Project Report

During the ASSW 2023, the IASC Marine Working Group (MWG) adopted a new Strategic Plan to guide research and monitoring priorities aligned with international science planning goals. This Strategic Plan defined five overarching themes: Marine Life, Disturbances, Connectivity and Borealization, Sea ice and Stratification, and Biogeochemical Cycling.

Six members of the MWG, including two early career researchers (ECR), met at the Department of Palaeontology (University of Vienna) in Vienna for a 2-day workshop (Dec 11-12, 2023) to expand on the MWG new Strategic Plan and, specifically, to define research priorities on the overarching high-level theme "marine life". Over the two days, discussion revolved around how to shape research priorities on the theme aligned with international initiatives such as the ICARP IV process, UN Decade of Ocean Science, Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction Agreement, Convention on Biological Diversity, and the Central Arctic Ocean Fisheries Agreement. The first day was spent brainstorming around the main drivers of change in the marine Arctic, how they may affect marine life, which are the knowledge gaps, and urgent needs. Building on the ideas and elements emerged during the first day, the second day was spent discussing about research priorities related to each of the ecosystem components highlighted in the Strategy Plan: primary producers, sympagic, pelagic, and benthic communities, high trophic level species. A draft document was cooperatively written and shared with the rest of the MWG for review and comments. The document will be finalized before the ASSW 2024 for approval during the MWG Business meeting.   


  • To find answers on how and where the net primary production will change in future marine arctic systems, especially shifts in bloom timing and duration, sea ice cover and hydrography, habitat formation, nutrient input, the bentho-pelagic-sympagic coupling and ocean acidification have to be in the focus of upcoming
  • To better understand how changes in sympagic, pelagic or benthic community structures impact biodiversity and the food web, investigations on species composition at all trophic levels, on distribution and behavior, on species responses to changing conditions, on the effect of sea-ice loss on (key) species, on improvements of biomass estimations, as well as further taxonomic descriptions are urgently necessary.
  • To improve our knowledge on how higher trophic level species abundance and distribution will change in the near future, more data and analysis are necessary on the effects of climate-induced modifications, borealization and impacts of human activities on these species, their distribution, foraging, breeding behavior, resilience, and predators.

Date and Location: 

  • 11-12 December 2023 I Vienna (Austria) 

IASC Working Groups funding the Project:

Project Lead:

Prof. Petra Heinz ( University of Vienna)

Year funded by IASC


Project Status


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