Meetings of Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) Standing Scientific Group – Life Sciences (SSG-LS) took place in Portland, Oregon during the SCAR Open Science Conference - http://scar2012.geol.pdx.edu/
Main themes discussed:
Day 1, 15th July, consisted mainly of discussion around two newly proposed Science Research Projects (SRP), Antarctic Thresholds – Ecosystem Resilience and Adaptation (Ant-ERA) and State of the Antarctic Ecosystem (Ant-Eco). These two projects, which will replace the current Evolution and Biodiversity in the Antarctic (EBA) project, were put before the delegates the week following this meeting for final approval.
Day 2, 20th July, consisted of progress reports from the Expert and Action Groups of the SSG-LS. Reports were given on a broad range of topics from the following groups: Joint Expert Group on Human Biology and Medicine, Expert Group on Birds and Marine Mammals, Expert Group on Continuous Plankton Recorder Research, Integrating Climate and Ecosystem Dynamics in the Southern Ocean, Advancing TecHnological and Environmental stewardship for sub-glacial exploration in Antarctica, Antarctic Biodiversity Information Facility, Environmental Contamination in Antarctica, Seeps and Vents Antarctica, Prediction of Changes in the Physical and Biological Environment of the Antarctic, Ocean Acidification.
Main APECS outcomes of the workshop:
On day 1, which focused on discussing the proposed new SRPs Ant-ERA and Ant-ECO, the SCAR SSG-LS showed great recognition, awareness and acknowledgment of APECS and its activities. There is huge interest from the SCAR SSG-LS in linking these two new SRPs with APECS and its members. They are also very happy to provide information on future opportunities for early career scientists to be involved in these SRPs and other groups.
Day 2, which was largely devoted to the reports of expert and action groups, resulted in various responses to APECS. Many groups already have or had APECS representation and involvement in their activities but there were some explicit calls for APECS involvement into the future. The presentation by the Expert Group on Human Biology and Medicine (EG-HB&M) included a call for APECS involvement in this newly formed Expert Group and expressed strong interest in assisting APECS to develop a Human Biology stream. But on the whole most groups that presented to the SSG-LS currently have some form of APECS involvement and are very interested to continue that involvement into the future.
The incoming SCAR SSG-LS Chief Officer was elected and APECS congratulates Dr. Graham Hosie, of the Australian Antarctic Division, on his appointment to this role.
This report deliberately focused on the APECS specific interest points of the SCAR SSG-LS but please feel free to contact me for further details about the science discussed or the issues raised in this report.