Dr. Javier Arata was part of the sixth annual meeting of the scientific steering committee of the Southern Ocean Observing System (SOOS), which is about to implement regional working groups for the first time.

Researchers from all over the world gathered in Bremerhaven, Germany.

The Southern Ocean Observing System (SOOS) is an international scientific initiative that facilitates the collection of and access to observations necessary for elucidating the dynamics and changes occurring in the Southern Ocean. Collaboration within the scientific community is fundamental for studies of the complex processes that occur in Antarctica given the continent’s size and the logistical and operational challenges inherent in such studies.

To this end, the Research Center Dynamics of High Latitude Marine Ecosystems (IDEAL), a SOOS-affiliated project, was invited to participate in the sixth annual meeting of the SOOS scientific steering committee held in Bremerhaven, Germany.

On this occasion, Dr. Javier Arata, IDEAL Center’s manager, presented the center’s five research programs to his international peers. He also outlined the institution’s objectives and its two main areas of study: Magallanes and Antarctica.

This year, SOOS inaugurated the implementation of regional working groups. “As the IDEAL Center, we are interested in participating in the working group of the Wwestern Antarctic Peninsula, which is where we operate,” explained Dr. Arata. “The idea is to participate in the elaboration of scientific questions that will guide the work of SOOS in this sector of the Southern Ocean as well as the collaborative network and resulting data collection.”

The launch of Due South, a platform that seeks to generate collaboration between scientists from around the world who are all engaged in the study of Antarctica, was an exciting moment. A website, https://data.aad.gov.au/duesouth/, allows researchers to enter information about the projects and cruises they will carry out. This, in turn, will permit coordination with peers from other countries.

International collaboration

Dr. Javier Arata presented the five research programs of the IDEAL Center.

Dr. Arata also met with two researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) in Germany: Dr. Anya Waite, Director of the Division of Biological Sciences, and Doris Abele. With the latter, Dr. Arata discussed future cooperation on projects in the Beagle Channel and Maxwell Bay. Marine and coastal observatories are planned in these areas through collaboration between the IDEAL Center, CADIC of Ushuaia, and the DYNAMO project of AWI.

Dr. Arata also discussed possibilities for collaboration with Dr. Oscar Schofield, a researcher at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences of Rutgers University, USA.

“The Antarctic scientific community is highly active and dynamic and very open to collaboration,” noted Arata. “The work objectives set out by the IDEAL Center have been very well received and various alternatives for cooperation between the IDEAL Center and international institutions in Antarctic and sub-Antarctic studies have been envisioned.”