The Southern Ocean (SO) marine ecosystem is especially vulnerable to global cimate change, because many of its dominant members--phytoplankton, copepods, krill, penguins and seals--are critically dependent upon the sea-ice environment. The SO GLOBEC programme is focussed on understanding how physical forces influence population dynamics and predator-prey interactions between key species. Special efforts will be made to study the little-known overwintering strategies of zooplankton and top predators. The knowledge gained from SO GLOBEC will significantly advance our understanding of the Southern Ocean ecosystems and enable us to adequately monitor and predict the impact of climate change.

1.1 Elements of the research plan

Field studies. Two major projects are planned, each of a minimum six months'duration. The summer study will focus on foraging and recruitment; the winter study will focus on overwintering strategies. Field studies will take place in three areas: (1) the Antarctic Peninsula region, (2) eastern Weddell Sea, and (3) the Indian Ocean sector.

The research format will consist of two elements: a synoptic, mesoscale Time-Series Survey in an area of 40,000 km2, and Process Studies aimed at understanding phenomena and mechanisms of crucial importance within the survey area. These two elements would alternate at 2-week intervals, providing a continuous research effort over a minimum period of 6 months.

A series of standardised measurements will be employed, allowing for comparison of results both within and among the three study sites. A variety of new technologies will be employed for sampling and analysis.

Modelling. Research will be initiated, prior to the advent of field programmes, in three key areas: the development of (1) a conceptual model of the ecosystem, (2) circulation models, and (3) biological models. Regarding circulation, mixed-layer and sea-ice models are required, with emphasis on site specific models. Biological models of trophic transfer and krill swarming are particularly needed. Data assimilation methods should be developed.

Data management. The SO GLOBEC data policy emphasises timely submission of data, source recognition, and open availability. Catalogues of historical data are needed, particularly from significant research campaigns that were not part of any international programme.

1.2 Implementation

Timing. Modelling studies should be initiated in 1995, well in advance of field studies, which are anticipated to begin no later than 1997. Detailed logistic and scientific plans should be made in a series of three Regional Planning Meetings, one for each study site, held in 1995.

Management. It is recommended that a SO GLOBEC Executive Committee, appointed by the international Scientific Steering Committee, be charged to immediately establish and oversee a Data Management Task Team (DMTT), a Modelling Working Group (MWG), and a Secretariat.

The DMTT would establish details of the Data Policy and set forth guidelines for an international and historical data inventories. The MWG would begin development of the Conceptual Model, identify relevant data sets for site-specific models, and indentify ongoing and planned research.

The Secretariat should be established as soon as possible at a major research institution. It would be charged to organise regional planning meetings, ensure comparability between regional studies, act as a repository for data catalogues, coordinate international modelling activities, disseminate information, and organise workshops and symposia.

Regional Planning Meetings. Participating nations for each regional study should meet in 1995 to agree upon detailed cruise plans and associated scientific activities. Each meeting would produce a written plan, entailing a description of target species, location and timing of Time-Series Surveys, participating research vessels, standard methodologies for both surveys and Process Studies, and the nature of coordinated research with other international programmes.