Ten scientific messages on risks and opportunities for life in the Antarctic

TitleTen scientific messages on risks and opportunities for life in the Antarctic
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsGutt, J, Isla, E, Xavier, JC, Adams, BJ, Ahn, I‐Y, Cheng, C‐HChristina, Colesie, C, Cummings, VJ, Griffiths, HJ, Hogg, ID, McIntyre, T, Meiners, KM, Pearce, DA, Peck, LS, Piepenburg, D, Reisinger, RR, Saba, G, Schloss, IR, Signori, CN, Smith, CR, Vacchi, M, Verde, C, Wall, DH
Series TitleInformation Summaries
Date Published02/2022
InstitutionAntarctic Environments Portal

Initiated by the SCAR scientific research programme “Antarctic Thresholds – Ecosystem Resilience and Adaptation” (AnT-ERA, 2013-2021), 26 experts synthesized knowledge on impacts and risks of climate-change on biological processes and ecosystem functions in the Antarctic. The ten main scientific messages that emerged addressed (1) accelerating marine and terrestrial biogeochemical cycles, (2) response to ocean acidification, (3) ecological changes in climate change hot spots, (4) unexpected dynamism of marine seafloor communities, (5) biodiversity shifts, (6) low temperature limitation of protein synthesis, (7) life intrinsically linked to changing sea ice conditions, (8) pollution, (9) genetically distinct terrestrial populations under threat, and (10) newly discovered habitats. Two-thirds of the literature included in this synthesis was published between 2010 and 2020 and only one-third was published earlier. The fast mounting, recent decadal evidence indicates various Antarctic biological communities now experience climate stress, or will experience such stress in the coming decades. The responses of organisms, ecosystem functions and services to environmental changes are complex and varied. Key knowledge gaps remain and need addressing to adequately assess future prospects for life in the Antarctic.