Some of the best minds in Antarctic research in Australia and New Zealand are in Hobart this week for the first such meeting of its kind between the two countries.

Three hundred delegates from around Australia and across the Tasman are meeting to exchange ideas and share information on policy, current research and operational planning on the icy continent and in the Southern Ocean.

In a welcome message via video from Canberra, Australia’s Environment Minister, Tony Burke, reflected on the foresight of earlier decision-makers who agreed to set aside an entire continent for scientific research.

“But what’s made it such a permanent conservation decision is that the quality of the research that has come about as a result is second to none, and doesn’t just inform us about Antarctica, it informs us about the whole world.

“The work you do is important and I think it symbolises everything about the decisions that were made some years ago about Antarctica,” Mr Burke said.

The conference was born out of ongoing collaboration between the Australian Antarctic Division and Antarctica New Zealand who have a shared vision for Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.

It is an important forum offering the opportunity for attendees to explore how the assimilation of policy, research and operational priorities can influence Antarctic science.

It will also highlight the role science plays, now and into the future, in informing and evaluating the successful environmental management and biodiversity conservation in the region and beyond.

Presentation and talks throughout the conference will cover:

  • Antarctic ice sheet
  • Marine ecosystems
  • Terrestrial ecosystems
  • Land and coastal marine
  • Human impacts in Antarctica

The ‘Strategic Science in Antarctica’ conference runs from June 24 to 28, 2013.

Conference official Twitter — @AntarcticScienc. Use #antsci13 to track the conversation.