The first Marine Ecosystem Assessment for the Southern Ocean (MEASO) is a key output of the IMBeR Program Integrating Climate and Ecosystem Dynamics of the Southern Ocean (ICED) and endorsed by SCAR. It aimed to provide a forward-looking assessment of trends in Southern Ocean ecosystems, informed by a diversity of input and views both on the assessment and on priorities for research and management (over 200 authors across all papers published & in preparation). The outcomes are designed to be useful to the wide range of scientific and management forums needing syntheses of scientific evidence on polar regions to support research and policy development. This background paper provides an overview of MEASO in its final stages of work. It presents the papers in each of five sections of the assessment (Context, Biota & food webs, Challenges for policy makers, Foundations & extensions of MEASO, and Giving effect to MEASO). It concludes with the final steps for MEASO in the coming months. A summary of MEASO – MEASO at a Glance – is also provided, including the outputs beyond the assessment and acknowledgement of funding sources additional to support from the authors’ affiliated institutions. Examples of the graphics supporting the assessment are included.
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