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Collaboration - Discovery 2010 Research Programme

The British Antarctic Survey currently leads the Southern Ocean component of a European programme on the impacts of humans and climate on the pelagic ecosystems of the world’s oceans. This European Network of Excellence for Ocean Ecosystems Analysis (EUR-OCEANS) is co-funded by the Sixth Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development of the European Communities and unites more than 60 research institutes and universities from 25 countries. Its activities started in January 2005 and will run until December 2008. This programme is designed to provide lasting integration of European research organisations and provide policy relevant advice to government on matters such as marine ecosystems management and sustainable fisheries. The Southern Ocean component of EUR-OCEANS is linked to a new international multidisciplinary programme entitled Integrating Climate and Ecosystem Dynamics in the Southern Ocean (ICED) and to activities during the International Polar Year (2007-2008). Within the BAS, 2 core science programmes (Discovery 2010 and Antarctic Climate and the Earth System) contribute to the research activities of EUR-OCEANS.

Southern Ocean (SO) EUR-OCEANS aims to develop integrated circumpolar analyses to understand how climate and anthropogenic forcings may affect Southern Ocean ecosystems. To achieve this, SO EUR-OCEANS will lead and coordinate European and international research in this area under ICED. This leading role is essential given the vast size and remoteness of the Southern Ocean, its direct connection with the global oceans, its role in the Earth System, and exploitation by international fisheries. In addition 29 countries are currently engaged in Antarctic research, which is not always fully coordinated or integrated.

Through ICED, SO EUR-OCEANS will unite oceanographers, biogeochemists and climatologists from the European and international community into a single circumpolar research effort to develop the science goals of SO EUR-OCEANS:

1. To understand how climate processes affect the structure and dynamics of ecosystems in the Southern Ocean

2. To understand how ecosystem structureand dynamics affect biogeochemical cycles in the Southern Ocean

3. To determine how ecosystem structure and dynamics should be incorporated into management approaches to sustainable exploitation of Southern Ocean species

ICED aims to develop models for assessing and forecasting the impacts of future climate. A major focus will be the extension of existing biological and circulation models to the circumpolar scale, and development of circumpolar “end-to-end” ecosystem models that integrate nutrient cycling and the dynamics of microbes to higher predators.