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Measuring ecosystem response in a rapidly changing environment: the Latitudinal Gradient Project

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 November 2006

C. Howard-Williams
Affiliation:
National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd, Box 8602, Christchurch 8001, New Zealand
D. Peterson
Affiliation:
Antarctica New Zealand, Private Bag 4745, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand
W.B. Lyons
Affiliation:
Byrd Polar Research Centre, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210-1002, USA
R. Cattaneo-Vietti
Affiliation:
Dipteris, Dipartimento per lo Studio del Territorio e delle sue Risorse, University of Genoa, Corso Europa 36, 16129 Italy
S. Gordon
Affiliation:
Antarctica New Zealand, Private Bag 4745, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand

Abstract

In the face of climate variability and change, science in Antarctica needs to address increasingly complex questions. Individual small studies are being replaced by multinational and multidisciplinary research programmes. The Latitudinal Gradient Project (LGP) is one such approach that combines a series of smaller studies under a single broad hypothesis to provide information that uses a gradient in latitude as a surrogate for environmental gradients, particularly climate. In this way latitudinal differences can be used to indicate climate change differences. The Key Questions for the LGP were developed via national workshops in Italy, New Zealand, and the USA and via two international workshops at SCAR conferences. Science and logistics are currently jointly shared by New Zealand, Italy and the USA, and cover marine and inland ecosystem studies along the Victoria Land coast from 72° to 78°S with plans for extensions to 85°S. The LGP forms part of the SCAR Programme Evolution and Biodiversity in Antarctica. This Special Issue summarizes some of the work in the first three years of the LGP (2002–2005), between McMurdo Sound and Cape Hallett, to form a basis for future comparative studies as the research shifts along the latitudinal span in the next decade.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Antarctic Science Ltd 2006

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