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The objective of RAMS is to compile and manage an authoritative taxonomic list of species occurring in the Antarctic marine environment, for establishing a standard reference for marine biodiversity research, conservation and sustainable management.
The taxonomic scope of RAMS covers Antarctic species from the three realms of the Southern Ocean: the sea floor (meio-, macro- and megazoobenthos; micro- and macrophytobenthos), the water column (phytoplankton, zooplankton, nekton) and the sea-ice.
A series of preliminary species lists of Antarctic marine invertebrates, mostly for macrobenthic groups, were compiled by Andrew Clarke and Nadine Johnston of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), with funding from the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office and British Antarctic Survey. These lists have been or are being checked and updated by taxonomic experts.
RAMS is managed by an Editorial Board comprising an Executive Committee and associate Taxonomic Editors. The RAMS Executive Committee plays an advising role in the development of RAMS and proposes Taxonomic Editors. It links with the SCAR-MarBIN International Steering Committee. To allow RAMS to be as exhaustive and authoritative as possible, the role of the network of Taxonomic Editors is crucial. These Taxonomic Editors are world experts on the taxonomy of their relevant taxa and are in charge of the content and quality control of data for their specific group.
Main partners of RAMS are the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO), The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and The Total Foundation. Other partners involved are Census of Antarctic Marine Life, AWI (Germany) and the DFG (Germany).