Draft:Marine Ecosystem Assessment for the Southern Ocean (MEASO)

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The Marine Ecosystem Assessment for the Southern Ocean (MEASO) is a project lead by researchers at the Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre (ACE CRC) as a part of an international project of Integrating Climate and Ecosystem Dynamics (ICED).

Aims of MEASO[edit]

MEASO aims to assess status and trends in Southern Ocean biota and foodwebs. MEASO is not intended to supplant the specific scientific requirements for year to year management but to complement that work with long-term assessments and previous works such as the Biogeographic Atlas of the Southern Ocean [1] and the Antarctic Climate Change and the Environment [2] report. It is intended 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.

MEASO 2018[edit]

MEASO 2018

MEASO was discussed broadly and at length by the scientific community at MEASO 2018, an international conference held in Hobart in early April 2018, which also included a day-long policy forum. Background to the conference, including the program and abstracts, can be found on the www.MEASO2018.aq conference web site. The conference was supported by Integrated Marine Biosphere Research (IMBeR) Integrating Climate and Ecosystem Dynamics (ICED) and CLIOTOP, Southern Ocean Observing System, Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, and the Australian Antarctic Program to share relevant science, enhance community input into the design and planning of the MEASO, and to develop a work plan.

175 people attended from 23 countries, spanning scientists, policy-makers, fishing industry, and environmental NGOs attended MEASO 2018. The conference was focused on four themes that underpin a MEASO: (i) assessments of parts of the ecosystem; (ii) responses of biota to changing environments; (iii) methods for modelling habitats, species and food webs; and (iv) and the design of observing systems to measure change in the ecosystem. The day-long policy forum discussed how to better link scientists, policy makers, industry and environmental NGOs and the public at large. This was regarded a great success, with participants noting that these types of forum are very rare and need to be undertaken more regularly.

Attendees of the MEASO 2018 Conference, Hobart Australia

Many conference attendees noted with appreciation the attention given to promoting equity and diversity, as well as for encouraging and involving early career researchers in all aspects of the organisation, participation and delivery of the conference. Out of the 175 participants 32% were early career researchers and the gender balance was 43% female to 57% male. MEASO was of great global interest on Twitter (#MEASO2018) with 591 tweets from 164 users achieving a reach of 298,039, and 789,199 impressions.

MEASO 2019[edit]

A MEASO workshop was held at the World Wildlife Fund for Nature British headquarters in Woking, UK from the 3rd-7th June 2019. This workshop focused on planning the delivery of the first MEASO for 2020. This workshop was attended by 30 international scientists including scientists from 12 countries and 7 early career scientists.

The publication of the MEASO[edit]

In the initial stages of publication for MEASO an 'audit' of the surveys, data and models avaliable to assess the status and trends of Antarctic Southern Ocean species, foodwebs and ecosystems was published in Brasier et al. 2019 [3].

An encyclopaedic resource produced by the MEASO team is the Southern Ocean Knowledge and Information (SOKI) wiki. The SOKI pages include a series of brief fact sheets containing numerical and statistical information on different Antarctic Southern Ocean species and taxonmic groups. These can be used for education, research and help support discussions for the first and future MEASOs.

A series of papers including contextual, species specific, ecosystem based and outlines for future directions are in preparation for submission to Frontiers.


  1. ^ De Broyer, C. and Koubbi, P. eds., 2014. Biogeographic atlas of the Southern Ocean (p. 498). Cambridge: Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research
  2. ^ Turner, J., Bindschadler, R., Convey, P., Di Prisco, G., Fahrbach, E., Gutt, J., Hodgson, D., Mayewski, P., Summerhayes, C., 2009. Antarctic Climate Change and the Environment. Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, Cambridge
  3. ^ Brasier et al. 2019