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Issue n°10 - June 2008

Issue n°10 - June 2008
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CLIMECO banner

Wilco Hazeleger, KNMI, De Bilt, Netherlands; IMBER SSC member and CLIVAR panel chair

CLIMECO training for young marine scientists: climate driving of marine ecosystem changes. Brest, 21-24 April 2008.

Earth system science inherently has interdisciplinary aspects. In the marine environment, biogeochemical, ecological and physical climate science processes interact strongly. Examples of these interactions are feedbacks between variations in the marine carbon cycle and radiative forcing in the atmosphere, variations in the distribution of tuna related to El Nino Southern Oscillation and the distribution of nutrients in ventilated water masses that are subject to climate variability.

International research programs recognize the importance of these interactions, but are primarily organized along disciplinary sciences. The CLIVAR project of the World Climate Research Program has a focus on the physical aspects of the climate system, IMBER and GLOBEC of the International Geosphere Biosphere Program focus on biogeochemistry and ecosystems research. In an attempt to link research on physical climate variability and marine environmental research, IMBER, GLOBEC and CLIVAR organized a training for young marine scientists in Brest.

The training focussed on the physical climate variability changes and their impact on the marine environment. Young marine scientists were introduced to climate processes and climate data sets that can be used for analyzing the coupling between marine environment and climate. Three aspects of the training are described below.

The lectured provided a background to hands-on sessions with climate data.and models. Physical processes, patterns of climate variability, modeling aspects of the ocean and climate, statistical analysis techniques and the link from climate to marine ecosystems were introduced. Advantages and disadvantages of data sets, analysis techniques and their pitfalls were high-lighted.

Hands-on sessions
Gridded data sets of ocean and climate data are widely available on the internet. The use of these data requires knowledge on the background. In the training a variety of data sets were used ranging from gridded ocean observations (XBT data, altimetry), ocean re-analysis data that combine ocean model and observational data (SODA), ocean general circulation output (ORCA) and coupled ocean-atmosphere model output (IPCC 4AR models). Also climate analysis tools (climexp.knmi.nl) and individual-based marine ecosystem models were used to analyse the climate variability and its impact. The participants worked in small groups with the data and software, primarily on regions of their own interest.

Live broadcast  
30 PhD students and young postdocs out of 190 applicants were selected for the training. The hands-on sessions required a relatively small attendance. However, a web-conference tool provided by Eureoceans, a European network of excellence, allowed others to follow all lectures on live the internet. The system also provides a Questions&Answers tool. On average 40 users logged in to follow the lectures from elsewhere. The recorded lectured will be available at the website of CLIMECO.

With this training a new generation of marine scientists got acquainted with climate data and analysis techniques of climate data that will help them with carrying out novel research on the coupling between the marine environment and climate variability and change. For more information, presentations, sponsors and background documents, see http://www.imber.info/CLIMECO_home.html


Participants, lecturers and organizers of the CLIMECO training

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Climate driving of marine ecosystem changes: a perspective on physical-biological coupling

Matthew C. Long, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA

Predicting the integrated behavior of the Earth system requires representing a cascade of physical and biological processes. The recent training workshop, Climate Driving of Marine Ecosystem Changes (CLIMECO; 21-24 April 2008, Brest, France), focused on exploring the complexity and coupling of these processes through a series of lectures and hands-on computing sessions. In this forum, 30 participants, including myself, examined interactions between physical climate dynamics, marine ecosystems and biogeochemical cycles. CLIMECO instructors addressed observational and analytical techniques, provided experience evaluating model results, and demonstrated quantitative integration of data and models. Several themes emerged throughout the week; here, I discuss some of the key ideas regarding physical-biological coupling that I took from this training.

The CLIMECO training examined models as tools for understanding physical-biological systems. In models of physical dynamics, uncertainties arise due to resolution limits imposed by computational cost and imperfect parameterizations of processes operating below resolved scales. For instance, while the primitive equations describing fluid dynamics are universally accepted, approximations and numerical discretizations must be applied, which modify gradients and omit scale-dependent detail.  Nonlinearity in the governing equations indicates that interactions occur between scales, so general physical accuracy suffers from missing detail, but problems can also arise for representing nested biological processes. Ecosystems are complex adaptive systems in which broad patterns result from processes occurring at local scales (Levin 1998), thus ecosystem structure may be sensitive to physical forcing in a scale-dependent way. Oceanic primary productivity, for example, responds to the availability of light and nutrients, controlled by circulation and mixing. Truncating scales of variability in physical dynamics can lead to fundamentally different biological results, particularly in very heterogeneous environments such as upwelling regions (e.g. Gruber et al. 2006). It follows that inferences made regarding biologically-mediated fluxes of carbon and nutrients can be dependent on model resolution.


Matthew Long at the CLIMECO poster session

Matthew Long won the MoST Award for CLIMECO attendance. MoST is EUR-OCEANS’ Model Shopping Tool for ecosystem model equation comparison; it provided a complimentary award for workshop attendance based on candidate motivation and contribution to the MoST database.

Compared with physics, modeling ecosystems involves subtly different representation challenges. In contrast to the equations governing fluid motions, no universal parameterizations exist for biological rate processes, although there are classical conventions. The predicted behavior of a model biological system is a product of the degree to which physiological dependencies, species interconnections and adaptive capacity are represented. Often, the relative importance of these issues depends on the spatiotemporal scales under consideration. For example, models of phytoplankton production often use nitrogen as the primary “currency”, reflecting the fact that nitrate tends to limit production locally. However, on larger spatial and temporal scales, phosphate may be the “ultimate” limiting nutrient, since ecosystem reorganization can augment access to the large atmospheric reserve that exists for nitrogen but not phosphorus (Tyrrell 1999). Trace metal limitation is another example, where under-representing a physiological dependency—that iron, for instance, is an important component of nitrate acquisition enzymes—could lead to overestimates of production in iron-limited systems. 

Ultimately, the complex, adaptive nature of ecosystems results in nonlinear dynamics and path dependency, meaning that the response to a particular external forcing is a function of prior conditioning, internal architecture, and can involve discontinuous shifts to new stable domains, as tipping points are reached (Holling 2001). Elucidating the mechanisms effecting physically-driven ecological variability presents challenges, since the physical climate system is replete with dynamic oscillations and variability occurring on multiple spatial and temporal scales, but the leading modes of variability in ecosystems may not correspond to those in the physical system (e.g. Di Lorenzo et al. 2008). 

Feedback between climate and ecosystems is potentially essential to the character of the integrated Earth system because biological processes modify the distribution of energy and elements and are sensitive to climate variability (Miller et al. 2003). Models formalize functional representations of processes to summarize data and create interrogatable hypotheses. Further development and implementation of robust representations of physical-biological coupling will play a major role in improving comprehensive perspectives on the integrated Earth system. Hopefully future CLIMECO workshops will provide training in the interdisciplinary skills and knowledge necessary to address these questions and explicitly understand coupling dynamics.

Di Lorenzo, E. et al. (2008). Geophys. Res. Lett. 35(L08607).
Gruber, N. et al (2006). Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers 53(9): 1483-1516.
Holling, C. S. (2001). Ecosystems 4(5): 390-405.
Levin, S. (1998). Ecosystems 1: 431-436.
Miller, A. et al. (2003). Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc. 84: 617-633.
Tyrrell, T. (1999). Nature 400(6744): 525-531.

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Science Highlight 

Modeling of the ecosystem of the bay of Brest: importance of benthic-pelagic coupling

Raimonet1, M., Laruelle2, G., Regnier2, P., Ragueneau1, O., Kempa1, M., Moriceau1, B., Ni Longphuirt1, S., Leynaert1, A., Thouzeau1, G., Chauvaud1 L. and Mémery1, L.
1 LEMAR CNRS-UBO UMR 6539, Plouzané (France)‏
2 Department of Earth Sciences, Utrecht University (Netherlands)

Mélanie Raimonet won the best poster award during the CLIMECO training!

Located in Northwestern France, the Bay of Brest (Fig. 1) is a 180 km2 semi-enclosed bay subjected to two major anthropogenic perturbations: high nutrient loads from intensive human activities in the watersheds, and proliferation of an invasive benthic filter feeder Crepidula fornicata, accidentally introduced 50 years ago which now covers ca. 50% of the surface of the Bay.

To date, the Bay of Brest has not become eutrophication. Two major hypotheses have been proposed to explain this: i) the intense hydrodynamics of this macrotidal bay (Le Pape et al., 1996) and ii) the proliferation of Crepidula fornicata, which may control the quantity and the quality of phytoplankton blooms through an alteration of the silica cycle (Chauvaud et al., 2000; Ragueneau et al., 2002). To test these hypotheses, a 2D model has been developed that couples hydrodynamics and biological processes including an explicit representation of Crepidula fornicata and its role in benthic-pelagic coupling.


Fig. 1 – Map of the Bay of Brest and position of the SOMLIT station.

The 2D physical-biological model (MIKE 21/ECOLAB) describes the benthic-pelagic coupling that plays a major role in this ecosystem (Fig. 2). In particular, the two phytoplankton groups are represented by diatoms (Dia) and dinoflagellates (Dino), which differ in that only diatoms need silicic acid (DSi) to make their frustules. The benthic community is characterized by filter feeder species, Crepidula fornicata, and microphytobenthic organisms. Benthic-pelagic coupling is depicted by three different mechanisms: i) Crepidula fornicata grazing on phytoplankton, ii) detritus sedimentation and iii) benthic nutrient fluxes.

The model was first validated by comparing nutrient and chlorophyll concentrations with the corresponding time series records from a monitoring program, SOMLIT (Fig. 1, http://www.domino.u-bordeaux.fr/somlit_national/). Additionally, the temporal evolution of benthic silicic acid fluxes and biogenic silica production were verified using measurements performed by the LEMAR (Laboratoire des Sciences de l’Environnement Marin) research teams (http://www.univ-brest.fr/IUEM/UMR6539/index.htm). Following validation of stocks and fluxes, a scenario representing Crepidula fornicata removal (Crepidula fornicata endangers the local scallop fishing industry) predicts a dinoflagellate bloom during late summer twice as high as the base simulation (Fig. 3). These results substantiate the importance of this invasive species in phytoplankton dynamics.


Fig. 2 – Conceptual model of the functioning of the Bay of Brest ecosystem.
The state variables of the pelagic model are: DSi: silicic acid, DIN: dissolved inorganic nitrogen, Dia: diatoms, Dino: dinoflagellates, Zoo: zooplankton, DDia: freshly dead diatoms, NDet: detritic nitrogen, SiDet: detritic silica. The benthic model is composed by: BDSi: benthic silicic acid, BDIN: benthic dissolved inorganic nitrogen, BDia: benthic diatoms, BDDia: benthic freshly dead diatoms, Ben: benthic filter feeders, BNDet: benthic detritic nitrogen, BSiDet: benthic detritic silica.


Fig. 3 – Annual evolution of diatom (blue line) and dinoflagellate (red line) biomasses resulting from the base simulation (A, Crepidula fornicata explicitly modeled) and from the removal scenario (B, Crepidula fornicata absent). Units: 106 mol C.

Results from this modeling study confirm the potential role played by Crepidula fornicata in phytoplankton dynamics. When present, Crepidula fornicata limits the build up of phytoplankton biomass during spring and permits the temporary storage of biogenic silica at the sediment-water interface, which is accomplished through its filtering and biodeposition activities. Subsequently, biogenic silica dissolution restricts the development of dinoflagellates during late summer. When absent, the development of dinoflagellates is favored because of the lower benthic silicic acid flux.
The Bay of Brest ecosystem has been changing over the last ten years. It is crucial to identify the natural and anthropogenic processes that are responsible for these changes in order to assess their future impacts. As a result, the model discussed above will be expanded by improving the representation of the nitrogen cycle and including a phosphorus module.

Chauvaud et al. (2000) Marine Ecology Progress Series 200: 35-48.
Le Pape et al.(1996) Continental Shelf Research, 16 (15): 1885-1907.
Ragueneau et al. (2002). Limnology and Oceanography, 47(6): 1849-1854.

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Regulation of carbon export by short-term variability in organic matter recycling within the upper twilight zone

Julien Pommier1,*, Christine Michel2 and Michel Gosselin3
1Groupe de Recherche sur les Écosystèmes Aquatiques (GREA), Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Trois-Rivières (QC), Canada
2Freshwater Institute, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Winnipeg (MB), Canada
3Institut des sciences de la mer (ISMER), Université du Québec à Rimouski, Rimouski (QC), Canada

* julien.pommier@uqtr.ca

Over the recent decades, great emphasis has been placed on the study of the biological carbon pump. This interest was largely motivated by the need to predict the ability of the ocean in mitigating the increase in anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide, in the context of a globally warming climate. Since the Joint Global Ocean Flux Study (JGOFS), an improved understanding has emerged regarding how deep-ocean carbon fluxes are related, in space and time, to the periodicity of epipelagic processes (i.e., seasonality of phytoplankton production, hydrodynamic control of pelagic communities’ size-structure...). One of the most promising legacies of the JGOFS project for future (now on-going) research focussing on ocean biogeochemical cycling is the light shed on the mesopelagic zone.
The mesopelagic or “twilight” zone, located between the base of the euphotic zone and ca. 1000 m1, is a crucial layer of the water column which is believed to control the efficiency of carbon transfer from the surface to the deep ocean1, 2, 3. Yet, while particle interceptor trap data have shown that particulate organic carbon (POC) flux decreases rapidly with depth as soon as the sinking organic matter enters the mesopelagic zone, little is known on the nature and dynamics of the processes responsible for this pattern4. This constrains our ability to predict the sequestration of carbon dioxide into the deep-ocean through the biological carbon pump.
Within this framework, the variability of POC sinking flux in the upper twilight zone (50‑150 m) of the northwest Atlantic Ocean and its relation to size-fractionated primary production were investigated on four occasions in 2003 during a Lagrangian study of the decline of a spring diatom bloom and its transition towards post-bloom conditions5.
POC sinking fluxes below the euphotic zone (Zeu, i.e. 50-75 m) decreased throughout the senescence of the bloom (d2-d6) and further decreased under post-bloom conditions (d20) (Fig.1a). During this period, POC sinking fluxes below the euphotic zone were positively correlated with the decreasing production (Fig. 1b) and biomass (Fig. 1c) of large phytoplankton cells (≥ 5 µm), highlighting the importance of the size structure of primary producers in shaping POC export from the euphotic zone. In contrast, POC sinking fluxes at 150 m remained fairly constant throughout the study period despite strong temporal variations in POC sinking fluxes below the euphotic zone (Fig. 1a).


Fig. 1 - Temporal changes in (a) particulate organic carbon (POC) sinking flux below the base of the euphotic zone (Zeu, i.e., at 50 m from d2 to d6 and at 75 m on d20) and at 150 m, (b) size-fractionated particulate primary production integrated over the euphotic zone depth and (c) size-fractionated chlorophyll a biomass integrated over the euphotic zone depth. In (a) and (b), mean values and standard deviations are presented. In (b) and (c), the production and biomass values of small (PS and BS, respectively: 0.7–5 µm) and large (PL and BL, respectively: ≥ 5 µm) phytoplankton cells are indicated

The vertical profiles of POC sinking flux (Fig. 2), parameterized using the power-law function of Martin et al.6, revealed the decrease in POC recycling within the upper twilight zone throughout the study period, as evidenced from the decreasing slope of the profiles (i.e., the exponent in the power-law depth dependence of POC flux7). This decrease in POC recycling within the upper twilight zone translated into POC being exported with a greater efficiency from 50 to 150 m. Which, in turn, could have compensated for the decreasing POC fluxes from the euphotic zone and led to the fairly constant POC sinking fluxes measured at 150 m throughout the study period. Moreover, the decrease in POC recycling within the upper twilight zone was positively correlated with the reduction in POC sinking fluxes below the euphotic zone. This result emphasizes that recycling processes within the upper twilight zone can respond rapidly and proportionally to the export of POC from the euphotic zone, as recently reported in the northwest Pacific Ocean1.

Our study5 shed light on the fact that, while the activity and size-structure of primary producers determine the initial export of carbon from the euphotic zone, the efficiency of POC export to depth is ultimately controlled by the short-term variability in organic matter recycling within the mesopelagic zone. Further research is needed to elucidate the relative importance of the various recycling processes within the mesopelagic zone (e.g., bacterial activity, micro- and mesozooplankton grazing...) and the dynamics of their response to organic matter inputs from the euphotic zone.


Fig. 2 - Temporal changes in the vertical profiles of particulate organic carbon (POC) sinking flux from 50 m to 150 m (mean ± standard deviation) during a Lagrangian study of the decline of the northwest Atlantic spring bloom (d2-d6) in 2003 and its transition towards post-bloom conditions (d20). For each day, the symbols represent the observed data; the curve is a moving average (n = 2)

1Buesseler et al.  (2007)  Science 316:567–570
2Angel MV (1989) Does mesopelagic biology affect the vertical flux? In: Berger WH, Smetacek VS, Wefer G (eds) Productivity in the ocean: present and past. John Wiley and Sons, New York, p 155–173
3Tréguer et al. (2003) Water column biogeochemistry below the euphotic zone. In: Fasham MJR (ed) Ocean biogeochemistry: The role of the ocean carbon cycle in global change. Global Change-The IGBP series, SpringerVerlag, Berlin, p 145–156
4Ducklow et al. (2001) Oceanography 14:50–58
5Pommier et al. (2008) Marine Ecology Progress Series 356:81–92
6Martin et al. (1987) Deep-Sea Res 34:267–285
7Primeau F (2006) Deep-Sea Res I 53:1335–1343

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IMBER Activities

2008 IMBER Scientific Steering Committee meeting report

IMBER held its 2008 Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) meeting at the beautiful Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, in Cape Town (South Africa) on May 5-6 as part of the IGBP congress. Thus, in addition to representatives from LOICZ, GEOTRACES, ICO/GOOS, SCOR and IGBP that attended parts of the IMBER SSC meeting, joint session were held with the GLOBEC and SOLAS SSCs on Monday May 5th and Tuesday May 6th, respectively.

During this meeting the IMBER SSC members and invited attendees looked at the IMBER legacy and reviewed the plan for the implementation of IMBER in the next 18 months with priorities for next year and funding requirements being identified.

The End to end food webs task team submitted their final report to the IMBER and GLOBEC executives in October 2007 in the form of drafts of two manuscripts. (Moloney et al., in prep. and St John et al., in prep.). Additional end to end activities within IMBER this year include:

• the IGBP Congress Working Group Session entitled “End to end food webs in marine ecosystems” held in Cape Town on May 8, 2008, and
• the IMBER IMBIZO workshop on Ecological and Biogeochemical Interactions in End to end food webs (Miami, November 9-13, 2008).

A number of activities are also underway within the joint SOLAS/IMBER Carbon (SIC!) Research Group. The Surface Ocean System sub-group is preparing a Deep-Sea Research II special issue resulting from the Surface Ocean CO2 vulnerability and variability workshop held in April 2007 in Paris. Thirteen papers are now accepted and under revision. This sub-group also held a second meeting of the Surface Ocean CO2 Atlas (SOCAT) in Paris (June 16-17, 2008) to discuss an international agreement on second level quality control procedures, to identify approaches for gridding and interpolation and to identify major global science issues and specific issues for each basin. The sub-group on Ocean Interior presented a project on global observation for Oxygen Depletion (OXYWATCH O2). If funded, this project would be launched in 2009 for three years duration. This sub-group is also organising a Global Carbon Synthesis Symposium to be held at the Centro Stefano Franscini at Monte Verità, Ascona (Switzerland) in July 2009.

One of the major outcomes of the joint IMBER/LOICZ Continental Margins Conference that was held at the East China Normal University (Shanghai, China) on September 17-21, 2007, was to identify IMBER and LOICZ themes to be developed in the joint continental margins implementation plan. These themes include: sources and sinks of CO2, coupled model of ecosystems and biogeochemistry for continental margins, coupling of elements cycles, regeneration, model of coupling ocean and bottom, and ocean shelf exchange. A document is in preparation and will be circulated to the scientific community for comment later this year. It was suggested that the coordination of our Capacity Building activities with other major projects such as SCOR and IGBP is essential for optimal resource utilization. The IMBER capacity building working group is working at developing capacity building activities jointly with data management in conjunction with all major IMBER activities.

The IMBER Data Management Committee is developing a data management strategy that spans a range of multi-disciplinary data. One proposed way to reach this goal is to educate young and senior scientists at the IMBER IMBIZO as well as other IMBER activities. The DMC is organizing an interactive workshop entitled “BEER” The secret to a successful project” prior to the IMBER IMBIZO 2008 in November. The objective of the workshop is to present the benefits of adding a Data Integration Scientist to all projects through introduction of various data integration and handling techniques illustrated in the IMBER Data Integration Cookbook. The BEER workshop will also seek feedback from workshop participants on the draft Data Integration Cookbook.

Very good news for the IMBER project is the confirmation from a French consortium to provide financial support of the International Project Office located at the Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer for an additional three years (2008-2011). For this second cycle, the confirmed sponsors are:
• Conseil National de la Recherche Scientifique,

• Institut de Recherche et Développement,
• Ifremer,
• Université de Bretagne (UBO),
• Conseil Régional de Bretagne,
• Conseil Général 29 (Finistère), and
• Brest Métropole Océane.

Over the next 12 to 18 months, IMBER activities to note include:
Summer School on Analyses of the interactions between end to end marine food webs and biogeochemical cycles, Ankara, Turkey, August 11-16, 2008 (http://www.imber.info/E2E_EcoModel_programme.html).

IMBER IMBIZO 2008: Biogeochemical and ecosystem interactions in a changing ocean, Miami, USA, November 9-13, 2008 (http://www.imber.info/IMBIZO.html)
Global Carbon Synthesis Symposium Decadal Variations of the Ocean’s Interior Carbon Cycle: Synthesis and Vulnerabilities, Ascona, Switzerland, July, 2009
Summer School on Effects of global change on coastal systems, Brest, France, August, 2009

IMBER IMBIZO 2010: Integration of biogeochemistry and ecosystems in the ocean Brest, France, early 2010

To keep people updated on IMBER related activities the IMBER IPO publish the IMBER newsletter “IMBER update” three times a year and circulating a monthly e-News bulletin. Your contributions to our publication are welcomed (www.imber.info)


IMBER SSC members met at the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, Cape Town, for their 2008 annual meeting.

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IMBER IMBIZO 2008 “Biogeochemical and ecosystem interactions in a changing ocean”


IMBIZO is a Zulu word that means “gathering” or “meeting”. IMBER will conduct a series of IMBIZOs over the next decade, with the first gathering planned for November 9-13, 2008 in Coconut Grove (Miami), Florida.

The first IMBER IMBIZO will consist of three interdisciplinary workshops, held in parallel, with interacting sessions that will facilitate interactions between scientists from a range of disciplines to discuss current knowledge and future research directions on:

End-to-end Food Webs, the Mesopelagic zone, and the Bathypelagic zone.
Each workshop will include oral presentations to showcase the current state of knowledge in each area and discussion sessions to identify key science questions to be addressed as part of IMBER over the next 10 years. The workshops will also meet jointly for plenary, poster and reporting sessions. To facilitate effective discussion, each workshop will be limited to 40 participants. Space will be reserved for young scientists. Some funding is available for scientists from developing countries to attend. Each participant is also encouraged to present a poster on their research relevant to the workshop they are attending. The posters will be up for the duration of the IMBIZO. The knowledge advanced at the workshops will be reported as publications and synthesis papers in peer reviewed journals. The IMBER IMBIZO will also provide an opportunity for junior and senior scientists to participate in a half-day interactive workshop on data integration practices.



Ecological and Biogeochemical Interactions in End to End Food Webs
(co-chaired by Coleen Moloney and Mike Roman)

Invited speaker: Dr Patrick Lehodey (Conseil National de la Recherche Scientifique, France)
All selected participants will be allocated 5 minute presentations with one slide to share their ideas on end-to-end food webs with the workshop participants. Copies of the slides will need to be submitted electronically one month before the IMBIZO for distribution at the workshop. A few speakers will be selected to give a 15 minutes reviews/ provocative talks on the topic to initiate discussion.
Topics that could be addressed:

1. biogeochemists wanting to know how food web dynamics affect nutrient availability,
2. fisheries scientists wanting to know how changes in nutrients affect food quality and fish production, and
3. conservation biologists wanting to know how the combined effects of fishing and climate forcing might affect biodiversity.

A special issue of a journal will be developed through the contributions of the workshop participants. A synthesis paper, highlighting the findings of the workshop, will be developed during the workshop.

Ecological and Biogeochemical Interactions in the Mesopelagic Zone
(co-chaired by Debbie Steinberg and Hiroaki Saito)
Invited speaker: Dr Richard Lampitt (University of Southampton, UK) (Monday morning session)
Seven 1.5-2 hour focused sessions will be held during the workshop. In each session one or two speakers will be given a 15 minute review or provocative talk on the topic to initiate discussion. All participants will be asked to submit a slide with a short paragraph description (1 page total) that will be assembled by discussion topic and inserted into a booklet to be handed out at the meeting.
Topics planned for discussion include:

  • planktonic food web controls on vertical transport,
  • cycling, and composition of particulate and dissolved organic matter,
  • linking microbial and metazoan diversity to function,
  • ecological and biogeochemical approaches to estimating remineralization rates,
  • models, methods and new technologies,
  • regional comparisons in food-web structure and biogeochemistry, and potential responses of the system to environmental change.

Biogeochemistry and Microbial Dynamics of the Bathypelagic zone
(co-chaired by Dennis Hansell and Gerhard Herndl)
Invited speaker: Dr. David M. Karl, USA National Academy of Sciences, Department of Oceanography at the University of Hawaii (USA).
The workshop will focus on: biogeochemistry, geochemistry, physical system; microbial dynamics; food webs. Each topic will be the focus of a breakout session. Each participant will be allowed 5 minutes and 1-2 slides to present their most compelling science within those topics. A special issue of a journal will be developed through the contributions of the workshop participants. A synthesis paper, highlighting the findings of the workshop, will also be developed during the workshop.

“BEER”: The secret to a successful project (Sunday , Nov. 9, 13h to 17h)
(co-chaired by Raymond Pollard and Todd O’Brien)
Invited speaker: Todd O’Brien (NOAA, Marine Ecosystems Division, USA) and Gwenaelle Moncoiffé (British Oceanographic Data Center, Liverpool, UK)
This IMBER-DMC sponsored workshop and discussion will present the benefits of adding a Data Integration Scientist to projects, and will introduce the various data integration and handling techniques illustrated in the IMBER Data Integration Cookbook. Scientists of all experience levels are invited to participate in this workshop and contribute to the discussion.

Further information about the Miami IMBIZO and draft programs for each workshop can be found on the IMBIZO website: http://www.imber.info/IMBIZO.html.

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New IMBER SSC members

Welcome to:

Carol Robinson

School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom

Carol’s expertise is in carbon and oxygen cycling. She gained a BSc in Marine Zoology and a PhD in Public Health Engineering (1987) from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. After eight years postdoctoral research at the University of Wales (Bangor), she moved to Plymouth Marine Laboratory to take up a NERC Advanced Research Fellowship on plankton respiration. From 2002 to 2007 she was the Principal Investigator of the ecological and biogeochemical project, the Atlantic Meridional Transect (AMT) programme. Carol recently moved to the University of East Anglia, where she is a Reader in Ocean/Atmospheric Biogeochemistry.

Her interests include plankton production and respiration, the link between microbial community composition and function, and the influence of nutrients, temperature and pH on phytoplankton activity. She currently leads a UK SOLAS project on the impact of coastal upwelling on air sea exchange of climate relevant gases.

Javier Aristegui

Facultad de Ciencias del Mar, Univ. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain

Javier´s expertise is in marine biogeochemistry, plankton ecology and metabolism. Javier graduated at the University of La Laguna (1979) and obtained a Ph.D. in Marine Biology from the same university in 1984. Since 1985 he has been working at the University of Las Palmas as Professor of Marine Ecology and Biological Oceanography.  Javier has held several positions in the Faculty of Marine Sciences, and is currently the head of the Group of Biological Oceanography and co-coordinator of a Master and PhD Program on Oceanography. He has been leading a number of research projects in different ocean regions, focused on microbial metabolism to biogeochemistry. At present his research interests include the study of biogeochemical processes in Eastern Boundary Upwelling Systems, with special emphasis on mesoscale processes, as well as the coupled study of carbon dynamics and prokaryotic activity in the mesopelagic zone of the ocean. Javier is member of the European network of excellence EUR-OCEANS, the coordinator of IMBER in Spain, and member of the Spanish Steering Committee of SOLAS.

Jean-Pierre Gattuso

CNRS, Laboratoire d'Océanographie de Villefranche, France

Jean-Pierre Gattuso's expertise is marine biogeochemistry. Jean-Pierre obtained his MSc (1982) and PhD (1987) in biological oceanography at the University of Marseille (France). He worked as a reader at the University of Nice and as a postdoctoral fellow at the Australian Institute of Marine Science before being hired, in 1990, as a research scientist at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS). He worked in Perpignan, Monaco and Villefranche-sur-mer (France) where he is currently Senior Research Scientist. He was the founding President of the EGU Biogeosciences division and is the founding Editor-in-Chief of the journal Biogeosciences. He presently coordinates the large-scale EU project EPOCA (European Project on Ocean Acidification; http://epoca-project.eu/). His  research interests include microbial ecology, carbon and carbonate cycling in coastal ecosystems, and the response of organisms and ecosystems to global environmental change, with a focus on ocean acidification.

Gattuso Jean-Pierre
Nicolas Gruber

Department of Environmental Physics, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland

Nicolas is Professor for Environmental Physics at the Department of Environmental Sciences at ETH Zurich, Switzerland. He earned his Ph.D. degree in 1997 from the University of Bern and spent three years at Princeton University as a postdoctoral fellow. In 2000, he was appointed as an assistant professor at the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics at the University of California, Los Angeles, and received tenure in 2005. In 2006, he joined the faculty of ETH Zürich as a full professor. Nicolas' research interests are the study of biogeochemical cycles on regional to global scales and on timescales from months to millennia, with a particular focus on the carbon cycle and its interaction with Earth's climate system. His primary research tools are the interpretation and analysis of observational data coupled with the use of models ranging in complexity from simple box models to general circulation models.

Gruber Nicolas
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IMBER special sessions

IGBP Congress

Session B3: “Biogeochemistry and food web interactions along continental margins: forcing and feedbacks of carbon cycle in land-atmosphere-ocean systems”
Co-conveners: Dr Jing Zhang (IMBER) and Dr Cisco Werner (GLOBEC)

Marginal seas represent an important environment in the study of Global Change. In particular, the biogeochemical processes occurring in marginal seas, their relation to ecosystem dynamics, and the resulting effect on the structure of food webs end to end are considered as cross-link between IMBER and GLOBEC with relevance to other IGBP Programs (e.g., LOICZ, SOLAS). The themes for round-table discussion in this session included: role of marginal seas in ocean carbon cycling, efficiency of the “Continental shelf pump” presently and during paleo-oceanic conditions, biogeochemistry in the evolution of ecosystem structures in continental margin environments, and coastal hypoxia and its role in global change. Approximately 25 participants were involved in the presentations and general discussion in this session.

The session was opened by a brief welcome by the co-conveners. Then Cisco Werner briefly introduced the recent progress based on the recent research results from University of North Carolina  and focused on the impacts of coastal land development and enrichment of nutrient loadings in the eastern United States. It was shown that changing storm and hurricane frequencies over the last two decades may have dramatic impacts on nutrient thresholds in continental margins, including nutrient cycling, for example in the Neuse River-Pamlico Sound excessive N loading has lead to eutrophication in the adjacent marine environment. Following flood events induced by storms, high productivity has been found to exacerbate hypoxia that can lead to fish kills, which is in part allowing cyano-bacteria bloom frequency to increase due to the complex linkage between physics, chemistry and biotic factors, and presumably cyano-bacteria being more adaptable to extreme events.

In the presentation entitled “DMS and the marine food chain: a SOLAS perspective”, Barry Huebert presented the SOLAS relevance to end-to-end ecosystem study in surface ocean, linking food webs and DMS production. The coupling between the sulfur cycle and food-web dynamics and their influence on the marine boundary layer of atmosphere was described. It was indicated that DMS is a product of phytoplankton growth that can be related to the cycling of other major and trace nutrients in surface ocean. Transfer of DMSP to DMS could be an important process for sulfur into atmosphere impacting cloudiness feeding back to global warming. Moreover, it has been shown that fluxes of limiting nutrients, such as N and Fe, as well as mineral dust, could affect the DMS fluxes in the Eastern Equatorial Pacific, which to a larger scale has effect on CO2.

The presentation given by Eileen Hofmann on ICED (Integrating Climate and Ecosystem Dynamics; a joint project of GLOBEC and IMBER) outlined the biogeochemistry and food web interactions in the circumpolar Antarctic region. ICED will study effects of climate and harvesting on the biogeochemistry and food-web in the Southern Oceans. One of the foci will be the definition of Antarctic food webs under conditions of high versus low krill biomass, and the response to variability in ice cover and extent among other features. ICED will coordinate a circumpolar approach (including the Antarctic continental margins) to study changing climate impacts The idea is to combine climate, harvesting, biogeochemistry and food webs and their interactions at circumpolar scales, to allow better development of conceptual models of food webs that can be linked to the foci of IMBER and GLOBEC in sub-polar regions. The range of modeling approaches will couple local and regional scales to those at basin scales.

Finally, in the presentation by Sybil Seitzinger, trajectories of global river nutrient exports to coastal waters for different scenarios of 2030-2050 were described in comparison to the global terrestrial nutrient flux in 2000. The drivers considered included nutrient sources, hydrographic regimes and human perturbations in the watersheds. Nitrogen yields in a global change context were evaluated based on model simulations. The predictions of export of dissolved and particulate C, N, P and Si were elaborated with projections to global coastal productions along with DIN yields from watersheds. Global orchestration scenarios of changes in river N export were re-evaluated and combined into a “techno-garden” approach, indicating that the solution depends on the trajectories chosen.

General discussion of this session focused on the responses of continental margins biogeochemical cycles and ecosystems to in atmospheric forcing, changes in N inputs from land sources, and the role of high latitude systems in climate change. Relationships between natural and human forcings in different marine were also addressed.

Session A3: End to end food webs in marine ecosystems
Co-conveners: Dr Coleen Moloney (IMBER) and Prof. Astrid Jarre (GLOBEC)

The consequences of global change for plant and animal communities can be direct and/or indirect. Indirect effects are likely to be complex, with many possible responses and different degrees of response to different combinations of factors. Perturbations can propagate both up and down a food web hierarchy, affecting living organisms and feeding back to biogeochemical cycles. Marine food webs should be considered from end to end (from viruses to top predators) as integrated systems within changing physical and chemical environments. Although marine food webs are essentially continuous systems, research has been fragmented among different scientific communities, tending to focus on either the low trophic levels (phytoplankton and the microbial food web), intermediate trophic levels (zooplankton and fish), or high trophic levels (top predators). Through studying end to end marine food webs, it should be possible to quantify the flows of energy and cycling of materials in marine ecosystems on global scales, to characterize ecosystem responses to external forcing, and to understand the causes and consequences of changes in biodiversity. This session was organised to provide an opportunity to share information about processes involved in end to end marine food webs, and to raise issues that should be considered in future research activities.

Bridging gaps by weaving marine food webs from end to end. Coleen Moloney, Zoology Department and MA-RE Institute, University of Cape Town, South Africa.
Looking at the end to end food web through copepod Neocalanus. Hiroaki Saito, Tohoku National. Fisheries Research Institute, Shiogama, Japan.
Benguela food webs in relation to global change. Lynne Shannon, Marine and Coastal Management, Cape Town,, South Africa.

The discussion was structured around the question:
What are the key issues in marine food webs under global change that need to be addressed?
A number of points were raised during the session, and these have been combined subsequently under five main issues below.

Issue 1. Varying element ratios 
Food web models exist that use different "currencies" to track flows of materials. Conversions are usually employed to relate flows between models with different currencies. It is not clear how sensitive the model results are to stoichiometric assumptions. Conversions can be straightforward in high trophic levels, but can be very difficult in low trophic levels.

Issue 2. Linking processes at different scales
Food web models are critical for understanding energy flows from the primary producers. With NPZD models, there can be problems with closure terms for the zooplankton. When one introduces higher trophic levels and nutrients to models, one is often considering the cycling of materials, and the top predators might not be considered top predators any longer. It was also highlighted that there is still poor understanding of how physical oceanography affects biogeochemistry, because of scale problems. Similarly, feedback loops in food webs are still not understood well enough. It was also stated that deterministic understanding may not be sufficient, and it should be considered whether to include stochasticity in models. There is a need to learn how to deal with temporal and spatial scale problems when integrating models of lower trophic levels (plankton) and traditional food web models (fish/top predators). It is possibly useful to start with "simple" systems, such as oceanic pelagic systems. Climate change can cause collapse of fish populations, and a question was asked how this possibility could be addressed in long-term forecasts of fisheries options. With respect to fisheries, there is also a need to link management to likely changes in markets.

Issue 3. Stability/variability and resilience of food webs
The question was asked whether variable ecosystems respond differently to change than more stable systems. For example, the Benguela is a variable system in which species appear to show high adaptive potential. In contrast, in the NW Atlantic off Canada, overfishing under environmental change appears to have caused a collapse of the system, with subsequent changes in population characteristics contributing to non-recovery. With regard to variability, there was a question about whether niches change over time, or whether species replace one another in the same niche. Niches are a flexible concept and may well change over time, and this needs to be considered in models. In addition, populations that are seemingly replacing one another can have different spatial requirements (e.g. sardine vs. anchovy in the Benguela), and it might be useful to model habitat requirements/ characteristics along with trophic interactions. The timing of the onset of certain events might be at least as important as changes in the magnitude of drivers/ pressures.

Issue 4. Food web models
There is a continued need for detailed models (ecosystem-specific) but also a need for comparisons among ecosystems. Simplified models might be required for the global scale, but how complex is simple? Are order-of-magnitude, descriptive comparisons good enough? It was also suggested that one framework might be required rather than several linked models. However, the key to comparisons is the realisation that all models are simplifications of reality, and models need objectives to be meaningful. If models are built with different objectives, they are not comparable. Indeed, models with comparable objectives but different structures might still not be comparable. This needs to be considered very carefully at the onset of all comparative/ integrative work. One possibility might be to use one model framework in different systems, and learn more about the systems when finding out why the model might work well in one system but not in another.

Issue 5. Semantics and paradigms
There was some discussion about whether the term "end to end" food webs is useful, as there is a perception that it describes something new, whereas much of the discussion was suggesting that the concept is more about integrating studies of marine food webs. Another important question asked was whether there are first order ecosystem issues that unite food web studies globally. For example, issues like what controls the regeneration of carbon in the ocean? or what is the efficiency of the biological pump on the global scale? It was emphasized that there is a continued need for baseline studies; we still need to understand mechanisms in order to predict. It might be useful to also consider pathways that to date are less well researched, such as mesopelagic fishes as predators.

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Open session on IMBER/SOLAS and sensitivity of marine ecosystems to climate change: a summary of presentations

Baris Salihoglu
Contact: baris.salihoglu@legos.cnes.fr

A joint IMBER/SOLAS special session was held at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2008 (13 – 18 April 2008, Vienna, Austria). This session on sensitivity of marine ecosystems to climate change was organized by Carol Robinson, Baris Salihoglu, Temel Oguz and Christiane Lancelot. The session comprised many aspects of marine biogeochemistry and ecosystem dynamics and their links to lower atmosphere and climate change impacts. The total number of presentations was 32.

Our first keynote speaker Rafael Simo, focused on sulfur biogeochemistry, which advanced our current understanding on the controls of dimethylsulfide (DMS) emissions from the ocean and how they respond to environmental forcing. The subsequent talks reported a positive correlation between increase in phytoplankton growth rate due to climate warming and increase of carbon uptake in the equatorial and North Pacific and in the North Atlantic Oceans. In the oligotrophic subtropical regions, the air-sea CO2 flux is sensitive to changes in the phytoplankton exudation rate by altering the flux of regenerated nutrients essential for photosynthesis. Some results from the POMME (Programme Océanographique Multidisciplinaire Moyenne Echelle) programme showed modulation of large scale pCO2 distribution by submesoscale filaments. One of the presentations demonstrated a significant role of heterotrophic bacteria by the fertilization of oceanic ecosystems due to dust loading. This highlighted the need for a more detailed understanding of how dust pulses may affect biogeochemical cycles at the ocean-atmosphere interface. A Research carried out in the Mediterranean basin illustrated the importance of considering seawater characteristics, in addition to atmospheric particles characteristics to estimate the fate of atmospheric iron in seawater. Some preliminary results from the interdisciplinary network BELCANTO III project (integrated study of the Southern Ocean Biogeochemistry and Climate interactions in the Anthropocene, funded by BELSPO, Belgian Science Policy) focused on the estimation of export flux and the fate of sinking biogenic materials via a multiproxy approach, including Ba-barite, 234 Th-deficit, bacterial activity, new-production and biomarkers. A presentation on coccolithophore growth, chemistry and calcification under decoupled ocean carbonate chemistry discussed the sources and sinks of dicarboxylic acids in aquatic waters.

A group from National Oceanograhy Centre of Southampton presented results from the 2004-5 RRS Discovery cruises during which a complex set of observations were conducted around the Crozet Islands in the SW Indian Ocean. Results showed significantly larger export fluxes in the iron fertilised high chlorophyll region compared to the control High Nutrient Low Chlorophyll (HNLC) region. These findings suggest any climate change-induced increase in iron supply to Southern Ocean would increase the flux of organic carbon to deep waters. The same group also measured the production (using radiotracers) and export (using 234 Th deficits) of opal, calcite and organic carbon at 10 stations in the Iceland basin during summer 2001 and will use the data to evaluate the hypothesis if an efficient export of organic matter is associated with an efficient export of biomineral phases. Results obtained during the SAZ-SENSE expedition (Jan.-Feb. 2008; R/V Aurora Australis) conducted in the Australian sector of the Southern Ocean to assess the role of variability in iron supply to ecosystem functioning were presented. Net community production and f -ratios highlight large differences in nutrient availability and ecosystem functioning between different regions. These results suggest that whether these differences are directly controlled by differences in micro-nutrient supply remains to be assessed.

The afternoon session focused more on modeling studies from various regions. Marcello Vichi talked about the fully coupled CMCC-INGV Earth System Model that was used to investigate the response of marine ecosystems to increasing levels of atmospheric CO2. The result suggested that overall increase in stratification would favor the development of microbial food webs and a change in mean climate conditions would impact the marine ecosystem structure and functioning. The sensitivity of the potential feedbacks between climate and biogeochemical cycles was addressed with the help of LOVECLIM, a global three-dimensional Earth system model of intermediate complexity.  Advances on coupling bio-optics into a marine ecosystem model to enable comparison with ocean colour data were shown. A group from Institute of Marine Sciences, Turkey, showed results on nonlinear controls of anchovy stock and anchovy-gelatinous regime shift in the Black Sea. Their model results suggested that the anchovy-Mnemiopsis regime shift was primarily linked to excessive nutrient enrichment of the system, but increasing fishing pressure further aggravated the anchovy stock collapse. They also gave details on the progress of their anchovy individual based modeling and invasive species population dynamics modeling efforts.

The corresponding poster session included a diversity of interesting topics. Presentations on the Marine Ecosystems Response in the Mediterranean Experiment (MERMEX) program for the Mediterranean Sea and the DUNE (a DUst experiment in a low Nutrient, low chlorophyll Ecosystem) projects were made. Several modeling studies on Mediterranean, Black Sea and North Atlantic and coastal Mauritnia were presented. Presentations on the environmental influences on the trans-Atlantic migrations of the European eel and climatological effects on the breeding of terns were insightful. A study from the Bering Sea showed that the E. huxleyi bloom had been prominent since the 1970’s Methodological approaches on oxygen utilization rates and C:N molar ratios in the South Atlantic, microbial parameter investigation, oxidation kinetic of Fe(II), mesopelagic respiration, carbon monoxide emissions, production of sea-air nitrous oxide flux were among the interesting topics presented.

The diversity of topics presented in our session made this session one of the most interesting and popular sessions of the whole meeting. We are hoping to put together a similar session for the 2009 EGU, so please be prepared and consider submitting your research to our session early next year. 

Programme details of the EGU 2008 “open session on IMBER/SOLAS and sensitivity of marine ecosystems to climate change” can be found under: http://www.cosis.net/members/meetings/sessions/information.php?p_id=310&s_id=4984&PHPSESSID=e91512a14b6b6e17733baac86799f109

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IMBER-sponsored meetings

ICED Southern Ocean food web modeling workshop

logo ICED

Rachel D. Cavanagh1, Eileen Hofmann2, Nadine M Johnston1 and Eugene J Murphy1
1British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK
2Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography, Old Dominion University, USA
Email for correspondence: rcav@bas.ac.uk

Some of the strongest regional expressions of global climate change have occurred in the Southern Ocean. Changes to the environment, including modifications in sea ice extent and concentration, have been associated with variations in ecosystems and biogeochemical processes. The region is characterized by unique food webs, is an important component of the global carbon cycle, and supports commercially harvested species. Understanding climate-induced changes and their consequences for food webs and biogeochemical cycling is integral to predicting the impacts and feedbacks of the Southern Ocean as part of the Earth System, and to developing sustainable management for the region.

Many of the issues key to understanding climate-related effects on marine food webs and biogeochemical cycling lie at the interfaces between ecosystem, climate, biogeochemistry and fisheries science. Integrating Climate and Ecosystem Dynamics in the Southern Ocean (ICED) is an international, multidisciplinary programme, established under IMBER and GLOBEC, to provide the integrated analyses required to address major scientific challenges arising due to climate and human driven changes.

ICED and Southern Ocean Modeling
A primary goal of ICED is to improve the reliability of predictions of ecosystem dynamics. To achieve this we need to understand ecosystem responses to variability and change, and develop a circumpolar view of Southern Ocean ecosystem operation. Ecosystem modeling for the region is in its early stages, much of the work is restricted in geographic or trophic scope with considerable questions regarding appropriate model structures. The Southern Ocean modeling community needs to be brought together across disciplines to develop a multifaceted approach.

To facilitate this approach, a series of modeling workshops is planned during the decade-long ICED programme. The first workshop was held 16-18 April 2008 at the Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography (Old Dominion University) in Norfolk, USA. Thirty participants with a range of expertise (e.g. physical oceanography, biogeochemistry, predator ecology) and working in a range of environments (Antarctic, Sub-Arctic, mid-latitude temperate systems) attended the 3-day workshop.

The main goal was to characterise food webs across species, trophic levels and geographical areas, towards developing end to end food web models. This was identified as an important but relatively unknown aspect of Southern Ocean ecosystems. The workshop focused first on reviewing the current status of Southern Ocean food web models and exploring issues associated with the circumpolar scale. The intent being to use these discussions towards developing models of circumpolar operation of Southern Ocean ecosystems and in making recommendations for future modeling directions.

Plenary presentations summarized the major issues in Southern Ocean ecosystem modeling, including the role of physical and climate-related change, harvesting impacts, and controls and feedbacks on food web structure (including biogeochemical controls). Presentations on Southern Ocean food webs focused on identifying the main structures, addressing generic food web model concepts and identifying gaps in understanding and data. Modeling approaches for simulation and prediction of key components of the Southern Ocean were discussed as was the potential for generalised modeling of Southern Ocean food webs.

Preliminary Outcomes

There was a workshop consensus that improving the reliability of predictions of ecosystem dynamics in the Southern Ocean requires an understanding of the structure of food webs at regional and circumpolar scales. Thus, a key product will be an overview of the current status of knowledge of Southern Ocean ecosystems. This will provide a basis for defining future directions in Southern Ocean food web modeling, including current and required modeling strategies.

Gaps in knowledge limiting the development of food web models were identified, as was the importance of understanding regional and trophic complexities. Modeling approaches that bring together different scales and processes are needed and will be a focus of future workshops. An important outcome of this workshop is the start of a community focusing on Southern Ocean ecosystem modeling, with particular emphasis on cross-disciplinary studies.

The workshop results will be presented in a report that will be available at: www.iced.ac.uk. Workshop participants recommended that the next ICED workshops focus on biogeochemical processes and modeling, and development and coordination of field-based programmes that will provide regional and circumpolar datasets needed to test model predictions.

The workshop was sponsored by IMBER, GLOBEC, EUR-OCEANS, SCAR (through EBA), the British Antarctic Survey and the Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography, Old Dominion University, and forms an ICED contribution to the International Polar Year.


Participants at the first ICED Southern Ocean Food Web Modeling Workshop, 16-18 April 2008,
Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, USA.

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Surface Ocean CO2 Atlas (SOCAT) – kickoff meeting

Dorothee Bakker, Maria Hood, Arne Körtzinger, Nicolas Metzl, Are Olsen, Benjamin Pfeil, and Chris Sabine for SOCAT-2 participants

An important goal for SOLAS and IMBER is the establishment of surface ocean and atmosphere carbon observing systems for constraining the net annual air-sea CO2 (carbon dioxide) flux to at least 0.2 Pg C yr‑1 per basin. Detecting interannual and longer term variation in CO2 air-sea fluxes and identifying the natural or anthropogenic origin of such variation is also central in the Joint SOLAS-IMBER Carbon Group (sic!). The Surface Ocean CO2 Atlas (SOCAT) project emerged during the 2007 Surface Ocean CO2 Variability and Vulnerability (SOCOVV) workshop (http://www.ioccp.org/) as a way of assessing whether we are approaching these goals. Two types of SOCAT products will be made available with regular updates:
1) a 2nd level quality controlled, global surface ocean fCO2 (fugacity of CO2) data set following agreed procedures and regional review,
2) a gridded SOCAT product of monthly surface water fCO2 means on a 1° x 1° grid with no temporal or spatial interpolation.
The decision was made to use the well-documented, common format data set of Benjamin Pfeil (CarboOcean data manager) and Are Olsen (Bjerknes Centre, Norway) as the basis for SOCAT (see figure). This data set already contains over four million data points over the period 1968-2007 and is rapidly growing. Regional groups for the oceans and coastal seas, as well as an overview global group were established during SOCOVV to ensure that the quality control procedures are tailored to regional issues, but still comparable on a global scale.

The IOCCP (International Carbon Coordination Project) and the Joint SOLAS-IMBER Carbon Group (sic!) sponsored a small, technical kickoff meeting on SOCAT for the global and regional group leaders, data managers and LAS (Live Access Server) specialists at IOC/UNESCO (Paris) on 16 and 17 June 2008. A report of this SOCAT-2 meeting will be soon available at http://www.ioccp.org/.

Over the next few months the regional groups will become firmly established, will identify and submit missing data sets and will explore which 2nd level quality control checks may be performed in each region (deadline 1 September 2008). After 15 September 2008 the regional groups are asked to carry out 2nd level quality control on the SOCAT data and address key process-related scientific questions requiring large-scale joint synthesis efforts, while aiming for scientific presentations at ICDC-8 (International Carbon Dioxide Conference) in September 2009 and a first public release of the two SOCAT products by late 2009. Marine CO2 scientists and modelers keen in to participate in the above activities are encouraged to contact regional or global group leaders.



Fig. 1 - Spatial overview of surface water CO2 data in SOCAT version 1.1 (prepared by Benjamin Pfeil, soon available in IOCCP report 9, http://www.ioccp.org/

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Austral Summer Institute VIIIDecember 2007 and January 2008, Concepcion, Chile

The Department of Oceanography and the FONDAP COPAS Center held the Austral Summer Institute VIII (ASI VIII) at the University of Concepción, in December 2007 and January 2008.  The topics covered during ASI VIII were:

1. Automated plankton recognition State of the art, calibration and practice
Dr. Phil Culverhouse, Centre for Interactive Intelligent Systems SoCCE, University of Plymouth, United Kingdom

2. Sediment biogeochemistry From the coast to the abyss
Dr. Per Hall, Department of Chemistry, Marine Chemistry, Göteborg University, Sweden

3. Ecology and Diversity of Marine Microorganisms ECODIM V
Dr. Kurt Hanselmann, University of Zurich, Switzerland, Dr. Osvaldo Ulloa, University of Concepcion, Chile, Dr. Daniel Vaulot, Station Biologique de Roscoff, France, Dr. Edward DeLong, MIT, USA, Dr. Bernardo Gonzalez, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Chile, Dr. Monica Vasquez, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Chile

4. Oceanography and climate change Past, present and future scenarios
Dr. Andrey Ganopolski, PIK, Germany, Dr. Axel Timmermann, University of Hawaii, USA, Dr. Andre Berger, Université Catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, Dr. Jorge Sarmiento, Princeton University, USA

Each course lasted from 1 to 3 weeks of theoretical and/or practical activities.  Activities included regular lectures, student presentations, paper discussions, laboratory experiments, field trips, and computer simulations and data managing. The targetted groups were graduate and senior undergraduate students mainly from Latin American countries. The selection was based on academic credentials. Although we favored the admission of students with experience (and focused) in the particular area of the course they applied, we also accepted interested students with no background in the specialty.

Geographical coverage for partners and participants
A total of 67 students participated in our activities during the academic year 2007 (throughout 2008) distributed as shown in Figure 1: Chile, from the University of Concepcion and from other Chilean Universities and Institutions (42), Argentina (6), Brazil (5), Costa Rica (1), Cuba (1), France (1), Italy (1), Norway (1), Peru (4), Sweden (1), the United States (2) and Uruguay (2)

The Austral Summer Institute (formerly International Graduate Course Series in Oceanography) has been recognized as one of the important activities for the development of higher education in marine sciences in the region. The seed funds from UNESCO IOC are definitively the starting point to reach the level of funding for this educational activity. Every year, we notice both the willingness of invited lecturers to participate and the noticeable increase in the number of applications. For the Austral Summer Institute 8, we received 209 applications, representing 100% increase compared to the previous year. Of course, due to the idiosyncrasy of the courses and infrastructure limitations, we could only accept a fraction of the students.
The Austral Summer Institute will continue to give the training possibilities at the highest level in marine sciences. The support of UNESCO-IOC, UDEC, POGO, IMBER, PAGES, and the Chilean Ministry of Education has allowed the necessary continuity for this Capacity Building activity. We will continue in this successful path, modifying the themes that are relevant for society and are of scientific concerns. Accordingly, we will see more of the subjects of alteration of the marine environment in the coming years. Our next activity, the Austral Summer Institute 9 will be devoted to applied oceanography of the coastal ocean in an effort to promote interaction between academy and the private sector.

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Symposium on “Coping with global changes in marine social-ecological systems”

Convenors: Ian Perry (Ian.Perry@dfo-mpo.gc.ca), Rosemary Ommer (ommer@uvic.ca) and Philippe Cury (Philippe.Cury@ifremer.fr)

Humans are integral components of social-ecological systems. Such systems have marine (including physical-biological sub-systems) and human (including cultural, management, economic, and socio-political sub-systems) components which are highly inter-connected and interactive. Global changes are occurring in marine ecosystems, related to climate change, intensive fishing, and acidification among others, as well as in human social systems, relating to globalisation of trade, changing lifestyles, increasing food prices, etc.  The recent IPCC report identified the need to make social-ecological systems more resilient by building "adaptive capacity". This is an issue on which both natural and social scientists can contribute, for example by identifying the essential characteristics of such systems and relevant approaches to building such capacity.

The goals of this symposium are to explore conceptual issues relating to social-ecological responses in marine systems to global changes, by

  • analysing case studies of specific examples of social-ecological responses in marine systems to significant environmental changes manifested locally;
  • synthesising the work of natural and social scientists and building comparisons of social-ecological responses in marine ecosystems subjected to major environmental variability;
  • developing innovative approaches to the use of science and knowledge in management, policy and advice;
  • identifying lessons for governance for building resilient social-ecological systems.

This symposium will take place from 8-11 July at Food and Agriculture Organization Headquarters in Rome, Italy. The convening sponsors are GLOBEC, EUR-OCEANS, and FAO. Co-sponsoring organizations include IMBER, IRD, IFREMER, PICES, ICES, SCOR, SSHRC-Canada.

Scientific sessions
The symposium is organized around 8 scientific sessions, which will all be held in plenary:
Session 1. Scale, vulnerability, and resilience: case studies and integrated approaches to the study of change and drivers of change in marine social-ecological systems. Convenors: Ian Perry; Olivier Thebaud, Renato Quiñones.
Session 2. Are the high seas social-ecological systems? Internationally-shared marine resources under climate change. Convenor: K. Miller.
Session 3. Integrated modeling of marine social-ecological systems: possibilities and limitations. Convenors: O. Thebaud and P. Cury.
Session 4. Ecosystem services and values: ecological, economic, social and cultural. Convenors: R. Ommer and R. Sumaila.
Session 5. Marine social-ecological systems, human security, and climate change: policy responses. Convenors: E. Allison and M. Barange.
Session 6. Practicing inter-disciplinarity: how can marine and social scientists work together on social-ecological systems? Convenors: A. Jarre, R. Ommer and K. Cochrane.
Session 7. Marine science for society - communications, outreach, and management in an uncertain future. Convenors: M. Barange and A. Jarre.
Session 8. Governance approaches for building adaptive capacity in marine social-ecological systems. Convenor: S. Jentoft.

Daily program

Each day of the symposium will open with a keynote speaker, and the symposium will close with a Distinguished Panel who will provide comments on success, work still needed, and how to move forward with issues of marine social-ecological systems. The keynote speakers are Fikret Berkes, Bonnie McCay, Katrina Brown, and Judith Kildow. A draft program schedule is now on the symposium web site (www.peopleandfish.org). The expected outcomes of the symposium will include networking across the natural and social marine sciences. Additional outcomes include a least one collected publication of manuscripts from the symposium in a primary journal. 

For more information, and registration, please visit the symposium web site at www.peopleandfish.org.

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Endorsed projects

Research activities of the China IMBER/GLOBEC project (973-II)

Qisheng TANG, Yellow Sea Fisheries Research Institute, Qingdao, China, ysfri@public.qd.sd.cn

The China GLOBEC/IMBER national project (herein after “973” project), gives a priority to research of the marine biogeochemical cycles and key processes of end to end food web dynamics in the Yellow Sea and East China Sea. The project is entitled: “Key Processes and Mechanisms of Sustainable Food Production in the Coastal Ocean of China”, has been funded by Ministry of Science and Technology of China (MOST) for 2006-2010.
In 2006-2007, the “973” project was implemented with 3 research foci on: 1) diversity of biological functions and trophodynamics of end to end food web in Yellow Sea Cold Water (YSCW); 2) impact of Kuroshio and land-source inputs on the nutrient dynamics and food production in the shelf of the East China Sea, and 3) biogeochemistry and carrying capacity in typical mariculture areas. Figure 1 shows the survey areas of the three research foci. A total of 14 cruises of which 216 days were for focus 1 and 2 were carried out by the R/V “Bei Dou” in the Yellow Sea and East China Sea with another 122 days for focus 3 in the Sungou Bay of Shandong Province, North China and the Xiangshan Bay of Zhejiang Province, South China. The multidisciplinary surveys integrated six major research topics:

  • Bloom processes of phytoplankton, with emphasis on the development of the bloom and its contribution to food production of the ecosystem (i.e. bottom-up processes);
  • Relationship between zooplankton and higher trophic level living resources, including determination of key species and major functional groups at various trophic levels and their tropho-dynamic interactions in the food web;
  • Nutrient replenishment on the East China Sea shelf, with emphasis on the hydro-dynamic processes induced by the Kuroshio incursion from East of Taiwan and through the Taiwan Strait;
  • Nutrient supply in the coastal spawning ground of East China Sea, including those due to input from land-sources and upwelling induced by monsoon;
  • Mechanisms of the formation and seasonality of coastal hypoxia off the Changjiang Estuary, with emphasis on the role of nutrient over-enrichment in coastal waters on the hypoxia and its effect on the structure and function of the pelagic and benthic ecosystems;
  • Biogeochemical cycle and ecological carrying capacity in typical marine culture areas, including shellfish/algae poly-culture in Shandong Province (Sungou Bay) and sea-pen fish/cage culture in Zhejiang Province (Xiangshan Bay).

During the annual meeting of the IGBP Chinese National Committee in Beijing, January 12-13, the report from the GLOBEC/IMBER Task Team highlighted the following progress:

  • Phytoplankton blooms in the absence water column stratification are an important spring phenomenon in the Yellow Sea that impacts the structure of food web and nutrient cycling;
  • Mechanisms and processes of the formation and variability of coastal hypoxia off the Changjiang Estuary should be evaluated for a link to the nutrient over-enrichment in coastal waters and fisheries across the shelf;
  • Study on functional groups will be promoted for zooplankton related research activities in the next two years;
  • New evidence on the impact of climate change and fluctuation cycle of living marine resources in the China Seas were identified
    Studies of ecological geography will provide further information towards understanding sub-eco-regions in the coastal ocean, like the Yellow Sea and East China Sea;
  • Establishment and build-up of new food production models on the basis of poly-culture experiences in the marine areas will speed up the knowledge transfer of basic research and help management at ecosystem level.

A budget of 2.8 million US dollars has been approved for 2008-2010. The budget is slightly over expectations. The sea-going surveys for 2008-2009 will focus on the following themes:

  • Investigation of fishery spawning-ground for key living resources in the East China Sea shelf offshore the Zhejiang and Fujian Provinces (Focus 2). This will involve two cruises for a total of approximately 30 days which will be conducted in May and June, 2008;
  • Building-up of new food production models on the basis of poly-culture practices in bay area (Focus 3 above). The routine investigation of Sungou Bay will last for about 40 days in 2008. It will primarily examine the biogeochemical cycle and ecological carrying capacity in shellfish/algae culture areas in Shandong Province with comparison to fish cage culture areas in Zhejiang Province;
  • Trophic-dynamics and the interactions of main functional groups in the food web from end to end (Focus 1). The cold water mass area of Yellow Sea has been chosen as the target region for implementation. The sea-going survey will be separated into three phases, spring bloom and phytoplankton, zooplankton function group feeding and change, and response by high trophic level living resources. A 50 days cruise is planned for 2009.

Fig. 1:  Survey areas of three research foci in 2006-2007.

1- Diversity of biological function & food web trophodynamics in YSCWM
2 - Impact of Kuroshio and land source input on the nutrient dynamics and food production in ECS
3 - Hypoxia in the Changjiang Estuary
4 - Interaction between Biogeochemistry & carrying capacity at typical mariculture Site

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Global incubation experiments carried out on the Galathea Expedition measuring temperature response of organic matter remineralisation

Karen Marie Hilligsøe (kmh@phys.au.dk)1 and Jørgen Bendtsen (job@dmu.dk)2
1Aarhus University, Dept of Biological Sciences, Denmark
2National Environmental Research Institute, Dept of Marine Ecology, Denmark

Climate change will lead to large scale temperature changes in the ocean. Bacterial metabolic activity is regulated by temperature and plays a major role in the remineralisation of organic matter in the mesopelagic zone. Consequently, large scale temperature changes will influence the remineralisation rate of organic material in the ocean interior. For example, a warmer climate is expected to increase the remineralisation rate and, thereby, reduce the remineralisation depth scale of organic matter. This is a potentially important feedback in the global carbon cycle and, quantification of this feedback has been analysed in the ongoing CARBOOCEAN, EU-Integrated Project. The Galathea expedition (www.galathea3.dk) was a global experimental study as incubation experiments were carried out in all the major ocean basins on both dissolved and particulate organic carbon. Each incubation experiment was carried out at a temperature close to the in situ temperature as well as at in situ plus and minus 5 degrees. Consequently, the measurements were carried out in a temperature range making it possible to estimate the impacts of the expected global warming.
Long term incubations (100-120 days) were carried out on filtered sea water (50 μm) from the upper mixed layer. The remineralisation rates of the organic carbon was measured in sea water from 20 globally distributed stations  The incubations showed that the remineralisation of the organic carbon pool in the upper mixed layer was significantly temperature sensitive.
In addition, short term (2 – 4 weeks) incubations were made on 50 – 100 l tangential filtered (0.2 μm) sea water from locations in the South Atlantic off Africa and in the central Pacific. These incubations show a significant temperature-dependence of the rates of remineralisation, hence, the size of the particulate organic matter pool sinking down through the water column. A synthesis of the global implications of the temperature-induced variations is now being prepared.

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POTES - Pressure effects On marine prokaryoTES

Christian Tamburini (christian.tamburini@univmed.fr )

  The POTES program (Pressure effects On marine prokaryoTES, ANR-05-BLAN-0161-01) funded by the french National Agency of Research (A.N.R.) focuses on the role of hydrostatic pressure on marine prokaryotes mineralization of particulate (POM) and dissolved (DOM) organic matter and the regeneration of biogenic compounds (silicates, carbonates) in the meso- and bathypelagic zones of the Ocean. Nowadays, most of the information regarding these processes comes from the epipelagic zone and/or does not take into account the effect of increasing pressure and decrease of temperature with depth. Yet, it is essential to integrate effects of hydrostatic pressure forcing (as well as the associated decrease in temperature) when studying prokaryotic organic matter (OM) mineralization. For a summary of the project, see http://www.imber.info/EP_Potes.html.

An original tool the “PArticle Sinking Simulator” system (PASS, figure 1) was developed in the framework of the POTES project to measure rates of organic matter degradation by prokaryotes in the water column. Our first results have demonstrated that continuously increasing pressure to simulate the transit between 200 m and 800 m (depth-simulated) resulted in reduced rates of silica dissolution and thus organic matrix hydrolysis of freshly prepared diatom detritus relatively to rates measured under atmospheric pressure conditions (Tamburini et al., 2006). More recently, we showed that collected sinking particles, composed primarily of fecal pellets, were also less degraded by prokaryotes when pressure was continuously increased to simulate a descent from 200 to 1500 m depth than when left at atmospheric pressure, suggesting that fecal pellets are relatively preserved (in particular for the carbohydrate fraction) during descent through the water column (Tamburini et al., 2008a). If some fractions of the prokaryotic composition (CFB cluster and a-proteobacteria) could be affected by increasing pressure (Tamburini et al., 2008a), our results showed that hydrostatic pressure affects the function rather than the broad taxonomic structure of prokaryotic communities associated with sinking detritical particles (Tamburini et al., 2006).

In the framework of POTES, we have also examined the abundance of the bacteria, Crenarchaeota and Euryarchaeota and their activity in the major water masses of the Tyrrhenian Sea (from surface to the bottom) using our High Pressure Serial Sampler (HPSS) to get accurate measure of deep-sea microbial activity (Tamburini et al, 2008b). In contrast to other parts of Ocean, the relative bacterial abundances were in the same proportion as the percentage of Archaea (sum of the percentage of Crenarchaeota and Euryarchaeota) but were always higher than the percentage of Crenarchaeota or Euryarchaeota (Tamburini et al., 2008c).

POTES is also developing a new device to measure in situ O2 dynamics (namely IODA6000 for In situ Oxygen Dynamics Auto-sampler, figure 2) through the water column (up to 6,000 m-depth) in collaboration with the CPPM (who developed the neutrino telescope ANTARES). POTES is committed to measure T, S, O2 concentration and consumption at 2400 m-depth in the NW Mediterranean Sea (ANTARES site) in real-time and continuously. A new Underwater Video Profiler (UVP), mounted on a rosette CTD was also developed to analyze the size spectra of marine particles and zooplankton (50µm<ESD<1cm). The access to small vertical scale (few meters) variability in particle size spectra is particularly useful to address the question of the remineralization scale of the vertical flux. 

Deep-sea area represents a growing proportion of world oil production and the recent disaster of Prestige (one part is around 3,400 m-depth) also generated interest in the hydrocarbonaclastic bacteria capacity to degrade heavy oils in deep-sea environments. We performed an in situ experiment in a deep Mediterranean site (2,400m-depth, ANTARES site). PVC cores filled with Prestige oil (~9 g kg-1 dry wt) were added to sediments. The massive fuel oil contamination induced significant shifts in the structure of the indigenous bacterial communities which were associated to the biodegradation of the fuel oil. Laboratory experiments were also done to isolate hydrocarbonoclastic strain and to understand the effect of pressure on a hydrocarboclastic piezotolerant strain.

The different approaches developed in the framework of the POTES program will lead to improvement of our knowledge of the dark ocean.


Tamburini, C. et al., 2006. Aquatic Microbial Ecology 43 (3), 267-276.
Tamburini, C. et al., 2008a. Deep-Sea Research II, in press
Tamburini C., et al., 2008b. IMBER Science Highlight, IMBER Update Issue n°9, February 2008. http://www.imber.info/NL_Feb08/IMBER_Update_09.html
Tamburini, C. et al., 2008c. Deep-Sea Research II, accepted for publication.

POTES team:
* Christian Tamburini (PI), Badr Al Ali, Bruno Charrière, Philippe Cuny, Marc Garel, Madeleine Goutx, Gérald Grégori, Catherine Guigue, Dominique Lefèvre, David Nerini, Richard Sempéré, Y. Tapilatu, LMGEM, Université de la Méditerranée, Centre d'Océanologie de Marseille, France. (firstname.surname@univmed.fr)
* Vincent Grossi, PEPS, Lyon, France (Vincent.Grossi@univ-lyon1.fr)
* Lars Stemmann, Marc Picheral, LOV, Villefranche-sur-Mer, France (surname @obs-vlfr.fr)
For more information, visit POTES website: http://www.com.univ-mrs.fr/LMGEM/potes/

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EPOCA - European Project on OCean Acidification


Jean-Pierre Gattuso, Lina Hansson and the EPOCA Consortium
EPOCA Project Office: CNRS-Université de Paris 6, Villefranche-sur-Mer, France

Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, about one third of the CO2 released in the atmosphere by anthropogenic activities has been absorbed by the world’s oceans, which play a key role in moderating climate change (Sabine et al., 2004). As CO2 reacts with seawater, it generates dramatic changes in carbonate chemistry, including decreases in pH and in the concentration of carbonate ions. The impacts of this phenomenon, known as “ocean acidification”, on marine ecosystems are only poorly known. One of the most likely consequences is the slower growth of organisms forming calcareous skeletons or shells, such as corals and mollusks. More information on the effects of ocean acidification is a major environmental priority because of the threat it poses to certain processes, organisms and ecosystems.

The EU FP7 Integrated Project EPOCA (European Project on OCean Acidification) was launched in June 2008 with the overall goal to advance our understanding of the biological, ecological, biogeochemical, and societal implications of ocean acidification (Fig. 1). The EPOCA consortium brings together more than 100 researchers from 27 institutes1 and 9 European countries. The budget of this 4 year long project is 15.9 M€, including 6.5 M€ from the European Commission. The research efforts of EPOCA are divided into four themes.


Fig. 1 – Group photograph from the EPOCA kick-off meeting in Nice (France), 10-13 June.
© John Pusceddu / CNRS Délégation Côte d’Azur.

• Theme 1 will focus on past and present spatiotemporal changes in ocean chemistry and biogeography of key marine organisms. Paleo-reconstruction methods will be used on several archives, including foraminifera and deep-sea corals, to determine past variability in ocean chemistry (carbonate, nutrients, and trace metals) and to tie this variability to present-day chemical and biological observations.

• Theme 2 will quantify impacts of ocean acidification on marine organisms and ecosystems. Molecular, physiological and ecological approaches will be used to study climate-relevant biogeochemical processes, including calcification, primary production and nitrogen fixation. Laboratory and field perturbation experiments will focus on key organisms in terms of their ecological, biogeochemical, or socioeconomic importance. The potential for adaptation and acclimation will be assessed.

• Theme 3 will improve biogeochemical, sediment, and coupled ocean-climate models to better account for how ocean acidification will affect ocean biogeochemistry and ecosystems. Special attention will be paid to feedbacks of physiological changes on the carbon, nitrogen, iron, and sulfur cycles and how these changes will affect and be affected by future climate change.

• Theme 4 will synthesize results obtained in Themes 1, 2 and 3 for business leaders, policy-makers and the general public. It will evaluate uncertainties, risks and thresholds (“tipping points”) related to ocean acidification at molecular, cellular and organismal levels and from local to global scales. It will also assess the decrease in CO2 emissions required to avoid these thresholds and describe the change to the marine environment and Earth system, should these emissions be exceeded.

Interactions between the different themes will be both ways (Fig. 2). For example, Theme 3 will exploit information from Theme 2 to help predict future changes in ocean biogeochemistry and ecosystems, but results from Theme 3 will also feed back into Theme 2 by providing critical information on the expected temporal and spatial changes of ocean acidification and thus enable meaningful experimental designs.


Fig. 2 – Schematic picture of the different themes of EPOCA and how they interact.


Training and dissemination of knowledge are important components of EPOCA, which will organise several training workshops for Ph.D students and also bring its contribution to a better connection between research and secondary school education. The workshops will be open to non-EPOCA scientists whenever possible.

EPOCA strives for an active international cooperation on ocean acidification and will coordinate with major national and international projects and programmes. In particular, its International Scientific Advisory Panel, with members from the United States and Korea, and one of the EPOCA partners (the intergovernmental organization IOC-UNESCO) ensure that ocean acidification research being carried out through this project is coordinated with the research activities of non-EU scientists.

For more information please contact the EPOCA Project Office: Jean-Pierre Gattuso, project coordinator, gattuso@obs-vlfr.fr or Lina Hansson, project manager, hansson@obs-vlfr.fr
Laboratoire d'Océanographie, CNRS-Université Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris 6, BP 28, 06234 Villefranche-sur-mer Cedex, France.
Preliminary web site: http://epoca-project.eu.

1A complete list of the members of EPOCA is available at http://epoca-project.eu

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IMBER-related meetings & conferences

IMBER-GLOBEC establish Transition Task Team

First IMBER – GLOBEC Transition Task Team meeting
30 July – 1 August 2008, Reading, United Kingdom
Francisco Werner1 and Julie Hall2
1University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA (cisco@unc.edu)
2NIWA, Hamilton, New Zealand (j.hall@niwa.co.nz)

The two ocean projects of IGBP/SCOR (GLOBEC and IMBER) each have full 10 year lifetimes. The second 5 years of GLOBEC overlap IMBER’s initial 5 years.  As such they are complementary, enabling continued, internationally coordinated studies of oceanic and marine systems for 15 years.  The Global Ocean Ecosystem Dynamics (GLOBEC) programme (1999-2009) focuses on physical-biological interactions in the ocean, particularly for upper trophic levels.  The Integrated Marine Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Research (IMBER) programme, which focuses on the integration of biogeochemical cycles and ecosystems, began in 2004 and will run to 2014.

The sponsors of both GLOBEC and IMBER (IGBP and SCOR) have agreed that preparations should be made for a single ocean research project in the IGBP structure after 2009.  The IMBER Science Plan and Implementation Strategy was written with a 10 year lifetime and may need amplification in response to new scientific developments.  Therefore, the programmes and their sponsors agreed that a Transition Task Team (TTT) should prepare a supplement to the IMBER Science Plan and Implementation Strategy, to define the additional science to be tackled by IMBER beyond the conclusion of GLOBEC.

There will be an increasing emphasis on integrating activities starting in 2008. The IGBP-SCOR Ocean Vision (Lochte et al., 2003; http://www.igbp.net/obe/FW-Final-2002.pdf) will serve as a scientific guide to help facilitate the evolution of GLOBEC and IMBER towards a single integrated project, and to identify important scientific interactions between IMBER, GLOBEC, and the interface projects SOLAS and LOICZ. This will help place all IGBP-SCOR ocean projects in the new IGBP Earth System Science context.

In preparing this supplement to the IMBER Science Plan and Implementation Strategy the Transition Task Team will consider:

  • New developments in marine ecosystem science,
  • Key new scientific questions arising from GLOBEC,
  • Scientific results of IMBER to date,
  • Projects currently within GLOBEC that are planned to continue after 2009.

The Transition Task Team may include recommendations for mechanisms to facilitate the transition, including representation in programmatic structures.
The timetable for this activity is:

30 July -
1 August 2008:
First meeting of the TTT
September 2008: Report on activities to IGBP and SCOR Offices
October/ November 2008: Second meeting of the TTT with input from the Executive Committees
January/ February 2008: Posting of a draft on the programme’s websites and broad invitation for public comment
May 2009: Presentation and discussion at the GLOBEC 3rd Open Science Meeting
October 2009: Discussion/approval by the IGBP and SCOR Officers

The IMBER/GLOBEC Transition Task Team was appointed jointly by SCOR and IGBP, and its membership based on scientific and programmatic representation is:

John Field (Chair) Food web dynamics
Eileen Hofmann Modeling
Kathleen Miller Human dimensions
Olivier Maury Upper trophic levels
Roger Harris Middle trophic levels
Mike Roman Lower trophic levels
Hugh Ducklow Biogeochemistry
Ken Drinkwater Climate dynamics
Qisheng Tang Marine resources

Lochte K., W. Broadgate and E. Urban. 2003. Ocean biogeochemistry and biology: a vision for the next decade of global change research. Global Change Newsletter 56: 19-23.

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E2E EcoModel - Analyses of the interactions between end-to-end marine food webs and biogeochemical cycles

An international IMBER/EUR-OCEANS Summer School Training

11-16 August 2008, Ankara, Turkey

Evidence is mounting that changes in the structure of marine food webs at all trophic levels have the potential not only to influence the dynamics of key trophic players but as well impact upon the transport and sequestering of carbon via changes in flux dynamics. These food webs can be affected to varying degrees by factors such as short-term environmental variability, long-term climate change, and changes in predator prey interactions, introduced species, fishing and pollution. At present, it is difficult to understand direct and indirect controls on food webs across all scales. It is also not clear whether it will be possible to understand the full ramifications and feedbacks caused by natural and anthropogenic perturbations of the marine environment. Among others, important current and future research issues on marine end-to-end food webs are (i) why we need to tackle end-to-end food webs in our studies at this time, (ii) what the key challenges are and how we can meet them, and (iii) how we can make headway in the experimental, observational and modeling components of marine end-to-end food webs.

The GOALS of the training are:

  • to provide students with the knowledge and skills to increase their understanding of global change and its impacts on marine biogeochemical cycles and end to end food webs;
  • to introduce students to new methods, techniques and models available for understanding the combined effects of forcings (physical, biological) on marine biogeochemical cycles and ecosystems;
  • to provide both pre- and post-doctoral students with training within the frame of high quality international research topics, including those in emerging fields of research;
  • to stimulate collaboration in multidisciplinary research, by supporting extensive discussions between students and lecturers.

For more information, please visit: http://www.imber.info/E2E_EcoModel_home.html

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The Second Symposium on the Ocean in a High-CO2 World

6-9 October 2008, Monaco
Jim Orr , Ed Urban , Maria Hood , and Emily Breviere 


Interest in the Second Symposium on The Ocean in a High-CO2 World (6-9 October 2008 in Monaco) has been high, so far with more than 200 individuals registered of which about 140 have submitted abstracts.  Although only up to 20 of the accepted abstracts will be selected for contributed oral presentations, the others will be given as posters, which will be displayed throughout the symposium and highlighted at dedicated poster sessions.  The program will be completed by early July.  Although we are no longer accepting abstracts, a few places are left for those who may wish to register before July 31st, the early registration deadline. Participants will find detailed general information and the program, once it is finalized, at the symposium web site  http://www.highco2world-ii.org  Because this symposium will bring together much of the community studying ocean acidificationsome participants are taking advantage of the opportunity to organize related meetings , including a meeting of the SOLAS-IMBER Carbon group.

Marine Environment Laboratories (MEL-IAEA), 4, Quai Antonie 1er, MC-98000 Monaco

Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research, Robinson Hall, College of Marine and Earth Studies, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716

Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, UNESCO, 1, rue Miollis, 75732 Paris Cedex 15, FRANCE

IGBP Secretariat, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Box 50005, S-104 05 Stockholm, SWEDEN

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PICES 17th Annual Meeting
Beyond observations to achieving understanding and forecasting in a changing North Pacific: Forward to the FUTURE
23 October - 2 November 2008, Dalian, PR China

Scientific Program
The keynote lecture at the Science Board Symposium will be given by Dr. Fangli Qiao (First Institute of Oceanography, State Oceanic Administration), titled “Wave-tide-circulation coupled model: To improve the forecasting ability for FUTURE”.

Session 9: BIO Topic Session (Oct. 30, 1 day)
Co-sponsored by IMBER
End to end food webs: Impacts of a changing ocean

George Hunt (USA), Hiroaki Saito (Japan) and Sinjae Yoo (Korea)

Invited speakers:
Chang-Keun Kang (Pusan National University, Korea)
Orio Yamamura (Hokkaido National Fisheries Research Institute, Japan)
Angelica Peña (Institute of Ocean Sciences, Canada)

A holistic end to end approach is needed to study the impacts of global change in marine food webs, including the influences on biogeochemistry and feedbacks to climate. This approach is encapsulated by the term "end to end food webs", which is defined as "feeding interactions, nutrient flows and feedbacks in an end to end food web of primary producers, consumers and decomposers." This food web approach retains the energy transfer and nutrient cycles of traditional food webs, but emphasizes the importance of understanding food web dynamics simultaneously at all levels and scales. To achieve an integrated understanding of end to end food web dynamics requires a merging of knowledge from many marine-related disciplines, including those concerned with global climate, marine food webs, marine ecosystems, marine biogeochemistry and biodiversity.

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Other related meetings:

Ocean Carbon and Biogeochemistry (OCB) Summer workshop
21-24 July 2008, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts, USA

Final Symposium on the Global Ocean Data Assimialtion Experiment (GODAE) - "The revolution in global ocean forecasting GODAE: 10 years of achievement"
12-15 November 2008, Nice, France

ASLO 2009 Aquatic Sciences Meeting
25-30 January 2009, Nice, France
Deadline for abstract submission: 3 October 2008

Biogeochemistry and physical dynamics of coastal upwelling regions
Co-Chairs: Carol Robinson, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich. NR4 7TJ UK carol.robinson@uea.ac.uk ; Des Barton, Departamento de Oceanografía, Instituto Investigaciones Marinas (CSIC), Vigo. Spain e.d.barton@iim.csic.es ; Doug Wallace, Chemische Ozeanographie, IFM-GEOMAR, Kiel, Germany dwallace@ifm-geomar.de

Coastal upwelling regions significantly influence oceanic biogeochemistry and atmospheric chemistry. The input of nutrient rich deep water creates some of the ocean’s most productive systems; representing < 1% of the surface area but 20% of the global fish catch. They are zones of high nitrous oxide and methane emissions where elevated primary production and a shift in plankton community structure also enhance dimethylsulphide and halocarbon production. Photodegradation of upwelled dissolved organic matter influences bacterial activity and the production of climate relevant gases. Upwelling filaments represent an important carbon flux to the open ocean still absent in global biogeochemical models. The intensity and timing of coastal upwelling is influenced by wind and current patterns yet the response of these systems to potential climatic shifts, and the impact this might have on biogeochemical fluxes, is unclear. In the last 5 years numerical modeling of upwelling systems, including their biogeochemical components, has progressed significantly and several major observational initiatives have been executed under the auspices of international programmes like SOLAS and IMBER. This session will bring together aspects of the dynamics, structure and functioning of coastal upwelling systems including ocean physics, air-sea exchange, biogeochemistry, photochemistry and microbial community structure and activity.

More IMBER-relevant meetings at http://www.imber.info/calendar_2008.html

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The book entitled "Сyсlic Climate Changes and Fish Productivity" by leonid Klyashtorin and Alexey Lyubushin was published in Russian in 2005. It has been translated and edited in English for western readers. It considers relationships between climate changes and fish productivity of ocean ecosystems.     

Analyses of climate index fluctuations and populations of major commercial fish species for the last 1500 years allowed us to characterize the 50-70 year climate fluctuations and fish production dynamics. Our simple stochastic model suggests that it is possible to predict the likely trends of basic climatic indices and  thus some commercial fish populations for several decades ahead. The results we obtained allowed us to revisit and illuminate the old question: which factors are more influential for the long-term fluctuations of major commercial stocks, climate or commercial fisheries ?

The oldest  Publishing House “Science” and  “Science –Export Co” offers «Сyсlic Climate Changes and Fish Productivity» VNIRO Publishing. (230 pages , 160 figures, 2 color insets). Price: US$59 (hard cover) including mailing. To Order It: Via Mail: Russia, Moscow, 117997,Profsoyuznaya st.  90, ”Science-Export”, Fax:  7(495) 334-7140; 7(495)-334-7479, Email: naukaexport@naukaran.ru.



The proliferation of harmful phytoplankton in marine ecosystems can cause massive fi sh kills, contaminate seafood with toxins, impact local and regional economies and dramatically aff ect ecological balance. Real-time observations are essential for eff ective short-term operational forecasting, but observation and modeling systems are still being developed. Th is volume offers guidance for developing real-time and near real-time sensing systems for observing and predicting plankton dynamics, including harmful algal blooms, in coastal waters.

It explains the underlying theory and discusses current directions in research and monitoring.

Topics treated include: › coastal ecosystems and dynamics of harmful algal blooms; › theory and practical applications of in situ and remotely sensed optical detection of microalgal distributions and composition; › theory and practical applications of in situ biological and chemical sensors for targeted species and toxin detection; › integrated observing systems and platforms for detection; › diagnostic and predictive modeling of ecosystems and harmful algal blooms, including data assimilation techniques; › observational needs for the public and government; and › future directions for research and operations.

This anthology should inform the work of researchers and environmental monitors as well as teachers and trainers concerned with understanding the causes, predicting the occurrences and mitigating the eff ects of harmful algal blooms in marine ecosystems.

Edited by Marcel Babin, Collin S. Roesler and John J. Cullen
Oceanographic Methodology series
2008, Hardback, 860 p., _ gures, references
ISBN 978-92-3-104042-9
€ 56.00
UNESCO Publishing


The LDEO Takahashi data base published at CDIAC

The LDEO (Takahashi) data base (Version 1.0) is now available for general public use through CDIAC web page:

More than 3 million measurements of surface water partial pressure of CO2 obtained over the global oceans during 1968 - 2006 are listed in the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO) database, which includes open ocean and coastal water measurements. The data assembled include only those measured by equilibrator-CO2 analyzer systems and have been quality-controlled based on the stability of the system performance, the reliability of calibrations for CO2 analysis, and the internal consistency of data. To allow re-examination of the data in the future, a number of measured parameters relevant to pCO2 measurements are listed. The overall uncertainty for the pCO2 values listed is estimated to be ± 2.5 µatm on the average.  The data presented in this database include the analysis of partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2), sea surface temperature (SST), sea surface salinity (SSS), pressure of the equilibration, and barometric pressure in the outside air from the ship’s observation system. The global pCO2 data set is available free of charge as a numeric data package (NDP-088: http://cdiac.ornl.gov/oceans/ndp_088/ndp088.html) from the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC). The database is available as simple ASCII data and metadata files, as an ODV collection, and via two search engines: WAVES and LAS.

For more information:  Visit the CDIAC web-site at: http://cdiac.ornl.gov/oceans/LDEO_Underway_Database/LDEO_home.html