The RAATD workshop

This week, Bruno Danis is attending the fourth RAATD workshop, hosted at the CESAB (Center for Synthesis and Analysis of Biodiversity), in Aix-en-Provence. 10 participants from 7 countries are attending the meeting.

The Retrospective Analysis of Antarctic Tracking Data (RAATD) is a multispecies assessment of habitat use of Antarctic meso- and top predators in the Southern Ocean based on existing animal tracking data to identify Areas of Ecological Significance, i.e. regions that are important for foraging to a range of predators and which, consequently, present an important biodiversity. RAATD was initiated by the SCAR Expert Group on Birds and Marine Mammals (EG-BAMM), and provides (i) a greater understanding of fundamental ecosystem processes in the Southern Ocean, (ii) facilitate future projections of predator distributions under varying climate regimes, and (iii) provide input into spatial management planning decisions for management authorities such as the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources. The synopsis of multi-predator tracking data will also expose potential gaps of data coverage in regions or seasons that are important but underrepresented, possibly due to biases in the spatial, temporal, or taxonomic distribution of research effort. We have collated all available tracking data by research groups that worked in the Antarctic since the 1990s. We have then establish a preliminary publicly accessible repository of these data. The final publicly available repository will only have the raw data that data holders have agreed to share and will contain data from almost 40 contributors from 12 national Antarctic programs. The dataset contains data on 17 predator species, with more than 3400 individual animals, and more than 2.5 million data points. We will also share the outputs of the project, including filtered and processed versions of these data, and habitat model outputs.


BIOMAR Lab hosting mARS workshop

This week, we are hosting another workshop to scope out the next steps for the Microbial Antarctic Resources System (mARS) , a followup project from SCAR’s Expert Group on Antarctic Biodiversity Informatics (EG-ABi).

The participants include Alison Murray (Desert Research Institute), Anton Van de Putte (, Nabil Youdjou ( and Bruno Danis (Marine Biology Lab). PhD students from the CCAMBIO project also attended, as beta-testers.

The Microbial Antarctic Resources System (mARS) is envisioned as an information system dedicated to facilitate the discovery, access and analysis of geo-referenced, molecular microbial diversity (meta)data generated by Antarctic researchers, in an Open fashion. The scope of diversity will encompass all freel-living and host-associated virus, Bacteria, Archaea, and singled-celled Eukarya.

mARS focuses on past, present and future works. It offers a community-driven platform for scientists to publish, document, analyse and share their (meta)data with the broad community for science, conservation and management purposes, in the spirit of the Antarctic Treaty.

This week, we will  be beta-testing the mARS to take it to Step 3, as described in our vision document.

BIOMAR Lab hosting dBASO workshop


This week, we will be hosting an international workshop to scope out the new dynamic Biogeographic Atlas of the Southern Ocean (dBASO), a followup project of SCAR’s Biogeographic Atlas of the Southern Ocean.

At the end of five years of extensive biodiversity exploration and assessment by CAML and the OBIS Antarctic Node (the SCAR Marine Biodiversity Information Network), a new initiative, the multi-authored “SCAR Biogeographic Atlas of the Southern Ocean”, has been established under the aegis of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) to provide an up-to-date synthesis of Antarctic and sub-Antarctic biogeographic knowledge and to make available a new comprehensive online resource for visualisation, analysis and modelling of species distribution. It will constitute a major scientific output of CAML and SCAR-MarBIN as well as being a significant legacy of CoML and the International Polar Year to fulfill the needs of biogeographic information for science, conservation, monitoring and sustainable management of the changing Southern Ocean. It will be of direct benefit to the Antarctic Treaty and associated bodies such as the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.

Ten participants from 5 countries (Australia, France, Italy, United Kingdom, Belgium) will be working on the initial development steps to make dBASO go live.



Microbes, Diversity and Ecological Roles session at the SCAR OSC

You can register now for the Microbes, Diversity and Ecological Roles session at the SCAR Open Science Conference , which will be held in Auckland, New Zealand from 23 rd August to 3rd September 2014

Most, if not all, Antarctic ecosystems are home to microbes that can span the range from sparse to dense and low to high diversity assemblages. These organisms o<en harbor specialized capabilities to withstand the environmental extremes that the high latitudes of the Antarctic pose. This session welcomes contribu/ons to our understanding and appreciation of Antarctic microbial systems, exploring diversity and ecological roles, contributions to biogeochemical cycles, and interactions between organisms (symbiotic, predatory or parasitic) and ultimately how microbes come together to influence Antarctic systems.

The increased recognition of microbes in all domains of life inhabiting Antarctic ecosystems – and in some cases not only surviving, but thriving in these systems (e.g. aquatic, icy, soil, rock, subglacial, marine benthic or pelagic) is gaining traction largely due to increased scientific exploration of diverse environments paralleled with technologic improvements in molecular sciences (e.g. next generation sequencing and bioinformatics analyses), application of geobiological tools, and remote sensing of both environments and organisms. This session has been developed by AntEco and the International Union of Biological Sciences.

The session is convened by:

Prof. Alison Murray, DRI, USA

Prof. Nils Chr. Stenseth, University of Oslo, Norway

Dr. Ian Hawes, University of Canterbury, New Zealand


Abstract submission deadline: 14 February 2014

Download the flyer here: SCAR-OS_MicrobesSessionFlyer