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    Workshop report and synthesis: United States research and monitoring in support of the Ross Sea region Marine Protected Area

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    Document Number:
    D. Ainley and C. Brooks
    Submitted By:
    Dr George Watters (United States of America)
    Approved By:
    Dr George Watters (United States of America)

    With the goal of collating, synthesizing, and working towards coordination of U.S. research and monitoring in the RSRMPA, the U.S. Ross Sea science community convened a virtual workshop on 26-27 April 2021. The workshop included 51 participants (see Appendix A) representing active U.S. Ross Sea scientists as well as representatives of major U.S. science funding institutions (National Science Foundation - Office of Polar Programs, OPP, NASA, NOAA, Pew Charitable Trusts, and Schmidt Ocean Institute). The array of participants was multi-disciplinary, with Ross Sea expertise spanning biophysical (weather, sea ice, physical oceanography, polynyas, primary productivity, climate effects and variability), forage species (silverfish, krill), mesopredators (toothfish, seals, penguins, whales), benthos, pollution and wildlife health (see Appendix A). The workshop goals were to identify, collate, assess, and synthesize research conducted by U.S. researchers in the Ross Sea since 2010, and seen to be relevant to the goals of the MPA (defined in CCAMLR Conservation Measure 91-05). This was done via participants’ summary presentations of research in their areas of expertise (see Appendix A) and gathering all published U.S. Ross Sea region research since 2010 (see Appendix C), as well as currently funded research (see Appendix D). Further goals were to discuss and identify gaps in RSRMPA research and monitoring, determine ways to fill those gaps, elucidate critical uncertainties regarding the Ross Sea ecosystem structure and dynamics (see Appendix B), and develop ideas for coordination between ongoing and future research in the RSRMPA. Below we provide a summary of ongoing and, since 2010, peer-reviewed U.S. Ross Sea research of relevance to meeting the objectives and possible future updates of the RSRMPA and RMP. We also note critical uncertainties, data gaps and actions the workshop participants consider necessary to address them.