December 15, 2011

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By Dr. Phil McGillivary and Gavin Morris reporting from the 25th International Conference on Conservation Biology in Auckland, NZ
Edited by Deb Castellana

The University of Auckland, New Zealand hosted a series of Marine Think Tanks, in the days before the 25th International Congress of Conservation Biology. One of them, Implications of Environmental Change to Antarctic Marine Ecosystems, dealt mainly with the Ross Sea, Antarctica, which is one of Sylvia Earle’s Hope Spots.

We were lucky enough to catch up with Ed Butler as he rushed off to the airport. Ed is the Manager for Antarctic Science with Antarctica New Zealand (ANZ). He, along with Vonda Cummings of NIWA, facilitated the 3-day think tank on the possible impacts of global climate change on Antarctic marine ecosystems. The local and international science community was well represented with both scientists and end-users sharing their experience in the field. The workshop was funded in part by the N.Z. Ministry of Science and Innovation. 

The fragile Antarctic environment had representation from stakeholder organizations such as the World Wildlife Foundation, the N.Z. Ministry of Fisheries, the N.Z. Department of Conservation, N.Z. BioSecurity, the Antarctic Southern Ocean Coalition, Environment and Conservation Organisations of Aotearoa New Zealand (ECO), and the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), among others. Scientists came from a wide range of backgrounds, including physical oceanology, oceanography, biology, and environmental ecology.

Discussions were animated throughout the sessions and the time was well spent. Ed Butler tells it in his own words. Further information on Ross Sea conservation is available at Antarctic Ocean Alliance’s website. A report on the workshop will be available at the websites of Antarctica New Zealand and NIWA.

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