The benchmark social-ecological systems approach forms the overarching conceptual framework for SAEF. The framework provides the basis for reciprocal integration of theory, observations, modelling and data obtained from different fields and at different spatiotemporal resolutions, with the information requirements of structured decision-making. Integration of outcomes, from three key themes, will strengthen Antarctic science, policy and governance at a time of rapid environmental and geopolitical change.
Climate processes and change
SAEF will integrate knowledge from ice sheet reconstructions, satellite observations, meteorological field measurements, and high-resolution climate proxies from Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic islands to understand recent variability and change in Antarctica’s weather, climate and ice sheets.
SAEF will also undertake targeted model experiments and develop methods to better constrain future projections.
Biodiversity status and trends
Using downscaled climate and environmental information, novel biodiversity and genomic data, and integrated biological and geochemical proxies, SAEF will produce transformative insights about the structure, function, drivers and future of Antarctic and sub-Antarctic terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity.
Outcomes will inform spatiotemporal planning for conservation and will provide a scientific basis for leading environmental stewardship.
Supporting environmental stewardship
In collaboration with key stakeholders, SAEF will develop bespoke decision-support tools to identify conservation priorities and strategies in the face of alternative environmental and political futures. To ensure that stewardship focuses on the most important environmental and biodiversity features, a data-to-decision framework will explicitly and visually connect new biodiversity and human activity data streams, monitoring technologies, and modelling outcomes with the key questions that managers tell us they need to answer.