BIOPOLE recently held a meeting with a range of stakeholders (i.e., individuals or groups who may benefit from the outputs of BIOPOLE) to discuss potential collaborations that could extend the spatial and temporal coverage of BIOPOLE in the Southern Ocean beyond the Southwest Atlantic sector, providing mutually beneficial scientific outputs to all parties. These stakeholders included Antarctic researchers from a range of national research programmes (e.g., the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), Germany, the Palmer Station Antarctica Long Term Ecological Research (Palmer Station Antarctica LTER), US, the Australian Antarctic Programme, Australia, the National Institute for Polar Research (NiPR), Japan, Instituto di Scienze Polari (ISP), Italy) and national and international initiatives (e.g., The Marine Observatory in the Ross Sea (MorSea), the Argo Network, the Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) Survey, and the Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modeling (SOCCOM) programme) that carry out BIOPOLE-relevant research activities in the east Antarctic, the Ross, Amundsen and Bellingshausen seas, along the west Antarctic Peninsula, across the Scotia Sea, and into the Weddell Sea.
Participants shared current and future plans of these programmes and initiatives, together with their research foci and spatio-temporal scope. With these in mind, we discussed a range of possibilities to increase opportunities for biological, physical and biogeochemical data collection in areas of interest to BIOPOLE aligned with future national Antarctic programmes (e.g., sharing of free berths with BIOPOLE researchers and/or opportunities for stakeholders to collect samples from marine cruises/expeditions and underway technologies, and provide data from glider and mooring programmes and marine mammal tagging studies), technologies associated with international initiatives (e.g., MORSea, Argo, and SOCCOM, including Argo and BIO-Argo floats, gliders, and mooring platforms equipped with a range of sensors), and data from long-term monitoring programmes (e.g., from Palmer Station Antarctica LTER, US Antarctic Marine Living Resources (AMLR), the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), and monitoring programmes conducted by the Germans, Norwegians and Koreans) and data stored in open access portals (e.g., the Southern Ocean Observing System, SOOS). To maximise the use of data collected in the field, everyone agreed the need for standardised sampling protocols (as per the BIOPOLE cookbook) and trial samples to calibrate equipment (e.g., to replicate BIOPOLE activities already underway for the Arctic). Recognising the cost of Southern Ocean research, BIOPOLE also extended help to these stakeholders in addressing data and analysis gaps (e.g., in collecting and sharing samples and data, or providing BIOPOLE expertise) and linking to relevant international programmes and initiatives. Given the uncertainty of Antarctic fieldwork plans and ship logistics (of both current and new vessels) and our shared research interests, we all agreed on the value of collaborating and sharing opportunities for sampling and berths as they arise. This will ultimately provide mutual benefit to both BIOPOLE and the activities of our stakeholders. We would also like to hear from other national operators and programmes who are interested in working with BIOPOLE to achieve these objectives. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org