Project Information
Planning: Formulating and Sustaining a System-Level Understanding of a Large Marine Ecosystem in the Ross Sea Region Marine Protected Area to Better Conserve and Guide Policy
Short Title:
Ross Sea Planning
Start Date:
End Date:
Project Website(s)
The Ross Sea Region Marine Protected Area (RSRMPA), one of the world?s largest MPAs, encompasses one of the healthiest marine ecosystems remaining on this planet; however, it is exposed to increasing stress from ongoing climate change and fishing pressure. Numerous gaps in our understanding of the highly coupled nature of the Ross Sea marine ecosystem need to be addressed to support conservation efforts in the Ross Sea region, including informing the efficacy and management of the RSRMPA into the coming decades. The overarching goal of this research is to formulate an innovative and sustainable world-class research program aimed at better understanding, conserving, and managing the RSRMPA through the coordination of multi-faceted system-level approaches. There will be a coordinated effort to facilitate international collaboration; create education, outreach, and Diverse Equitable and Inclusive (DEI) opportunities; and increase conservation awareness. Coordinating Ross Sea marine ecosystem research will contribute to enhancing system-level global research, sustainable data networks, DEI, and climate equity. This program will also provide opportunity to develop similar frameworks for other large-scale, globally important systems. The trans-disciplinary aspiration can also serve to guide the NSF in sustaining or initiating new funding opportunities while addressing several of the 10 NSF BIG IDEAS and engaging multiple NSF Directorates. The project will help maintain NSF?s mission of scientific leadership by networking the Antarctic community by providing science-based conservation plans to help mitigate environmental changes in this pristine region of the Southern Ocean. The researchers will convene a workshop to strategize the implementation of an internationally networked, world class program that is based on inter- and trans-disciplinary approaches (including bridging science, cyberinfrastructure, policy, management, and conservation), while also providing opportunities for STEM education, early career development, and core DEI principles. To effectively facilitate the prioritization of research related to the regional and global interconnectedness of the Ross Sea marine ecosystem, the workshop will involve leading experts in Ross Sea marine research and other researchers, stakeholders, and policy experts involved in the greater oceanographic, climate and ecosystem/food web modeling communities. The workshop will determine a long-term decadal plan comprising the following phases: (1) initial data synthesis and ecosystem/food web model development; (2) field observations and modeling, networked through an internationally coordinated Ross Sea Observing System; and (3) data synthesis and modeling, including a ?sunset? plan to support ongoing RSRMPA management and preservation of the Ross Sea marine ecosystem. Outcomes will include a workshop report detailing the long-term research plan, a peer-reviewed article, educational and outreach materials, and a list of proposed research topics for implementing a world class research program and Principal Investigators who will help coordinate the multiple efforts aimed at addressing major gaps in our knowledge of the Ross Sea system.
Person Role
Stammerjohn, Sharon Investigator and contact
Brooks, Cassandra Co-Investigator
Antarctic Organisms and Ecosystems Award # 2233187
AMD - DIF Record(s)
Data Management Plan
Product Level:
  1. Brooks, C., Stammerjohn, S., Ballard, G., DuVivier, A., Hofmann, E., LaRue, M., Nissan, C., Orona, A., Pan, B., Schmidt, A., Watters, G., Walker, N., and Weller, J. (2024). Research and monitoring in remote large-scale marine protected areas: the Ross Sea region as a model system, Conservation Letters, submitted.
  2. Brooks, C., Stammerjohn, S., Hofmann, E., Ballard, G., Pan, B. (2023). RCN: An International Network of Science and Management to Improve Efficacy of Remote Large-Scale Marine Protected Areas. A proposal to formulate an international network of science and management to improve the efficacy of remote large-scale MPAs.
  3. Stammerjohn, S., Brooks, C., Ballard, G., DuVivier, A., and LaRue, M. (2022). Ross Sea Planning Meeting Report. (Summarizes outcomes from the Ross Sea Planning Meeting.)

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