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    S.M. Grant, S.L. Hill and P.N. Trathan (UK)

    The Southern Ocean is a globally important marine region, providing a range of ecosystem services which support human life, health and well-being, including the provision of marine living resources, and the regulation of global climate and sea level. Assessing ecological processes in terms of the services they provide translates the complexity of the environment into functions which can be more readily understood, for example by policy-makers and non-scientists. Ecosystem-based management requires the consideration of a wide range of objectives, and the language and concepts of ecosystem services may help to provide a common currency for balancing these objectives. However, the importance of the Southern Ocean ecosystem is generally under-represented in assessments of ecosystem services at the global scale, reflecting the spatial separation of Southern Ocean ecosystem services and their beneficiaries. Equally the concept of ecosystem services is not generally used within the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS), creating a potential disconnect between global and regional policy. Nevertheless, decision making processes within the ATS are in many ways pre-adapted to deliver evidence-based policy which takes the current and future value of multiple ecosystem services into account. Also, much of the evidence gathering work which has been conducted to support decision making in the Antarctic context could relatively easily be adapted to fit an ecosystem services evaluation framework.
    Here we provide a brief review of Southern Ocean ecosystem services, and outline preliminary work towards an assessment of their distribution, status and value. The benefits of assessing Southern Ocean ecosystem services in this way include (i) emphasising their global importance; (ii) facilitating comparisons of individual services across the ATS; (iii) facilitating consideration of the full suite of ecosystem services under the ATS; (iv) allowing comparability with global governance frameworks. This has particular relevance to the work of CCAMLR, given its responsibility for the maintenance and sustainable provision of living resource services from the Southern Ocean ecosystem, and the increasing need to communicate its role in ecosystem based management to a global audience of stakeholders.