During the biannual meeting and open science conference of the Scientific Committe on Antarctic Research (SCAR), the Standing Scientific Group of Life Sciences (SCAR SSG-LS) holds an open and closed meeting with its representatives. Established life scientists of currently 33 countries come together during this meeting to discuss their latest reports and advances.
At this year’s SCAR meeting and conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Jeff Bowman (Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, USA) and Henrik Christiansen (KU Leuven, Belgium) attended the meetings of SSG-LS on behalf of APECS. Yan Ropert-Coudert, the new chief officer, opened the first meeting, which took place mid-week of the conference and was well-attended by many spectators including early career scientists. Updates about the various expert groups (EGs) and action groups (AGs), as well as the two life science scientific research programs (AnT-ERA and AntEco) were presented. Many of the EGs and AGs and both AnT-ERA and AntEco continue to support early career scientist – they have for instance sponsored a number of early career scientists to attend this conference in Malaysia. To find out about such opportunities sign up for their e-mails lists (http://lists.scar.org/mailman/listinfo/antera and http://lists.scar.org/mailman/listinfo/anteco)! Besides proposing the continuation of some EG/AGs, the creation of a new AG, BEPSII (Biogeochemical exchange processes at sea ice interfaces) was proposed.
On Saturday the representatives gathered again for a closed meeting. Here, new initiatives, upcoming meetings (e.g. http://kuleuvencongres.be/scarbiology2017/) and highlights of national research programs were introduced. Budget discussions and votes took place as well. When discussing the new format of the life sciences meeting (having a first meeting mid-week), many noted the high attendance, which shows that there is an interest in this format. APECS strongly supports the idea of having an open, publicly advertised meeting embedded within the general conference program, as it may be a good opportunity for early career scientists to learn about the work of SSG-LS.