEASO, its aims overall, and the aims for the week. He also outline the expectations for this MEASO, in particular not to be overly ambitious in the synthesis papers but more to do what can be done within the next six months.  A priority is to develop a useful framework and archive for undertaking a MEASO more easily in the future.  A background paper on the process for developing the report of the first MEASO was made available (MEASO-2019 Report Process and Workshop), along with a recent paper (Brasier et al., 2019) on observations and models to support the first Marine Ecosystem Assessment for the Southern Ocean (MEASO).  Background information and the development of pages on habitats, biota and other assessments were available in the MEASO space in SOKI.

Attendees are listed in Attachment 1 and the Program in Attachment 2 below .

A general discussion was then had on the Summary for Policy Makers (SPM) and its content - key points and topics that might be included in the SPM.  The synthesis papers would then be oriented towards synthesising knowledge, gaps, and priorities to support those points.   SOKI would provide the supplementary material to those papers.

Formative discussions on content and presentation of the assessments

Initial discussions on first two days of the workshop focused on how content may be presented under the headings of Habitats, Species and Food-webs.  Other thoughts were considered on:

  • questions, requests and tasks from policy bodies and the public, as these would help frame the presentation of materials.  Stakeholders may include more than the usual Antarctic and Southern Ocean stakeholders.
  • science being done in other groups and how that might assist the assessments.
  • possible common approaches to presenting results and addressing drivers, including tables
  • the development of graphics to help communicate key messages to different audiences 
  • general instructions for authors participating in the assessments
  • the context of the assessments, including background and justification, the Southern Ocean as part of the global system, stressors and their impact pathways, and policy perspectives.

These discussions provided useful background for deciding on the core papers to be delivered into the assessment.  Notes from these discussions are available to workshop participants and MEASO authors.  These provide example tables and presentation that could be used in common across papers.

Discussions on papers for the special issue

The last three days of the workshop focused on how to deliver papers to a special issue of Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution (co-listed in Frontiers in Marine Science).

It was decided to have five sections of core papers and a section for contributed papers.  Authors would aim to submit the core papers by the end of 2019.  Contributed papers will need to be approved by the Steering Committee to be accepted for submission.  They would have the same submission deadline.  The following papers were agreed to be the core papers:

Section 1. Context

1-1: Marine Ecosystem Assessments and the Southern Ocean

1-2: Southern Ocean ecosystems as part of the global system

1-3: Biological data and their availability for a marine ecosystem assessment for the Southern Ocean

1-4: Global drivers on Southern Ocean ecosystems: changing physical environments in an Earth system

1-5: Local drivers on Southern Ocean ecosystems: human activities, policy implications and strategies

Section 2. Biota

2-1: Changing biogeochemistry of the Southern Ocean and its ecosystem implications

2-2: Responses of Southern Ocean seafloor habitats and communities to global environmental changes

2-3: Evidence for the impact of climate change on primary producers in the Southern Ocean

2-4: Status, change and futures of zooplankton and krill in the Southern Ocean

2-5: Productivity and change in fish and squid in the Southern Ocean

2-6: Top predators in the Southern Ocean

Section 3. Food webs

3-1: Spatial variation in Southern Ocean food webs: testing potential consequences of future stressors using modeled press perturbations

3-2: Southern Ocean food webs: prognoses, future priorities and opportunities for policy makers

Section 4. Syntheses: Challenges for policy makers

4-1: What will happen to Southern Ocean ecosystem services in the 21st century?

4-2: Changing distributions of habitats in the Southern Ocean: implications for science and management

4-3: Southern Ocean Sentinels: sustained observing of ecosystem change

4-4: What is expected for coastal and shelf ecosystems and their role in the Southern Ocean by 2100?

Section 5. Lessons, gaps and priorities from MEASO-I

Contributed papers including other ecosystem assessments and how their methods may help future MEASOs

5-1: Conclusions from across the papers, along with overarching gaps and priorities for the future

Section 6. Foundations and Extensions of MEASO

Contributed specialist research papers from the MEASO community 

Additional information

Guiding notes were developed for each paper.  In particular, some general guidance was developed on the following:

  1. Content
    1. language style
    2. use of supplementary material and reference to SOKI materials
    3. the outline for biota papers
      1. introduction
      2. methods and tools
      3. biology, drivers and functional relationships
      4. historical period to the present
      5. prognoses for the future
      6. conclusions for policy makers, including summary tables in a similar style
    4. infographics
    5. a summary for policy makers
  2. Glossary and list of acronyms
  3. Principles of involvement
  4. Referencing styles

Attachment 1: Workshop Attendees

MattPinkerton(New Zealand)*
Yan Ropert-Coudert(France)


AntonVan de Putte(Belgium)

+ Monday only

* Online

Attachment 2: Program

The program was oriented around small group discussions with opportunities for feedback and cross-group discussions. 




Small Groups

Prior to workshop

Submissions will form the basis for discussion at the workshop.  Collated in the Southern Ocean Knowledge and Information (SOKI) wiki




Welcome by WWF-UK

General Introduction to the Living Planet Center

Arrangements for the week

Round-table introductions


MEASO Background and Aims of the workshop

Background materials, including SOKI

Info-graphics and summaries

Rapporteurs for updating SOKI Working Workshop notes for online participants

Discussion on key topics for consideration under each section (see outline)


Breakout groups - one for each topic - habitats, species, food webs.  Each group to consider current status and trends, future prognoses, and relevant 'impact pathways' (from driver to effect).

Develop key points and conclusions (and text) with the aim of having a set of key points by the end of Tuesday

1800-Social Event: Ice Breaker



Steering Committee catch-up


Report and discussion on key points and conclusions.

Consideration of further analyses, key gaps

Federation of data (AntOBIS,, SOOSmap)

Lessons from IPCC and IPBES on communication


Discussion of consistencies across groups plus overarching key points and conclusions


Review and revise key points and conclusions based on plenary discussion.  Particularly give emphasis to uncertainties (use IPCC uncertainty language)

Discuss general presentation of results within the sections


Initial discussion on the format for a summary report, infographics, and needs for specific Summary Boxes (providing policy makers with concrete, plain-English explanations)



Steering Committee catch-up


Discuss overview of core synthesis papers for the special issue.
'Challenges and needs of policy makers'
Sections of the special issue


- Common elements across papers.
- Use of the MEASO Assessment Areas
- Concept of functional assessments based on current change and process studies and applying to other areas / future (impact pathways >> functional relationships >> change in physical environment)


Summary breakout group formed. 
Summary and Section Breakout groups to develop outlines further (depending on those present), infographics, specialist boxes, needs for further analyses. Plus a 'policy-ready plain language statement' of what the paper will do and why it is important.


Further writing and, where possible, development of draft infographics, specialist boxes, organisation of existing text and graphics for presentations in sections. 


General discussion on progress (key points/messages, conclusions, graphics, common templates). 

Discussion on Summary for Policy Makers (Executive Summary) and how to present risk assessments to SC-CAMLR and CEP.



Steering Committee catch-up


Plenary catch up - review where we are at and any further comments on progress on SOKI

  • layering of work - expectations
  • layout of special issue
    • section
    • (1-core, 2-desirable, 3-author-proposed)
    • balance
  • summary for policy makers
  • narrative - sequence of papers, possible overlap


Challenges breakout group needed.

Further writing and, where possible, development of draft infographics, specialist boxes, organisation of existing text and graphics for presentations in sections. 

Develop layout and topics for Summary for policy makers

Drawing the line for this assessment and identifying work to do for next time (including identifying imbalances, priorities)


Key gaps and priorities for the second assessment


Report back on progress

Review Executive Summary

1900-Social Event: Workshop Dinner



Steering Committee catch-up



  • Shape of the special issue
  • Lead authors and authorship
  • Core, desirable and invited papers - the process from here
  • needs for assistance in graphics, language, harmonisation, editing


planning continued

  • program of work following workshop, and delivering relevant draft outputs to SC-CAMLR in 2019
  • Finalise timetable of work and expectations

The future of MEASO - ICED, SCAR, other groups


If needed

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