Thank You to Those Delegates & Participants Attended SCAR Open Science Conference 2016

Mini Symposia and Session Descriptions

Below are the descriptions for the five mini symposia and 41 sessions (including the conveners) for the SCAR 2016 Open Science Conference. You can also download the complete session descriptions Here

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Mini Symposia

Azizan Bin HJ Abu Samah, Malaysia; Jefferson Simoes, Brazil; Seong Joong Kim, Korea

Due to the inherent linkages within the global climate and ocean circulation systems, the rapid changes being experienced in the Polar Regions are intimately linked with those of subtropical and tropical regions. The integration of studies across disciplines to understand the connectivity between processes at high latitudes (Southern Annular Mode, drivers of ecosystem structure and function) are vital to understanding their connectivity at global scales especially to the dominant variabilities of the tropics and subtropics (e.g., ENSO, Pacific Warm Pool, monsoon).

This mini symposium intends to explore a range of scientific disciplines such as meteorology, climatology, oceanography and ecology under a global Earth system analysis that connect changes in the Polar Regions with that of the tropics and subtropics, aiming topics associated with questions such as: “how does the recent climate variability and change in Antarctica influence the tropical ocean and monsoon system?”, “how do Antarctic processes link to low- to mid-latitude weather and extreme events?”, “explore tropical-subtropical process teleconnected to Antarctic mechanism through atmosphere and ocean”.

Aleks Terauds, Australia; Julian Gutt, Germany; Pete Convey, UK; Eugene Domack, USA; Charlotte Havermans, France

There have been a number of calls in the Antarctic community for a holistic framework for understanding the driving mechanisms behind patterns of biodiversity. Concurrent with these calls is an increasing understanding of the spatial structure of Antarctic biodiversity. However, in many cases the relationships or the mechanisms linking the biological and physical environments in Antarctica remain unclear. At the same time, appropriate environmental data – in terms of location and scale - are becoming more available and often more accessible.

In this mini-symposia we seek presentations that:

  • highlight accessible contemporary physical/environmental data at a range of spatial and temporal scales, and extents, in the context of understanding patterns of biodiversity
  • outline models that test hypotheses about linkages between the biotic and the abiotic elements of the environment and provide insights into these relationships, including their dynamics, now and into the future
  • show examples of successful and productive interdisciplinary cooperation and collaborations that have improved both the collection of environmental/physical data and its application to understanding the diversity and distribution of life in Antarctica

While submissions are encouraged to address one or more of these topics, they are broad indicators only and all submissions that address connections between the biological and physical Antarctic environments will be considered. As this is a mini-symposium, the number of presentations will be limited, so interested authors should also note the overlap with Session 28: Diversity and distribution of life in Antarctica.

Annick Wilmotte, Belgium; Jose Xavier, Portugal; Kevin Hughes, UK; Maria Gabriela Roldan, New Zealand

For over half a century, SCAR science has been used to inform the development of Antarctic policies concerning environmental protection. This mini-symposium aims to highlight the relevance of the science, carried out by the international community of Antarctic scientists under SCAR, to the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS), including the Madrid Protocol. The Protocol (also known as the Protocol on Environmental Protection) designates Antarctica as a “natural reserve, devoted to peace and science” and sets basic environmental principles applicable to human activities in Antarctica. It was signed in 1991, entered into force in 1998 and celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. This session will show how the research carried out by Antarctic scientists has made a substantial contribution to the development and implementation of management options and policies through the ATS. Moreover, we will discuss how SCAR scientists can further engage with ATS issues and help identify the most pressing scientific and environmental issues likely to be of importance to the ATS in the future.

The mini-symposium will feature brief oral-presentations from invited SCAR scientists, policy makers and members of the SCAR Standing Committee on the Antarctic Treaty System (SCAR SCATS). Questions to be answered will include:

  • What are the Antarctic Treaty and the Madrid Protocol and how are they relevant to the SCAR scientific community?
  • How has SCAR contributed to the Protocol’s development and implementation?
  • What is the status of the Protocol and how effective has it been at addressing Antarctica’s key environmental issues?
  • What environmental challenges is Antarctica likely to face in the future and what role can SCAR and its scientists play in addressing these issues?

The presentations will be followed by a discussion panel, consisting of the conveners and panelists, and the floor will be opened for questions.

Catherine Ritz, France; Terry Wilson, USA; Nancy Bertler, New Zealand; Carlotta Escutia Dotti, Spain; Pippa Whitehouse, UK; Frank Pattyn, Belgium

The past behavior of the Antarctic ice sheet is the key to understanding its present evolution and to improving our ability to make projections under climatic change. This session aims to bring together the various communities interested in the past/present/future evolution of the ice sheet, via both data and modeling approaches and focuses on the interface between the topics of the following sessions: Past Antarctic Ice Sheet Dynamics, Solid Earth Responses and Influences on Cryospheric Evolution, Glaciers and Ice Sheet mass balance and Evolution of the physical and biological environment of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean over the 21st and 22nd centuries.

The mini-symposium will feature some invited oral-presentations and we also seek oral and poster submissions on cross cutting themes including:

  • How does the past geometry of the Antarctic ice sheet and the ongoing isostatic response affect interpretations of mass balance measurements?
  • How has surface mass balance changed over time?
  • What is the ice dynamic variability and do we have evidence of fast retreat in the past?
  • Are there past analogues for future climate predictions?
  • What are the interactions of climate with surface mass balance, ice dynamics, and grounding line migration, and how can we detect/simulate possible feedbacks?

The presentations will be followed by a discussion.

Jeronimo Lopez-Martinez, Spain; Kazuyuki Shiraishi, Japan; Karin Lochte, Germany; Gerlis Fugmann, Norway

The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research initiated the SCAR Fellowship Programme in 2002. The aim was to encourage the active involvement of early career scientists in Antarctic scientific research and to build new connections and further strengthen international capacity and cooperation in Antarctic research. Since the initiation of the programme, 48 SCAR Fellowships have been awarded.

In 2011, the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs launched the COMNAP Antarctic Research Fellowship Scheme, offering one fellowship by year for an early career person in order to carry out research within a COMNAP National Antarctic Program. With the 2015 awards, there have been 6 COMNAP Fellowships awarded. Apart of this, 3 combined SCAR-COMNAP Fellowships have been awarded since 2012.

The Fellowships supports the scientific goals of SCAR and the goal of COMNAP to develop and promote best practice in managing the support to Antarctic science. The Fellowships enable early career researchers to join a project team from another country, opening up new opportunities and often creating research partnerships that last many years and over many Antarctic research seasons.

This multi-disciplinary mini-symposium is intended to highlight the work of the in total 57 SCAR and COMNAP fellows, with all those who have been awarded a Fellowship invited to submit an abstract for an oral or poster presentation. The abstract may focus on the work undertaken as part of the fellowship, or could present work done subsequently identifying how the fellowship was used as a platform for that later research. The mini-symposium also encourages those early career persons hoping to submit an application to either fellowship scheme in the future to attend, since the mini-symposium will be an opportunity to discuss the scheme with SCAR and COMNAP representatives and former fellowship recipients.


Francois Massonnet, Spain; Gennadi Milinevsky, Ukraine; Tom Lachlan-Cope, UK

The prominent feature of the Antarctic system is its apparent isolation from the rest of the planet, due to strong eastward ocean currents and winds that prevail between 40° and 60° S. However, the Antarctic system does have significant impacts on the global climate. Antarctica hosts the largest amounts of freshwater on the globe; the Southern Ocean is the main sink of carbon dioxide of the planet; waxing and waning sea ice affects seawater properties, the vertical stability of the ocean column and the global oceanic circulation. Large-scale atmospheric patterns of variability such as El-Niño/Southern Oscillation or the Indian Ocean Dipole, are also thought to affect the Antarctic, on timescales from sub-seasonal to decadal. Ozone hole impacts mid-latitude atmosphere behaviour and sea surface temperature patterns may influence the Antarctic stratosphere. We welcome in this session all contributions highlighting the means by which climate variability (forced or internal, regional or global) in the Antarctic can influence conditions at more northerly latitudes, and conversely. We welcome all types of analyses utilizing climate models, observations and/or reanalyses. Of particular interest is the study of coupled mechanisms, the means by which signals are imported to, or exported from the Antarctic system and the quantification of feedbacks.

Tom Bracegirdle, UK; Sun Bo, China; Rob Dunbar, USA; Bernabé Moreno, Peru

This is a multi-disciplinary session with the goal of bringing together a broad range of scientists with a common interest in future environmental change over Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Abstracts on all aspects of the prediction of 21st and 22nd century change in the physical and biological environments of Antarctica are welcomed. Of particular interest is the integration of physical and biological approaches. Antarctica and the Southern Ocean represent a complex challenge with regard to the predictability and projections of its physical and biological environment. The large regional variability and heterogeneity of the Antarctic Realm (both marine and terrestrial) are key sources of uncertainty in estimating future scenarios of change. The Antarctic and Southern Ocean region has already experienced substantial changes with impacts on global sea level, ocean carbon uptake, atmosphere and ocean currents, and moisture transport. For example, the waters of the ACC have warmed more rapidly than the global ocean as a whole. On the other hand, significant change in surface waters is hard to detect due to its large seasonal cycle. The synchronized interactions of the abiotic variables will ultimately determine the faunistic composition, both terrestrial and aquatic (subglacial, and marine pelagic/benthic). It is therefore important to consider climate change from a perspective most relevant to ecosystems and move beyond basic metrics of mean climatology to more relevant physical parameters incorporating variability and extremes. Key questions include: What possible scenarios are expected in the future (~100 years and beyond)? How much will ocean, atmosphere, ice, and biota interact and change? How susceptible to change is the relatively isolated Antarctic fauna? What is the significance of recent trends in the context of natural variability? The scope of this session extends to studies on relationships between variability in the physical environment and variability in biological systems and implications for future environmental change.

Anna Wahlin, Sweden; Boris Dorschel, Germany; Alexander Klepikov, Russia; Louise Newman, Australia; Seb Swart, South Africa; Penny Wagner, Norway

Available observations indicate that the Southern Ocean is warming more rapidly than the global ocean average; that changes in precipitation and ice melt are affecting upper and lower abyssal ocean salinity; and that basin-wide ocean acidification is occurring due to uptake of anthropogenic CO2. Rapid basal melt and disintegration of coastal ice-shelves are heightening our need to understand the processes for interaction between ocean, ice shelves and glacier streams and their contributions to sea level. In order to quantify these changes it is necessary with expanded sustained observations of the key processes in the Southern Ocean. Our understanding of the drivers, potential impacts, and magnitude of the processes and changes are presently limited by a lack of observations and timely data coverage. Understanding of the marine system is also constrained by the poor resolution of observations of ocean topography (particularly over the continental slope, shelf and coastal region and under ice shelves), albeit it being critical for a number of ocean processes and for ecosystem habitat. Accurate bathymetric has been highlighted by several international communities as a priority gap in observation data. SCAR facilitates data compilation, mapping and archiving through a number of international programs, such SOOS and IBCSO. Fundamentally important to both programs is international collaboration and a coordinated and integrated approach to the collection, management and delivery of data and data products.

This session welcomes contributions on Southern Ocean observations, mapping efforts (including development of reanalysis models and climatologies) across all disciplines, as well as development and use of new observational technologies and platforms. In addition, presentations are welcomed on the role of the Southern Ocean in current and future climate and the processes active in this marine system (including exchange processes at the boundaries between ocean, atmosphere and/or sea and glacial ice).

Carlotta Escutia Dotti, Spain; Laura DeSantis, Italy; Valerie Masson-Delmotte, France; Rob Deconto, USA; Karsten Gohl, Germany; Lara F. Perez, Denmark; Yusuke Suganuma, Japan; Gerhard Kuhn, Germany; Nick Golledge, New Zealand; Vladimir Lipenkov, Russia

Basal melting of ice shelves due to increased inflow of warm water across the continental shelf is inferred to cause dynamic ice loss from marine-based Antarctic ice sheets (AIS), as the buttressing effect of the ice shelves is lost through their thinning and eventual collapse. The ultimate causes, mechanisms and rates of these processes are, however, still poorly known. Understanding the impact of past climate and ocean warming and circulation on AIS stability is the key to predict future scenarios. Marine geological records from the Antarctic continental margins and the deep-sea contain information of past glacial and interglacial environments, and extend back to the greenhouse world. New dating methods and environmental proxies have been developing allowing reconstruction of orbital resolution cyclicity from expanded sections in key sites detected with morphobathymetric and geophysical surveys. The challenge for robust future predictions now is to reconcile short time scale trends, obtained by modern oceanographic observation, with long time scale processes, reconstructed from paleoceanographic archives. This session will focus on paleoceanographic studies carried out with multidisciplinary approach and data-modelling integration following the Past Antarctic Ice Sheet dynamics (PAIS) continent-to-abyss strategy.

This session draws together studies from a range of fields investigating aspects of past ice sheet evolution in Antarctica extending from the ice sheet interior to ice proximal settings. The session will focus on studies aimed at improving our knowledge in relation to the Antarctic Ice Sheet's behavior and the effect that tectonic and climatic variations have had in its evolution. Contributions are open to geophysical and geological studies around the Antarctic continent, as well as ice sheet and climate studies and modeling. Works targeting East, West, and Antarctic Peninsula ice sheets are welcome, as are studies exploring climate and ice sheet dynamics on a wide range of timescales including past "greenhouse" climates warmer than today, and times of more recent warming and ice sheet retreat. New insights based on geophysical and geological data that allow a better understanding of the drivers behind observed events and those that can inform projections of future ice sheet behavior are included in this session. Relevant to this session is work that helps clarify linkages between the ice sheet, atmosphere, and glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) reconstructions of past sea level, ice-bed topography, and bathymetry.

This session will be focused on the challenges associated with the methods to be used to retrieve ice core records, which will provide a continuous climate and atmospheric composition history beyond the last 800 000 years and extending back to 1.5 million years or more. This encompasses investigations combining existing sources of information, strategies to acquire new field data needed to locate the most suitable drilling sites, innovative drilling tools and analytic methods. The session is also open to the development of methods envisaged for dating old ice, and to Earth system simulations exploring the Mid-Pleistocene Transition.

Frank Pattyn, Belgium; Catherine Ritz, France; Grzegorz Rachlewicz, Poland; Kiya Riverman, USA

This session is intended to attract a broad range of contributions aimed at improving our understanding of contemporary changes in ice sheet and glacier extent and their contribution to sea level rise. We will focus on both observations and modeling efforts and their associated uncertainties. Themes to be explored include:

  • advances in ice-sheet mass change observations from remote sensing;
  • advances in long-term continental-scale modeling of glacier and ice sheet stability;
  • advances in glacial isostatic adjustment modelling and observations;
  • observations and modeling of ice-sheet mass exchanges with the oceans;
  • hydrological control of ice sheet stability and the role of subglacial processes;
  • quantifying the uncertainties of various remotely-sensed mass-balance techniques;
  • advances in modelling the contributions of glaciers and ice sheets to sea level change
  • understanding and resolving the current discrepancies among the estimates by different techniques;
  • projected sea-level rise from glacier and ice-sheet change;
  • and beyond

Thomas James, Canada; Terry Wilson, USA; Joachim Jacobs, Norway; Kristin Poinar, USA

The polar regions are unique geodynamic environments where the solid earth, the cryosphere, the oceans, the atmosphere and the global climate system are intimately linked. This SERCE session will explore new data and modeling studies bearing on any aspect of the interaction between the solid earth and ice sheets. Topics are expected to include crust and mantle structure beneath the ice sheets, mapping of earth properties and their variations through seismological and other geophysical techniques, observations of solid earth deformation and feedbacks between solid earth deformation and ice sheet dynamics, new data and models for ice histories driving glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) in Antarctica, incorporation of geological, geodetic and geophysical measurements into geodynamic modeling of the solid earth response to ice mass changes, and the assimilation of ground-based measurements with data from current space missions. Contributions addressing solid earth – cryosphere interactions at both poles are encouraged.

Marilyn Raphael, USA; Won Sang Lee, Korea; Kenny Matsuoka, Norway; Bertie Miles, UK

Antarctic coastal and sea ice zones are undergoing rapid and prolonged changes. From the satellite record, there have been seasonal and annual changes in sea ice extent that have manifested themselves regionally especially in the major Antarctic seas. At the same time portions of some Antarctic Peninsula ice shelves have collapsed and extensive bottom melting has been documented in other Antarctic ice shelves. In this session we welcome papers that address the current status and trends of Antarctic sea ice. Topics include but are not limited to sea ice properties, climatology, variability and trends - and mechanisms underlying them. Equally welcome are papers that examine the status of the ice shelves, change in ice shelves including ice shelf melt, as well the interactions of sea ice and ice shelves with the ocean and the ice sheet, and on grounded features in ice shelves (ice rises and rumples). Analyses that use modeled, field-observed, and remote sensing data are welcome.

Martin Siegert, UK; Irina Alekhina, Russia; Trista Vick-Majors, USA

The basal regions of the Antarctic Ice Sheet are host to some of the most inaccessible and diverse aquatic environments in the world, and include subglacial lakes, rivers, swamps and deep sedimentary basins. The exploration of these frigid, subterranean environments features highly on the international scientific agenda, driven by a need to improve understanding of subglacial microbial ecosystems and future ice sheet contribution to sea level changes. Subglacial systems may also hold new records of past climate from sediments deposited in lakes and sedimentary basins. The past four years has seen several missions aimed at directly measuring and sampling subglacial lakes and basal material. Much has been learnt in terms of both scientific discovery and on the technical challenges of successfully accesses the bed beneath deep ice. This session aims to highlight recent developments in the understanding of subglacial aquatic environments in Antarctica, inviting contributions across a broad range of disciplines. This might include, for example, results of recent subglacial exploration, experimental and numerical modeling simulations of subglacial processes and their impacts, remote sensing and the development of enabling technologies for subglacial access and data collection. We also welcome presentations from those working on subglacial aquatic environments outside Antarctica, but with results relevant to Antarctic Science. The session aims to bring together diverse communities drawn from glaciology, microbiology/ biogeochemistry and engineering.

Mauro Guglielmin, Italy; G. Vieira, Portugal; Carlos Schaefer, Brazil; Christel Hansen, South Africa

This session focuses on permafrost, on the overlying active layer, on the related landforms and on the soils that characterize almost all the ice-free areas of Antarctica. Thermophysical conditions of permafrost and the active layer are very variable in the Antarctic. As an example, the Antarctic Peninsula is one of the fastest warming areas of the planet. In comparison in the Ross sea area air temperatures are relatively stable. This offers the chance to understand different responses of permafrost and the active layer as well as the interactions with the pedosphere, hydrology and geomorphologic evolution. The Antarctic environments present a unique opportunity to carry out scientific investigations that contribute to a better understanding of the Arctic permafrost areas. Furthermore, these environments also represent an analogue with the extraterrestrial environments such as Mars.

Transdisciplinary contributions from permafrost, soils, geomorphology, microclimate, hydrology, geophysics and remote sensing are expected. Although not exclusively, the session aims to contribute to the new questions from the SCAR Horizon Scan emphasizing on the significance of the fast changing terrestrial environments, for example:

  • Will there be release of greenhouse gases stored in Antarctic and Southern Ocean clathrates, sediments, soils, and permafrost as climate changes?
  • What are and have been the rates of geomorphic change in different Antarctic regions, and what are the ages of preserved landscapes?
  • How will permafrost, the active layer and water availability in Antarctic soils and marine sediments change in a warming climate, and what are the effects on ecosystems and biogeochemical cycles?
  • and other questions of significance to the periglacial environments.

Martin Schneebeli, Switzerland; Willem Jan ven Berg, Netherlands; Alexey Ekaykin, Russia; Bethan Davies, UK

The session covers all cryospheric aspects in Antarctica of the past, present and future and how they shape our understanding of the climate system based on proxies and observations. Some key research questions include: What is the role of snow in climate processes, including radiation and energy balance? How are water isotopes transformed on their journey from snow to ice? How does the spatial variability of snow deposition influence firn and ice cores? What processes ice thermal regime, temperature and flow? What processes determine firn densification and the evolution of physical and chemical properties of ice cores? How are dune and megadune formation influencing the stratigraphic record of ice cores?

David Bromwich, USA; Steve Colwell, UK; Amna Jrrar, UAE

Understanding the meteorology and climatology of the Antarctic is essential in evaluating the role of the continent in the global climate system as well as projecting future changes to the Antarctic environment as a result of anthropogenic (greenhouse gas) forcing. Yet advances are restrained by limited understanding, sparse observations, and imperfect models.

We invite abstracts on all observational, modeling, and attribution aspects of Antarctic meteorology and climatology, including those prominent in Antarctica (e.g., linked with the stable boundary layer and the tenuous ice clouds), the connections with tropical climate variability, and the associations with the ocean, sea ice, and stratosphere. Submissions on modeling processes relevant to short (weather) and long (climate) time-scales are especially encouraged.

Thamban Meloth, India; Tas van Ommen, Australia; Rob Mulvaney, UK; Erik Behrens, New Zealand

Antarctic ice, lake and marine sediment core records have become the cornerstone of research into the climate change detection and attribution studies during the last few hundred to several thousands of years. While long-term climate records would remain crucial in climate forcing and attribution studies, a large network of high resolution core records are fundamental to the study of climate on timescales (decadal to century) that are of the greatest interest to climate variability studies, which are presently hampered by the relatively short period of direct instrumental climate observations. International initiatives like ITASE in the past have focused on obtaining shallow ice core records with exceptionally high temporal and spatial resolutions for the past few hundred years. However, a critical aspect of such continental scale climate reconstruction is to extend the proxy records to few thousand years that are long enough to incorporate the "Holocene/Anthropocene transition", whereas short enough to be realistically achieved with annual resolution from high-accumulation regions in Antarctica to have a meaningful representation of the vagaries and mysteries of climate system. The IPICS 2k Array provides a crucial framework for obtaining a network of ice core data appropriate for input to detailed climate and climate forcing reconstructions, at the highest possible resolution up to 2000 years. Based on those observational proxies paleo climate modelling studies have improved our knowledge about climate variability and climate trends in the Antarctic and the Southern Ocean on various time scales. That kind of modelling initiatives are crucial to put the observations into a large climatic context and shed light onto driving mechanisms for climate variability and involved processes. This session would examine new Antarctic 2k records obtained by various national initiatives in context with the available instrumental and modelling efforts.

Emilia Correia, Brazil; Maurizio Candidi, Italy; Craig J. Rodger, New Zealand; Yasmina M. Martos, UK

Research in the polar regions provides key high-latitude observations, which are essential to understand fundamental aspects of coupling between the solar wind and Earth’s atmosphere, ionosphere, and magnetosphere (AIM). The vast geographical regions in both hemispheres provide unique and comprehensive access to a broad range of geophysical phenomena, spanning magnetic and geographic latitudes from the sub-auroral zone to the polar caps, and altitudes from the troposphere upwards. These include investigations of high energy particles in the upper atmosphere, wave processes in the magnetosphere, auroras, inter-hemispheric differences, induced electrical currents, space weather, the geomagnetic field, ionosphere, temperature and winds in the neutral atmosphere, and atmospheric waves. This session solicits papers on recent advances in Solar-Terrestrial Physics, studies incorporating Antarctic observations in the global context, and studies based on the integration of space and ground based observations . Similar research on other planets and comparison with the Earth are also welcome.

Giorgiana de Franceschi, Italy; Paul Prikryl, Canada; Nicolas Bergeot, Belgium; Elizabeth Petrie, UK

Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) contribute to the study of many aspects of Antarctic science, from the atmosphere to the solid Earth. This session solicits contributions on GNSS-based research and applications in Antarctica. In keeping with the SCAR OSC 2016 theme, ‘Polar Tropical Connectivity: Antarctica in the Global Earth System’, contributions highlighting the differences and similarities at high and low latitudes of the atmospheric effects on GNSS signals, strategies and performance are particularly welcome. Studies dealing with ionospheric irregularities, scintillation, total electron content (TEC) gradients, water vapor (WV) content, multipath, and impacts on different applications using GNSS such as positioning, space weather, solid Earth, cryosphere research and remote sensing are highly encouraged. Papers dealing with GNSS data collection, data sets, model and processing developments and infrastructure available to support investigations are also welcome, as are those where GNSS is one part of a multi-instrument approach.

Anna Moore, USA; John Storey, Australia; Adriana Gulisano, Argentina; Jennifer Cooper, USA

Antarctic stations have been found to offer unique and impressive advantages for astronomy over the numerous temperate sites in place around the world. New observatories are continuing operations on the plateau and, together with various other scientific research stations, are revealing new insights into stellar structure, star formation, galactic structure and cosmology. The study of site conditions continues, and complementary locations in the Arctic and Greenland are now also being examined as an expansion to polar astronomy. Polar observatory sites have low temperatures, low water vapor content, large volumes of ice, stable atmospheres, and low boundary layers compared to temperate sites. These factors result in superior performance over a diverse range of observational experiments. These particular conditions are of interest to both astronomers as well as to atmospheric scientists who wish to look beyond the atmospheric base; an ongoing project known as the Latin American Giant Observatory is looking to make an expansion to Antarctica from its current presence on 2 continents due to this favorable setting. New instrument and site proposals continue to make advancements for both the ground and airborne-based groups, especially for experiments in cosmic microwave background, neutrino detection, cosmic ray detection, and studies in the optical, infrared, sub-mm & THz regimes.

Fausto Ferraccioli, UK; German Leitchenkov, Russia; Naresh C Pant, India; Marcelo Leppe, Chile

Comprehending the process that affected the Antarctic continent has implications for our broader understanding of Columbia, Rodinia and Gondwana supercontinental assembly and breakup. Meager coastal outcrops provide tantalising and yet still relatively cryptic glimpses into over 3 Ga of evolution of the Antarctic continent. To extend such knowledge into the interior we need to advance our capability to derive and validate geophysical interpretations of subglacial geology and deeper crustal architecture, and improve linkages with better exposed geology in formerly adjacent continents. We also need to better constrain the variability in large-scale subglacial geology in order to derive key geological boundary conditions for paleo and modern ice sheet studies and modelling. Major advances have been made in recent years in geophysical exploration in both East and West Antarctica and drilling, coastal erratics and detrital mineral studies are also aiding subglacial geology interpretations.

This session invites contributions on recent advances in our understanding of Antarctic geology and its influence on the overlying ice sheets, the architecture and evolution of the continent and its linkages with the broader supercontinental jigsaw. We also welcome presentations on ongoing or planned initiatives to image and probe beneath the Antarctic ice sheet.

Massimo Pompilio, Italy; John Smellie, UK; Amanda Lough, USA

Antarctica contains a very broad diversity of volcanism and magmatic products, ranging from the world’s type example of an intra-oceanic island arc (South Sandwich Islands), to numerous subduction-related lineages of mainly Mesozoic—Cenozoic age situated along the Pacific margin and forming the early Palaeozoic roots of the Transantarctic Mountains. It also contains voluminous products of Jurassic plume-driven continental breakup magmatism and is host to one of the world’s largest extension-related alkaline volcanic provinces within the Neogene West Antarctic Rift. Active volcanoes are also present, including several identified remotely by geophysical methods under the ice and it is the world’s longest-lived glaciovolcanic province, with an unrivalled terrestrial record of Antarctic ice sheet interactions. Volcanoes and associated magmatic products are thus widespread, and situated at tectonically and environmentally strategic locations across the entire continent. They are outstanding probes of the Earth’s inaccessible lithospheric interior, they accurately record Earth’s past climatic changes and the volcanic heat produced by subglacial eruptions has the potential to modulate ice sheet behaviour and thus influence future global change. Volcanic and related magmatic studies are crucial for a holistic understanding of the palaeoenvironmental, palaeoclimatic and geological evolution in space and in time for the whole continent.

For this session, we invite contributions discussing recent advances in all aspects of volcanism/magmatism in Antarctica. We are particularly interested in wide-ranging reviews of entire topics or Antarctic sub-regions discussing regional or thematic issues of any kind but the goal is to host a broad-spectrum discussion at any scale. Some topics that are of particular interest include: Possible linkages between Antarctic volcanism/magmatism and crustal, lithospheric or mantle processes occurring at all scales up to planetary; Volcanism and environmental development, not only the growth and stability of ice sheets but also documenting the Antarctic hothouse world. However, we solicit any submissions that address volcanic/magmatic issues including geophysics, geodesy, hazard assessments, monitoring, petrology, physical volcanology, remote sensing, tephrostatigraphy, palaeoenvironments, etc.

Simon Cox, New Zealand; Paul Morin, USA; Adrian Fox, UK; Detlef Damaske, Germany; Asparuh Kamburov, Bulgaria

Once referred to as ‘Terra incognita australis’ the Antarctic continent is incognita no more. Vast quantities of high-resolution satellite imagery, digital terrain and geophysical surveys make Antarctica one of the most highly observed places on the planet. The present state of Antarctic mapping represents a culmination of decades of dedicated survey work and highlights the importance of international collaboration at the core of the SCAR mission. Data compilation, mapping and archiving are major SCAR efforts supported by dedicated international groups that help preserve and organize existing data. Such compilations also highlight the gaps in our knowledge and point to priority areas for future research. Surficial sediments scattered over the ice-free landscape of Antarctica, for example, seem particularly poorly represented yet are important for reconstructing past ice sheet behavior and assessing the continent’s influence on global climate. The latest remote sensing provides exciting opportunities for widespread definition and cross-discipline interrogation of the geosphere, biosphere and cryosphere at sub-metre scale, but needs to be classified and integrated using ground-based data. Demand continues to grow for attribute-rich, continent- and regional-scale datasets that can summarize the complexity and detailed knowledge gleaned by specialist studies. This session will focus on the progress of current land, marine, airborne and satellite surveys and unveil advances in datasets that characterize Antarctica. We invite contributions from researchers involved in polar data acquisition, management and sharing, and from those who depend on these large scale datasets and have an interest in guiding their future development.

Ewe Hong Tat, Malaysia; Hans-Ulrich Peter, Germany; Rob Massom, Australia; Oscar Schofield, USA; Shridhar Jawak, India

Recent technological developments in geospatial science over the last decade have motivated major advances in our understanding of the Antarctic continent and surrounding oceans. These developments have included the use of new satellite remote sensing platforms (e.g. WorldView and Landsat series of satellites) and methods to obtain geospatial information, such as, automatic/ semi-automatic extraction of information from remote sensing images, new mapping techniques for ice sheet properties (roughness, thickness and velocity), usage of remotely sensed data for Antarctic glaciological and mass balance studies (e.g. ICESat, ERS‐1/‐2, ENVISAT, RISAT, ALOS PALSAR, TerraSAR-X, Cosmo-SkyMed, Radarsat-2, hyperspectral data etc.), ice sheet flow and geodynamics over short temporal scales, remote sensing of the marine cryosphere (including sea ice and its snow cover) and its interactions with ocean and atmosphere, generation of digital elevation models (DEMs) of Antarctic regions, developments in monitoring bird and animal populations and habitat using remote sensing, applications of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) including disturbance capability and environmental impacts of UAVs on bird and animal populations, and Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) technology to investigate small-scale characteristics and changes. Much of this research is cross-disciplinary in its nature and this has led to noteworthy advances across a range of Antarctic scientific disciplines. This session will focus on such multi-disciplinary research and includes new and emerging research frontiers in Antarctic science. The session is expected to bring an interesting blend of talks by merging snow and ice studies with climate research, ice-ocean interaction, and animal monitoring via remote sensing.

Ian McDonald, New Zealand; Nicole Hill, Australia; Vivian Helena Pellizari, Brazil; Bruno Danis, Belgium; Camila Negrão Signori, Brazil

Bioregionalisation can assist in providing information on the location and distribution of species and their habitats, and is an important foundation for efforts to further understand, conserve and manage activities in Antarctica and in the Southern Ocean. Variation in climate, topography and other physical factors forms different habitat types, which in turn support different species and communities. Biological diversity varies throughout this geographic space, and may be further influenced by physical, chemical and geological factors, as well as human activities.

Biological informatics comprises the information tools used in all of biology including everything from biomolecular structure to global ecosystems. We especially seek the current status, advances, limitations and priorities in the field of biodiversity informatics. We encourage submissions ranging from the spatial distribution of Antarctic biodiversity (from land to ocean), to cross linkages between disciplines for a better understanding of ecosystem structure and function, and the possible impacts of global change.

Walter MacCormack, Argentina; Charles Lee, New Zealand; Chun Wie Chong, Malaysia; Jeff Bowman, USA

The ecology of Antarctica is largely shaped by microbes, with microbial life, including prokaryotes and unicellular eukaryotes, serving as the main drivers of ecosystem function. Given this, it is perhaps surprisingly that our current understanding of Antarctic biota has been derived primarily from studies of metazoans. Despite major advances in the field of Antarctic microbiology in recent years there remains a knowledge gap in our understanding of the distribution, functions, and adaptations of Antarctic microbes. There is a general consensus that Antarctic microorganisms are highly diverse, and in many cases encompass endemic gene pools with unique physiological and genetic adaptations to the extreme conditions of their environment. Relatively recently, the advent of ‘omics platforms has allowed researchers to observe these processes in great detail. This session welcomes submissions on all aspects of microbial ecology and evolution in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. This includes ‘omics-based approaches to understanding prokaryotic and unicellular eukaryotic diversity, function, adaptation, as well as laboratory and field-based studies of microbial and ecological physiology. Special consideration will be given for abstracts addressing the following issues: (1) Microbial biogeography, functional redundancy, and ecosystem services; (2) Trophic connectivity between prokaryotes and eukaryotes; (3) Cold adaptation strategy and evolution; and (4) Multiple ‘omics integration addressing systems biology of Antarctic ecosystems.

Doris Abele, Germany; Diana Wall, USA; Guido di Prisco, Italy; Michelle Shero, USA

Many million years of evolution under conditions of permanent cold have shaped perfectly adapted species, many of them endemic to the Antarctic. Marine ectotherms have developed narrow thermal tolerance windows, homeoviscous adaptations of membrane fluidity, and some species have reduced/lost the capacities to bind oxygen or mount an inducible stress response. Hence, their ability to deal with the consequences of the current climate change and environmental disturbance is potentially very low. In contrast, the ability to cope with climate change in terrestrial and endothermic organisms is influenced by their tolerance of daily and annual variability while facing large-scale seasonal changes in productivity and prey availability in future scenarios. At the community/system level, we need to analyze the impacts of changes on biodiversity and mitigate extinction risks. Next to further exploring the physiological mechanisms supporting adaptations, it is important to understand phenotypic plasticity and resistance/resilience strategies, and the evolutionary adaptation to stress (genetically based preconditioning), to determine thresholds for function and survival. This includes analysis of physiological, cellular (immunity), and molecular stress response when confronted with enhanced variability and ecosystem shifts, or with increasing local (research and tourism) and global contamination. The use of next-generation genomic technologies in Antarctic key and indicator species, combined with detailed physiological and metabolic analyses, is desirable to complement the analysis of functional responses across a wide-range of taxa (plants, invertebrates, vertebrates including apex predators) of (sub-)Antarctic populations. Antarctic/Arctic comparisons in lifestyle and stress tolerance, relating to the differences in extent and speed of climate change in both polar regions, will also provide useful information. Advanced knowledge of genetic traits and physiological adaptations that allow organisms to thrive in polar environments will help to elucidate changes in species survivorship and ecosystem dynamics associated with unpredictable (episodic) and long-term changes in environmental conditions.

Jan Strugnell, Australia; Don Cowan, South Africa; Henrik Christiansen, Belgium

The Antarctic continent and surrounding Southern Ocean have a long history of geographical isolation and have been subject to cycles of glaciation. They therefore provide a natural laboratory to study how organisms that exist there have evolved and diversified. Separation and isolation into ice-free refugia have contributed to shaping the surprisingly rich Antarctic biodiversity we see today and an increasing number of cryptic species are being documented and described. Faced with environmental change at unprecedented rates and increasing human impact, studies on molecular ecology and evolution of Antarctic species are needed to pinpoint potential refugia and biodiversity hotspots. Such studies underpin the development of effective conservation measures and support sustainable resource exploitation. With the rapid expansion of next-generation sequencing and the development of genetic fingerprinting technologies, even non-model species are amenable to genome wide studies. On this scale neutral and adaptive evolutionary signals can be differentiated, and associations between environmental variables and heritable changes identified.

This session will encompass marine, terrestrial and freshwater research and will therefore include studies investigating biological diversity and evolutionary processes at both micro- and macro-scales. Topics will include the use of molecular tools to investigate finer scale population genetic processes such as connectivity, gene flow and demography and also deeper evolutionary patterns such as diversification rates, divergence times and phylogenetic relationships. Intra- and interspecific comparisons of phylogeography and genetic diversity are welcome, as are sea- and landscape phylogenetic studies.

Graham Hosie, Australia; Craig Smith, USA; Akinori Takahashi, Japan; Kokubun Nobuo, Japan; Carlos Rafael Mendes, Brazil; Casey Youngflesh, USA

Determining the effects of sea-ice changes and ocean warming on marine ecosystems is one of the key topics in Antarctic marine ecology. Long-term decline in sea-ice extent appears to have led to distributional shifts and population changes in some marine species in the West Antarctic Peninsula region. However, the direction of responses to sea-ice changes (negative or positive) depend on the species-specific relationship with sea-ice and underlying marine ecological processes. Sea-ice trends are not as pronounced in other regions of Southern Ocean, but the annual variability in sea-ice conditions are apparent. The effects of climate change on marine organisms also need to be distinguished from natural variations in the ecosystem. To understand fully the effects of ocean warming and sea-ice changes, we need to characterize responses from individual species to whole communities, with an emphasis on regional comparisons where possible. Marine ecosystem studies have traditionally been conducted mainly in the summer period due to logistical constraints, but recent increases in the studies during autumn, winter, and spring periods will shed new insights into the role of sea-ice on marine ecosystem structure and functioning. This session encourages presentations on the effect/role of sea-ice on Southern Ocean ecosystem structure, function and services, from individual species to whole ecosystem level. We seek presentations from both long-term and short-term studies on the responses of marine species and ecological processes to changes in sea-ice. We hope to assemble studies from the various ecosystem levels from the microbial primary producers and heterotrophs, through zooplankton and krill to the upper-trophic level predators, as well as interactions with the pelagic and benthic communities below the sea-ice. Submissions should not be limited to regions where the effects of ocean warming are already apparent, but should also focus on regions where these changes might be important in the future.

Julian Gutt, Germany; Nicoletta Cannone, Italy; Anne Treasure, South Africa

Antarctica is a key area within the global climate system. Furthermore, its biota is often at the physiological limits allowing survival and thus even small climatic and/or other environmental changes may trigger significant impacts. Some important environmental changes with their past, present, and future developments are relatively well known, whilst their impacts on the biosphere is a cutting edge topic in Antarctic research. Natural and anthropogenic environmental changes can affect factors driving diversity patterns and ecosystem functioning. The latter can also affect ecosystem services within the Antarctic, and interactions between the Antarctic and adjacent ecosystems. An essential basis for an improved knowledge is the effect of single factors on single species. However, the study of the combined impact of multiple stressors on entire communities and ecosystems remains challenging. A multi-disciplinary approach is recommended to understand these issues, for example coupling long-term monitoring with manipulation experiments (simulating changes of key environmental and climatic factors), combining both physiological and ecological methods in studies, or coupling physical and biological data. This type of approach will enable us to understand, model and predict species and ecosystems responses to past, present and future changes. This session encourages presentations on elements of the above, encompassing both the impacts to and responses of species and ecosystems to environmental change, in any Antarctic, sub-Antarctic or Southern Ocean habitat.

Huw J.Griffiths, UK; Philippe Koubbi, France; Kunio Takahashi, Japan; Sieglinde Ott, Germany; Claudia Maturana, Chile

Encompassing marine, terrestrial and freshwater research, this session will include presentations on the spatial and temporal variations in diversity and distributions of organisms, taxa or communities. Such variations can occur at different scales and can have different physical and biological environmental drivers. Relevant topics include:

  • Studies of the present day distribution and diversity: including habitat modelling, molecular studies and biogeographic analyses;
  • Studies of biodiversity hotspots, glacial refugia and vulnerable areas;
  • Response to past or present environmental change: including climatic, tectonic and oceanographic changes;
  • Little studied environments: patterns of diversity and biotic composition of unexplored but important areas (e.g. deep sea, inland nunataks, chemosynthetic environments and subglacial lakes).

Dan Costa, USA; Yan Ropert-Coudert, France; Mercedes Santos, Argentina; Andrew Lowther, Norway; Jaimie Cleeland, Australia

The recognition of the utility and importance of predators as indicators of the marine ecosystem is such that it is a recurrent topic in SCAR conferences. Natural (oceanographic, terrestrial, atmospheric, climatic) and anthropogenic forcing (fisheries, pollution...) are taking place at an accelerated pace in the Southern Ocean. Session 29 will address issues surrounding the responses of higher trophic level predators to these modifications and consequently their appropriateness as sentinels of the ecosystem. Topics welcome in this session include but are not limited to:

  • Animals as a sensor platforms in the marine environment
  • Changes in predator-prey relationships and trophic interactions
  • Polar species population/ community responses to changes in the Antarctic and/or other latitudes
  • Effects of natural (including extreme) and anthropogenic forcing on top predators
  • Marine predator conservation policies in a changing environment
  • Epidemiology in the Antarctic in response to growing human activities and warming
  • Advances in marine predator research methods and technology.

Bettine Jansen van Vuuren, South Africa; Steven Chown, Australia; Marcelo Reguero, Argentina; Rachel Downey, Germany

Surrounding the Antarctic continent, the sub-Antarctic islands straddle a region best characterized by its oceanographic, climatological, and geological complexity. How this spatio-temporal complexity has shaped the region, including the ecology and evolution of its biota, is starting to become evident. Prominent processes include isolation, the impacts of dynamic geological and glaciological histories, more frequent dispersal events than previously supposed, and a modern signal of rapidly changing circumstances associated with both direct and indirect human impacts. Despite much progress in understanding of the region, important challenges remain. Resolving them is critical for several reasons. First, the islands may be sentinels for future change, and their position in the westerlies means they may also hold a valuable record of past change in the climate of the region. Second, any effort to understand the geological evolution of the region must necessarily include resolving several fundamental questions about some of its most complex areas. Third, Southern Hemisphere biogeography remains incomplete without unravelling the history of the islands' terrestrial and nearshore biotas. Fourth, the region is home to some of the world's most iconic vertebrate species, which play important roles in Southern Ocean ecosystem dynamics. Finally, across the full suite of the region's environments, many opportunities are abound to test key theoretical concepts.

In this session we therefore invite integrated contributions, with an emphasis on new data or novel syntheses, about:

  • the climate, geology, oceanography and/or palynology of the region;
  • past, present and future distribution of marine, terrestrial and freshwater species in and around the sub-Antarctic (including Antarctica, the Southern Ocean and other Southern Hemisphere continental masses);
  • evolutionary history of sub-Antarctic island biota relating to tectonic, geomorphological, glaciological and climatological impacts;
  • ecology of sub-Antarctic biota, including the importance of the sub-Antarctic for migratory species; and
  • environmental change impacts on the sub-Antarctic biota.

Clara Manno, UK; Richard Bellerby, Norway; Jonny Stark, Australia; Julie Schram, USA

Ocean Acidification (OA), and the associated shifts in seawater carbonate chemistry, is one of the most serious and pressing environmental threats faced by marine ecosystems this century. Changes in seawater carbonate chemistry and OA due to increased absorption of atmospheric CO2 is occurring in concert with other large-scale ocean changes, such as warming, increasing stratification and reductions in subsurface oxygen concentrations. The rate of ocean acidification in Polar Regions is very variable and can be much faster than in other ocean areas since carbonate ion concentrations are naturally low, cooling enhances the solubility of CO2 and thus colder waters have a lower buffering capacity. Freshening of surface waters from glacial and sea ice melts in coastal and open ocean systems contribute to further carbonate under-saturation. These shifts may be regionally distinct and elicit differential ecological responses by triggering shifts in organismal fitness through influencing aspects of development, growth, physiology, behavior, etc. The diversity of organismal response to OA or in combination with other potential stressors may influence intra- and interspecies interactions, which will ultimately contribute to net ecosystem resistance and resilience to OA in Polar Regions. We welcome contributions addressing the biological, ecological and biogeochemical impacts of multiple anthropogenic environmental stressors on Polar Regions (e.g. observational, experimental and modeling approaches). In this context, this session aims to highlight the responses of marine organisms at multiple levels of biological organization from the individual to ecosystem structure, functioning and biodiversity. Additionally, presentations detailing the results of perturbations to biogeochemical cycling and climate system feedbacks as well as potential societal and policy challenges of ocean acidification are welcomed. Polar Regions are a key component of the Earth System and hold important marine resources. Therefore improved knowledge is required on the resilience of these systems to future ocean acidification and global change.

Jeff Ayton, Australia; Marc Shepanek, USA; Florica Toparceanu, Romania; Tiina Ikäheimo, Finland

This session invites data driven papers from disciplines including biomedical sciences, behavioural sciences, and medicine addressing the following:

  • What are the risks and challenges facing humans and human medical support systems in Antarctica?
  • How can we improve safety, efficiency and performance of expeditioners and workers in Antarctic environments?
  • Antarctica as a space analogue- current Antarctic research initiatives addressing challenges for those planning and undertaking human space endeavours.

Daniela Liggett, New Zealand; Akiho Shibata, Japan; Elizabeth Leane, Australia; Susan Christianen, Netherlands

In the last two decades, the humanities and social sciences have played an increasingly relevant role in creating greater awareness about issues related to human activities in and engagement with Antarctica. At a time when complex socio-environmental problems are necessitating conversations across all disciplines of the physical and biological sciences, social sciences and humanities, this role is more crucial than ever. Around the world, scholars in the humanities and social sciences have begun to engage with their colleagues in the biological and physical sciences, and this type of cross-disciplinary engagement is also beginning to take hold in the Antarctic research community. Humanities scholars and social scientists are well-placed to investigate the diverse environmental, cultural, social, economic, legal, and political contexts within which global problems, including those relevant to Antarctica, must be contextualized and addressed.

In the spirit of this development, this session explores integrative approaches to studying and understanding human engagement with the polar regions, with a particular focus on Antarctica. We especially invite contributions that link different disciplinary and geographical spaces in novel and innovative ways. Contributions from disciplines or fields such as anthropology, architecture & design, human geography, law, literary studies, political sciences, tourism studies, sociology, psychology, and visual culture/arts are welcome. Topics which contributors might engage with include but are not limited to:

  • Interlinking and integrating Antarctic natural sciences, social sciences and humanities;
  • Asian-Antarctic connections;
  • Transpolar perspectives in the humanities and social sciences;
  • Lessons from Antarctica regarding built environments to address challenges in the polar regions and outer space; or
  • Contemporary challenges related to human activities in the polar regions and polar politics.

We also invite any physical and biological scientists whose research connects with the session theme, or who are undertaking research in collaboration with social scientists or humanities scholars, to contribute their perspectives.

Cornelia Lüdecke, Germany; Victoria Nuviala, Argentina; Peder Roberts, Sweden

The history of human presence in the Antarctic is both long – dating back nearly two centuries – and diverse, including sealers, whalers, tourists, and military personnel as well as scientists. Their footprints were both literal and metaphorical. For some the Antarctic was a treasure trove of scientific data, for others a harsh and unromantic place of work. Many left documentary traces (books, reports, diaries, and more), while others left material remains that can reveal unwritten stories, or function as sites of cultural heritage. At the same time, the humans who visited Antarctica have often returned with changed perspectives on the world far beyond the Antarctic Circle, in terms of understanding global geophysical processes or imagining new ways to govern and administer the earth’s uninhabited spaces.

This session aims to bring together an ensemble of human experiences produced on the encounter with the Antarctic, exploring not only the anthropic traces still present in this continent but also the traces that Antarctica left on human beings. Simultaneously, we will explore the full suite of methods and perspectives used by researchers in the present to consider how the legacies of human presence in Antarctica have been discovered, interpreted, and often reinterpreted within the context of changing historical and political contexts. Scholars today increasingly realize that understanding the past cannot be separated from understanding the present. As such, we are particularly interested in papers that connect the study and interpretation of human traces in the Antarctic with the issues of the present, and in papers that take novel approaches to examining human presence in Antarctica, for instance through archaeological or literary studies in addition to more traditional historical methods. Submissions are welcome from scholars working in all relevant disciplines.

Soon Gyu Hong, Korea; Anton Van de Putte, Belgium; Ursula Rack, New Zealand; Bob Arko, USA; Camille Moreau, Belgium

The aim of the session is to bring together researchers and data custodians across disciplines. In a world where digital data is created at an ever-increasing pace, there is also a realisation that pre-digital data such as logbooks, diaries, and historic reports (e.g. weather, medical) from the Polar Regions contain important information at risk of being lost. Technology allows researchers to generate and share huge volumes of data, but even in digital form, research data remains at risk for loss. Researchers face the seemingly daunting task to collect, organise, share, and interpret their data. In this session we invite researchers and data custodians from all fields to share their challenges and accomplishment in discovering and disseminating data and to provide an opportunity to foster new ideas and attempts to achieve adequate research outcomes. We welcome topics in this session including: Introduction to new databases, new features in database, tools for data mining, tools and ideas to promote data sharing. The session is open to researchers in the humanities, social sciences, earth sciences, geosciences, life sciences, physical sciences.

Louise Huffman, USA; Geoff Green, Canada; Heidi Roop, New Zealand; Kimberley Rain Miner, USA

With the increased attention on the changing Polar Regions, effective science education, outreach and training need to be higher priorities within the scientific and policy communities. To help increase the effectiveness of outreach and to help stimulate new efforts among Antarctic researchers, SCAR programs and groups, and partner organization, this session will bring together examples of capacity building, education, outreach and training efforts of researchers, educators, communicators, and others involved with Antarctic knowledge transfer and dissemination. We particularly encourage presentations that not only share experiences, but also include the lessons learned and advice for others interested in developing similar activities.

Alan Cooper, USA; Molly Jia Zhongnan, China; David Walton, UK

This session will explore current and new creative methods to communicate science ideas and information to a wide variety of audiences including research colleagues, students and children as well as the public. How ideas are conveyed is key to capturing audience attention, facilitating understanding and achieving impact.

Historically, existing technology has supported verbal narrative with a variety of tools including pictures, video and audio, as well as the written word in books, journals, newspapers and magazines. Increasingly we can look across disciplines and incorporate elements of art, music and photography to help get our message across, with the Web and cellular networks as primary conduits. Yet, to better connect with any of these audiences, in the future we need to be innovative in approach and rigorous in assessing effectiveness.

Is a blend of science and the cultural arts more effective than science alone? Are there new technologies we should be exploiting? How can we measure how effective any of these approaches are to any one audience? How do we make complex material interesting, accessible, understandable, relevant and usable? How can we make this a conversation and not a monologue?

What innovative techniques have YOU developed for conveying your Antarctic science messages to colleagues, policy makers, students and the public? And how can you be sure they are understood and utilized?

To creatively promote this search, SCAR has established a special Antarctic Communications Award for the speaker whose presentation is judged the most innovative, understandable and useful-idea talk in presenting Antarctic science concepts.

Neil Gilbert, New Zealand; Aleks Terauds, Australia; Kevin Hughes, UK; Mariano Memolli, Argentina; Sune Tamm-Buckle, Iceland

SCAR provides scientific advice to governments, promotes productive linkages between scientists and policy/decision-makers, and ensures that science contributes to the formulation of scientifically sound international agreements. In particular, as an Observer to the Antarctic Treaty, it provides advice on issues of science and conservation affecting the management of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Added to this, SCAR engages both with the UNFCCC and IPCC in order to provide advice and expertise on Antarctic and Southern Ocean matters in the global climate system.

The dynamic nature of physical and biological systems in Antarctica demand that policy-makers and managers are fully aware of observed changes and their implications for the future, so that policy and management responses are both informed and timely.

This multi-disciplinary session invites contributions on all aspects of scientific advice to policy makers, including, but not limited to, climate science, non-native species, and protection of the marine and terrestrial systems in the Antarctic region. Interested parties are encouraged to not only present their policy relevant research, but also outline how the research has or could be transferred most effectively into policy and management responses. Submissions that explore the more general relationship between science and policy in an Antarctic context are also welcome.

Hanne Nielsen, Australia

The media plays a crucial role in framing Antarctic research. Few members of the public go straight to published papers as a source of information about Antarctic science, policy, or contemporary concerns. Instead, this information is mediated through press releases, interviews, and the media at large. This session solicits papers on how Antarctica has been framed in the media, and what dominant themes have emerged from media coverage of the continent. Antarctic science in particular is central to contemporary debates about the future of our world, meaning it is important to analyse the ways data can be narrated and presented to a wider audience. Tracking the effects of media programmes run by National Antarctic Programmes is another avenue through which the theme of “Antarctic Research and the Media” could be addressed. Scholars are encouraged to consider not only traditional mainstream media such as newspapers, radio and television, but also the potential impacts of emerging online media platforms. Papers in this session will help reveal the extent to which the media has shaped visions of both Antarctica and Antarctic research amongst the community at large.

Gabriele Capodaglio, Italy; Ian Snape, Australia; Cath King, Australia; Neelu Singh, India

Despite its distance from industrialised regions of the world and its perception as being pristine, Antarctica is not free from the impact of pollution. Atmospheric transport processes move contaminants from lower latitudes to Polar Regions, where through the process of cold condensation they are deposited on land or exchanged at the ocean/atmosphere interface. In addition, contaminants enter the Antarctic environment from local sources as a result of human activities at research stations. For both sources of contaminants, changes in climatic characteristics can influence the remobilization of contaminants from frozen matrices as well from permafrost and sediments. Contaminants accumulate in the Antarctic environment and undergo biomagnification as they move up through the food web from phytoplankton through to top level predators. The focus of this session is the transportation and distribution of contaminants in the Antarctic environment, and the effects and impacts of contamination on Antarctic biota and ecosystems. Long term monitoring of contaminants in the environment and in biota, along with the clean up and remediation of locally contaminated sites in Antarctica will provide the basis for effective protection and management of Antarctic environments.

Birgit Naajstad, Norway; Craig Cary, New Zealand; Patricia Ortuzar, Argentina; Oliver Thomas Hogg, UK

This session aims to build stronger connections between the prioritization, design and output of scientific research in the Antarctic, and the environmental managers and policymakers who develop and set the management and governance framework for Antarctica. Antarctic environments are fragile, have a distinctive biota and are biogeographically complex. Climatic change, and the diversification and proliferation of human activities however increasingly challenge the management of these environments. Approaches to conservation and management by national governments, through frameworks such as the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD), has seen the establishment of a number of management tools and processes designed to assist in this endeavour. Such tools include protected areas, environmental impact assessment processes, site sensitivity analysis and site specific guidelines. All of these approaches are dependent on solid, robust and accessible scientific evidence in both design and use to ensure Antarctic environments can be managed on the basis of evidence-based research, rather than on their perceived environmental values, or risks to them. This session focuses on the challenges and solutions associated with evidence-based conservation and management in the terrestrial and marine environment. Attention will be given to looking at the challenges of operating in data poor regions; the role that international data repositories and biobanks can play in informing on management; whether long-term biological monitoring is key to effective, evidence-based conservation management; what biological or environmental information is relevant for conservation purposes and importantly the frameworks needed in which to facilitate the flow of this information from the science community to environmental managers and policy makers.