Issue n°17 - April 2011
Editorial - Where in the world is IMBER?
The IMBER IPO is based at the Institute for Marine Science (IUEM) in Brest, France. However, IMBER activities are happening all over the world. The size of these endeavours varies from a few individuals in a specific region or country to large international, multi-institutional research programmes. IMBER currently has contacts in 29 different countries and the 24 IMBER endorsed projects hail from 13 countries.
Within IMBER, five working groups and task teams of individuals with specific expertise help to facilitate the integration and synthesis needed to answer key science questions. Read about the new Human Dimensions Working Group.
The network of complementary regional research programmes currently operating under IMBER provides the measurements and models to advance our understanding of marine biogeochemical cycles and food web interactions. There are currently four regional programmes that give IMBER almost world-wide coverage:
Ecosystem Studies of Sub-Arctic Seas (ESSAS) covers the northern latitudes, while the Integrating Climate and Ecosystem Dynamics (ICED) focuses on climate interactions in the Southern Ocean. The Sustained Indian Ocean Biogeochemical and Ecological Research (SIBER) concentrates on the Indian Ocean and the Climate Impacts of Top Oceanic Predators (CLIOTOP) investigates top oceanic predators in all regions.
The Annual IMBER Scientific Steering Committee meeting will be held at the Station d’Endoume, Marseille, France from 11-13 Aril 2011. A morning of science presentations by our French colleagues will be held on Wednesday 13 April 2011. Participation is free and everyone is welcome.
Focus on France
IUEM - IMBER's French host
The IMBER International Project Office (IPO) is hosted in Brest, France by the European Institute for Marine Studies (IUEM/link). In this small maritime enclave at the “Pointe de la Bretagne” more than half of the marine research conducted in France is undertaken.
Research and education in marine science have always been important here. Initially, scientific institutions serving French military interests (such as the Naval Academy and the Naval Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service) dominated the scene. Then institutions such as the National Centre for the Exploitation of the Oceans (CNEXO, which was to become Ifremer) and the University of Western Brittany (UBO + link) with its European Institute for Marine Studies (IUEM), were established.
IUEM is a multidisciplinary organization that aims to increase understanding of the marine environment as a whole and to study the interactions between the ocean, atmosphere and land. A very important mission for IUEM is to foster international collaboration and it seemed appropriate, therefore, to offer the IMBER IPO a home here. Moreover and more recently, IUEM has been the scientific melting pot from which the French Laboratory of excellence MER “a changing ocean” has emerged.
There is a strong legacy of French research in biogeochemistry and ecosystems that started in the Joint Global Flux Study (JGOFS) and GLOBEC and is now active in IMBER.
The IMBER IPO is supported by a consortium of French institutions and organisations including: Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer (IUEM), Université de Bretagne Occidentale (UBO), Université Européen de Bretagne (UEB), Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), IFREMER, Région Bretagne, the Conseil Général de Bretagne (CG29) and the City of Brest (BMO).
Marine Ecosystems Response in the Mediterranean Experiment - MerMex
Xavier Durrieu de Madron, CEFREM, CNRS-Université de Perpignan, Perpignan, France
Cécile Guieu, LOV, CNRS-Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Villefranche-sur-Mer, France
Richard Sempéré, COM/MIO, CNRS/IRD-Université de la Méditerranée, Marseille, France
The Mediterranean Sea is unique and dynamic, with large interannual to decadal variability and abrupt fluctuations. The semi-enclosed nature of the Mediterranean, together with its smaller inertia compared to large oceans, makes it more sensitive to natural variations in fluxes (between, e.g., the air and sea, freshwater and the sea) and water flows. These natural pressures interact with the trend of increasing human activities in the coastal regions, making the Sea even more sensitive. French biogeochemical oceanographers have raised the issue of Mediterranean marine ecosystems response to changes in physical, chemical and socio-economical forcings induced by climate change and by growing anthropogenic pressures. This debate has focused on the current understanding of the effects of key natural and anthropogenic forcings on ecosystems (from coastal zones to open-ocean, from pelagos to benthos) and organisms (from viruses to fishes and mammals) (Figure 1). It has further aimed to identify knowledge gaps and to contribute to the emergence of a large integrated research project, the Marine Ecosystems’ Response in the Mediterranean Experiment (MerMex).
Most of the research objectives highlighted in the MerMex project were deduced from the MerMex article (MerMex Group, 2011) in which ~100 co-authors presented current knowledge on biogeochemistry in the Mediterranean Sea and highlighted the uncertainty of the responses to global change in the 21th Century.
There are still considerable uncertainties in our understanding of the complex interactions between the different forcings and their impacts on ecosystems. There is therefore a strong need to reach a mechanistic understanding of the relevant processes in order to predict changes in ecosystems. These changes clearly influence the cycles of major biogenic elements, biodiversity, fisheries, invasive species and ultimately have socio-economic impacts. There is a need to develop a comprehensive and holistic approach to address particular questions at the appropriate spatial and temporal scales. The most relevant issues for the future of marine ecosystems in the Mediterranean are listed here and constitute the main research axes that MERMEX propose to tackle in the next 10 years:
- How would changes in stratification and destratification mechanisms and in the overall thermohaline circulation alter the spatio-temporal distribution of nutrients and their budgets? More specifically, what is the influence of dense water formation on the spatial and temporal variability of biogenic elements, the triggering of planktonic blooms, and the sequestration of biogenic elements, particularly carbon?
- How would likely changes in nutrient inputs from physical transport, rivers, the atmosphere (including extreme events) and straits affect the nutrient availability in the photic layer of the Mediterranean Sea, the relative abundance of primary producers, and the higher trophic levels?
- What are the typical concentrations of chemical contaminants in the various water masses of the Mediterranean? What are their sources and sinks (e.g., atmosphere versus rivers, especially for organic contaminants) and seasonal variations?
- What is the role of the land-sea boundary (rivers, large cities, groundwater discharge) in the material balance of the Mediterranean Sea (carbon, nutrient, contaminants)?
- Will changes in the frequency or magnitude of extreme events lead to the dispersion or dilution of carbon, nutrients, and pollutants or, by contrast, to their accumulation in specific compartments?
- What will be the impact of changes in light radiation on biogeochemical processes, including primary production, POC-degradation processes, and degradation of DOM and pollutants?
- What is the actual rate of change of both temperature and pH in the Mediterranean Sea? How will these variables evolve and impact the Mediterranean solubility pump? What impacts will they have on the functioning of pelagic and benthic Mediterranean ecosystems?
- Will the functioning of mesopelagic and deep sea Mediterranean ecosystems be strongly affected by changes originating from surface ecosystem production and vertical fluxes or by changes in the hydrodynamics of the intermediate and deep waters?
- As the surface seawater warms, will the planktonic community of the pelagic ecosystem become dominated by nanophytoplankton and jellyfish, as suggested by several recent studies?
The implementation of MerMex started at national level in 2011 and ambitious multidisciplinary actions are planned from 2012. It is obvious that the questions raised require international, multidisciplinary and large-scale research investigations at different temporal and spatial scales. Therefore, MerMex should not remain a national initiative and aims to establish links with other countries in order to define a common strategy for Mediterranean research.
MerMex recently applied (March, 2011) to IGBP programs IMBER and SOLAS for endorsement.
MerMex Group 2011 (in press) Marine Ecosystems Responses to climatic and anthropogenic forcings in the Mediterranean, Progress In Oceanography.
Biogeochemistry from the Oligotrophic to the Ultraoligotrophic Mediterranean - BOUM
Louis Prieur, INSU/CNRS, Laboratoire d'océanographie de Villefranche, Villefranche sur mer, France
Correspondence to: Thierry Moutin
The BOUM (Biogeochemistry from the Oligotrophic to the Ultraoligotrophic Mediterranean) experiment of the French national LEFE-CYBER program, the European IP SESAME and endorsed by the international IMBER project has one overall goal: to obtain a better representation of the interactions between planktonic organisms and the cycle of biogenic elements, considering scales from single processes to the entire Mediterranean Sea. It is organized on three main objectives:
- To give a longitudinal description of the biogeochemistry and biological diversity of the Mediterranean Sea during the strongest stratified period;
- To study in three oligotrophic environments located at the center of anticyclonic eddies, the production and fate of organic matter with particular emphasis on the processes which drive the divergence of the stoichiometric ratios of the biogenic elements in the organic matter found in the surrounding water and exported materials;
- To obtain a satisfactory representation of the main biogeochemical fluxes (C, N, P, Si) and the dynamics of the planktonic trophic network, both in situ and using microcosm experiments.
The BOUM cruise took place during the summer of 2008 (June 16 - July 20). The 3000km transect surveyed, using the French Research Vessel l’Atalante, from the Rhône river mouth in the western part of the Mediterranean Sea to the Eratosthenes sea mount in the eastern part (Figure 1). Along this transect, two types of stations were sampled, the so-called “short duration” (SD) and “long duration” (LD) stations at the centres of anticyclonic eddies for process studies.
The results are presented in a special issue in Biogeosciences Discussion:
Interactions between planktonic organisms and the biogeochemical cycles of biogenic elements in the Mediterranean Sea during intense summer stratification: the BOUM experiment, T. Moutin, L. Prieur, C. Jeanthon and A. V. Borges (Eds). More info...
New IMBER faces
IMBER opens in China!
IMBER has opened a Regional Project Office in China! It is located at the East China Normal University in Shanghai.
We welcome Liuming Hu who has been appointed as the Deputy Executive Officer.
Liuming comes to us with extensive experience in both scientific research and management. She received her PhD from Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Her main research interests include ecological modeling, lake ecosystem restoration, fish population dynamics, and biological oceanography. She has worked in both China and Canada.
We wish her all the very best in her new position and look forward to working with her in IMBER.
New National Contacts
François Carlotti, Centre d’Océanologie de Marseille, Laboratoire d’Océanographie Physique et Biogéochimique, CNRS, Marseille, France.
François Carlotti is a CNRS senior scientist and head of the ‘Laboratoire d’Océanographie Physique et Biogeochimique’ at the Université de la Méditerranée in Marseille. His main research interests include zooplankton life histories, physiology and modelling. He also has a long-term interest in physical-biological coupling in marine ecosystems and its impact on the functioning of biogeochemical cycles and marine food webs. He has been the co-chair of the National Program of Coastal Environment (PNEC) since 2001 and Chair of the national program on Biogeochemical Cycles, Environment and Resources (CYBER) since 2010.
François was member the GLOBEC Scientific Steering Committee from 1998 - 2000 and one of the co-authors of the GLOBEC Science Plan and Implementation Strategy. He served as the French national representative of GLOBEC from 1998 - 2009. He organized two GLOBEC-France symposia in 2001 and 2009. He is regularly invited to take part in expert panels for the national agencies in France and abroad. He is member of the editorial board of Progress in Oceanography and regular reviewer for various scientific journals. He has been involved in several EU projects in MAST III (EURAPP, TASC) and more recently in EU-REX EUROCEANS and EU-IP SESAME.
Evangelos Papathanassiou, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Anavyssos, Greece
Dr. Evangelos Papathanassiou is a Research Director at the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Anavyssos, Greece. He is currently the Acting Director of the Institute of Oceanography. He has worked mainly in the fields of ecotoxicology and marine ecology.
He was the co-ordinator and author of subjects related to marine and coastal environment, of several European and Mediterranean Reports like “Europe’s Environment: The 2nd Assessment”, “The European Environment in the Turn of the Century”, as well as for the reports published by EEA and UNEP/MAP like “State and pressures of the marine and coastal Mediterranean environment” and “Priority Issues in the Mediterranean Environment” (co-editor). His research interests focus on impacts of ecosystems due to climate change and anthropogenic pressures. He has participated in more than 30 EU, International and National projects. In FP6, he was the coordinator of the IASON project and he is currently the coordinator of the SESAME Integrated Project.
Alexandra Gogou, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Anavyssos, Greece
Alexandra Gogou is a chemical oceanographer/ organic biogeochemist, holding an associate researcher position in the Institute of Oceanography, Hellenic Centre of Marine Research (HCMR), Anavyssos, Greece. She earned her Ph.D. from the Chemistry Department of the University of Crete in Heraklion, Greece (advisor, Prof. E. Stephanou) in 1998. In 1999 she had a post-Doc appointment with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) (advisor, Dr. Daniel Repeta). In 2001 she earned a Marie Curie postdoctoral fellowship to work at the University Paris VI (advisor, Dr. Ioanna Bouloubassi). In 2003, she went back to Greece with a Marie Curie Return Fellowship to work in HCMR (advisor Dr. V. Lykousis). In 2005, she became Assistant Professor in the field of marine biogeochemistry in the Department of Marine Sciences Department, University of the Aegean, in Lesvos Island, Greece.
Her research activities are focused on deciphering marine biogeochemical processes in response to environmental, hydrological and climatic conditions and anthropogenic pressures, as they are recorded in the chemical structure, abundance and isotopic composition of organic molecules. A central element of her career is educating and motivating students, with the aim of nurturing and developing strong candidates for research in marine biogeochemistry and climate change research. She was the local organizer of IMBIZO II meeting, which took place in October 2010 hosted by HCMR & Cretaquarium in Heraklion, Crete.
Salvador Lluch-Cota, Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas del Noroeste, La Paz, México
Salvador E. Lluch-Cota is a fisheries ecologist at the Northwest Biological Research Center (CIBNOR), in La Paz, BCS, Mexico.
He served as member of the GLOBEC SSC from 2006-2010 and collaborates as one of the leading authors of the IPCC AR5 Oceans chapter. His research has focused on marine ecosystems and their response to climate variability and change, including ENSO (El Niño/La Niña-Southern Oscillation) impacts on coastal fisheries and communities, multidecadal frequency small pelagics fluctuations (sardine-anchovy), and the integrated ecosystem assessment of the Gulf of California. He is currently leading a project on Mexican massive fisheries and climate change, which holds clear linkages with IMBER science.
Bronwen Currie, Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Swakopmund, Namibia
Bronwen is a marine biologist at the Namibian National Marine information and Research Centre in Swakopmund. Her background is intertidal and shallow benthic ecology. Upon arrival at the institute in 1993, her interest was sparked by the naturally-occurring “sulphur eruptions” which create havoc for the inshore life. Together with various other coastal zone aspects, subsequent years marked progress in her studying and understanding the biogeochemistry of the muddy inner-shelf sediments. This muddy ooze is created by decaying phytoplankton (mainly diatoms generated by the strong upwelling system of the northern Benguela) and generates huge amounts of hydrogen sulphide and methane. The extremely anoxic and sulphidic benthic environment supports vast mats of large sulphide-oxidizing bacteria, and her present fascination is with the few but specially-adapted animals which are able to tolerate and exploit this seemingly inhospitable habitat, and investigate coupling of the benthic to the pelagic habitats.
Other aspects of her job include the monitoring of Harmful Algal Blooms and inshore water quality for the aquaculture industry, and she maintains a keen interest in biodiversity and conservation issues at large.
Baris Salihoglu, Institute of Marine Sciences, Erdemli, Turkey
Barış Salihoğlu is currently the Vice Director of the Institute of Marine Sciences, METU in Turkey. He did his PhD at the CCPO Old Dominion University, USA on "modelling the effects of physical and biogeochemical processes on phytoplankton species and carbon production in the equatorial Pacific Ocean". He then did a postdoc at LEGOS, Toulouse, France on North Atlantic nutrient cycle modeling. He returned to Turkey with a Marie Curie Fellowship to work on "trophic controls in the Black Sea ecosystem". Barış's research interests cover a variety of topics, which range from mathematical modeling of marine ecosystems to descriptive physical oceanography. He is currently involved in the EU FP7 MEECE, Marine Ecosystem Evolution in a Changing Environment, ODEMM, Options for Delivering Ecosystem-Based Marine Management, MyOcean, implementation project of the GMES Marine Core Service, EURO-BASIN, European Basin-scale Analysis, Synthesis and INtegration and numerous other national and international projects.
Heather Benway, Ocean Carbon & Biogeochemistry (OCB) Project Office, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, USA
Since May 2007, Heather has served as the executive officer of the Ocean Carbon & Biogeochemistry (OCB) Project Office. In this position, her primary responsibilities include strategic planning, community building, and the development and implementation of OCB scientific activities, products, and outreach materials to meet the needs of the OCB research community, educators, and policy makers. She serves as a point person for the broader OCB research community and its international partner programs. Heather received her Ph.D. in oceanography from Oregon State University in 2005, and then conducted postdoctoral research at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. She has research interests in paleoceanography, sedimentology, and isotope geochemistry, and is especially interested in tropical-high latitude feedbacks that drive abrupt climate and deep ocean circulation changes.
A new IMBER Human Dimensions Working Group
Alida Bundy, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Dartmouth, Canada
Sophie Beauvais, IMBER IPO, Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer, Plouzané, France
Humans are an interactive component of global marine ecosystems, and human activities such as fishing and global consumption of fossil fuels are important drivers of change in the world’s oceans. The need to explicitly include the human dimension in marine ecosystem research and management has finally gained widespread recognition (e.g., Barange et al. 2010, Perry et al. 2011). This is clearly an area where IMBER science can make important contributions. In 2010, the IMBER Transition Task Team recommended the formation of a Working Group (WG) focused on the interactions between human and ocean systems in order to fulfil IMBER’s vision to “provide a comprehensive understanding of, and accurate predictive capacity for, ocean responses to accelerating global change and the consequent effects on the Earth System and human society” (IMBER 2010).
The Human Dimensions WG has been launched early 2011. It is chaired by Alida Bundy (Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Fisheries and Oceans Canada) and is composed by a mix of natural and social scientists. More info...
The goal of this WG is to promote an understanding of the multiple feedbacks between human and ocean systems, and to clarify what human institutions can do, either to mitigate anthropogenic perturbations of the ocean system, or to adapt to such changes. These questions are highlighted under the Theme 4 of the IMBER Science Plan and Implementation Strategy entitled “Responses of the Society” (IMBER SPIS 2005). The challenges for this WG are to bring together scientists from a wide range of disciplines, to identify areas of joint concern and interest, and to create an ongoing natural-social science marine research community.
The group identified the following topics for immediate attention:
- To outline the scope of ‘Responses of Society’ (Theme 4 in the IMBER SPIS);
- To organise an international workshop/conference that will bring together natural and social sciences to develop the issues and question to be addressed in IMBER Theme 4;
- To develop a draft of the Issues and Questions to be addressed in theme 4 in a manner consistent with the rest of the IMBER SPIS;
- To recommend how Theme 4 of the IMBER project should be implemented.
The first meeting of the group will take place 18-20 April 2011 in Paris (France).
Barange et al. (2010) Marine ecosystems and global change. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 412 pp.
IMBER (2005) Science Plan and Implementation strategy (SPIS). IGBP Report N°52, IGBP Secretariat, Stockholm, 76pp. More info...
IMBER (2010) Supplement to the Science Plan and Implementation Strategy. IGBP Report N° 52A, IGBP Secretariat, Stockholm, 36pp. More info...
Perry R I., R. E Ommer, M. Barange, S. Jentoft, B. Neis, U. R. Sumaila. 2011. Marine social–ecological responses to environmental change and the impacts of globalization. Fish and Fisheries, In Press.
New endorsed projects
ANACONDAS and ROCA
|Patricia Yager, University of Georgia, School of Marine Programs , Athens, USA||
The NSF-funded ANACONDAS project (Amazon iNfluence on the Atlantic: CarbOn export from Nitrogen fixation by DiAtom Symbioses) works in combination with the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation's Marine Microbiology Initiative-funded ROCA (River-Ocean Continuum of the Amazon).This collaborative research on Emerging Topics in Biogeochemical Cycling involves multiple principal investigators and institutions and aims to study the effects of the Amazon River on the carbon and nitrogen cycles of the western tropical North Atlantic Ocean.
The Amazon River provides more nutrients to the ocean ecosystem than any other river; carbon sequestration stimulated by these nutrient inputs is globally significant. Previous research in this region revealed that some areas of the plume are significant sinks for atmospheric CO2. This finding was a surprise as most of the tropical Atlantic is a source of CO2 to the atmosphere. This newly realized impact is primarily the result of a poorly-understood community of microorganisms “blooming” in the plume waters. One combination of microorganisms seems to be particularly effective at sequestering carbon: diatoms that bloom in association with nitrogen-fixing (diazotrophic) cyanobacteria. We hypothesize that the Amazon River provides the ideal combination of nutrients to stimulate these blooms, but we need to understand more about the conditions that support their growth.
The goal is to combine field observations with satellite data and numerical models to understand the mechanisms responsible for nitrogen-fixation, primary production, and carbon export associated with the Amazon River-induced bloom phenomena, with particular emphasis on the role of these diatom-diazotroph-associations. ROCA provides support to extend the river-ocean continuum concept into the river and develop a systems-level understanding of microbially mediated elemental cycles along the lower reach of the Amazon River and its marine plume.
This integrative program will collect geochemical as well as microbial community structure and function data along the river-to-ocean continuum and develop a novel model that incorporates these data with other biological, chemical and physical information. Models are ultimately aimed to enable predictions of carbon sequestration as a function of the dynamic chemical composition of the Amazon River. Fieldwork will take place along the entire salinity gradient of the river plume (including stations in the lower reach between Obidos and the river mouth). Quarterly river sampling has begun in collaboration with Brazilian partners. Two oceanographic expeditions (May-June 2010; September 2011) will sample a series of stations within and adjacent to the plume (see attached map below). Algal community shifts along this gradient are of particular interest and hence phytoplankton species composition, biomass, and rates of N2- and CO2-fixation (total and diazotroph-associated) within the context of the physical and chemical environment of the plume, will be determined. Also of interest, is how algal community structure affects the carbon fluxes in the plume. The fate of recently fixed carbon and nitrogen will be assessed through measurements of microbial activity, zooplankton grazing, sediment trap fluxes, and stable isotope abundances. Analysis of marine sediments from the region will allow assessment of the net flux and reactivity of organic matter sinking from the upper water column.
Marine Ecosystem Evolution in a Changing Environment (MEECE)
|Jessica Heard and Icarus Allen, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Plymouth, UK||
The implementation of the EU’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) requires the application of an ecosystem-based approach to the management of human activities. Priority should be given to achieving or maintaining good environmental status in the Community’s marine environment while enabling sustainable use of marine goods and services. Underpinning the delivery of the MSFD is the scientific challenge of investigating and understanding the sensitivities and potential responses of marine ecosystems, to both climatic change and the direct effects of human activity. If we do not understand how the ecosystem will respond to these multiple drivers we will find it very difficult to manage marine ecosystems. Multiple driver assessment may provide the secret to managing coastal marine ecosystems, and the goods and services they provide, in a holistic and effective manner.
Led by Plymouth Marine Laboratory, the Marine Ecosystem Evolution in a Changing Environment (MEECE) project brings together 22 European partners to gain a better understanding of the direct and interactive effects of these factors on marine ecosystems. MEECE focuses on the use of predictive models that consider the full range of drivers to elucidate the responses of the marine ecosystem in a comprehensive manner, rather than driver-by-driver as has been done in the past. Nine regions of characteristic and dominant European ecosystems have been identified across with modelling tasks will be applied (Figure 1).
- Review the impacts of the drivers on the marine ecosystem;
- Scenario test the impacts of drivers on the structure and functioning of marine ecosystems;
- Develop indicators of ecosystem status;
- Develop a coupled model system to predict ecosystem response from plankton to fish;
- Create a model library of ecosystem modules couplers and decision support tools for management concerning the EC Marine Strategy, EC Maritime Policy and the EC Common Fisheries.
The project follows a logical process starting with targeted data synthesis, experimentation, ecosystem model development, followed by model exploration through a range of scenarios addressing the full set of drivers which feed into a suite of decision making tools. A major focus of the MEECE project is the assessment of model accuracy to enable us to confidently use our simulations for science and policy applications. MEECE aims to develop decision support tools, which assess key vulnerabilities and risks of global change for the marine ecosystem. The emphasis of our work are the 11 qualitative descriptors of the MSFD, which together determine the characteristics of Good Environmental Status (GES). The indicators being considered range from those associated with eutrophication (e.g. nutrients and oxygen) to ecosystem function and biodiversity (e.g. plankton production and biomass), to fishing (e.g. maximum sustainable yield). Underpinning this activity is the requirement for a range of scenarios which take into account the impacts of multiple climatic and anthropogenic drivers on marine ecosystems and the associated variability of response. MEECE has simulated present and future primary production states in several regions and this will be expanded to include simulations with coupled plankton fish models during the next phase of the project. In order to make this an integrated assessment we linked human activities to the MSFD descriptors through the MSFD Annex III pressures and impacts.
The greatest challenge is to ensure the outputs of MEECE contribute to the process of both defining and evaluating indicators of Good Ecological Status; consequently MEECE places a strong emphasis on knowledge exchange to society, through the dissemination of research-based knowledge, expertise and skills to stakeholders.
Contact: MEECE Project Office, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Prospect Place, Plymouth, PL1 3DH, UK
Plymouth Marine Laboratory | UK. Universitetet i Bergen | Norway. University Hamburg | Germany. Fundación AZTI - AZTI Fundazioa | Spain. Università di Bologna | Italy. Wageningen IMARES B.V. | The Netherlands. Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science | UK. Natural Environment Research Council | UK. Institut de Recherche pour le Développement | France. Technical University of Denmark, Danish Institute for Fisheries Research | Denmark. Institute of Marine Research | Norway. Institute of Marine Sciences, Middle East Technical University | Turkey. Hellenic Centre for Marine Research | Greece. Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique | France. Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science | UK. Università del Piemonte Orientale | Italy. Klaipeda University Corpi | Lithuania. Bolding & Burchard Hydrodynamics | Denmark. Instituto Español de Oceanografía | Spain. Commissariat à l'énergie atomique | France. Syddansk Universitet | Denmark. University of Cape Town | South Africa.
News from IMBER Regional Programmes
Methods workshop on using classification trees to examine diet data of top predator fishes in the Pacific Ocean (a contribution from CLIOTOP Working Group 3 (Trophic interactions of top ocean predators)
Petra Kuhnert, CSIRO Mathematics, Informatics and Statistics, Glen Osmond, Australia
Leanne Duffy, Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission, La Jolla, CA, USA
Jock Young, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Hobart, Australia
Examining Classification trees of diet data to determine predation patterns of top predator fishes in the Pacific Ocean.
The first worldwide attempt to interpret broad-scale predation patterns of top predators in pelagic food webs of the world’s oceans was recently undertaken at a workshop held by members of the CLIOTOP Working Group 3 (Trophic interactions of top ocean predators) building on the work of a larger workshop in Sete, France in September-October, 2009.
New classification methods, in particular bootstrapping techniques, were applied to a large set of diet data for a range of top fish predators from twelve contributing countries. The bootstrapping methodologies provide confidence intervals around the proportions of predicted prey at each tree node (see Figure 1).
Diet data from Australian-caught yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) were used as a test case. The techniques have proved to be extremely successful for investigating predation patterns and the resulting predicted prey proportions. The addition of error bars to the prey proportions in each classification is particularly useful providing an immediate guide to how confident we can be of the resulting proportions.
As an example, Figure 2 shows the relative importance of crab megalopae in the summer diet of yellowfin tuna in the waters off eastern Australia.
ICED: Rapid change in polar ecosystems - a European perspective
Rachel Cavanagh, British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK
Eugene Murphy, British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK
Ulrich Bathmann, Alfred Wegener Institute, Bremerhaven, Germany
Svenja Kruse, Alfred Wegener Institute, Bremerhaven, Germany
Eileen E. Hofmann, Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA USA
An increasing range of scientific integration is underway towards objectives identified in the IMBER-endorsed ICED Science Plan and Implementation Strategy. One of the most recent highlights took place in November 2010, when ICED scientists convened a workshop “Rapid change in polar ecosystems” hosted by the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany.
There is a strong historical legacy of European research on polar ecosystems and European scientists continue to play a leading role in developing globally important analyses in these areas. There is a need to develop more cohesive activities to address joint goals that will maximise the impact of European and international research efforts and funding. Building on progress made during EUR-OCEANS (2006-2010), together with insights from the International Polar Year (IPY) and ongoing work of the ICED programme, the workshop gathered a group of experts to focus on rapid change in polar ecosystems and on strengthening, planning and coordinating European research in this area. The workshop was funded by EUR-OCEANS as part of their Foresight Workshop series. The purpose of this series is to focus on emerging and important marine ecosystem research topics, which address EUR-OCEANS scientific priorities and require European-wide coordination. ICED operates internationally thus some scientists from outside Europe also attended to provide a wider perspective and involvement.
A unique aspect of the workshop was that both poles were considered and ways to compare the effects of change on the different ecosystems were explored. Polar marine ecosystems have significant global ecological and economic importance. They host unique biodiversity, play a major role in climate processes, and support indigenous communities and commercial fisheries. These ecosystems have adapted to cold and highly seasonal conditions, and are thus sensitive to climate and human impacts. Some of the most rapid climate and anthropogenic driven changes of any marine system are occurring at the poles. Assessment of the likely responses of polar ecosystems to change is required to support the management and protection of ecosystem services and to predict the feedbacks from these regions to the wider Earth System. Although more consistent changes are being documented across the Arctic region (e.g. decreasing sea ice), compared to more regionally observed changes in the Antarctic (e.g. disintegration of ice shelves and rapid glacial melt in some coastal areas and the Antarctic Peninsula), in both places the effects are regional, circumpolar and global in scale. Recent global climate-driven changes, combined with exploitation of marine bio-resources (e.g. commercial fisheries), threaten the balance of these unique marine ecosystems. Furthermore, because of their sensitivity, contrasts and relatively simple structure, polar marine ecosystems serve as both model systems for developing methods for global application and as early indicators of the effects of change. By understanding their response to change, we can use them as warning systems for climate change across the planet.
Given the evidence of rapid change in polar marine ecosystems, the urgency with which more information is required, coupled with the expense and logistical challenges in studying these regions, means that improving the coordination of polar marine ecosystem research is essential.
Main themes considered at the workshop:
- Key changes in polar marine ecosystems that are occurring as a result of climate and anthropogenic drivers;
- Key responses of polar marine ecosystems that may be expected under future change scenarios;
- Key regions in polar marine ecosystems to detect the impacts of change and understand the response mechanisms involved;
- Key data requirements (both historical and future) for detecting change in polar marine ecosystems.
The workshop report (Bathmann et al. 2010) documents the key changes, responses, regions and data requirements that the delegates considered essential to detect and understand the impacts of change in Arctic and Antarctic marine ecosystems. Such a roadmap will be invaluable for efficiently utilising existing and historical data; to inform and guide the long-term planning of data collection in the field and from remote sensing; and to provide the necessary background for testing scenarios of future change in polar marine ecosystems. The potential for comparative studies of how polar ecosystems are structured and how they may respond to change, both within regions and between the Arctic and Antarctic, formed a key focus of the discussion sessions. The outcomes of this workshop will not only be of immediate benefit to the international science community, but will also build the foundations for improving collaborative work within Europe, and beyond.
Rapid Change in Polar Ecosystems: Report of the EUR-OCEANS Foresight Workshop, 2010. Compiled and Edited by Bathmann, U., Murphy, E.J., Kruse, S. and Cavanagh, R.D.
IMBER meetings reports
PICES 2010 Annual Meeting
|Sinjae Yoo, KORDI, Ansan, South Korea||
The North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES) held its Nineteenth Annual Meeting from 22 – 31 October 2010, in Portland, USA. About 440 participants attended the meeting from 17 countries. The scientific sessions had a wide range of themes such as climate change projections, biodiversity, the role of iron in regulating biogeochemical cycles, ecosystem mixing, Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB), and forecasting ecosystem changes.
The ‘Anthropogenic forcing in North Pacific coastal ecosystems: understanding changes in ecosystem structure and function’ session was co-sponsored by PICES and IMBER. It focused on characterization, understanding, and forecasting of the influence of multiple anthropogenic stressors in North Pacific coastal ecosystems. During this one-day session, 39 papers were presented and discussions considered the various stressors and their resulting impacts. Contributed papers provided a higher-level overview of stressors in various North Pacific ecosystems (e.g., overharvesting, urbanization, habitat alteration and loss, mariculture, HABs, pollution, non-indigenous species, etc.) and the types of impacts that have been observed, especially those linked to changes in biodiversity and productivity (e.g. extinctions, species interactions, trophic cascades).
PICES’ second integrated science program, FUTURE (Forecasting and Understanding Trends, Uncertainty and Responses of North Pacific Marine Ecosystems), held its second workshop following an intersessional workshop in August 2010. At the workshop, progress during the intersessional period was reviewed and new activities including new expert groups and meetings were proposed and discussed. In April 2011, a workshop titled “Indicators of status and change within North Pacific marine ecosystems” will be held in Honolulu, USA. Another, the “International Workshop on development and application of regional climate models”, will be held in October 2011 in Incheon, South Korea.
During the Science Board meetings, representatives from SOLAS, ICES and IOC were invited to speak on areas of collaboration with PICES. With ICES, in particular, PICES is developing a framework for scientific cooperation in northern hemisphere marine science. Progress was reported for the second PICES/ICES/IOC international symposium on “Effects of climate change on the world’s oceans” to be held in Yeosu, Korea in 2012. IMBER is a co-sponsor of the symposium. As usual, a numbers of co-sponsoring sessions at the PICES 2011 annual meeting in Khabarovsk, Russia, have been approved. IMBER will co-sponsor S9, the MONITOR/POC/FUTURE Topic Session: 'How well do our models really work and what data do we need to check and improve them'.
ASLO 2011 Aquatic Sciences Meeting: Limnology and Oceanography in a Changing World
Carol Robinson, School of Environmental Sciences, Norwich, UK
Nianzhi Jiao, State Key Laboratory of Marine Environmental Science, Xiamen, China
ASLO emerging issue workshop on Microbial Carbon Pump (MCP)
An ASLO Emerging Issues Workshop on the Microbial Carbon Pump (MCP), in conjunction with the second meeting of the Scientific Committee for Oceanic Research (SCOR) working group (WG134) was held in Puerto Rico during February 19th-20th, 2011. This event was also associated with the ASLO special session #55 on “The MCP: A multidisciplinary focus on origins, cycling and storage of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in the ocean”. Forty scientists and students (including the working group members) from 12 countries attended the workshop.
Marine DOC, equivalent in quantity to the total inventory of atmospheric carbon dioxide, is an important contributor to global carbon cycling and climate change. The majority of DOC in the ocean is recalcitrant, with an average age of ~5000 years, constituting sequestration of carbon in the ocean. However, the mechanisms controlling the generation and removal of the recalcitrant DOC (RDOC) are largely unknown. In order to address this issue, the WG134 members proposed the MCP as a conceptual framework in Nature Reviews Microbiology (Jiao et al. 2010 8:593-599), which is referred to in Science as an “invisible hand behind a vast carbon reservoir” (2010 (328):1476-1477).
The workshop focused on round table discussions on the following topics: the biological origins of persistent DOC and its relationship with the recalcitrant DOC (RDOC) pool; analytical approaches to identification and quantification of the sources, sinks, and structural characteristics of RDOC; characterization of major fractions of DOC; supply of DOC from seabed seepage; GeoChips based high-through put monitoring of C cycling related genes.
As outputs, a Science booklet on the MCP will be published by AAAS in May 2011, which includes 10 published Science papers covering the topics of microbial control of oceanic carbon flux, production of RDOC by bacteria, chemical characteristics of DOC, community genomics of microbial assemblages, and radiocarbon ages of organic compounds; and 10 new articles by the WG134 members addressing the following aspects of the MCP : biological carbon sequestration and carbon fixation; effect of bacterial activity on DOC composition; recognition of functional bacterial groups as energy and carbon sources; bacterial respiration of DOC under changing environmental conditions; viral lysis mediated redistribution of DOC; linking DOC export from the euphotic zone to microbial community structure; molecular characterization of DOC and constraints for prokaryotic utilization; spectroscopic characterization of DOC; application of GeoChips in monitoring carbon cycling and mechanistic modeling of DOC degradation.
In addition, a special issue on the MCP in Applied and Environmental Microbiology will be published in mid 2011, and a review paper in Limnology and Oceanography addressing the origins of RDOC, DOC fractions and their reactivity, and analytical characterization of RDOC will be completed later this year.
To progress research addressing the concept of the MCP, joint cruises along environmental gradients are proposed, typical areas are the West Pacific Warm Pool (WPWP) and the Arctic. Research proposals are currently being prepared for the UK Natural Environmental Research Council and the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology. If funded, these would request IMBER endorsement. A research coordination network (RCN) under the PIRE / Dimension programs from the NSF is also proposed, which will encourage scientists to communicate and coordinate their research, training, and educational activities across disciplinary, organizational, institutional and geographic boundaries.
The next WG134 workshop addressing microbial transformation of DOC will be held in conjunction with the ISME conference in Copenhagen in 2012, and we would also like to apply for a session within the next IMBIZO conference.
IMBER/SOLAS Special Session: Biogeochemical, Ecological and Physical Dynamics of Eastern Boundary Upwelling Systems
Carol Robinson (IMBER SSC), School of Environmental Sciences, Norwich, UK
Véronique Garçon (SOLAS SSC), CNRS, LEGOS, France
This IMBER/SOLAS endorsed special session was convened at the ASLO 2011 Aquatic Sciences Meeting in Puerto Rico in February, and included sixteen presentations from scientists representing nine countries. The aim was to bring together aspects of the dynamics, structure and functioning of eastern boundary upwelling systems including ocean physics, air-sea exchange, photochemistry, suboxic and anaerobic biogeochemistry and microbial community structure and activity.
The session opened with an invited talk by Zouhair Lachkar from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, who presented results from a modelling study to compare and contrast the response of the California and Canary Current Systems to changes in stratification and upwelling favourable winds. The two systems had very different responses to these perturbations, based not simply on changes in nutrient supply but also on the respective efficiency of the biological carbon pump in the two systems. The morning session also included presentations on nitrogen transformations in oxygen minimum zones, a new method to measure phosphate in oxygen minimum zones, the effect of upwelling induced internal tides on phytoplankton and zooplankton growth, harmful algal blooms off the Californian coast, and archaeal biomarkers in oxygen minimum zones. The afternoon session focussed on research undertaken in the Mauritanian upwelling during recent UK and German SOLAS funded cruises. Ricardo Torres described the effect of turbulence on the biogeochemistry of the upwelling region, Socratis Loucaides presented carbonate saturation data, Tobias Steinhoff used underway N2O and CO2 measurements to derive estimates of net community production and Cansu Bayindirli presented data on temporal changes in bacterial and archaeal community structure and gene expression.
Upcoming IMBER meetings
European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly 2011
3-8 April 2011: Vienna, Austria
Deadline for abstract submission: 10 January 2011
IMBER/SOLAS special session: Sensitivity of marine ecosystems and biogeochemical cycles to global change
Baris Salihoglu, METU, Institute of Marine Sciences, Mersin, Turkey
Cécile Guieu, CNRS, LOV, France
Achieving a quantitative understanding of the key biogeochemical-physical interactions and feedbacks between the ocean and the atmosphere and how marine biogeochemical cycles and ecosystems interact is a prerequisite to understand how this coupled system affects and is effected by climate and environmental change. Indeed attempts to predict the future global environment depend on a comprehensive understanding of how plankton biodiversity and biogeochemical cycling in the oceans affect the climate system, and of how changes in climate influence the structure and functional properties of oceanic ecosystems. This session calls for contributions related to experimental work at sea or in the laboratory, remote sensing studies, and modelling studies on the responses of key marine biogeochemical cycles, ecosystems and their interactions, to global change. Contributions dealing with exchange processes at the air-sea interface are also welcome.
Ocean acidification and its impact on polar ecosystems
Jean-Pierre Gattuso (IMBER SSC), CNRS-Université de Paris VI, France
Ulf Riebesell, IFM-GEOMAR, Marine Biogeochemistry, Germany
Stephen Widdicombe, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, United Kingdom
Ocean acidity has increased by 30% since preindustrial times due to the uptake of anthropogenic CO2. It is projected to rise by another 100% by 2100 if CO2 emissions continue at current rates. Polar seas are considered to be particularly vulnerable to ocean acidification because the high solubility of CO2 in cold waters results in naturally low carbonate saturation states. CO2-induced acidification will make these waters undersaturated with respect to calcium carbonate and, therefore, corrosive for calcareous organisms. By the time atmospheric CO2 exceeds 490ppm (2040 to 2050, depending on the scenario considered), more than half of the Arctic Ocean is projected to be corrosive to aragonite.
Presentations from the EPOCA Svalbard experiments (2009 and 2010) are particularly welcome as are all contributions addressing ocean acidification in polar areas, including observations, experiments and modelling.
43rd International Liège Colloquium on ocean dynamics
IMBER Special Session: Tracers at the ocean mesoscale and submesoscale
Liège, Belgium, 2-6 May 2011
The 43rd International Liège Colloquium on Ocean Dynamics will investigate new developments and insights related to tracers and proxies (from temperature and salinity to gases and isotopes) with particular attention on the use of TEI as tracers.
Javier Arístegui, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain (Vice-Chair IMBER SSC)
Xosé A. Álvarez Salgado, IIM-CSIC, Vigo, Spain (IMBER-Spain)
Antonio Tovar Sánchez, IMEDEA, Mallorca, Spain (IMBER– Spain)
Mesoscale and submesoscale processes play a key role in the vertical and lateral exchanges of water and biogeochemical properties across ocean interfaces. Observations and modelling studies suggest that processes at these scales greatly influence the carbon cycle in the ocean, enhancing primary production and carbon sequestration in the deep ocean. This session invites novel contributions that relate tracers in the coastal and open ocean interfaces (such as gases, micronutrients, metals, isotopes, organic carbon, etc.) to investigate the relationship between ecosystems and biogeochemical processes at the mesoscale and submesoscale. The session is relevant to the science goals of the IMBER project and will provide a venue for assessing current understanding as a means to developing future collaborative research programs.
ESSAS OSM 2011
George Hunt, University of Washington, Seattle, USA
The ESSAS (Ecosystem Studies of Sub-Arctic Seas) Open Science Meeting is coming soon to Seattle! From May 22 to 26, an expected 200 plus scientists will converge on Seattle, Washington, USA, to discuss how climate change will affect the sub-polar seas, with sessions on everything from recent accomplishments of the International Polar Year to discussions of how economic and social systems will be impacted by and respond to a changing sub-polar climate.
The ESSAS OSM is sponsored by: ESSAS, IMBER, the North Pacific Research Board (NPRB), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES), the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Arctic Section, the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council (NPFMC), and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG), and School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, U. Washington (SAFS).
The ESSAS OSM will have a series of plenary sessions in the mornings and parallel sessions in the afternoons.
Session titles include:
There will be over 25 invited speakers, including: Eddy Carmack, Lou Codispoti, Marit Reigstad, Mitsutaku Makino, Franz Mueter, Michyio Yamamoto-Kawai, Jim Christian, “Lobo” Orensanz, Orio Yamamura, Suam Kim, Diane Lavoie, Kevin Arrigo and Steve Murawski among others. There will be a grand evening reception on the night of 23 May at the Seattle Aquarium, and a poster reception on the evening of 25 May.
The meeting venue is the beautiful Seattle Marriott Waterfront Hotel, right on Seattle’s historic inner harbor. The famous Pike Place Market is a short walk away, as are many superb restaurants. There are several surprises planned for the meeting, and it is expected to be not only a great chance to mingle with colleagues and exchange ideas, but also a lot of fun. The opportunity has passed for submitting abstracts, but registration remains open.
AMENR III The next generation
Following on from the success of AMEMR 2008, the Plymouth Marine Laboratory is pleased to announce that the third Advances in Marine Ecosystem Modelling Symposium is scheduled to be held in Plymouth in June 2011.
Modelling provides a key scientific technique by which we can elucidate the workings of the marine system and predict its evolution in both the short and long term. The symposium is being convened as a forum for the presentation and discussion of all aspects of model based marine ecosystem research, encompassing numerical, conceptual, mathematical and statistical approaches.
We are particularly keen that this symposium will contribute to the next generation of model based exploration by providing scientists and students an opportunity to discuss and contrast recent advances, outstanding problems and future requirements.
MEECE Summer School
The MEECE summer School “Marine Ecosystem Evolution in a Changing Environment” that will be held in Ankara, will take place in Ankara, Turkey from 7-4 September 2011.
Agenda for the IMBER Science meeting, 13th April 2011
The 2011 IMBER Scientific Steering Committee meeting was held at the Centre d'Océanologie in Marseille, France.
It was decided to take advantage of the opportunity that this presented to engage with French scientists involved in IMBER work. A half-day mini symposium was arranged. The agenda is provided:
24-26 October 2011
ocean deoxygenation and implications for marine biogeochemical cycles and ecosystems
14-18 June 2011
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
|22nd Pacific Science Congress||More info...|
28 June-1 July 2011
|Marine ESFRI Symposium||More info...|
20-25 March 2011
Ventura, California, USA
Gordon Research Conference
Polar Marine Science - Exploring Complex Systems in Polar Marine Science
22-26 May 2011
Seattle, Washington, USA
|ESSAS Open Science Meeting 2011||More info...|
16-17 September 2011
Early Career Scientist Workshop (ECSW)
Challenges and chances of interdisciplinary collaboration in Land Ecosystem - Atmospheric Processes (LEAP) science
12-15 September 2011
LOICZ Open Science Conference 2011
Coastal Systems, Global Change and Sustainability
26-30 September 2011
World Conference on Marine Biodiversity
(Conference will include marine supplier exhibition)
24-28 October 2011
Denver, Colorado, USA
WCRP Open Science Conference
Climate Research in Service to Society
3-7 July 2011
11th International Conference
Biogeochemistry of Trace Elements XVIII.
20-27 July 2011
|INQUA (International Union for Quaternary Research) Congress||More info...|
- C.L. Moloney, M.A. St John, K.L. Denman, D.M. Karl, F.W. Köster, S.Sundby and R.P. Wilson (2011). Weaving marine food webs from end to end under global change, Journal of Marine Systems, 84(3-4), 106-116.
- R.T. Pollard, G. Moncoiffé and T.D. O’Brien (2011). The IMBER Data Management Cookbook - A Project Guide to good Data practices, IMBER Report No. 3. More info...
Should you wish to announce a publication in the IMBER Update, please send information to email@example.com
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Editors: IMBER IPO