Antarctic Science Platform

Project 3: Projecting Ross Sea Region ecosystem changes in a warming world

The Ross Sea region contains one of the most productive marine ecosystems in the Southern Ocean, encompassing open ocean, pack ice, and coastal habitats, including much of the world’s largest marine protected area. On land, it harbours diverse terrestrial ecosystems ranging from iconic Antarctic lakes to ancient soils with high levels of unique biota. The goal of Project Three is to determine how ecosystems within the Ross Sea region may respond to environmental challenges associated with global climate change under the Paris Agreement scenario. The project will use new and existing data to describe and model how key features of Ross Sea region ecosystems (species distribution, habitat utilisation, primary productivity, food webs, connectivity) are driven by the environment.

The project will focus on the questions:

  1. How can we expect the distribution of organisms to change in a +2 world?

  2. How vulnerable are food webs to changes in sea ice dynamics and ocean circulation?

  3. What are the consequences of these changes for ecosystem integrity?

Link to ASP here.

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Jonathan Tonkin
Senior Lecturer & Rutherford Discovery Fellow