Understanding and projecting responses of marine ecosystems to changing climate conditions and direct human impacts such as fisheries requires integrated ecosystem analyses. Analyses of Southern Ocean ecosystems are no exception. Despite maintaining unique biological diversity, there has been more than two centuries of exploitation of living resources, rapid changes in ocean temperature and seasonal ice cover are ongoing, and significant changes at all trophic levels are becoming apparent. Complex interactions within foodwebs modify responses of individual species and influence the responses of entire ecosystems to change. Reliable projections of the impacts of past and future change on Southern Ocean ecosystems require fundamental understanding of the factors that determine the structure and function of the foodwebs at multiple scales and approaches for incorporating this understanding into coupled modeling frameworks. Projections of changes in environmental conditions for the Southern Ocean over the next 50-100 years suggest significant changes that will have important consequences for the production and structure of Southern Ocean foodwebs. This presentation will consider the current status of integrated models for Southern Ocean ecosystems and highlight challenges of incorporating into these models the effects of climate change and interactions with socio-economic systems.
Eileen Hofmann is a professor of Oceanography in the Department of Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and a member of the Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography at Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia. Her research interests include descriptive physical oceanography, analysis and mathematical modelling of physical-biological interactions in marine ecosystems, and the ecology of marine invertebrate diseases. Her research on coupled physical-biological interactions was recognized by her election as a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union. She has worked in a variety of marine environments, most recently the continental shelf regions of the west Antarctic Peninsula and the Ross Sea. Eileen was a member of the U.S. and International GLOBEC Science Steering Committees, and was Chair of the GLOBEC Southern Ocean Planning Group. She is currently Chair of the Integrated Marine Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Research (IMBER) project, and serves on the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) Science Committee. She is President-elect of the Ocean Sciences section of the American Geophysical Union. She has served on several U.S. National Research Council committees, the most recent being the Polar Research Board. She presently serves on the Editorial Boards for the Journal of Marine Research and Antarctic Science, and is Co-editor in Chief for the Journal of Marine Systems.