Australian Antarctic Science Strategic Plan to Stream Implementation Plan November 2013

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1 Australian Antarctic Science Strategic Plan to Stream Implementation Plan November 2013 Stream 2.2 Stream goal Vulnerability and spatial protection To provide the scientific foundation for spatial management and area protection in East Antarctica that takes into account the special characteristics of biodiversity and geodiversity, and the landscape and ecosystem processes that influence their vulnerability. To progress this stream in the current (2014/15) round, the theme is calling for projects that will provide: a desk-top synthesis relating to a cluster of priorities (identified by the term 2.2 cluster in the table below) in this stream examining current knowledge of biodiversity in relation to Antarctic landscape and habitat characteristics and how these can inform spatial planning and decision making information on habitat spatial characteristics of nearshore environments in the Windmill islands and acquisition of multibeam data for the Casey nearshore region and a meta-analyses of available genomic information across all Antarctic habitats. Expressions of Interest may be considered for a large field campaign for filling in biodiversity and geodiversity gaps in out years (post 2016). The elements of this plan all represent significant gaps, and hence priorities for research. Individual areas have been rated for priority (1, 2 or 3) on the basis of urgency, impact or sequencing needs. KRQ How do spatial patterns and landscape influence vulnerability of the biodiversity of Antarctica and how must they be accommodated in spatial planning? There are no projects currently addressing this question. Research is required to do the following: 1. Information on the landscape characteristics of the biologically and geologically important ice-free land and coastal areas of Antarctica will be available to support and inform environmental management decisions that better recognise the intrinsic nature of Antarctica. (2.2 cluster) i. Proposals for continent-wide spatial analysis to quantify landscape characteristics such as rarity, patchiness, fragmentation and connectivity that should inform spatial planning and area protection. Priority 1 es

2 o Collation of spatial data describing the physical features of Antarctica (topography, bathymetry, surface features, habitat, geology, age of exposure etc.) and gap analysis. o Spatial analysis and modelling using GIS and landscape analysis tools to determine the degree of fragmentation, habitat heterogeneity and isolation of Antarctic terrestrial/ice-free habitats and their consequences for speciation, species dispersal, vulnerability and other factors that must be accommodated in an effective network of specially protected areas. 2. Information on the spatial characteristics of Antarctic near-shore marine habitats will be available to support and inform environmental management decisions that better recognise the intrinsic nature of Antarctica. i. Proposals for acquisition of multibeam data for the Casey nearshore region. Integration of multibeam data with existing physical and biological data and modelling to identify scales of patchiness and physical surrogates associated with distinct biological assemblages and places of high biodiversity value. Priority 2 o Integration and modelling of available data from Casey (sea-ice characteristics, benthic community composition and seabed physical and chemical characteristics) with multibeam habitat mapping data. KRQ How should the non-living values of Antarctica be included in spatial planning and area protection? There are no projects currently addressing this question. A review of existing geo-referenced geodiversity data, including gap analysis for East Antarctica is currently underway. The need for proposals for new data acquisition involving field work will be considered after the gap analysis (post 2015) Research is required to do the following: 1. High-level synthesis of spatial data on the non-living values of Antarctica available to support spatial conservation planning decisions. i. The need for proposals for new data acquisition involving field work will be considered after the gap analysis (post 2015) es o Collation and spatial modelling of existing data on the non-living values of East Antarctica, including: rare, transient and ephemeral minerals, evaporites and salts Stream 2.2 Vulnerability and spatial protection 2

3 meteorite locations fossils and proto-fossils (Gondwana vegetation, marine deposits, biological accumulations) sedimentary landscapes, soil crusts, desert pavements and patterned ground transient melt-streams and lake catchments lake characteristics including salinity and stratification scientifically important sites including type locations and previously KRQ How do we select areas to include in the series of Antarctic Specially Protected Areas (ASPAs)? Projects currently addressing this question are: Project Chief Investigator Project Title 4047 Rick Cavicchioli Towards a Determination of the Diversity and Biogeography of Aquatic Microorganisms in Antarctica 4184 Karen Miller Conservation genetics of Antarctic seabirds and seals: population connectivity and past glacial refugia Research is still required to do the following: 1. Improved design specifications for a network of ASPAs and more robust criteria for selecting sites to be protected, in line with modern developments in spatial management practice. (2.2 cluster) i. Proposals to test the effectiveness of the existing portfolio of ASPAs, both individually to protect the values for which they were designated and collectively in the context of the Madrid Protocol, CAR principles, bioregionalisation and risk of establishment of non-native species. Also test the number and distribution of existing ASPAs against the need for multiple protected areas based on genetic diversity across different habitat types. Priority 1 o Desk-top review of contemporary spatial management theory and practice in relation to Antarctica. Desk-top reviews of existing ASPAs including: reasons for designation, geographic spread and values included or not included, effectiveness in protecting values for which they were designated. 2. High-level synthesis of spatial data on the biodiversity values of Antarctica available to support spatial conservation planning decisions. (2.2 cluster) Stream 2.2 Vulnerability and spatial protection 3

4 i. Proposals to test the effectiveness of the existing portfolio of ASPAs, both individually to protect the values for which they were designated and collectively in the context of the Madrid Protocol, CAR principles, bioregionalisation and risk of establishment of non-native species. Also test the number and distribution of existing ASPAs against the need for multiple protected areas based on genetic diversity across different habitat types. Priority 1 es o Desktop review of current published biodiversity knowledge; establish networks among researchers with expertise in key biodiversity groups including with SCAR/AntaBif. o Gap analysis for biodiversity data and prioritised gap filling. The need for additional data acquisition will be reassessed after the review and metaanalysis are available. 3. Information on population relatedness at different spatial scales across Antarctica available to support spatial conservation planning decisions. i. Proposals for meta-analyses of available genomic information across all Antarctic habitats (lakes, terrestrial, and nearshore marine), including gap analyses. Meta-analyses to focus on the degree of population relatedness at different separation distances across Antarctica and the implications of genetic isolation on speciation, species dispersal and vulnerability. Priority 2 The need for additional genomic analyses will be reassessed after the review and meta-analysis are available. [Note potential links to KRQ 3.1.1] o Desktop review of available genomic data; establish networks among researchers with expertise in genetics of key biodiversity groups and with developing genetic databases. 4. Recommendations for designation of new Antarctic Specially Protected Area Network to protect living and non-living values of Antarctica. Ensuring such designations are consistent with the Comprehensive, Adequate and Representative (CAR) principles for each of the major habitats of continental Antarctica (lakes, ice-free land and coastal benthos). i. This objective depends on data from all earlier research objectives in this KRQ. Therefore, no stand alone proposals to address this objective will be called for in the current round. A review will be called for in 2015 based on progress on other objectives. Please note: o Synthesis of geo-referenced biodiversity and geodiversity data. Stream 2.2 Vulnerability and spatial protection 4

5 The Australian Antarctic program does not have the logistical capability to support all aspects of these implementation plans simultaneously. Stream implementation plans represent the current research priorities and approaches. Alignment to implementation plans is an important criterion in assessing research proposals. As proposals are being developed, Theme Leaders are available to provide feedback on specific priorities for future years including locations, approaches and opportunities to participate in coordinated field campaigns. Projects mentioned above can be viewed on the AAD web site s database of current and previous projects. Stream 2.2 Vulnerability and spatial protection 5

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