United States
Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research

Workshop: Antarctic Ecosystem Research following Ice Shelf Collapse and Iceberg Calving Events

Dear Colleague,

We cordially invite you to participate in the Workshop titled “Antarctic Ecosystem Research following Ice Shelf Collapse and Iceberg Calving Events” to be held at Florida State University, Coastal and Marine Laboratory, on 18 and 19 November 2017. This workshop is being organized by Drs. Jeroen Ingels (Florida State University), Rich Aronson (Florida Institute of Technology), and Craig R. Smith (University of Hawaii at Manoa).

The worldwide publicity surrounding the calving of A-68, the 5,800-km2 iceberg shed in July from the Larsen C Ice Shelf, presents a unique and time-sensitive research opportunity. This event and other ice-shelf losses (e.g., from Larsen A and B, Wilkins, Wordie) are harbingers of warming effects along the Antarctic Peninsula in particular, and ultimately around all of Antarctica.

The aim of this workshop is to gather a group of researchers with a diversity of expertise in Antarctic biological, ecological, and ecosystem sciences to share knowledge, identify important research priorities and knowledge gaps, and outline strategic plans for biological/ecological research to advance understanding of the continent-wide changes that Antarctic ice shelves and associated ecosystems will experience in response to warming. The workshop will provide an opportunity to synergize efforts in investigating Antarctic ecosystems under the direct and indirect effects of ice-shelf collapse, and climatic warming in general. The primary product will be a position paper focusing on ideas, hypotheses, and priorities for investigating the ecological impacts of ice-shelf collapse along the Antarctic Peninsula. Funding for travel and accommodation on-site is dependent on the success of a proposal to NSF that we expect to be funded. We anticipate this funding will support 14 US researchers with significant track records in Antarctic biological-ecological-ecosystem research to attend the workshop. In addition to these 14 experts, the workshop will be open to any US or international researcher able to make significant intellectual contributions to the agenda of the workshop, with the provision that those individuals are able to fund their own travel and subsistence. The capacity of the workshop is 30 and suitable applications will be accepted until the workshop is full.

If you wish to register for this workshop, please email your expression of interest to jingels at fsu.edu, together with your CV and a brief statement on your potential contribution to the workshop. The deadline is 15 September 2017. You will be notified whether a place is available as soon as possible after the deadline. Should you wish to apply for funding to attend, please make this clear in your expression of interest.

A tentative agenda is attached to this invitation. We sincerely hope you will take this opportunity to join us in helping to advance scientific and public understanding of the continent-wide changes that Antarctic ice shelves and surrounding ecosystems will experience in response to warming.

Yours sincerely,
Jeroen Ingels, Richard Aronson, Craig R. Smith

Tentative agenda

Day 1 – 18 November 2017

AM: 1) Introductions, presentation of goals and agenda of workshop (0.5 h).
2) Presentations (6 x 20 minute talks) summarizing current knowledge of the response of key ecosystem components and processes (primary producers, plankton and nekton communities, benthic communities, seabirds and marine mammals, under-ice ecosystems, carbon flux) to the presence and loss of Antarctica ice shelves (2 h)
3) Formulation/identification of key open hypotheses/questions concerning marine ecosystem response to ice-shelf loss (1.5 h), followed by lunch (0.5 h)
PM: 4) Organization of 3-5 breakout groups (incl. rapporteurs) around key questions/hypotheses (0.5 h)
5) Breakout groups outline research goals/program to test key open hypotheses/questions (2 h)
6) K-12 interaction with poster and question and answer session (1.5 h)
7) Plenary presentation and discussion by each breakout group of progress (15 min each)
Dinner and evening discussion
Day 2 – 19 November 2017
AM: 8) Plenary review of key questions and breakout results & integration/reorganization of groups (1 h)
9) New breakout groups to flesh out research goals/questions and programs (identify key hypotheses & summarize potential research program, identify locations & duration of program) (2.5 h)
10) Plenary presentations of working groups results (1 h), followed by lunch (0.5 h)
PM: 11) Plenary discussion of gaps, cross-cutting synergies, and feasibility check (1.5 h)
12) Breakout groups reconvene to identify writing leaders and to generate written outline/summary of group results (questions/hypotheses and potential structure of research programs, address gaps, and highlight synergies across programs) (2 h).
13) Plenary to develop writing tasks, responsible parties and timelines for completion of workshop report and position paper (1 h)
Dinner and further discussion