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    Ross Sea Biodiversity, Part I: validation of the 2007 CCAMLR Bioregionalisation Workshop results towards including the Ross Sea in a representative network of marine protected areas in the Southern Ocean

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    D.G. Ainley, G. Ballard and J. Weller (USA)

    This report provides the scientific basis, validating the results of the CCAMLR Bioregionalization Workshop (2007) as well as the report of ASOC (2010), for identifying the Ross Sea as one of 11 areas deserving close scrutiny for inclusion in a network of marine protected areas. CCAMLR (2007) identified the Ross Sea as an area of high biodiversity on the basis of its high physical heterogeneity; ASOC (2010) compared characteristics of the Ross Sea to areas designated under various international agreements instituted to preserve biodiversity. The CCAMLR (2007) subsequently was endorsed in the joint meeting of CCAMLR's Scientific Committee and the Environmental Protocol's Committee on Environmental Protection (ATCM XXXII-CEP XII, Final Report, 2009). Considered herein is the Ross Sea shelf and slope, which is a smaller portion of the area identified in CCAMLR (2007) as “Ross Sea shelf”. Waters overlying the Ross Sea continental shelf and slope comprise ~2.0% of the Southern Ocean, an area inconsequential in size from a global perspective. However, as shown by this summary of information — amassed from the national research programs especially of Italy, New Zealand, United Kindgom (during the “heroic” era), and United States — the Ross Sea not inconsequential is its biodiversity nor its disproportionate contribution to world populations of many well-known iconic Antarctic species. The data and information presented herein show that the Ross Sea: