Successful workshops refine the boundaries of oceanic bioregions

GOBI partner CSIRO recently delivered a successful second round of workshops to refine the outputs from the first round of workshops aimed at identifying and describing bioregions in the southern Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean.  This complex, iterative bioregionalisation exercise is part of GOBI’s current research programme supported by Germany’s International Climate Initiative (IKI).  These latest workshops were held in Nadi, Fiji (12-14 March 2019), focusing on the southern Pacific Ocean, and in Cape Town, South Africa (2-4 April 2019), focusing on the Indian Ocean.

The Fiji workshop was attended by 27 experts from 19 Pacific Countries & Territories, while the workshop in Cape Town was attended by 24 from 18 Indian Ocean Countries & Territories.  In both workshops, attending experts reviewed the outputs from the previous two workshops and provided additional details and information on large-scale bioregions and finer-scale provinces nested within them. There were a number of important changes to the original benthic and pelagic bioregions after the inclusion of additional ecological, taxonomic and oceanographic expertise from new participants.  The refined bioregional and nested province boundaries represent the most up to date scientific knowledge.

In addition to the refinement of bioregion and province boundaries, considerable time was dedicated to generating conceptual models that reflect the key physical, biological and ecological characteristics of each province.  These qualitative models complement the information on species composition used to describe each province and indicate how provinces interact with each other in terms of shared biodiversity.  The qualitative model also contained information on the pressures on that biodiversity and how they interact with particular species.  Information like this will eventually enable improved management of activities within each province and bioregion, as well as of the oceans as a whole.