A better understanding of the impact of global change on Southern Ocean ecosystems is essential to guide conservation and marine resource management decisions (Clarke et al., 2007; Barnes and Peck, 2008). Our ability to predict changes in marine resources and biodiversity, to assess ecosystem resilience, and determine feedbacks between food webs and biogeochemical cycling depends on sustained, integrated observations of key physical, chemical and biological parameters. High-priority variables to measure include primary production, distribution and abundance of key species and/or functional groups, benthic community structure, top predator abundance, distribution (both geographical and in relation to physical structure) and diet. Simultaneous measurements of the physical and chemical environments are needed, including carbonate system variables, temperature, salinity, mixed layer depth, wind speed and direction, meteorological conditions, sea ice conditions, currents and nutrients. Studies of predator species can reveal hot spots of foraging activity (or Areas of Ecological Significance) and changes in foraging and demographic parameters that reflect changes in lower trophic levels (e.g. zooplankton, fish and squid) that are difficult to observe directly.
At the 2013 Scientific Steering Committee meeting in Shanghai, China, the SOOS Steering Committee identified the top gaps in observations for each of the 6 SOOS Science Themes that should be identified as "priority observations" for the coming years. SOOS encourages the community to develop field initiatives to address these key gaps and to highlight their contribution to the international SOOS effort through SOOS endorsement or other connections.
Animal sensors, sighting surveys and cameras, CPR, Underway sampling, moorings, ROV and imaging methods, remote sensing, Acoustics, Trawls/nets, bottom landers/corers