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A first Marine Ecosystem Assessment for the Southern Ocean (MEASO) has been progressing well since 2018. MEASO aims to provide a forward-looking assessment of what trends in Southern Ocean ecosystems are happening now and into the future, and what may need to be planned for, in terms of research and management. The aim is to have a quantitative assessment that enables managers to achieve consensus in adapting their management strategies to ecosystem change.  MEASO officially began at an international conference held in Hobart in early April 2018 (http://www.measo2018.aq/). The conference provided an opportunity to share relevant science, enhance community input into the design and planning of the MEASO, and to develop a work plan. 

Since the conference, summaries of information available for a MEASO were compiled (Brasier, M.J., Constable, A., Melbourne-Thomas, J., Trebilco, R., Griffiths, H., Van De Putte, A., and Sumner, M. 2019. Observations and models to support the first Marine Ecosystem Assessment for the Southern Ocean (MEASO). Journal of Marine Systems 197, 103182.), which reviewed field programmes and ecological surveys, current Southern Ocean syntheses, model coverage and assessments.  Methods for undertaking habitat assessments have also been published (Trebilco, R., Melbourne-Thomas, J., Sumner, M., Wotherspoon, S., and Constable, A. 2019. Assessing status and trends of open ocean habitats: A regionally resolved approach and Southern Ocean application. Ecological Indicators 107, 105616. )

Since 2018, the Marine Ecosystem Assessment for the Southern Ocean has been progressing under the guidance of the MEASO Steering Committee (http://soki.aq/display/MEASO/MEASO_Steering+Committee).

Summary information on Southern Ocean biota

Summaries of information on the status and biology of Southern Ocean taxa, suitable for use by policy-makers and scientists, are being compiled and published in the Southern Ocean Knowledge and Information (SOKI) wiki (http://soki.aq/display/MEASO/MEASO+3.+Assessment).

Workshops

Two very successful workshops were had in Woking UK, hosted by WWF UK, and at the IMBeR Conference in Brest in June 2019.  A special issue on MEASO has been formulated, the core papers decided and outlined, and lead authors of each of the papers proposed.

All outputs from the Workshops, including the outline of the Special Issue (see below) can now be viewed on SOKI. 

MEASO Workshop, Woking, UK, 3-7 June 2019: (http://soki.aq/display/MEASO/MEASO+Workshop%2C+Woking%2C+UK%2C+3-7+June+2019)

MEASO Workshop, IMBeR Future Oceans2, France, 20 June 2019 (http://soki.aq/display/MEASO/MEASO+Workshop%2C+IMBeR+Future+Oceans2%2C+France%2C+20+June+2019)

Infographics

A series of infographics will be developed as part of the first MEASO to provide concise representations of the knowledge and major topics covered throughout the special issue. These infographics will be shared on social media, with the final products to be compiled into a graphical summary ‘book’ that can be used to communicate the knowledge generated from MEASO to a broader audience including policy makers and stakeholders.

Online Activity

MEASO is now on twitter and Facebook! Search for @MEASO20 to follow us for updates along the way or use the hashtag #MEASO to share your own updates. If you have content you think should be shared on these pages then feel free to send an email to either Stacey (stacey.mccormack@utas.edu.au), Maddie (madeleine.brasier@utas.edu.au) or Christine (christine.weldrick@utas.edu.au).

SOKI will soon be featured on Wikipedia, describing its role in MEASO including important links to some material.

The MEASO Special Issue

MEASO will be published as a series of papers in Frontiers, co-listed in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution (Conservation), Frontiers in Marine Science (Global Change and the Future Ocean) and Frontiers in Environmental Science (Conservation).  Details can be found in SOKI (http://soki.aq/display/MEASO/Special+Issue) and as a research topic at Frontiers (https://www.frontiersin.org/research-topics/10606/marine-ecosystem-assessment-for-the-southern-ocean-meeting-the-challenge-for-conserving-earth-ecosys#overview).

The broader scientific community (including scientists involved with CCAMLR) are invited to contribute to core papers related to their expertise (listed below and at http://soki.aq/display/MEASO/Special+Issue).  Contact measo@acecrc.org.au for more information.  

In addition to the proposed core papers, interested researchers can submit contributions to either Section 5 (lessons from MEASO-I) or Section 6 (Foundations and Extensions of MEASO). If you are interested in contributing a paper, please send your proposal for a paper through Frontiers or to measo@acecrc.org.au.  Include in your proposal a title, authorship and an extended abstract of what you would intend to include.  Please review the intent of the research topic/special issue on either the SOKI page or at Frontiers.  Also please review our principles of involvement (http://soki.aq/display/MEASO/_Principles+of+involvement).  We encourage authors to consider including a diverse team (gender, region, and experience) in the writing of a paper.  

Timelines: Manuscripts are due for submission on 20 December 2019.  These deadlines are to enable publication in advance of SCAR 2020 Open Science Conference.  Please submit an abstract for consideration by the Steering Committee as soon as possible.


MEASO 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

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

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

Section 6. Foundations and Extensions of MEASO

Contributed papers

Advice sought from the SC-CAMLR community

MEASO will welcome any requests from SC-CAMLR for analyses or commentary on status and trends of Southern Ocean ecosystems (habitats, species, food webs) that would help SC-CAMLR in the future.

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