biological process-level studies are necessary in order to evaluate ecosystem response to both natural and anthropogenic influenced climate forcing. The high value of LTER sites for process-oriented biological studies to understand ecosystem-level complexity was highlighted during the workshop, with participants noting that there are ongoing terrestrial and marine U.S. LTER sites in the Antarctic, but only terrestrial U.S. LTER sites in the Arctic. Thus, workshop participants highlighted the need for a marine LTER site in the U.S. Arctic to evaluate status and trends in ecosystem dynamics in regions of the western Amerasian Arctic off Alaska where sea ice is retreating rapidly and where the productive marine ecosystem is already undergoing change, such as a northward migration of both lower and high trophic organisms. This site would also support critical winter studies for understanding temporal impacts on key species and biogeochemical processes and their role in human sustenance. Whether it be one focused regional site or a latitudinal-based “Distributed Biological Observatory” concept of transect lines in the marine system for key biological and environmental studies (Grebmeier et al., 2010), it is clear a marine LTER would provide critically needed data for understanding status and trends for input not only into marine processes, but also into regional terrestrial system models that evaluate ecosystem responses to climate forcing. Such a site would also play a significant role in understanding how indigenous societies cope with a changing marine environment.
Many workshop participants stated that international coordinated research efforts at both poles are essential to track land and marine ecosystem change on the appropriate time and space scales. Ongoing and developing projects, such as those supported through the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) and the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) planning efforts, are facilitating polar and global ecosystem measurements to track the impacts of climate warming. Workshop participants emphasized the valuable discussions encouraged by interactions between scientists from both polar regions. In this vein, the recently supported continuation of the IASC/SCAR sponsored Bipolar Action Group (see http://www.scar.org/about/partnerships/iasc/bipag.html) should help facilitate cross-fertilization of ideas and development of research programs investigating scientific questions pertinent to both poles.