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    Towards an ecosystem status assessment for South Georgia
    ‘Variability of Southern Ocean Ecosystems’ Project Team

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    We present the beginnings of a compilation of a suite of physical and biological oceanographic data, and concomitant data on abundance and condition of some key zooplankton species and vertebrate higher predator species, collected at sea off South Georgia and from Bird Island between 1996 and 1999. We plan to use these data, some of which arise from the British Antarctic Survey's Core Programme, to develop multivariate indices of "ecosystem status". We expect that such indices will lead to an improved understanding of some cause-and-effect mechanisms that underlie the pronounced interannual variability that we observe habitually in many components of the South Georgia marine ecosystem. The indices may also contribute to CCAMLR's WG-EMM, the terms of reference of which include provision of advice on ecosystem assessment that combines information from dependant and harvested species, and from the environment, to provide holistic advice on ecosystem management.