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Issue n°15 - September 2010

Issue n°15 - September 2010
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Editorial - First six months at the IMBER helm

Eileen E. Hofmann, Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA, USA

The years leading up to the start of my term as the IMBER Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) Chair have seen many successes that have placed IMBER in a position to take the lead in developing active research programmes in many areas of marine biogeochemistry and ecosystem research. Much of the success of the IMBER project is due to the efforts of the past SSC Chair, Julie Hall. Julie worked tirelessly to ensure that IMBER developed a strong scientific foundation and that IMBER science is recognized as being an important contributor to global science initiatives. On behalf of the IMBER community, I would like to thank Julie for her contribution during her two terms as Chair of the SCC and for her earlier efforts as Chair of the Transition Task Team, which resulted in the plan for the eventual merger of the Global Ocean Ecosystem Dynamics (GLOBEC) and IMBER projects.


With GLOBEC having ended in March 2010, IMBER is now entering a new phase in its development as a core project within the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), which provides new and exciting directions for IMBER research. During its first five years, IMBER progressed in parallel and in collaboration with GLOBEC. Two regional programmes initiated as part of GLOBEC that will continue beyond 2010 are now integrated into IMBER science. These programmes, Ecosystem Studies of Sub-Arctic Seas (ESSAS) and Climate Impacts on Top Oceanic Predators (CLIOTOP), already have a legacy of important science results and are at a mid-point in their science activities. Both programmes are revising their science goals and objectives to fit within those of IMBER. IMBER, in collaboration with GLOBEC, developed a regional programme in the Southern Ocean, the Integrating Climate and Ecosystem Dynamics (ICED) programme, which is well underway. The Sustained Indian Ocean Biogeochemical and Ecological Research (SIBER) programme, developed under IMBER, has just completed its Science and Implementation Plan and held its first successful steering committee meeting. Several of the articles in this newsletter report on recent activities of all of these regional programmes.

National programmes are also an important part of IMBER science. A priority for the coming years is to better integrate results from these programmes into IMBER and increase their visibility in the wider scientific community.

The IMBER working groups continue to be an important part of development, synthesis and integration of knowledge to answer key science questions. A new direction for IMBER is the development of a working group focused on assessing the impacts of global change on biogeochemistry and ecosystems and the consequences for society. This working group will build upon the results from the GLOBEC Focus Four Working Group (human dimensions) and the current IMBER Capacity Building working group. There is a brief introduction to the new IMBER Human dimensions working group in this Newsletter. More information will be forthcoming in future IMBER newsletters.

The IMBER IMBIZO II will take place 11-14 October 2010 in Crete, Greece. The focused workshop format of these meetings provides a unique approach for facilitating synthesis in important research areas. The workshops planned for the IMBIZO II are designed to foster synthesis across IMBER regional and national programmes and to focus on important linkages between food webs and biogeochemical cycles. It is anticipated that the results of the workshops will be published, similar to the recent special issue of Deep-Sea Research II (Vol. 57, Steinberg and Hansell, eds.), Ecological and Biogeochemical Interactions in the Dark Ocean, which came from the first IMBIZO. These publications provide a lasting legacy for IMBER.

The activities mentioned above are just a few of those ongoing in IMBER. Many other activities and programmes make up the entirety of IMBER. The challenge in the next few years will be to facilitate synthesis and collaboration across these activities while also developing new programmes and multi-national activities.

To say that the first six months as Chair of the IMBER SSC have been busy would be a serious understatement. It has been a continual learning process and new adventure each day. The diversity of science and project-related activities provide challenges, rewards and sometimes confusion, but it all seems to work somehow. As the new Chair of the IMBER SSC, I would like to invite any comments and suggestions from the science community that will help with advancing the goals of IMBER science and the continuing success of IMBER Project. I am enjoying working with the IMBER SSC members, the IPO staff (Lisa Maddison, Sophie Beauvais, and Virginie Le Saout), the staff of the IGBP and SCOR, and the sponsoring agencies and organizations that generously provide continued support to IMBER. I am looking forward to the continued development and success of the IMBER Project.

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News from IMBER

Count down to IMBER IMBIZO II

 Integrating biogeochemistry and ecosystems in a changing ocean - Regional comparisons

Julie Hall, NIWA, Wellington, New Zealand; Lisa Maddison, IMBER IPO, Brest, France

Julie Hall, Chair of the IMBIZO Organizing Committee


Following these plenary talks, IMBIZO ll will split into the three parallel workshops, dealing with:

  • The effects of varying element ratios on community structure at low trophic levels and food quality at mid and high trophic levels;
  • Large scale regional comparisons of marine biogeochemical and ecosystem processes: Research approaches and results;
  • Sensitivity of marine food webs and biogeochemical cycles to enhanced stratification.

If you need further information about IMBIZO II, please contact us at: imbizo@univ-brest.fr

The workshops have been structured to stimulate discussion between interdisciplinary experts and to facilitate linkages between biogeochemistry and ecosystem research. Oral presentations organised around session themes will be followed by discussions and, in certain instances, break-out sessions where specific issues or topics will be considered.

Several cross-cutting themes that are common to all the workshops have been identified by the IMBIZO ll Scientific Organizing Committee (and others might emerge during the workshops) and these will be developed in small group discussions to provide a synthesis of current knowledge which, along with the workshop discussions, will identify key questions for future research within IMBER.

We believe this format will result in a very dynamic and, hopefully, very fruitful meeting. We are really looking forward to it!

Look out for a report on how things went in the next issue of the IMBER Update!

And there is a bonus! The IMBER IMBIZO will also provide an opportunity for junior and senior scientists to participate in a DRY-CRUISE workshop the day before the start of the IMBER IMBIZO ll (10 October 2010). The objectives are to enhance awareness of the need to establish data management procedures, the advantages arising from following these procedures, and to provide hands-on training on data management and data preservation.

And there is more! A free tourist trip of some of the sites of Crete (e.g. Knossos and the Lasithi plateau) the on the day following the IMBIZO!

More info...

Preparations for IMBER’s IMBIZO II, which takes place from 11– 14 October 2010, in Crete, Greece, are well underway. ‘IMBIZO’ is a Zulu word that denotes a forum for enhancing dialogue and interaction, which is exactly what IMBIZO II aims to do. The overall theme of the IMBIZO is Integrating Biogeochemistry and Ecosystems in a Changing Ocean: Regional Comparisons.

Four keynote speakers will set the stage for what will unfold in each of the three concurrent workshops during the IMBIZO.

  • Kevin Flynn (University of Swansea, UK) will speak about ‘Stoichiometry, trophic dynamics and all that jazz!’;
  • Paul Wassmann (University of Tromsø, Norway) will discuss ‘Food web sensitivity to enhanced stratification’, and, because of the complexity of Regional Comparisons;
  • both Kenneth Frank (Dalhousie University, Canada) and Chris Sabine (NOAA, USA) will tackle ‘Controls on ecosystem structure: The need for an integrated fisheries to biogeochemistry approach’.



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ClimECO2 Summer school: Breaking down the barriers between different disciplines

Sophie Beauvais, IMBER IPO, Brest, France  

Various topics were presented by the lecturers during the morning plenary sessions, which were then debated in round tables during the afternoon. These included:

  • Climate, ocean circulation, biogeochemistry and marine ecosystems;
  • Climate-driven changes in marine biodiversity and the interactions among species;
  • Impact of global change on marine resources and uses;
  • Vulnerability and adaptation to climate change in the coastal zone;
  • Communicating climate change: from information to action.

One afternoon was devoted to the students’ oral presentations and they presented their posters during evening sessions and the coffee breaks. The award for the best oral presentation was given to Andrew King (USC, USA) for his excellent talk on “Influence of increased carbon dioxide on phytoplankton trace metal quotas in cultures and field-collected natural assemblages”. The best award poster went to Raquel Vaquer-Sunyer (IMEDEA, Spain) for her poster on “Effects of hypoxia on marine biodiversity” (see the article below).

The week ended with a public lecture on Science, society and ethics by Olivier Ragueneau (CNRS, France) at the national aquarium Oceanopolis. He spoke about the role that scientists play in society, their limitations and ways to improve information sharing and engaging and educating other groups and the general public.

With this training programme a new generation of marine scientists became acquainted with a much broader knowledge and understanding of the demands of the multidisciplinary tasks required to understand and model an ecosystem facing climate change. This summer school also gave them a great opportunity to discuss their own research with the lecturers and meet other students with similar scientific interests, no doubt inspiring further collaboration.

Videos and presentation are available as they come at http://www.europolemer.eu/en/downloads.php

ClimECO2 best presentation

The winners of the best presentation award with the jury of selection

An interdisciplinary group of 70 young scientists from 26 countries, gathered from August 23rd to 27th for an intensive training course on Oceans, Marine Ecosystems, and Society facing Climate Change. This summer school co-organized by IMBER, IUEM and Gis Europole Mer took place at the European Institute for Marine Studies (Brest, France).

The North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES) and the Research Institute for Development (IRD) provided support for the participation of 14 young scientists including seven from developing countries (PR China, Ghana, Korea, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, and Tanzania). This training was also sponsored by CNRS, UBO, UEB and BMO.

Climate variability, resulting from both natural and anthropogenic sources, influences ocean circulation, biogeochemical cycles and the functioning of marine ecosystems. It also has direct consequences for society such as the availability of marine resources, alteration of some coral ecosystems due to ocean acidification, coastal erosion, etc.

This five-day training programme provided participants with an overview of current knowledge and methods, models and approaches for analyzing the impact of climate change on marine ecosystems and the consequences for society. There was a strong emphasis on the need, but also the difficulties of breaking down the barrier between the natural and social sciences.

ClimECO2 flyer
ClimECO2 all people
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A new 'Human Dimensions' working group coming soon

Alida Bundy, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Population Ecology Division, Dartmouth, Canada  


IMBER is about to give impetus to the human dimensions of marine global change with the formation of a Working Group on Human Dimensions, agreed at the May 2010 IMBER Scientific Steering Committee meeting.

The Human Dimensions Working Group will address Theme 4 of the IMBER Science Plan “Responses of Society”, the goals of which are to promote understanding of the multiple feedbacks between human and open ocean systems, and to clarify what human institutions can do, either to mitigate human-caused perturbations in the ocean systems, or to adapt to system changes.

Theme 4 recognises that anthropogenic activities impact the ocean from bottom-up and top-down, and reciprocally, that human activities are impacted by ocean dynamics and marine global change. The specific objectives of the working group will be defined over the coming months, but will build on the excellent work of the GLOBEC Focus 4 Working Group, and will maintain close interaction with IMBER’s Regional Programs and other programs such as the PICES Future Program, IHDP and LOICZ. The working group is in the process of being formed and will be composed of natural and social scientists. Alida Bundy (IMBER SSC, Fisheries and Oceans Canada) agreed to be the natural science co-chair of the working group and is currently exploring options for a social science counterpart. The first meeting of the WG will take place in early 2011 and an international meeting on the Human Dimensions of Marine Global Change is slated for 2012.

Comments, interest and ideas are welcome – please email: alida.bundy@dfo-mpo.gc.ca.

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IMBER at the 7th International Sea Tech Week

The International Project Office (IPO) attended the 7th International Sea Tech Week (21-25 June 2010), in Brest, France in order to promote the IMBER project.

This interdisciplinary forum for the marine science and technology sector combined five days of seminars and workshops with a professional trade fair, creating a unique forum for all those involved in the wide-ranging disciplines of maritime research and development.

About 1000 participants, including researchers, economists, legal experts, industrialists and delegates from major marine institutions gathered to review the latest scientific discoveries, groundbreaking technological developments and current economic and legal issues.

Sea Tech Week 2010

The IMBER booth set up in cooperation with the European Institute for Marine studies (IUEM) and Gis Europôle Mer

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News from our Regional programs

CLIOTOP into the future: Building scenarios for oceanic ecosystems in the XXI Century

Olivier Maury, University of Cape Town, Department of Oceanography, Cape Town, South Africa

See also GLOBEC International Newsletter April 2010:

Maury et al. (April 2010) GLOBEC Int Newsletter


Global change (climate change, ocean acidification, overfishing, biodiversity loss, globalisation of markets, increase of energy costs, pollution, etc.) are indeed deeply affecting oceanic ecosystems and top predators, threatening the sustainability of their fisheries and potentially leading to non-reversible regime shifts. These global processes driving ecosystems and fisheries are currently not considered by Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs) which are the official governance institutions of top predator fisheries, at the regional scale. There is an urgent need to integrate them into the scientific agenda of both fundamental and applied marine science, in support of global governance. Building scenarios for oceanic ecosystems in the 21st century is what CLIOTOP has to bring and communicate to the scientific community, the RFMOs, the non-governmental organisations and the media in the coming years.

This involves identifying the major patterns through the comparative approach, understanding and rigorously formalising the corresponding processes from climate to markets, synthesizing and projecting our knowledge using coupled end-to-end (E2E) mechanistic models and translating the projections into efficient management and conservation strategies. Such a difficult task can not help but be a collective, collaborative and coordinated international scientific endeavour resting on cooperation among data providers (including governments) and scientific users, conducted modesty and ethic, in totally independence.

After this general introduction to the meeting, Eugene Murphy, chair of the ICED programme and member of the IMBER SSC, presented the future direction that will be taken by IMBER during the next five years and in particular its policy regarding the “regional” programmes (CLIOTOP, ESSAS, ICED and SIBER). He particularly insisted that programmes should engage in comparative analyses at regular intervals to gain maximum benefit from the understanding provided by different approaches and that the emphasis for all the regional programmes should be integration and comparison. CLIOTOP, in particular due to its comparative nature, focus on top predators and mid-trophic levels in the pelagic realm, integrated socioeconomic - ecological research, integrated process studies and state-of-the-art models that integrate biogeochemical - ecosystem - human interactions and links to the management of marine resources, is particularly relevant to IMBER science goals.

An alternation of plenary talks and discussions as well as parallel Working Group meetings followed during the rest of the workshop.

CLIOTOP (CLimate Impacts on Oceanic TOp Predators) held its mid-term workshop at UNESCO-IOC, Paris, 8–11 February 2010. Thirty three scientists from 8 different countries attended the workshop and exchanged ideas and points of view in a very warm and friendly atmosphere despite the cold and snowy wind that was blowing over Paris at that time.

The goal of the workshop was to review the functioning and the achievements of the programme during its first five year phase (2004 – 2009) as a GLOBEC Regional Programme and to define the implementation strategy for its second phase (2010 – 2014) under the IMBER Programme. The first phase of CLIOTOP was dedicated to the identification and modelling of the major processes driving oceanic ecosystems and their top predators and the second phase will put more emphasis on developing scenarios of the evolution of oceanic ecosystems under anthropogenic and natural forcings in the 21st century in support of international governance. This will necessitate to bridge the gaps between climate, ocean physics, biogeochemistry, ecosystems, predators, fisheries, markets, governance and to establish links with other related programmes, in particular within the IMBER framework.

The meeting was opened by Wendy Watson-Wright, the Executive Secretary of the UNESCO-IOC, who gave an enthusiastic opening address to the workshop participants emphasizing the need for a holistic understanding of the effects of global change on marine ecosystems in support of international resource management.

Following this stimulating introduction, Olivier Maury, co-chair of CLIOTOP, presented the objectives of the meeting and gave an update of the programme structure (Figure 1 below) and activities in a general perspective. He re-emphasized the fact that during its synthesis phase CLIOTOP will have to answer the following question: “What were, are, and will be the effects of global change on the structure and dynamics of pelagic ecosystems, the top predators which inhabit them, the potentially associated fisheries, and the feedbacks of the oceanic systems to the Earth System”.

CLIOTOP Working groups

WG1: Early life history of top predators

Chairs: Alberto Garcia, IEO, Spain; Robert K. Cowen, RSMAS, USA and Ziro Suzuki, NRIFS, Japan  

Figure 2 : The in-situ Ichthyoplankton Imaging System - ISIIS

Amongst the many different points highlighted and discussed in WG1 was the important role of mesoscale eddies of 100 to 500km diameter on larval distribution, growth and survival during the early life period. The use of lagrangian tracking of spawning events coupled to satellite observation of the marine environment to study the spatio - temporal - vertical distribution of scombroid larvae as well as the spawning habitat was highlighted in particular.

DNA based genetic studies of larvae and trophodynamic studies on larval food webs are also important tools to characterise and understand the growth variations due to variations in the availability of food and changes in ambient temperature. Larval food webs are indeed complex and exhibit short links to the microbial food web and the biogeochemistry. New sampling technologies to analyse this complexity were also emphasized and discussed, an example of which is the in situ Ichthyoplankton Imaging System (ISIIS; Cowen and Guigand, 2008). This new sampling technology developed at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, is towed at 5 knots and uses high-resolution imagery to measure the densities of ichthyoplankton and other mesoplankton (Figure 1).

All these approaches as well as the development of an accessible (shared), standardised database incorporating the above data from Japanese, Spanish and US working group members are being developed by WG1 and will be used for comparative studies in the coming years.


WG2: Physiology, behaviour and spatial distribution of top predators

Chair: Rory Wilson, University of Swansea, UK  

Following this synthesis, the WG2 discussion considered how best to derive some predictive capacity with regard to top predator reaction to circumstance. A number of options were proposed to bring forward this major CLIOTOP objective. It was decided in particular that:

  1. the WG2 modelling approach be continued and finished;
  2. previously-gathered data such as spaghetti tags should continue to be analysed;
  3. small-scale deployments of a new tag, the Daily Diary device 3 (DD): DD should be undertaken because this new technology allows animal behaviour to be identified using high sampling rates of tri-axial accelerometers, offers overall dynamic body acceleration as a proxy for metabolic rate and allows 3D tracks of equipped animals to be reconstructed with very fine temporal resolution. As all three of these parameters are important elements needed by the modelling work conducted in WG2, it was proposed to move this agenda forward as fast as possible, with DD deployments already being projected for 2010.

A synthesis of WG2 activities was presented, most of which related to decisions made during the workshop held in Swansea in July 2009. It was noted that, although the scientific community has been engaged in wide - ranging work which describes top predator behaviour and ecology, relatively little work has been done to understand the processes and causal factors behind observations. This is critical for predictive capability.

Accordingly, WG2 adopted a strategy targeting the development of a generic mechanistic model of top predators’ behaviour based on the physical, physiological and behavioural rules by which marine top predators operate so that when environmental change is predicted, a putative predator reaction might be envisaged and prediction can be derived. This model is currently being constructed in the framework of WG2.


WG3: Trophic pathways in open ocean pelagic ecosystems

Chairs: Robert Olson, IATTC, USA; Jock Young, CSIRO, Australia and Frederic Ménard, IRD, France  

The isotopic analysis database presently gathers more than 4,000 samples of white muscle tissues of top predators and their prey over the period 2000 – 2006. It involves data from several research groups in five different countries (Australia, Canada, France, Mexico, New Caledonia, USA) with a very good global coverage as well (Figure 4).

WG3 members have been exemplary in the manner that they have brought together and shared data. They did some remarkable data standardisation work and efficiently coordinated the analysis amongst different countries. They are currently in the process of conducting the first inter-oceanic comparison of top predator diets and ecosystem trophic structure ever conducted at such a global scale.

Using the comparative approach as well as different quantitative and qualitative modelling techniques, WG3 is in a perfect position to achieve its objectives during the second phase of the CLIOTOP programme. This includes the characterisation of the bottom-up effects of climate variability and as well as changes to the top-down effects of fisheries removal on oceanic food webs and trophic pathways.

WG3 gave an impressive overview of their present activities regarding the development of two global shared databases gathering stomach content analysis of oceanic top predators on the one hand and δ15N and δ13C isotopic analysis on the other. The stomach content database presently gathers more than 20,000 samples including more than 200 prey taxa over the period 1969 – 2009. It involves data from several research groups in seven different countries (Australia, Canada, France, Mexico, New Caledonia, Spain, USA, Russia) allowing a truly global coverage (Figure 3).  

Figure 3: Location of samples in the top predator stomach content database developed by WG3. Each colour represents data form a given contributing country.


Figure 4: Location of samples in the top predator stomach content database developed by WG3. Each colour represents data form a given contributing country.


WG4: Modelling and synthesis

Chairs: Raghu Murtugudde, ESSIC, USA and Olivier Aumont, IRD, France  

Advances in fully coupling top predator models into earth system models and inclusion of new components such as effort dynamics into the models will be the focus of future WG4 activities. This should drive efforts to provide hindcasts and projections of top predators as part of the suite of IPCC AR6 reports. In this perspective, it has been proposed that the project MACROES (MACRoscope for Oceanic Earth System) recently funded by the French National Research Agency (ANR) which aims at studying global changes for the marine component of the Earth System going all the way through from atmospheric and oceanic dynamics, biogeochemistry, ecosystems and biodiversity, oceanic fisheries and associated global fish markets to the definition of governance scenarios, be used as a way to structure WG4 activities. MACROES will articulate interoperable global databases to a suite of state-of-the-art coupled mechanistic numerical models covering the major components of the considered system at the global scale. Scenarios of evolution will be defined according to different governance strategies and studied with simulations. To ensure their wide availability, observational data, as well as diagnostic and prognostic model outputs will be available through a Model and Data Sharing Tool (MDST) and synthesized into a Synthetic Indicator Panel (SIP) which should be useful to the major stakeholders of the system (Figure 5).

While MACROES is a nationally funded endeavour, it has been proposed that it is used as an archetype of the projects encouraged by WG4 for the coming years to stimulate the emergence of other national/international end-to-end modelling projects. In this perspective, it is expected that MACROES will act as a catalyst to attract scientists from other scientific fields to bridge the gaps between climate, ocean physics, biogeochemistry, ecosystems, predators, fisheries, markets and governance.


Figure 5: Diagram of the French project MACROES (MACRoscope for Oceanic Earth System)

WG4 is central to the CLIOTOP structure (Figure 1) and is expected to operate in close coordination with the other WGs. It has the important task of synthesizing the various processes studied in the other WGs into comprehensive integrated models used to understand and ultimately predict the evolution of marine ecosystems and top predators. The main focus of the discussion was on how to build on what has been accomplished in modelling top predators (mostly tunas at present) and their prey, and what needs to be accomplished in the remainder of the CLIOTOP lifetime.

Two models are being developed in the framework of WG4. Both models represent the spatialised tuna population dynamics and the dynamics of various prey communities forced by the physical and biogeochemical environment from coupled OGCM / OGBM models. SEAPODYM (Lehodey et al., 2008), which is based on empirical parameterisations, has been extensively used in the Pacific Ocean to simulate 2D dynamics of forage groups and tuna populations in both hindcast and forecast mode. APECOSM (Maury, 2010), which is based on mechanistically derived parameterisations including Dynamic Energy Budget organism physiology has, to date, been mostly used in the Indian Ocean to simulate the 3D dynamics of prey communities and tuna populations, in hindcast mode. Both models are now accompanied by maximum likelihood adjoint - based parameter estimation procedures using fishery data and are in the process of being applied at the global scale so that comparisons can be carried out. This will be consistent with the goals of CLIOTOP in terms of comparative analysis and to drive towards multi - model ensembles of the top predator predictions. Hindcast simulations in the three oceans are considered crucial for understanding model behaviour and as baselines for all further studies.

The ultimate goal of WG4 is to develop earth system models with fully coupled physical - biogeochemical - ecosystems - top predator models that resolve forage and fisheries including fleet dynamics and market forces. Along with in depth comparisons of model outputs to the data available in other WGs (fishery data, tagging data, diet data, MAAS acoustic data, etc.) for validation, assimilation, and parameter optimisation purposes, application to other top predator groups such as marine mammals, birds, sharks, and turtles and the development of Synthetic Indicator Panels summarising the huge amount of information generated by coupled models, fully coupling ecosystem and top predator models into earth system models will constitute the core of the future activities of WG4.


 WG5: Socio-economic aspects and management strategies

Chairs: Kathleen Miller, NCAR, USA and Patrice Guillotreau, University of Nantes, France  

Regarding future contributions, it was noted that WG5 could play a key role in linking CLIOTOP research with the efforts of the tuna industry to promote sustainable fisheries management (e.g. through the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation), as well as to the Kobe Process, by which the various tuna RFMOs are seeking to improve their governance arrangements and to better coordinate their activities. It was also noted that it would be desirable to move towards a more formal structure, with clear identification of individuals as WG5 members, and projects affiliated with WG5.


Figure 6: Conceptual scheme of the socio - economic ecology of the predator exploitation and management

WG5 focuses on the interaction between human and natural dynamics in a governance perspective. As such it has a fundamental role in the programme. Past activities and detailed research contributions of the WG as well as immediately upcoming plans were first presented with respect to WG5 objectives before discussing future directions.

Past activities have included the December 2004 WG5 meeting in Hawaii, and the April 2007 “Workshop on the challenges of change: managing for sustainability of oceanic top predator species” that was held in Santa Barbara USA. In addition members of WG5 participated in the La Paz Mexico meeting; in the GLOBEC symposium in Rome 2008: “Coping with global change in marine social - ecological systems;” and in the GLOBEC Open Science Meeting, Canada, 2009. Upcoming meetings that are being organised by WG5 participants include a workshop on “Global tuna demand, fisheries dynamics and fisheries management in the eastern Pacific Ocean” 13–14 May 2010 San Diego, USA and a workshop on the “Global economics of tuna fisheries” at the International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade biennial meeting, July 2010 in Montpellier, France.

Research activities conducted by WG5 participants have focused on governance of fisheries for tuna and related species and the economics of the tuna industry. These research contributions fit into an overall conceptual scheme of the socioeconomic ecology of top predator exploitation and management as described in Figure 6.

A number of loosely-related research efforts, involving WG5 participants, have been completed or are underway in each of these areas. These include game theoretic models of the political dynamics of tuna governance; work on productivity as impacted by environmental change; global demand for tuna products; and research on the economic organisation and trends in the tuna industry as well as planned contributions to the MACROES project (the reciprocal influence of markets and tuna harvests through a chain of models).


 Mid - trophic Automatic Acoustic Sampler (MAAS) WG

Chair: Nils Olav Handegard, IMR, Norway  

Figure 7: Acoustic observations of nyctemeral migrations of mid-trophic organisms from the MarEco lander project (courtesy of N.O. Handegard, IMR, Norway)

A small two-year project, starting this year, has been funded by the Pelagic Fisheries Research Program with the objective of demonstrating the feasibility of this approach for data assimilation into SEAPODYM. Another important aspect will be to compare ADCP (75khz) data with scientific echo-sounders to investigate whether ADCP data can be used in this perspective. If this is possible there is a huge source of existing information in various institutes.

More detailed information such as biomass of functional groups and size distributions can be obtained from dedicated projects. Such studies are needed as well as other small-scale projects demonstrating the feasibility of the MAAS are encouraged by the MAAS WG.

The MAAS WG emerged from two main statements:

  • Despite their huge biomass and pivotal role, the mid-trophic levels are still one of the lesser known components of pelagic ecosystems.
  • Acoustic sampling technology, due to long-range propagation in water, is the only means to efficiently observe the large biomass of the mid-trophic levels (Figure 7).

The overarching objective of the MAAS project is, therefore, to provide near real-time 3D global scale monitoring of mid-trophic level organisms.

Concretely, the MAAS project proposes to develop observational platforms equipped with multi-frequency acoustics to provide data for identification and quantification of mid-trophic organisms on a global scale, to widely deploy automated acoustic recorders using a variety of platforms and to reliably transfer data to the users through the development of dedicated shared databases. In collaboration with WG4, routines and protocols will simultaneously be developed to include and/or assimilate these data into ecosystem models to validate or constrain the mid-trophic level groups. The MAAS WG has clear links with WG2, WG3 and WG4.

Following the first meeting of the MAAS group in Sète, France 2007, one proposal was submitted to the EU FP7 call for research proposal, but unfortunately without success. Since then, the MAAS WG has been active in promoting the project, by writing papers for several conferences. Furthermore, various national initiatives using either fixed moorings or ships-of-opportunity, have been developed (Australia, Japan, USA, France, Norway, etc.) and will hopefully stimulate the development of similar initiatives elsewhere. The main issue for the MAAS WG is indeed to demonstrate that the approach is working and useful before moving to its large scale implementation.


Links between CLIOTOP and RFMOs

The links between CLIOTOP and RFMOs (which are the official governance institutions of top predator fisheries, at the regional scale) was discussed in detail during a specific session co-chaired by Francis Marsac (Chair of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission Scientific Committee), Haritz Arrizabalaga (Chair of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna Sub-Committee on Ecosystems) and Alain Fonteneau (EU expert in tuna RFMOs).

RFMOs compile the fishing data, develop research and provide scientific advice for management of the open ocean pelagic resources at the scale of oceans or sub-oceanic regions (Figure 8). They have been successful in fulfilling this mission. However, as stated during a consultation organised by the FAO, “because of the similar nature of tuna stocks and tuna fisheries in the different oceans, there is the need for closer collaboration among RFMOs and scientists involved with tuna stocks of different oceans”. RFMOs are indeed international bodies only acting at the regional scale.


Figure 8: The five tuna Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs): Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), Western Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC), International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT), Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT).

In a perspective of “scientifically aided” global governance of oceanic fisheries, a large interdisciplinary scientific endeavour is essential for addressing critical issues such as the interactions between climate, marine ecosystems, oceanic predator (including non exploited species), oceanic fisheries as well as the dynamics of associated markets which are global in essence. In particular, the ecological and economical processes of global changes studied in the CLIOTOP framework are currently not considered by RFMOs. In this perspective, further to the research activities on oceanic top predators conducted in the Working Groups, the second phase of CLIOTOP was proposed to be oriented towards the development of specific “scientific products” to help the implementation of an ecosystem approach to oceanic fisheries and the conservation of emblematic top predator species at the global scale.


This will include the development of:

  • the CLIOTOP-MDST (Model and Data Sharing Tool gathering global data sets of different type and model outputs at the global scale and displaying them through a single web interface to stimulate comparative analysis);
  • the CLIOTOP-ESM (Earth System Modelling framework coupling models from physics to fish to markets);
  • the CLIOTOP-SEE (Scenarios of Ecosystem Evolution from short-to long-term including food security issues associated to oceanic fisheries and conservation of charismatic top predator species);
  • the CLIOTOP-SIP (Synthetic Indicator Panel integrating data and model outputs for an ecosystem approach to oceanic fisheries in a climate change perspective)

The development of these products will have to be undertaken in collaboration with RFMOs in the framework of joint dedicated meetings. This would profitably be organised in connection with the “Kobe Process” which seeks to improve coordination across the whole range of RFMO policy, including scientific research, market issues, monitoring and surveillance, the impact of by-catches, and support for developing countries. In this context, the problem of the availability of fisheries data collected by RFMOs has been particularly emphasized during the meeting. In particular, the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission does not release the detailed fisheries data in the same way that other RFMOs do. This lack of “public domain” detailed data in the Pacific Ocean is a major issue for the future implementation of the CLIOTOP scientific programme.


Cowen R.K. and C.M. Guigand. 2008. Ichthyoplankton Imaging System (ISIIS): system design and preliminary results. Limnology and Oceanography Methods 6: 126 – 132.

Lehodey P., I. Senina and R. Murtugudde. 2008. A spatial ecosystem and populations dynamics model (SEAPODYM) – Modeling of tuna and tuna - like populations. Progress in Oceanography 78: 304 – 318.

Maury O. 2010. An overview of APECOSM, a spatialized mass balanced “Apex Predators ECOSystem Model” to study physiologically structured tuna population dynamics in their ecosystem. In: M. St. John and P. Monfray (Eds). Parameterisation of trophic interactions in ecosystem modelling. Progress in Oceanography 84: 113 – 117.



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SIBER has taken off !

Sustained Indian Ocean Biogeochemical and Ecological Research

Raleigh Hood, Horn Point Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Cambridge, MD USA

Jerry Wiggert, University of Southern Mississippi, Department. of Marine Sciences, Stennis Space Center, MS USA

Wajih Naqvi, National Institute of Oceanography, Chemical Oceanography Division, Dona Paula, Goa, India


The SIBER program is a new basin-wide research initiative sponsored by IMBER and Indian Ocean GOOS (IOGOOS) with close ties to CLIVAR’s Indian Ocean Panel (IOP).  The overarching objective of SIBER is to motivate and coordinate international Indian Ocean research to improve our understanding of the Indian Ocean in global biogeochemical cycles and marine ecosystem dynamics in order to predict the impacts of climate change, eutrophication and harvesting.  SIBER, along with three other regional programs (ESSAS, CLIOTOP and ICED), provides IMBER with near-global regional research coverage.

The draft SIBER Science Plan and Implementation strategy was submitted to IMBER in January 2010. Following peer review, the plan was given preliminary approval by the IMBER and IOGOOS steering committees, and is now undergoing final editing and revision. The draft plan is available upon request.  Additional comments and input are encouraged and welcome. The final plan is slated for publication in Fall, 2010.

The first national SIBER program has been established in India with funding provided by India’s Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES). Proposals that have been submitted and reviewed include six open ocean and eight coastal/estuarine projects in the northern Indian Ocean.

SIBER convened its first official Scientific Steering Committee (SSC*) meeting (SIBER-1) July 12-15, 2010 in Perth, Australia in a joint meeting with IOGOOS, IOP, and the newly formed Indian Ocean Resources Forum (IRF). This joint meeting brought together leaders in the Indian Ocean research community from many Indian Ocean rim nations and from all over the world. The goal of this joint meeting was to coordinate and facilitate international research efforts in the Indian Ocean.

For SIBER the major accomplishments and action items from this meeting include:

  • Election of officers and establishment of a time frame for SSC member rotations;
  • Addition of four new SSC members** recommended by the IMBER and IOGOOS steering committees;
  • Review of scientific work, plans and priorities of countries doing biogeochemical and ecological research in the Indian Ocean;
  • Development of a strategy for tying SIBER into global carbon cycle research programs;
  • Establishment of working groups dedicated to promoting SIBER in the EU, USA, Australia, Africa, Oman/Kuwait/Pakistan, Indonesia/Thailand and Japan/China;
  • Establishment of working groups dedicated to updating the SIBER Science Plan scientific themes and questions to ensure that SIBER will continue to focus on the most important scientific questions in the Indian Ocean in the coming years;
  • Development of plans to convene a joint SIBER/IOP workshop on biogeochemical sensor requirements for deployment on moorings and Argo floats.

Perhaps the most significant achievement of this meeting was the identification of resources for establishing a SIBER International Project Office (IPO) in INCOIS (Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services) in Hyderabad, India. The SIBER SSC is in the process of developing a proposal for submission to INCOIS that will provide specifications and resource needs to establish the IPO. In anticipation of the establishment of the SIBER IPO, discussions regarding the location of SIBER-2 (in series with IOP-8) have identified Hyderabad or Goa as possible sites for the planned joint meeting.

The SIBER SSC will be focusing its efforts over the coming months on moving forward with the establishment of the IPO along with formation of national and thematic working groups and planning for a joint SIBER/IOP workshop on biogeochemical sensors.

*This meeting was attended by Interim SSC members: Raleigh Hood (USA), Wajih Naqvi (India), Jerry Wiggert (USA), Catherine Goyet (France), Richard Matear (for Lynnath Beckley, Australia), Greg Cowie (UK), Dwi Susanto (USA/Indonesia), Adnan Al-Azri (Oman), Hiroshi Kitazato (Japan), and Tim Rixen (Germany).  Interim SSC members Mike Landry (USA) and David Vousden (South Africa) were unable to attend.

**New SSC members: M. Ravichandran (India), Mitrasen Bhikajee (Mauritius), Shiham Adam (Maldives) and Somkiat Khokiattiwong (Thailand).

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ESSAS - The comparative approach

Ken Drinkwater, Institute of Marine Research and Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, Bergen, Norway  

As experimental controls cannot be imposed in studies of marine ecosystems, an alternative method of investigation is the comparative approach.  Within such an approach, insights into fundamental ecological processes are sought through comparing similar species in different environmental habits or similar ecological systems in different geographical regions.  Comparative studies are at the heart of the Ecosystem Studies of Sub-Arctic Seas (ESSAS) regional project of IMBER.

Here the results from two such ESSAS studies are presented. The first is from the ESSAS Working Group (WG) on Climate Effects at Upper Trophic Levels, which is undertaking comparative studies to elucidate the processes that lead to shifts between demersal fish, especially gadoids such as cod and pollock, and crustaceans, such as shrimp and crabs. The WG is testing the general applicability of the hypothesis that the shifts between gadoids and crustaceans are driven primarily by predation. Its main contention is that the gadoids prey on the crustaceans so when gadoids are abundant, crustacean levels are low, but crustacean abundance increases as predation decreases under declining gadoid populations. The WG is also investigating what role climate variability may play in driving these population trends. In contrast to previous work that suggested particular top-down control of shrimp populations by cod, the overviews to date have revealed that this is not a general pattern across the 7 regions being studied:

  • the Oyashio off Japan;
  • Bering Sea off Alaska;
  • the Newfoundland/Labrador shelves and  the Gulf of St. Lawrence off eastern Canada;
  • West Greenland;
  • Iceland;
  • the Barents Sea off northern Norway and Russia. 

In general, it appears that there is relatively little control by cod or pollock on shrimp or crab populations as they reveal large variability across ecosystems, with some systems exhibiting fluctuations of crustacean and gadoid populations that were in phase while others showed out of phase relationships. To date little attention has been paid to the spatial overlap between gadoid and crustacean stocks, a factor which the WG is presently investigating in each of the sub-arctic regions. The WG aim is to compare and contrast the results from all of the regional studies in a synthesis paper on the gadoid-crustacean predator-prey hypothesis.

  The second cooperative study (NORCAN) is between Norway and Canada comparing several components of the Norwegian/Barents Seas and Labrador Sea and Newfoundland/Labrador shelf ecosystems. Physical oceanographic studies confirmed the previously reported out-of-phase relationships of air and sea temperatures and sea ice conditions between the two regions because of their opposite response to the variability in the large scale atmospheric pressure patterns as reflected in the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index. An important finding is that since the mid-1990s the ocean conditions in both regions have been in phase, generally showing strong warming and resulting in reduced ice levels, a result of changes in the spatial structure of the atmospheric pressure patterns and a lessening of the importance of the NAO forcing. Observations and modeling of phytoplankton production during this warming period suggest that the timing of the spring bloom and peak seasonal productivity are occurring progressively earlier in the year, particularly at high latitudes in both regions. Zooplankton studies comparing the life history characteristics of the dominant copepod species, Calanus finmarchicus, found lower temperatures in the Labrador Sea lead to slower physiological rates and to changes in the timing of life-history events, although standing stocks appear to be similar. Capelin (Mallotus villosus) is a forage fish that has undergone large distributional shifts stocks in the two regions, as well as off Iceland, during the past two decades. No common cause or timing of the observed shifts were found although they have been suspected to be through a combination of variability in physical oceanographic conditions, capelin abundance or food supply, with the regional importance of each of the factors varying. Factors influencing capelin recruitment also varied with region, with predation by herring appearing to be the dominant process in the Barents Sea and environmental factors in the Newfoundland region.  Diet may also play a role, given that diet weight was significantly lower in capelin off Newfoundland compared to the Barents Sea suggesting poorer feeding conditions for the Newfoundland capelin in recent years. Finally, the reasons for the differences between the remaining collapsed state of the cod (Gadus morhua) off Newfoundland and high abundances of cod in the Barents Sea were investigated. In the former, poor environmental conditions and decline of the capelin stock combined with escalating fishing mortality lead to the cod collapse off Newfoundland that has yet to recover. In the Barents Sea, at a time of minimum cod abundance in the 1980s, a reduction in fishing pressure coupled with improving environmental conditions helped the stock to rebuild. The results from the NORCAN series of studies will appear in special volume of Progress in Oceanography in the near future.
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A series of photographs were taken from trawl surveys conducted near Kodiak off Alaska in the Bering Sea. In the 1960’s (top panel) and early 1970’s (middle), the trawl catches were dominated by shrimp and small forage fish like capelin. In the 1970s, shrimp and capelin remained abundant, but large piscivorous fish like Pacific cod and pollock became more common. In the 1980’s (bottom) the shrimp and capelin were essentially absent from trawls, while large piscivorous fish were abundant (F. Mueter, personal communication).

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ICED Highlights from the International Polar Year Oslo Science Conference

 Eugene Murphy, British Antarctic Survey, UK

The accomplishments of the International Polar Year (IPY) of 2007-2008 were presented and celebrated at a major multi-disciplinary conference, convened in Oslo, Norway, 8-12 June 2010, and attended by about 2,300 participants. The IPY Oslo Science Conference (OSC) brought together a wide range of scientists and policy makers who presented and discussed IPY programme achievements arising from studies conducted in the Arctic and Antarctic. As part of a primary OSC meeting Theme on Polar Ecosystems and Biodiversity, scientists from the Integrating Climate and Ecosystems Dynamics (ICED) in the Southern Ocean Programme coordinated a major session on Ecosystems of the Southern Ocean, which consisted of oral and poster sessions that extended over two days.

IPY Oslo 2010

The multidisciplinary session focused on Southern Ocean ecosystem research and understanding the response of individual species, food webs and whole ecosystems to change. The Southern Ocean supports unique ecosystems, components of which are commercially exploited, and has an important influence on global carbon and nutrient budgets. Some areas are undergoing rapid warming, whilst other areas are cooling and the consequences of this change on the food webs, their capacity to maintain fisheries and their role in biogeochemical cycles are largely unknown. This session was designed to encourage presentations on work undertaken during the IPY that has examined the controls on distribution and abundance of individual species; the factors affecting the structure and operation of food webs; and the links between benthic and pelagic food webs, climate and ecosystems, ecosystems and biogeochemical cycles, and ecosystems and fisheries.

The meeting began with an overview talk by Eileen Hofmann (Old Dominion University, USA) and colleagues on syntheses of Southern Ocean food webs and was followed by a specific regional analysis of the ecosystem of the Lazerev Sea by Uli Bathamnn (Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, AW) and colleagues. These talks provided a context for the more specific talks that followed and highlighted the need for developing integrated multi-disciplinary analyses of Southern Ocean ecosystems. A series of talks followed on physical variability and pelagic and sea-ice phytoplankton and microbial community dynamics, before presentations considering more broadly aspects of the under-ice and open ocean plankton and fish community structure. These considered aspects of plankton species distribution, abundance, community structure and implications of changes on food web structure. A particular highlight was the report by Hauke Flores (IMARES, The Netherlands) and colleagues on the use of the SUIT (Surface and Under Ice Trawl) in the Lazarev Sea. The SUIT is a special trawl net designed for sampling the under-ice community and the results presented highlighted the importance of the biological communities associated with the under surface of the ice. There then followed a number of talks on the ecology of fish and squid which covered aspects of myctophid life cycle strategies and fish genetics and aspects of the evolutionary adaptations of Antarctic marine organisms. The final session considered the high predators with studies of penguin and seal population and foraging responses to climate variability. This session started with an impressive overview by Dan Costa (University of California, Santa Cruz) and colleagues of climate change and habitat selection of seals in the western Antarctic Peninsula region. This was followed by talks presenting analyses of feeding and foraging of Weddell and Fur seals, winter migrations of female Antarctic fur seals and post-moult and post-breeding foraging movements of Southern elephant seals from South Georgia. The range and quality of the talks presented in the session was impressive and they generated some very interesting questions and discussions.


There was also a very active poster session associated with the oral sessions reporting on studies encompassing an impressive and very wide range of aspects and perspectives of Southern Ocean ecosystems. A particular highlight in this area was the work on Southern Ocean feeding ecology of salps by Lena von Harbou (AWI) and colleagues, which is providing impressive detailed knowledge of the feeding responses of salps to changing food availability as part of a broader study analysing the ecology of Southern Ocean salps.

Particularly noticeable throughout the session was the high proportion of presentations in both the oral and poster sections given by younger scientists associated with Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS/link). The development of APECS has been a major achievement of the IPY that has generated an important legacy of bright and enthusiastic next generation polar scientists. The input of these scientists into the Southern Ocean session was particularly impressive and their presence suggests that the next generation of Southern Ocean ecologists has arrived and that we can expect them to lead in developing major advances in understanding over the coming decade.

The organisers of the session: Eugene Murphy (British Antarctic Survey), Uli Bathmann (AWI), Rachel Cavanagh (British Antarctic Survey), and Angelica Renner (British Antarctic Survey and University of East Anglia, and APESC member) wish to thank the IPY OSC scientific committee for providing the opportunity for us to develop a session on Southern Ocean ecosystems and the session participants for their for their contributions. The session was developed in association with the ICED programme, which was launched during the IPY and, through the consortium ICED-IPY. During IPY, multidisciplinary activities have furthered our understanding of ecosystem operation in the context of climate processes, ocean physics, biogeochemistry, food web dynamics and fisheries. ICED is now a regional programme of IMBER and is supported by the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR/link) and the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR/link).

IPY Oslo 2010
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Science highlights

Thresholds of hypoxia for marine biodiversity

Raquel Vaquer Sunyer, IMEDEA, Spain

Raquel Vaquer Sunyer won the prize of the best poster presentation at the recent ClimECO2 Summer School co-organised by IMBER. The prize was the book "Marine Ecosystems and Global Change" edited by M. Barange et al., Oxford Univ. Press.


Dissolved oxygen is the property that has changed more drastically in a shorter period of time in the marine environment (Diaz, 2001; Diaz and Rosenberg, 1995). Oxygen deficiencies have increased in frequency, duration, and severity in the world´s coastal areas during the last decades (Diaz and Rosenberg, 2008). As a consequence hypoxia is emerging as a major threat to marine coastal biodiversity (Vaquer-Sunyer and Duarte, 2008).

Low oxygen conditions seriously affect marine biodiversity, reducing suitable habitat for a wide range of aerobic species, and causing mortality of most sensitive organisms. Bottom water oxygen deficiency influences not only the habitat of living resources but also the biogeochemical processes that control nutrient and trace metal concentrations in the water column (Conley et al., 2002). Internal feedbacks on biogeochemical processes occur with oxygen depletion, including increased P fluxes from sediments into overlying waters and reductions in the ability of these systems to lose nitrogen through denitrification, accelerating the rate of eutrophication (Conley et al., 2009).

A bibliographic research was the basis to evaluate the oxygen thresholds for marine benthic communities, though a broad comparative analysis of experimental assessments of thresholds of hypoxia for marine benthic organisms. We have also examined the environmental modulation of the O2 thresholds, concretely the effects of the presence of hydrogen sulphide affecting the thresholds of hypoxia for benthic communities.

We found a total of 872 published experiments reporting oxygen thresholds and/or lethal times for a total of 206 species spanning across the full taxonomic range of benthic metazoans. The examination of thresholds for hypoxia derived experimentally revealed the existence of a broad range of variability, with median lethal and sublethal oxygen thresholds and median lethal times after exposure to hypoxia ranging over an order of magnitude across experiments (Figure 1).

The cumulative distributions representing the distribution of oxygen thresholds present a change in slope near the 90% percentile of the distribution and the 10% percentile of median the lethal time (Figure 2), showing the existence of a small proportion (10%) of experiments yielding extreme sensitivity to hypoxia, reflected in particularly high oxygen thresholds for hypoxic responses (> 5mg O2/liter) and short (< 2h) lethal times. All relevant thresholds varied significantly across taxa (Figure 1; Vaquer-Sunyer and Duarte, 2008). Presence of hydrogen sulphide decreases survival times under hypoxia by an average of 30% in marine benthic communities. This reduction is concentration-dependent and varies with the sulphide levels that animals experience in their natural environments. The effect of sulphide on survival is greater for eggs than for juvenile or adult stages (Vaquer-Sunyer and Duarte, 2010).

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Figure 1: Cumulative distribution of (a) LC50 (mg O2/liter), (b) SCL50 (mg O2/liter), and (c) LT50 (h) for marine benthic communities. Figure from Vaquer-Sunyer, R. and Duarte, C. M., 2008. P. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 105(40): 15452-15457.


A broad comparative analysis across a range of contrasting marine benthic organisms showed that hypoxia thresholds vary greatly across marine benthic organisms and that the conventional definition of 2mg O2/liter to designate waters as hypoxic is below the empirical sublethal and lethal O2 thresholds for half of the species tested. A precautionay limit to avoid catastrophic mortality events and effectively conserve marine biodiversity could be set at 4.6mg O2/liter, the 90th percentile of the distribution of mean lethal concentrations, that would be expected to maintain the population for most, except the 10% most sensitive, species. These results imply that the number and area of coastal ecosystems affected by hypoxia and the future extent of hypoxia impacts on marine life have been generally underestimated.
 Hypoxia impacts occur at a broad range of oxygen concentrations, including oxygen concentrations well above the oxygen thresholds generally used to diagnose hypoxia at present. The vulnerability of coastal ecosystems to hypoxia is, thus, greater than currently recognized, with fish and crustaceans being the most vulnerable faunal components. The number and extent of the coastal zones affected by hypoxia is, thus, likely to be greater than hitherto realized, and the prospects for future expansion of these areas more disturbing than currently forecasted. Coastal hypoxia is, thus, emerging as a major threat to coastal ecosystems globally.
The aggravation of the negative effects of spreading hypoxia in the presence of sulfide suggests that the threats derived from hypoxia to marine biodiversity are greater than anticipated on the basis of the direct effects of low oxygen concentration alone.

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Figure 2: Box plot showing the distributions of oxygen thresholds among taxa for (a) LC50 (mg O2/liter), (b) SCL50 (mg O2/liter), and (c) LT50 (h). The letters indicate the results of the Tukey HSD test. Figure from Vaquer-Sunyer, R. and Duarte, C. M., 2008. P. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 105(40): 15452-15457


Diaz, R. J., 2001. J. Environ. Qual., 30(2): 275-281

Diaz, R. J. and Rosenberg, R., 1995. Oceanogr. Mar. Biol., 33(245-303

Diaz, R. J. and Rosenberg, R., 2008. Science, 321(5891): 926-929

Vaquer-Sunyer, R. and Duarte, C. M., 2008. P. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 105(40): 15452-15457

Conley, D. J., Humborg, C., Rahm, L., Savchuk, O. P. and Wulff, F., 2002. Environ. Sci. Technol., 36(24): 5315-5320

Conley, D. J., Carstensen, J., Vaquer-Sunyer, R. and Duarte, C. M., 2009. Hydrobiologia, 629(21–29

Vaquer-Sunyer, R. and Duarte, C. M., 2010. Limnol. Oceanogr., 55(3): 1075-1082

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A major CO2 perturbation experiment in the Arctic Ocean by EPOCA

Jean-Pierre Gattuso, Oceanographic laboratory of Villefranche (LOV), France Lina Hansson, Oceanographic laboratory of Villefranche (LOV), France

More info...


EPOCA is now mid-way, with the first two years of the project completed. We provide here a concise update on its recent activities and products. 

Research activities

EPOCA research activities cover the chemical, biological, ecological and biogeochemical consequences of ocean acidification. These activities are too numerous to be listed here. One of the key experiments involved a group of 35 researchers who have just performed the first major CO2 perturbation experiment in the Arctic Ocean. With the goal to determine the response of Arctic marine life to the rapid changes in ocean chemistry, nine mesocosms were deployed in the Kongsfjord off the north-western coast of Spitsbergen (Svalbard; See photo). Each of the giant, 17m long ‘test tubes’ held about 50m3 of seawater. The enclosed plankton community was exposed to a range of different CO2 levels expected to develop between now and the middle of the next century and was closely monitored over a 6-week period. The experiment involved molecular and cell biologists, marine ecologists and biogeochemists, as well as ocean and atmospheric chemists. More information is available on a dedicated blog.


One of the nine mesocosms which were deployed in the Kongsfjord off the north-western coast of Spitsbergen (credit: Jean-Pierre Gattuso).



More than 70 peer-reviewed publications were published in the first two years. One of the key publications is the “Guide to best practices for ocean acidification research and data reporting”, a joint product of the European Commission, OCB, SCOR, IOC-UNESCO and the Kiel Excellence Cluster). It can be downloaded for free on the project web site (http://www.epoca-project.eu/index.php/Home/Guide-to-OA-Research/). Printed copies are available from the Project Office.

Upcoming meeting

EPOCA will hold its second annual meeting jointly with the German project BIOACID and the UK Ocean Acidification Research Programme in Bremerhaven, 27-30 September 2010. It will be a unique opportunity to consolidate European research on ocean acidification. Members of the three projects are welcome to register via the EPOCA Project Office (no registration fee).Outreach and dissemination

  • “Ocean acidification – the facts” was launched during a press conference in Copenhagen in December 2009;
  • A list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on ocean acidification was published jointly by the Ocean and Carbon Biogeochemistry (OCB) program, EPOCA and the UK Ocean Acidification Research Programme. It is available in English, French, German and Chinese.
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LUnar Cycles and Iron FERtilization (LUCIFER)

Santiago Hernández-León, Biological Oceanography Laboratory, Facultad de Ciencias del Mar, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria,Spain  

Phase I of the Lucifer project is over. The objectives of the study are the biogeochemical consequences of:

  1. the vertical mixing and the consequent planktonic bloom in the oceanic subtropical waters around the Canary Islands;
  2. the influence of the lunar cycle observed in zooplankton in the transport of organic carbon towards the mesopelagic zone;
  3. the process of natural fertilization with iron promoted by the deposition of Saharan dust which is produced in several events during winter around the Canary Islands.

During phase I, we performed a weekly sampling in the oceanic waters north of the Canary Islands from February to June 2010 in order to study the so-called late winter bloom in subtropical waters. We also studied the effect of a strong event of dust deposition, increasing production in synchrony with the lunar cycle.

Temperature, salinity and fluorescence were measured using a CTD SeaBird 25 and an in situ fluorometer. Primary production as 13C, chlorophyll, abundance of bacteria, phytoplankton cells, microzooplankton abundance, and mesozooplankton, biomass, gut fluorescence, electron transfer system (ETS), and aminoacyl t-RNA sinthetase (AARS) activities were also measured at four oceanic stations to the north of Gran Canaria Island. We also collected dust particles using active samplers near the study site for the measurement of metal composition (iron, nickel, cadmium, manganese,…).

During March 2010, an important Saharan dust event (Figure 1) took place around the islands. Dust particles smaller than 10µm (PM10) reached values of 300µg m-3 in Gran Canaria Island, near our sampling area. Preliminary data showed no response of phytoplankton biomass to the massive dust deposition, at least on a weekly timescale. However, we measured a sharp increase of zooplankton biomass after this event. The bloom lasted for more than one month, indicating an important influence of the dust over the area. Flow cytometry, 13C, microzooplankton and proxies of metabolic activity in zooplankton are being measured, but our preliminary results show that the effect of this dust deposition event did not promote any increase in chlorophyll, similar to some common results reported in the literature.


 However, we wonder whether the increase in productivity is rapidly transferred to higher trophic levels through micro- and mesozooplankton in this warm water environment, avoiding the accumulation of phytoplankton biomass in the mixed layer. The consequences of this finding will restrain the use of remote sensing data to assess the effect of dust fertilization in the ocean. Finally, the active carbon flux promoted by the diel vertical migrants is a scarcely studied mechanism of the biological pump. Predation by this fauna upon the zooplankton crop observed after the dust deposition, shunted this epipelagic biomass to the mesopelagic zone. This transport will be the objective of Lucifer phase II which will start in November 2010.


Figure 1: True colour image of the dust storm observed over the Canary Islands on the 18th March, 2010. The image was provided by NASA/GSFC, MODIS Rapid Response.

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IMBER-sponsored meetings reports

Two perspectives on the 4th China-Japan-Korea GLOBEC/ IMBER symposium

View from the Scientific Organizing Committee

Sinjae Yoo, KORDI, Ansan, South Korea

Yasunari Sakurai, Graduate School of Fisheries Sciences, Hokkaido University, Hakodate, Hokkaido, Japan

Jing Zhang, State Key Laboratory of Estuarine and Coastal Research, Shanghai, China

Hyung-Ku Kang, KORDI, Ansan, South Korea

YOO Sinjae
SAKURAI Yasunori
KANG Hyung-Ku

The 4th China-Japan-Korea (CJK) GLOBEC/IMBER Symposium was held in Jeju National University, Korea during May 18-20, 2010. The purpose of the meeting was to set the future direction of international ecosystem research in the western North Pacific. About 70 scientists participated in the meeting. One international scientist and five young scientists were supported by GLOBEC and IMBER.

During the past decade, China, Japan and Korea have conducted research related to GLOBEC in the western North Pacific and its marginal seas. These efforts resulted in the advancement of our understanding in various fields. In order to exchange the research amongst the three countries' scientists, CJK-GLOBEC symposia have been held every two years since 2002. As GLOBEC comes to an end, this symposium aims to summarize the scientific findings from the past and look ahead for the future directions.

The symposium began with reviews of GLOBEC and IMBER. Yasunori Sakurai reviewed the history and the activities of GLOBEC by showing major scientific achievements. Some examples of GLOBEC outputs and highlights were shown. He also talked about some GLOBEC projects that continue as IMBER regional projects such as ESSAS. Jing Zhang introduced IMBER by discussing its science themes and publications. Regional IMBER programs and organizational structure were also explained. He noted that national projects from China and Japan were already endorsed by IMBER. He then talked about the collaboration between IMBER and PICES. Finally, IMBIZO II was introduced with explanations of the three workshop themes.

Then national activities related to GLOBEC/IMBER were reported from each nation. Firstly, Yasunori Sakurai reviewed the achievements of Japan GLOBEC. Japan GLOBEC/IMBER projects were supported by several funding agencies. He showed the goals and major outcomes of the projects. New research projects such as "Challenge for Future Fisheries Management" were introduced. Chinese GLOBEC activities were summarised by Jing Zhang. Chinese GLOBEC projects have been developed in parallel with International GLOBEC since 1994 in three phases. The last phase is also a transitory phase to IMBER, sponsored by Ministry of Science and Technology with a budget of USD 5 mil. The scientific questions and major findings from C-GLOBEC were explained. The scientific findings from the China GLOBEC II came out as a recent Deep-Sea Research-II special issue. Korean GLOBEC/IMBER-like research activities were reviewed by Sinjae Yoo. He noted that although no national GLOBEC/IMBER projects were in place, many projects shared common research themes with GLOBEC and IMBER. Several proposals for national IMBER projects have recently been submitted to funding agencies. The most successful activity of the Korean GLOBEC committee was supporting young scientists. Fifty-two young scientists were supported to attend various international meetings since 2004.

Scientific sessions began with biogeochemistry of the western North Pacific. Jing Zhang showed how the biogeochemical processes on the East China Sea shelf were affected by incursion of Kuroshio as well as anthropogenic factors. Jing-Ling Ren presented the results of a survey in the south Yellow Sea where a spring bloom occurred after an Asian dust event. She showed that the major source of aluminum was atmospheric input and distribution of dissolved aluminum was mediated by phytoplankton (Figure 1).

The distributions of nutrients and chlorophyll in the northern East China Sea during 2003-2009 were analyzed by Sang Hwa Choi. Mi Hee Chung showed how the distributions of phytoplankton and zooplankton in the Seomjin estuary changed after heavy rains. Chan Joo Jang compared the projected mixed layer depth by some IPCC AR4 models. Based on this, he further made a projection that primary production would be decreased by 10~30% after 100 years.

Jun Sun divided the Chinese Seas into sub-provinces based on phytoplankton community. He also defined functional groups of phytoplankton and showed the distribution of the functional groups in the Yellow Sea and the East China Sea. Sinjae Yoo discussed the uncertainty of the primary production of the Yellow Sea and presented a new estimate of 250-300gC m-2 yr-1 calculated using new algorithms of chlorophyll-a and primary production. Yunsook Kim presented the phytoplankton community structure using HPLC from a meridional survey in the East Sea in 2007. Hyoung Chul Shin similarly presented the phytoplankton and zooplankton distribution on a cross-section across the Ulleung Warm Eddy in the East Sea.

Wuchang Zhang studied the seasonal cycles of ciliates and ingestion by Calanus sinicus in the Yellow Sea. The ciliate biomass peaked in May and near the tidal and thermal front. He also showed that Calanus sinicus may need additional source of food as the ingestion of ciliates alone cannot satisfy its energy requirement. Se-Jong Ju presented a study on the latitudinal variation of lipids as trophic marker of copepods (Figure 2). The result of this study suggests that the lipid contents and compositions in copepods may indicate their nutritional condition, feeding ecology, and species-specific living strategies. Keun-Hyung Choi showed that encounter rates of copepods with mates and preys can be affected by turbulence. He further conjectured that climate change can increase turbulence in coastal areas and influence the population growth of copepods. Hyeon Ho Shin showed that morphological features of resting cysts of Scrippsiella trochoidea were changed by hypoxic conditions at the bottom. Seung-Hyun Kim introduced a recent study that shows more warm-water species of dinoflagellates appeared in Jeju coasts. Based on mitochondrial DNA analysis, Yongshuang Xiao argued that the point-head flounder expanded its geographic distribution along the Japanese coastline during the late Pleistocene.


Recently, unusual events began to occur in the Yellow Sea and East China Sea indicating the ecosystem structure is rapidly shifting. In June 2008, a massive bloom of macroalga, Enteromorpha occurred in the vicinity of Qingdao. Il-Ju Moon showed that unusual wind conditions in 2008 together with nutrient-rich discharges from land induced the massive algal blooms and then moved the bloom to the near shore area. Since early 2000s, jellyfish blooms have been increasing in the Yellow Sea, East China Sea and East Sea (Japan Sea). Three papers about jellyfish were presented. Kui You talked about the effect of temperature on scyphistomae strobilation of Rhopilema esculentum. Effect of temperature on the asexual reproduction of Aurelia aurita were presented by Chang-hoon Han. He also talked about the environmental effects on asexual reproduction of Nemopilema nomurai.

The catch of Pacific cod and walleye pollock in Korean waters have been decreasing since 1980s. After the 1998-99 regime shift, Pacific cod came back while walleye pollock continued to decline. Sukgeun Jung explained this by three factors: a decrease in the bottom water temperature, an increase in the volume transport of TWC, and increased zooplankton and Pacific herring. Using an IBM, Jung Jin Kim studied propagation of hatchlings and paralarvae of common squid (Todarodes pacificus) in the northern East China Sea. He showed how the spawning location can affect the distribution of larvae (Figure 3). Yuheng Wang presented the results of an IBM study that argued East Asia monsoon is the major reason for anchovy population dynamics in the Yellow Sea beside over-fishing.

In a study using Ecopath model, Qun Lin reconstructed the structure and energy flow of the Yellow Sea ecosystem. There was an obvious downward trend in the trophic level for most fishes. The percentage of primary production required to sustain the fishery was 5.14% which was quite low. Jong Hee Lee analyzed SSS, SST, and fisheries catch data from Korean waters. She argued that the 76-77 regime shift was accompanied by shifts both in environmental factors and ecosystem, while the 88-89 regime shift was identifiable only from the biological changes. On the other hand, the physical changes after 98-99 shift was clear while ecosystem shift need further analysis. Akihiko Yatsu explained the concept of regime-dependant MSY and argued that an adaptive management strategy depending on the regime is needed. Given the great uncertainties of productivity of “new regime” at the beginning of a regime, development of robust management procedures (MPs) are required. With these, he also characterized "ecosystem approach to fisheries" (EAF). Jae Bong Lee introduced IFRAME (Integrated Fisheries Risk Analysis Method for Ecosystems) and applied the scheme to Korean waters. He first made long-term predictions of habitat changes of chub mackerel and blue fin tuna in the future. Then he calculated the future changes of the indices of sustainability, biodiversity, habitat, and socio-economic benefit as functions of fishing mortality. Michio Kishi calculated the optimal release number of Hokkaido chum salmon using an ecosystem approach where carrying capacity of the North Pacific was calculated by two-way NEMURO. Competition between chum salmon and pink salmon was also considered. The cost function was total income of fishermen. The results show the release number in 2007 could be optimal.

Twenty three papers were presented during the poster session. The topics ranged from observations and modeling of physical phenomena (circulation, mixed layer, typhoons, river discharge, etc), paleo-oceanography, and ocean acidification to lower trophic level processes.

After the scientific sessions ended, a discussion session followed. International GLOBEC has closed down in March 2010 and IMBER enters the 2nd phase in 2010. PICES/FUTURE) program started in 2009. Given the circumstances, the participants discussed whether we need a coordinated regional activity in the western North Pacific. Most participants agreed that the past activities of CJK-GLOBEC, mainly providing forums for the western North Pacific sciences should continue. In addition, further activities might be desirable as active researches will continue in the region. There was a consensus that regional coordination should be sought. To this end, a science plan and research proposals based on it will be developed. The perspectives of the regional program will be broad while there will be regional foci. Since FUTUREis a contributing regional program to IMBER, there are many common scientific interests between IMBER and FUTURE. PICES has an advisory panel called CREAMSwhich focuses on the East Asian marginal seas. It was agreed to have a joint meeting of national IMBER representatives and FUTURE/CREAMS members for regional program development during the PEACE meeting in Sep 2010 in Korea. Finally, there was a discussion on the next CJK-IMBER symposium and it was tentatively scheduled in Nov 2011 in Shanghai, China.

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Figure 1: Vertical distribution of T, S, SPM, Al, Si, and chl-a from a station in the central Yellow Sea in March 2007 (by courtesy of Jingling Ren).

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Figure 2: Study on the latitudinal variation of lipids as trophic marker of copepods

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Figure 3: How the spawning location can affect the distribution of larvae


Dr. Sinjae Yoo is a biological oceanographer with Korea Ocean Research & Dev. Inst. He is interested in the spatio-temporal variations in primary production and its impact on the lower trophic level. He is chair of Korea GLOBEC/IMBER Committee.

Dr. Yasunari Sakurai is professor at Graduate School of Fisheries Sciences, Hokkaido University, Hakodate, Hokkaido, Japan. His research focuses on reproductive biology, strategy, and stock fluctuations of gadid fish (walleye pollock, Pacific cod, and Arctic cod), cephalopods (ommastrephid and loliginid squids) related to climate change, and the biology of marine mammals (Steller sealion and seals). He has directed a number of national research projects and programmes focus on ecosystem-based management for sustainable fisheries in Japan. He had been chair of Japan-GLOBEC, member of Cephalopod International Advisory Counsel (CIAC), GLOBEC, ESSAS and PICES Programme. He is chair of Japanese Society of Fisheries Oceanography (JSFO) after 2009.

Dr. Jing Zhang  is a professor of the State Key Laboratory of Estuarine and Coastal Research (SKLEC), East China Normal University, Shanghai. Dr. Zhang's research focuses on the land-ocean interaction in China Seas, particularly the biogeochemical dynamics of estuaries and coastal environment. He is member of IGBP-IMBER Scientific Steering Committee (2004-2009), co-chairs of SCOR Working Group 128 on Natural and Human-Induced Hypoxia and Consequences for Coastal Areas (2005-2009), and project leader for IOC/WESTPAC Atmospheric Input Studies (1993-2008).

Dr. Hyung-Ku Kang is a principal scientist of the Marine Living Resources Research Department in Korea Ocean Research & Development Institute (KORDI). He has been the Executive Secretary of Korea GLOBEC (/IMBER) Committee since 2000. He is interested in physiological ecology of marine zooplankton including reproduction, feeding and population dynamics of copepods.

View from a participant

Jing Zhang, State Key Laboratory of Estuarine and Coastal Research, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China  

Experience and Lessons

There are a number of issues that we can inspire and put in mind in developing the China-Japan-Korea GLOBEC/IMBER forum as well as related activities in the near future.

  • Cheju Island is an international tourist place with international flight connections and without strict visa requirement, which helps a lot to participants to come to the place;
  • Cheju National University has very good facilities for hosting the meeting, so participants can have the symposium and accommodations at the same place.
  • When organizing a meeting on campus, communications between participants and local students can be promoted, which helps to distribute the influence of meeting itself.
  • The combination of scientific program and social activities can greatly improve the significance of symposium and contribute to the establishment of collaboration among participants

Future Work

In the discussion on future directions and development for China-Japan-Korea GLOBEC/IMBER studies, several suggestions were proposed.

  • The next symposium for China-Japan-Korea GLOBEC/IMBER should be organized at Shanghai in November 2011. This was approved by the Chinese Working Group of GLOBEC and IMBER;
  • It was proposed that regular training cruises by Hokkaido University should be used for “floating summer school” as part of the China-Japan-Korea GLOBEC/IMBER activities;
  • A training activity should be attached to the scientific program as a contribution to Capacity Building;
  • The idea of having a special issue for China-Japan-Korea GLOBEC/IMBER studies will be developed based on the presentation of results on the meeting.


The overall success of this 4th China-Japan-Korea GLOBEC/IMBER Symposium was due largely to the joint support of the Korea GLOBEC/IMBER Committee, Korea Ocean Research and Development Institute (KORDI), Jeju Sea Grant College Program, National Fisheries Research and Development Institute (NFRDI). Personally, I would like to thank once again to Drs. Hyung-Ku Kang, Sinjae Yoo, as well as all members of local organizing committee, for their very kind support in the meeting.My contribution to this meeting was supported by the IMBER IPO and GLOBEC.


The 4th China-Japan-Korea GLOBEC/IMBER Symposium was organized at Jeju National University, Korea in 18-20 May, 2010. Approximately, 60-70 participants were involved in the scientific programs and social activities, including three colleagues from Japan, 12 colleagues from China, and rest participants from Korea.

The Symposium follows three previous and successful meetings, that were held in Seoul (Korea) in 2002, in Hangzhou (China) and at Hokkaido (Japan). The purpose of this 4th symposium was to consolidate the research and collaboration in GLOBEC/IMBER studies and to determine the future direction of international ecosystem research in the Northwestern North Pacific Ocean.

Scientific Program

The scientific program of the 4th China-Japan-Korea GLOBEC/IMBER Symposium hads two components, i.e. oral and plenary presentations and poster sessions. The plenary session consisted of updating international IMBER activities and GLOBEC on-going studies in the Northwest Pacific Ocean. Presentations based on the national research reports of the GLOBEC- and IMBER- related research activities, followed. Oral presentations were organized into the following categories:

  • Biogeochemical dynamics and links to low trophic level production;
  • Food-web structure and function;
  • Climate aspects and relation to ecosystem;
  • Molecular application on ecosystem studies;
  • Modeling.

Twenty-three posters were presented. They examined climate variability and the effect on the surface water circulation and hydrographic properties, the use of isotopes and biomarkers in ecosystem studies, ecosystem structure and function, ocean acidification and resource management.

Social Activities

Besides the scientific activities, the local committee organized a number of social activities, like joining the concert of Cheju National University, as well as a field excursion to the Jeju Folk Village Museum and Seongan Ilchulbong (i.e. Sunrise Peak). Participants were all deeply impressed by the beautiful landscape, history of civilization, tasty local food and hospitability of the Korean people.

NL15 Jeju National University
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Southern and Indian Oceans SOCAT meeting

Nicolas Metzl, Pierre et Marie Curie University, Paris, France

Bronte Tilbrook, CSIRO, Australia


Given the analysis already performed by different regional PIs since few months, the Southern and Indian Ocean groups agreed to finalize the QC2 analysis before October 2010. It was also proposed to release the SOCAT version 1 in April 2011.

IOCCP, SOLAS and CSIRO, and national supports from Japan and France. Many people at CSIRO-Hobart contribute to the success of this meeting; I would like to address a special thank to Kristina Paterson and Bronte Tilbrook.

In June 2009, during the SOCAT meeting in Norwich (UEA, report available at IOCCP or SOCAT websites), it was decided that the Southern Ocean SOCAT group would organize a meeting in Hobart in June 2010.

During three days, 16-18 June 2010, both Southern Ocean and Indian Ocean SOCAT groups (15 participants) met in Hobart to discuss progress on SOCAT Quality Control in these regions (including updated information from the Pacific SOCAT group), revisiting new LAS tools developed for SOCAT, as well as science issues to be conducted in the following months (e.g. RECCAP, IPCC AR5...) and future observations.

SOCAT meeting Hobart June 2010

Southern and Indian Oceans SOCAT participants enjoyed a sunny day in Hobart during austral winter (16-18 June 2010).

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News from our national contacts

What's happening in Japan?

Hiroshi Ogawa, University of Tokyo, Atmospheric and Ocean Research Institute (AORI), Tokyo, Japan

The R/V Hakuho-maru going on the Pacific Expedition

OGAWA Hiroshi

In the summer of 2005, the meridian transect observation along 160W section across the central Pacific was conducted (the KH-05-2, P.I.:Dr. I.Koike). This cruise covered the large area between 10S and 54N including the subtropical South Pacific and the equatorial regions. The other sectional survey along 160E and 155E longitude in the western North Pacific was carried out in the summer of 2008 (the KH-08-2, P.I.: Drs. M.Uematsu and H.Ogawa). In the early summer of 2006 and 2010, the survey concentrating on the subtropical region in the western North pacific (the KH-06-2, P.I.: Drs. A.Tsuda and M.Uematsu; the KH-10-1, P.I.: Dr. A. Tsuda). The research in these cruises was mainly focused on the biogeochemical processes in the oligotrophic oceanic environments. In the near future up to 2012, 3 proposals of IMBER and SOLAS related cruise of the R/V Hakuho-maru have been accepted. The first and second cruises will be held in the winter of 2011 to 2012. The main purpose of first one is the regional comparison of subtropical system between the western North Pacific and the eastern South Pacific (P.I.: Dr. K.Furuya). The second one will be concentrated on the Equatorial Pacific (P.I.: Dr. M.Uematsu). The third will be carried out in the summer of 2012, on which the observation along the meridian section in the western North Pacific will be repeated (P.I.: Dr. H.Ogawa).

Needless to say, the cruise of the R/V Hakuho-maru is quite open to a joint research with scientists from foreign countries. By means of not only inviting them to the cruises but also providing them with samples and data, the international collaboration is positively promoted.

In particular, if you are interested in the cruise of 2012 summer in the western North Pacific which is planed chiefly by the members of IMBER-Japan, please don’t hesitate to contact me or Dr. Hiroaki Saito.

The research vessel Hakuho-maru was put in service in 1989 as one of the cooperative research facilities in Ocean Research Institute, The University of Tokyo. From 2004, the ship registration of this vessel changed to the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC). The length and gross tonnage is 100 m and 3991 tons, respectively. The cruising speed is 16 knots, and the complement is 89 including 35 scientists. She is typical of multipurpose research vessel, which is able to meet to the needs of all disciplines of marine science i.e. physics, chemistry, biology, geology and fisheries. Eight different types of gears (wire winches) are fixed on deck. In particular, the armoured cable winch for CTD with ca. 10,000m of titanium wire is unique to this vessel, which largely contributes to the clean sampling of seawater in chemical and biological researches. There are 10 separate laboratories inside the ship, including normal labs in wet, semi-wet, semi-dry, and dry conditions and those for some special uses in clean condition (aseptic manipulations or trace metals analyses), low-temperature, radioisotope tracer experiments, and atmospheric observation.

The Japanese research group of biogeochemistry and ecosystem, which is mainly related to IMBER (and GLOBEC), SOLAS and GEOTRACES, also has used the R/V Hakuho-maru as a central platform of their cooperative research in the ocean. Especially the scientists related to IMBER and SOLAS has recently promoted their joint research cruise on this vessel and furthermore, they have some cruise plans in the near future. The figure shows the study areas of the IMBER and SOLAS related cruises on the R/V Hakuho-maru, which have been conducted during 2005-2010 and will be planed up to 2012. For the past five years, their cruises have been principally focused on the regional comparison of the biogeochemical cycles and the ecosystem structure in the North Pacific, particularly between subarcrtic and subtropical regions. The main purpose of the research is that a variety of up-to-date technology is applied to find the regional variation in chemical and biological parameters, such as elemental and isotope measurements of trace metals, nutrients measurements at a trace concentration level, chemical characterization of dissolved organic matter, onboard analyses of biogenic gasses (e.g. VOCs, DMS) and aerosols, various tools in molecular biology to analyze plankton community structure and activity. And the final goal is that these information is exchanged each other to further understand the controlling factors of the biogeochemical cycles and the ecosystem structure.

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What's happening in Oman?

Adnan Al Azri, Sultan Qaboos University, Al-Khod, Oman

Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) in the Gulf of Oman


The discussion during the workshop focused on the following issues:

  • cooperation between the ministries and other agencies within the country;
  • optimization of the field surveys (in terms of synchrony of physical, chemical and biological measurements as the basis in understanding the HAB phenomenon);
  • distribution of the sampling sites along the coast;
  • data assembly and development of the oceanographic database on the national level;
  • public health issues and approach to the express analysis of the toxic/nontoxic HABs

The recommendations from the workshop were put forwards for implementation.

The Sultanate of Oman has an extensive coastline which includes the Gulf of Oman in the north and the Arabian Sea in the south. The physical, chemical and biological processes of the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea are largely driven by the meteorological forcing i.e the monsoon winds. Recently the coastal water of Oman experienced several serious marine mortality incidents usually involving HABs with the number of cases of HABs and fish kills increasing over the last two decades. In summer 2008 the entire Gulf of Oman experienced immense blooms of the Cochlodinium polykrikoides. The bloom was remarkably immense and caused massive fish kill especially in fish cages and impacted desalination plants and refineries. There was report on the closure of desalination plants and refinery due to the immense nature of the bloom, and the concern that intake filters will be clogged and cause operational problems within the plants. Satellite imagery gave a quick and early indication on the extent of the bloom in the Gulf of Oman, Arabian Gulf and Arabian Sea.

The first occurrence of C. polykrikoides in the Gulf of Oman, posed a number of questions on the eco-physical conditions supported the initiation, persistence and termination of C. polykrikoides in 2008 and not in the previous years. As part of the Omani government effort to investigation the possible causes of the recent blooms, the ministry of fisheries wealth in collaboration with the Sutlan Qaboos University organized an international workshop on Harmful Algal Blooms from 5 to 7th April 2010. The themes of the workshop covered topics on recent finding on HABs surveys, effect of HABs on industries and marine ecosystem especially in the ROPME Sea area.

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IMBER-related meetings and conferences

S28: Biogeochemical, Ecological and Physical Dynamics of Eastern Boundary Upwelling Systems (13-18 February 2011, San Juan, Puerto Rico). More info...

ESSAS Open Science Meeting 2011 (22-26 May 2011, Seattle, USA). More info...

22nd Pacific Science Congress (14-18 June 2011, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia). More info...

World Conference on Marine Biodiversity (26-30 September 2011, Aberdeen, Scotland). Conference will include marine supplier exhibition. More info...

WCRP Open Science Conference: Climate Research in Service to Society (24-28 october 2011, Denver, Colorado, USA). More info...

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Post Doc position: Dynamic modelling of the zooplankton size spectra in the Bay of Biscay

Scientific contacts: Marc.Sourisseau@ifremer.fr (Département DYNamiques de l’Environnement COtier : http://www.ifremer.fr/dyneco/) and Martin.Huret@ifremer.fr (Département Ecologie et Modèles pour l’Halieutique : http://wwz.ifremer.fr/emh/)


The objective for the post-doctorate fellow will be to further develop the zooplankton component of a coupled physical-biogeochemical model over the Bay of Biscay (www.previmer.org), to improve the estimation of trophic fluxes to fish. The existing model is based on a classical functional separation in two large size classes (micro and meso-zooplankton). The modelling of the interactions with upper trophic levels, among them small pelagics, requires a representation with a finer resolution of the zooplankton size spectrum. This modelling approach involves methodological choices and represent a challenge for the candidate. The zooplankton field data acquired over the past ten years (dry weight by size classes, Laser Optical Plankton Counter) will first be used to describe the spatio-temporal variability of the size spectrum, then will drive the methodological choices for the modelling, and will finally allow a validation of the model. This work is part of the European project REPROdUCE of the ERA-NET MARIFISH (www.marifish.net), aiming at improving the understanding of recruitment mechanisms of small pelagics, with sardine and anchovy as case studies in the Bay of Biscay. A strong interaction with people working with IBMs (Individual Based Modelling) of larvae as well as habitat modelling for adult fish will be necessary.


Biogeochemical modelling, zooplankton, size spectrum, model coupling, pelagicecosystem, Bay of Biscay.

Academic training and specific skills:

The candidate must have a PhD degree in marine biology and a good experience in coupled physical-biological modelling. The candidate must be familiar with programming and data processing with Fortran and Matlab or similar softwares. The position is available for one year with the possibility of extension for an additional six months.

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Progress in oceano 84 1-2 1-138 (2010)
Progress in Oceanography Special Issue: Parameterisation of Trophic Interactions in Ecosystem Modelling, Volume 84, Issues 1-2, Pages 1-138 (January-February 2010). Edited by Michael A. St. Johns, Ivo Grigorov, Javier Ruiz and Patrick Monfray
SIBER book
Indian Ocean Biogeochemical Processes and Ecological Variability, Publication from SIBER, an IMBER Regional programme. Wiggert, J. D., R. R. Hood, S. W. A. Naqvi, K. H. Brink and S. L. Smith (2009). AGU Monograph Series, American Geophysical Union, Washington, D.C
guide of best practices for OA research and data reporting (2010)
Guide to best practices for ocean acidification research and data reporting, 260 p. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. Riebesell U., Fabry V. J., Hansson L. & Gattuso J.-P. (Eds.), 2010. It is available free of charge on the EPOCA web site. It is envisioned to revisit and possibly revise the guide to accommodate new developments in the field in a few years time.
DSR II 57 16 1-1592 (2010)
Ecological and Biogeochemical Interactions in the Dark Ocean, Deep-Sea Research Part ll, Volume 57, Issue 16, Pages 1-1592 (2010). Edited by Deborah Steinberg and Dennis Hansell
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Should you wish to announce a publication in the IMBER Update, please send information to virginie.lesaout@univ-brest.fr
Published by IMBER
Editors: IMBER IPO
ISSN 1951-610X