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Issue n°11 - October 2008

Issue n°11 - October 2008
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Editorial:Summer School / E2E EcoModel

IMBER/EUR-OCEANS Summer School, Ankara, Turkey

Analysis of end to end food webs and biogeochemical cycles


Temel Oguz1, Jing Zhang2, members of the organizing committee
1Middle East Technical University, Institute of Marine Sciences, Turkey
2State Key Lab. of Estuarine and Coastal Research, East China Normal University, China 

The summer school Analysis of End to end Food Webs and Biogeochemical Cycles (E2E EcoModel) took place in the Middle East Technical University campus, Ankara (Turkey) during 11-16 August 2008 by the participation of 21 students from 10 different countries. The lecturers were Icarus Allen from (Plymouth Marine Laboratory, United Kingdom), Mike St. John (Hamburg University, Germnany), Jing Zhang (East China Normal University, China), and Temel Oguz and Baris Salihoglu (METU, Institute of Marine Sciences, Turkey). The programme focused on global change and its impacts on marine biogeochemical cycles and end to end food webs. The special emphasis was on new methods, techniques and models on emerging fields of research for studying the combined effects of forcings (physical, biological) on marine biogeochemical cycles and ecosystems. The overall course structure was designed in the form of formal lecture series on fundamentals of biogeochemical cycles (5 hours), fundamentals of ecosystem modelling (6 hours), and advances in end-to-end food web modelling (6 hours). The lecture series were further complemented by hands on use of modelling tools extending from simple theoretical models (5 hours) to complex coupled physical-biogeochemical model systems (5 hours). One afternoon was devoted to the students’ oral presentations in addition to discussion on their posters during late evening sessions and coffee breaks. A three hours debate session devoted to an extensive discussion on the roles of human influence and natural processes on climate change. The morning lectures of the first 3 days were broadcasted live on the internet.

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E2E EcoModel Summer School – A Retrospective 

Christina Frisk1, Benjamin Kürten2 & Susa Niiranen3
1 National Institute of Aquatic Resources, DTU, Denmark
2 School of Marine Science and Technology, Newcastle University, United Kingdom, EUR-OCEANS PhD student
3 Finnish Institute of Marine Research, Finland

An interdisciplinary group of 22 young scientists from eleven countries, within the EU as well as from Turkey, China, Ukraine, USA and Russia, gathered from August 11th to 16th for an intensive training course in end-to-end ecosystem modelling.
The venue for the course, themed ‘E2E Ecomodel – Analysis of End to end Food Webs and Biogeochemical Cycles’ (http://www.imber.info/E2E_EcoModel_home.html) was set at Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara (Turkey) and was sponsored by IMBER and EurOceans. The aim of the training was 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, and to introduce students to new methods, techniques and models available for understanding the combined effects of physical and biological forcings on marine biogeochemical cycles and ecosystems. The program for the week included a series of lectures and hands-on modelling exercises and also included individual contributions from the participants with poster and oral presentations, as well as a final plenary discussion on climate change.
Several topics were presented by the lecturers, and debated in plenum. The themes covered fundamental concepts of biogeochemical cycles and ecophysiology, to mesoscale processes. In addition, a more general background of ecosystem modelling was provided, highlighting the following key issues: Which are the important processes? At which scales does one need to resolve the model and coping with model complexity? What kind of questions can various models help one to understand and hopefully answer? The significance of proper model validation was also stressed and different validation techniques were discussed. Since ecosystems are never steady systems but always striving and evolving for optimal states for the inhabiting species, discussions of the necessity of plasticity and adaptation to anthropogenic and environmental forcing were further a general topic of the week.
References to advances in end-to-end food web modelling were given on the lectures throughout the week and subsequently the hands-on exercises provided a good opportunity for us to get familiar with today’s well established ecosystem models. The first session used a classical prey-predator model which revealed the importance of understanding the principal processes on model stability and output. Further we used ERSEM (1D setup developed at Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) as one example of a complex ecosystem model. Here tests were made e.g. on the importance of the food web assumptions in the model, ecological parameters of involved species/functional groups, as well as the model stability and sensitivity to for instance the initial conditions and forcing functions, including the effect of anticipated changed conditions according to climate changes on lower end ecosystem processes.
The group debate on climate change was based on the two documentaries: Al Gore (2006) ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ and Martin Durkin (2007) ‘The Great Global Warning Swindle’. It resulted in an interesting and lively discussion on the differences in perception on the climate change question, and whether anthropogenic or natural impacts are most important in today’s environment.
In essence, the week in Ankara left all participants with a much broader knowledge, demands, and understanding of the multidisciplinary tasks required to model an ecosystem; including pros, cons and severe pitfalls! The summer school further gave us a great opportunity to discuss our own research with the lecturers and meet other students with similar scientific interests inspiring further collaboration.
We would like to thank all involved parties for an inspiring course!

Lecturers and participants at the E2E EcoModel training course at METU, Ankara

NL11_E2E_lecturers & paticipants
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Science Highlight

Some ideas about the hypoxia in the Yangtze (Changjiang) Estuary: Started with phytoplankton pigments

Zhuo-Yi Zhu, Jing Zhang, Ying Wu
State key lab of estuarine and coastal research, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China.

Unlike in the open ocean, hypoxia in the estuaries and coastal zones are usually believed to be related to anthropogenic activities. In these shallow systems, eutrophication can alter the natural balance and result in elevated organic matter due to primary production, also direct terrestrial organic matter input can worsen the condition. As shallow systems tend to have tight coupling between the bottom and surface, organic matter can reach bottom waters rapidly. The decomposition reduces dissolved oxygen and when physical condition allowed, hypoxia then occurs. Being one of the largest rives in the world, the Yangtze (Changjiang) river estuary is confronting problems of eutrophication and hypoxia in the adjacent area. The hypoxia in the Estuary increased from ~1800 km2 in 1959 to over 15000 km2 in 2006, comparable to the hypoxia area in the Gulf of Mexico.
A monthly observation station, Xuliujing, in the lower reaches of the Changjiang River indicates that phytoplankton pigments in 2006 increased slightly campared to 2005, while the seasonal variation of chlorophyll a is smaller than that of diagnostic pigments such as fucoxanthin and peridinin. Five cruises in the Estuary were carried out to gain a better understanding of the biogeochemistry of hypoxia (Fig.1). On board dissolved oxygen (DO) measurement (by DO meter) showed a good relationship with classical titration method (r2=0.9622) and the results indicate that hypoxia was most severe in summer. Pigments analysis by HPLC1,modified in the Estuary and northern East China Sea shed light on the corresponding phytoplankton community structures based on CHEMTAX2. Elevated biomass in the surface layer and depleted oxygen in the near bottom waters was repeatedly observed, in June, August and October. Multiple regression analysis (r2=0.55) based on these cruise data quantitatively indicates that AOU is highly related to organic matter decay and stratification, as the p for the stratification and organic matter decay is less than and equals 0.0001, respectively.
An organic matter decay experiment was also carried out on board in August, 2006, to estimate the organic-carbon-related DO consumption rate. The experiment was carried out in both high DO condition (DO>50%) and low DO condition (DO<50%), measured phytoplankton pigments, organic carbon, nutrients, pH and DO. Pigments decreased exponentially and the constant k of the pigments decay was calculated accordingly. Given the natural initial conditions in the Changjiang Estuary, the result indicates that the system could become hypoxia in about two months, which is consistent with DO dropping to hypoxic level from June to August, in the most severe area.
Pigments distribution in the sediment core collected in the Estuary coincides well with historical events such as floods. Considering the decay process, pigments in the core still showed increase trend from bottom to top of the core, indicating the eutrophication history of the Changjiang River catchment in the last five decades.
Hypoxia in the Changjiang Estuary is a recurring event, generally in summer when large volumes of Changjiang Water promotes stratification. The increasing terrestrial organic matter and nutrients in the last few decades are likely to be an important reason for the worsen DO conditions in the Changjiang Estuary. The AOU was shown to be highly related to organic matter decay in the near bottom water and stratification in the water column.

  Figure 1 - Study area and sampling stations. (a-200508; b-200606; c-200608; d-200610; e-200702)

1. Zapata, M., F. Rodríguez, and J.L. Garrido, Separation of chlorophylls and carotenoids from marine phytoplankton: a new HPLC method using a reversed phase C8 column and phridine containing mobile phases. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 2000. 195: 29-45.
2. Mackey, M.D., D.J. Mackey, H.W. Higgins, and S.W. Wright, CHEMTAX---a program for estimating class abundances from chemical markers: application to HPLC measurements of phytoplankton. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 1996. 144: 265-283.

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IMBER/GLOBEC Transition task team

A Transition Task Team has been set up to recommend to SCOR and IGBP on how the second phase of the IMBER programme (Integrated Marine Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Research) should proceed to accommodate new developments in marine ecosystem research that need addressing after the completion of the GLOBEC Research programme at the end of 2009.  The Task Team met in Reading, UK from 30 July – 1 August.  Its terms of reference are summarised as:

Tomake recommendations to SCOR and IGBP for a second phase of IMBER after 2009, bearing in mind:

  1. New developments in marine ecosystem science
  2. Key new scientific questions arising from GLOBEC
  3. Scientific Results of IMBER to date
  4. Projects currently within GLOBEC that are planned to continue after 2009 (esp. CLIOTOP, ESSAS)
  5. Recommendations for mechanisms to facilitate the transition, including representation in programmatic structures (to be done at final meeting)

The SCOR-IGBP Ocean Vision (2002) summarises the role of the ocean in the Earth System and focuses on i) understanding the role of the ocean in Earth System biogeochemistry and ii) predicting the consequences of global change for ocean biogeochemistry and biology, as a means to investigate pathways towards sustainability. We can view in this context,  the vision of IMBER:

“To provide a comprehensive understanding of, and accurate predictive capacity for, ocean responses to accelerating global change and the consequent effects on the earth system and human society.”

Leading to the IMBER Goal:
“To investigate the sensitivity of marine biogeochemical cycles and ecosystems to global change, on time scales ranging from years to decades.”

The broad nature of ecosystems has led to a spectrum of approaches to studying ecosystems ranging from a biogeochemical approach emphasizing fluxes of carbon and nutrients and the role micro-organisms on the one hand, to the approach of population dynamics, biological communities, and animal behaviour on the other. These approaches are exemplified in the marine environment by the approaches of JGOFS and GLOBEC, respectively. IMBER is aimed at bringing these approaches together and integrating them in the modern framework of Earth System Science. Hence it is important to use the term “Ecosystem” in its integrative sense, realizing that ecosystems (as defined above) incorporate physical factors, biogeochemical cycles and living populations.

The task team has already identified several areas that now need emphasis in order to achieve the IMBER vision: In particular, we emphasize 1) integrating the human dimensions of marine global change, 2) regional research programmes, 3) comparative analyses within and among regional programmes including ecosystem models incorporating the human dimension, and 4) emerging scientific issues.

It would be premature to discuss the Task Team’s initial thoughts further, except to mention that several regional programmes are being considered, these include: ICED (Southern Ocean) and SIBER (Indian Ocean) that have already been accepted by the IMBER SSC.  Further potential regional programmes are being considered, should their SSCs wish to have them included within IMBER: CLIOTOP (focus on top predators in the open ocean), ESSAS (Arctic Ecosystems), BASIN (proposed North Atlantic comparative studies).

The Task Team has drafted an interim report for feedback from the sponsors and respective SSCs of GLOBEC and IMBER, and an Implementation Strategy document will probably be drafted for Phase 2 of IMBER to implement the changes that are recommended after consultation.  The Task Team calls upon members of the interested marine scientists to submit their ideas on what might be added to IMBER,  for incorporation into Phase 2 of IMBER from 2010-2014.  These ideas should address the vision and goals of IMBER as indicated above and should be submitted by the end of October 2008, in time for drafting into the final meeting of the team in December 2008 . They should be submitted to both the GLOBEC and IMBER IPOs (globec@pml.ac.uk, imber@univ-brest.fr) for transmission to the Transition Task Team. There will be a report-back on the Task Team’s recommendations at the GLOBEC Open Science Meeting in June 2009, after the report has been reviewed by the main sponsors of IMBER and GLOBEC: SCOR and IGBP during the first months of 2009.

  • Members of the Transition Task Team are:
    Hugh Ducklow
    Ken Drinkwater
    John Field (chair)
    Roger Harris
    Eileen Hoffmann
    Olivier Maury
    Kathleen Miller
    Mike Roman
    Qisheng Tang
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Integrating biogeochemistry and ecosystems in a changing ocean

IMBIZO is a Zulu word that means “gathering” or “meeting”.  IMBER will conduct a series of IMBIZO’s over the next decade, with the first gathering planned for November 10-13, 2008 in Miami, Florida.

The IMBIZO’s innovative format of three concurrent and interacting workshops with joint plenary and posters sessions will provide a forum for stimulating discussion between interdisciplinary experts and encourage the linkage between biogeochemistry and ecosystem research. The three concurrent workshops are:

Ecological and Biogeochemical Interactions in End to end Food Webs
Plenary speaker: Dr Hiroaki Saito, Fisheries Research Agency, Japan.

Ecological and Biogeochemical Interactions in the Mesopelagic Zone
Plenary speaker: Dr Richard Lampitt, National Oceanography Centre, University of Southampton, United Kingdom.

Biogeochemistry and Microbial Dynamics of the Bathypelagic Zone
Plenary speaker: Dr David Karl, University of Hawaii, United States

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 and plan a special issue, and/or synthesis papers.

The IMBER IMBIZO will also provide an opportunity for junior and senior scientists to participate in a half-day interactive workshop entitled "BEER: The secret to a successful project". This IMBER Data Management Committee sponsored workshop and discussion will present the benefits of adding a Data Integration Scientist to any project, and will introduce the various data integration and handling techniques illustrated in the IMBER Data Integration Cookbook. 

The Scientific organising Committee for the IMBIZO is:
Julie Hall, Dennis Hansell, Gerhard Herndl, Coleen Moloney, Wajih Naqvi, Mike Roman, Sylvie Roy, Hiroaki Saito, Sharon Smith, Debbie Steinberg, Jing Zhang.


Workshop descriptions

Ecological and Biogeochemical Interactions in End to end Food Webs
The aim of this workshop is to make progress in linking biogeochemical studies and food web dynamics from end to end. Innovative synthesis will be investigated by focusing on both “bottom-up” and “top-down” analyses; specifically how material transfers at lower trophic levels influence fisheries, and how predator-prey interactions and fishing affects biogeochemical cycles. These themes will be addressed through presentations of ongoing work and through a series of parallel workshop sessions:

  • End to end marine food webs: background, concepts and issues?
  • Key issues in end to end food web analysis.
  • End to end operation of regional ecosystems.
  • Modelling approaches to develop end to end food web analyses.
  • Field programs, observations and experimentation for end to end food webs.

These themes will be addressed through presentations of ongoing work (oral and poster), and through a series of small, parallel workshop discussion sessions. The discussions will aim to synthesize common features and major differences among end-to-end food webs in different regions, identifying possible responses to change and issues requiring future research.
The workshop is co-chaired by Coleen Moloney (South Africa) and Mike Roman (USA) with organizing committee members Bob Cowen (USA), Roger Harris (United Kingdom), Michio Kishi (Japan), Olivier Maury (France), Eugene Murphy (United Kingdom), Mike St John (Germany), and Qisheng Tang (China). All selected participants will be allocated 5 minutes presentation with 1or 2 slides on what they would like the group to know about their ideas on end-to-end. One or two speakers will be selected to give a 15 minutes review/ provocative talk on the topic to initiate discussion. Each participant is also encouraged to present one poster on their relevant science.  Wall space will be available to leave the posters up for the duration of the workshop. Participants should bring reduced/electronic version of their poster for distribution and discussion. Synthesis and recommendations from the End to end workshop will published in a review paper along with contributed papers in a special issue of a journal.

Ecological and Biogeochemical Interactions in the Mesopelagic Zone
The central aim of the mesopelagic workshop is to gather the interdisciplinary expertise required to identify what is known about this region of the ocean, and to identify and pursue outstanding uncertainties. Through a combination of presentations and discussion groups, we seek to identify the current state of our knowledge about mesopelagic food-web processes particle flux and dynamics, and biogeochemical cycling, and to identify gaps in our knowledge to be pursued in future research programs.

The workshop discussion topics will include: mesopelagic POM and DOM distribution, characterization, and flux; 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; potential responses of the system to environmental change; and what future research programs in the mesopelagic should focus on.  We, like the participants of the concurrent IMBER IMBIZO workshop on the bathypelagic zone, look forward to shedding some light on these important topics concerning the dark ocean.

The mesopelagic workshop is co-chaired by Debbie Steinberg (USA) and Hiroaki Saito (Japan), who will lead discussion sessions along with planning committee members Javier Arístegui (Spain), George Jackson (USA), Carol Robinson (UK), and Richard Sempéré (France). Eight 1.5-2 hour focused sessions will be held during the workshop. In each session one or two speakers will give a 15 minute review or provocative talk on the topic to initiate discussion.

  Figure 1: Models of mesopelagic microbial (bacteria and archaea) and zooplankton metabolism. Mesopelagic microbes and zooplankton have fundamentally distinct nutritional modes, and thus affect attenuation of sinking POC with depth (shrinking brown arrows) differently.  The relative roles that microbes and metazoans play in mesopelagic food webs and processing of organic matter will be a topic of the workshop. (Figure from Steinberg, D.K., B.A.S. Van Mooy, K.O. Buesseler, P.W. Boyd, T. Kobari, and D. M. Karl. 2008. Bacterial vs. zooplankton control of sinking particle flux in the ocean’s twilight zone. Limnol. Oceanogr.  53(4): 1327-1338)
  Figure 2: A mesopelagic, diel vertically migrating copepod, Pleuromamma xiphias (photo D. Steinberg)

Biogeochemistry and Microbial Dynamics of the Bathypelagic Zone
With residence times in the bathypelagic (taken here to be inclusive of all ocean depths >1000 m) ranging from centennial to millennial scales temporally, and global scales spatially, this deep zone is only slowly ventilated and circulated. Biogeochemical signals in the bathypelagic are thus integrative of unique ecosystem and metabolic processes occurring slowly over very long periods. Biological processes in the deepest ocean layers are intimately tied to particle dynamics and microbial food webs, much of which remain to be characterized. These processes, while occurring at low rates, can play important roles in global marine elemental cycling, with feedbacks to the climate system.  Changes in ocean stratification, for example, will elicit changes in the ecosystem functioning of the deepest layers. Slowly occurring processes, which may occur throughout the ocean depths, are hidden from view by the strong impacts of more dynamic processes in the upper ocean.  Signals for these same processes will emerge in the deepest layers where vertical and horizontal inputs are greatly reduced, thus exposing more cryptic metabolic and biophysical processes.

The central aim of the bathypelagic workshop is to gather the interdisciplinary expertise required to identify what is known about this realm and to identify and pursue outstanding uncertainties. The workshop will focus on three sectors of scientific interest: biogeochemistry/ geochemistry/ physical system, microbial dynamics, food webs. Each topic will be the focus of a breakout session. Each participant will be given time to present their most compelling science within one of those sectors. Through a combination of presentations and discussion groups, we will identify the current state of our knowledge about geochemical, biogeochemical, and biological processes in this deep system, particularly as these processes interact with one another and may change with evolving physical forcings.
The workshop is co-chaired by Dennis Hansell (USA) and Gerhard Herndl (The Netherlands), with organizing committee members Doug Bartlett (USA), Roger Francois (Canada), Gabriel Gorsky (France), Toshi Nagata (Japan), Dan Repeta (USA), Monika Rhein (Germany), and Ken Smith (USA).  Each participant is encouraged to present one poster on their relevant science.  Wall space will be available to leave the posters up for the duration of the workshop. A special issue of a journal will be developed through the contributions of the workshop participants.  The due date of the paper will be approximately 2 months after completion of the workshop.

BEER: The secret to a successful project
How can we tell that climate is changing? Answer: because we have data going back a century and more - and because someone made the effort to record, calibrate and then preserve these data long after the projects (and funding) were gone.
Nobody questions that scientists must publish, so why is organizing data the poor relation? IMBER seeks to change this ethos and recommends that all projects appoint a Data Integration Scientist, emphasising the benefits to both the project investigators and the appointee. This short workshop addresses those benefits, and we seek your input to the discussion. Scientists of all experience levels are invited to participate and contribute.
The programme includes the following topics:

Being a Data Scientist is FUN!
Raymond Pollard (raymond.pollard@gmail.com)
Chair, IMBER Data Management Committee
Physical and multi-disciplinary oceanographer, observationalist (retired)
National Oceanography Centre Southampton, UK

Has data management gone mainstream?
Robert Groman (rgroman@whoi.edu)
Biological and Chemical Oceanography Data Management Office
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, USA

Data integration made easier
Gwen Moncoiffé (gmon@bodc.ac.uk)
Biological Oceanographer and Data Scientist
British Oceanographic Data Centre, UK

Better data, better science!
Todd O’Brien (Todd.OBrien@noaa.gov)
Project manager for COPEPOD (Coastal & Oceanic Plankton Ecology, Production & Observation Database)
National Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA , USA

Discussion Session
Are you convinced?!
How can we help?

The workshop is chaired by Raymond Pollard (UK) with organizing committee members Todd O’Brien (USA), Gwen Moncoiffé (UK) and Sophie Beauvais (France). Scientists of all experience levels are invited to participate in this workshop and contribute to the discussion. 

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Meeting reports

Eastern Boundary Upwelling Ecosystems: integrative and comparative approaches

2-6 June 2008, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain


Lynne Shannon1, Vivian Montecino2 and Coleen Moloney3
1Marine and Coastal Management, Cape Town, South Africa
2Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile
3University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa

We were fortunate to have been among the community of scientists who attended the Eastern Boundary Upwelling Ecosystems Symposium in Las Palmas, Spain, in June 2008. This was a most worthwhile and enjoyable symposium - from the super-efficient organization, to the stimulating and fascinating collection of presentations and posters, to the wonderful opportunities for discussing and interacting with like-minded scientists working on upwelling systems.

International meetings have focused on eastern boundary upwelling ecosystems for the last 30 years in North and South America, southern Africa and Europe (Spain). There have been technological, methodological and conceptual advances, and also collaboration and cooperation between countries, people and disciplines. This symposium was timeous in bringing together all the regional players so that the full extent of the scientific achievements and advances in all four upwelling ecosystems could be communicated and discussed. The conveners of the symposium (Javier Aristegui, Manuel Barange and Pierre Freon) have all played important roles in facilitating collaborations, and they emphasized the importance of these in facing the challenges represented by climate change, sustainability of marine resources and economic globalization.

The scientific programme at the symposium consisted of a mix of plenary and parallel sessions, with approximately 135 oral presentations and about 200 posters, which were presented during a full afternoon of the symposium. The scientific highlights included four system overview papers, given by a key scientist from each of the major upwelling ecosystems: Javier Aristegui (Canary), Dave Checkley (California), Larry Hutchings (Benguela) and Vivian Montecino (Humboldt). Remarkably, all of these scientists are planktologists – perhaps this is indicative that plankton ecology effectively straddles disciplinary boundaries? The system overviews were comprehensive and they will be important reference material for present and future generations of scientists grappling with understanding eastern boundary upwelling ecosystems.

The system overview papers laid solid foundations for presentations on various aspects of eastern boundary upwelling ecosystems, from physical and biogeographical studies, to those dealing with specific life history traits of important marine prey and predatory species, to those integrating across the food web. There were also some interesting new concepts, including an elusive upwelling monster off southern Africa, the “Benguela spasmodic GULPER” (Larry Hutchings et al.), which is hypothesized to consume all organisms in the path of acoustic sounders, and the existence of a seabird wonderland (“Perusalem”) off South America (Luis Alza et al.), to which large numbers of seabird species are drawn. Unfortunately, these concepts are unlikely to be fully developed in the conference proceedings, but many of the other presentations will be published in a special issue of Progress in Oceanography (during 2009).

Most of the 300-plus participants at the symposium were from the four major eastern boundary upwelling ecosystems, although it is interesting to note that regional participation appears to be inversely related to fish catches (Fig. 1). Despite these geographical differences in research investment, it was refreshing (and somewhat unusual) to participate in an international scientific event where the northern and southern hemispheres were approximately equally represented. We recognize the contributions of the various funding bodies1 that made this possible. We also recognize the uniqueness of the eastern boundary upwelling ecosystems, each of which is scientifically interesting, but all of which promote global scientific connectivity through comparisons of unique (e.g. nitrate availability at 60m) and common features (e.g. low oxygen layers). Indeed, the comparative approach was the overall theme of the symposium, allowing us to learn from past and current changes (e.g. increasing primary productivity) and failed management approaches, improving our understanding of the processes underlying upwelling ecosystems (e.g. a trend of CO2 outgassing with latitude, related to the depth of the thermocline) and allowing us to move towards predicting future change. In his concluding remarks at the end of the symposium, George Branch highlighted the need for comparative studies that include non-upwelling ecosystems as well. This will most certainly be a challenge for the future.

Figure 1: The number of symposium attendees from the main eastern boundary upwelling regions plotted against total catch from the regions.
From left: Coleen Moloney, Vivian Montecino, Lynne Shannon
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Coping with global change in marine social-ecological systems

Cullen S. Hendrix1 and Sarah M. Glaser2
1Department of Political Science, University of North Texas, United States
2Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, United States

From July 7-10, 2008, Global Ocean Ecosystem Dynamics (GLOBEC) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization hosted "Coping with global change in marine social-ecological systems" at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy.  The symposium assembled 150 researchers representing 38 countries from a broad swath of the natural and social sciences. The interdisciplinary nature of the symposium was key to identifying gaps in current knowledge and fruitful avenues for developing a dynamically-coupled, humans-in-ecosystems perspective on marine resource management. 

The goal of the symposium was to foster interdisciplinary approaches to promoting resilience of marine social-ecological systems in the face of global changes, particularly climate change, globalization, and human security in the developing world.  Consistent themes included identifying drivers of global climate change and defining and measuring adaptive capacity in social-ecological systems. 
Oral presentations and poster sessions were grouped thematically around issues of:

  1. identification and measurement of drivers of social-ecological change,
  2. the politics, economics, and management of shared ocean resources,
  3. modelling coupled social-ecological systems,
  4. human valuation of ecological systems and the services and goods they provide,
  5. the human security implications of climate and ecosystem change,
  6. the practice of interdisciplinary science,
  7. communicating and disseminating scientific knowledge, and
  8. political, social, and market mechanisms for building adaptive capacity in marine systems.

Several keynote speakers served to define the scope of the conference. Fikret Berkes (University of Manitoba, Canada) argued that conceptualizing fish as a commodity undermines ecosystem protection and allows over-exploitation to remain the norm.  Katrina Brown (University of East Anglia, UK) emphasized the importance of a nation's adaptive capacity in shaping both their vulnerability to environmental impacts and the types of options available to them to confront such impacts. Bonnie McKay (Rutgers University, USA) discussed the role fishers play in management, and presented a fascinating look at the Massachusetts Fishermen's Partnership as a case study in fisher cooperation. Finally, Judith Kildow of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (USA) was the final day keynote speaker.
The final panel, which featured Poul Degnbol (European Commission, Belgium), Mitsutaku Makino (Japan), James McGoodwin (USA), Barbara Neis (Memorial University, Canada), Samuel Pooley (NOAA, USA), and Jurgenne Primavera (Philippines) drew several important conclusions.  First, many changes in social-ecological systems will have distributive consequences that, while creating winners and losers, will involve complex interactions complicating mitigation strategies and -in some cases- may lead to perverse outcomes. Second, because these interactions are complex, there is no "one-size-fits-all" mitigation or adaptation strategy that will be applicable in all contexts, and knowledge of specific circumstances will be necessary to guide policy recommendations.  Finally, the panel echoed a point made by Anthony Starfield (University of Minnesota): that researchers must ground their interdisciplinary modelling projects in real-world problems, rather than attempts to advance the parochial interests of the disciplines they represent.

The co-conveners of the symposium, R. Ian Perry (Canada), Rosemary Ommer (Canada), and Philippe Cury (France) stated that the participation at this symposium by both “natural”and “social” scientists, who do not normally meet together, and discussions during breaks and in the evenings, was extraordinary. It demonstrated the significance and timeliness of the topic of this symposium. Several comments were made that a follow-up symposium should be held in a few years, perhaps devoted to more specific topics. There is great scope for continued progress in such coupled marine social-ecological systems.
Publication of the symposium proceedings are expected in both a book format and as collected papers in a journal. Deadline for manuscript submissions is 31 October 2008. The organisers anticipate 25-35 submissions in total.

Presentations and posters from the symposium can be accessed at the symposium website: http://www.peopleandfish.org.

Acknowledgments: The meeting was supported by GLOBEC, the European Network of Excellence for Oceans Ecosystem Analysis (EUR-OCEANS), FAO, the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), Institut français de recherche pour l'exploitation de la mer (IFREMER), Scientific Committee for Oceanic Research (SCOR), the North Pacific Marine Science Organisation (PICES), the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES), the Integrated Marine Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Research program (IMBER), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the WorldFish Centre, and was endorsed by the International Human Dimensions Program (IHDP).

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Third Annual Ocean Carbon and Biogeochemistry Summer Science Workshop

21-24 July 2008, Woods Hole, MA, United States

Heather M. Benway1 and Scott C. Doney1
1 Dept. of Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA USA

The third annual Ocean Carbon and Biogeochemistry (OCB) summer science workshop sponsored by the National Science Foundation took place 21-24 July 2008 at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, MA, convening 147 participants. Daily plenary and poster sessions focused on three interdisciplinary themes:

1) Climate sensitivity of ecosystem structure and associated impacts on biogeochemical cycles
Speakers addressed impacts of climate variability, climate change and ocean acidification on marine calcifiers, pelagic food-web dynamics, benthic fauna, fluxes to the deep-ocean, and oxygen minimum zone extent and evolution.

2) Carbon uptake and storage
Speakers summarized recent ocean carbon flux trends and key controlling processes in critical regions such as the Southern Ocean, the northern oceans, and the Gulf of Mexico.  One speaker described a new tracer-based back-calculation method for reconstructing anthropogenic carbon uptake in the world’s oceans.

3) Temporal trends in ecosystem variability
Presentations in this theme focused on how satellite- and ocean-based time-series, paleoclimate records, and regional programs such as GLOBEC advance our understanding of marine biogeochemical cycling and feedbacks between climate and marine ecosystems and provide critical data to improve complex ecosystem models.
During daily breakout sessions focusing on important subtopics under each theme, participants discussed field-based, remote sensing, and modelling strategies to address critical knowledge gaps. Two common threads emerged repeatedly throughout the workshop: 1) the importance of the Southern Ocean in the global carbon cycle; and 2) the need to expand observational capabilities for the OCB community by leveraging underway ship systems, autonomous platforms and the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI).  Specific observational challenges include improved quantification of planktonic functional group distributions, lateral transport, benthic-pelagic coupling, and air-sea CO2 fluxes and food web changes.

Additional highlights of the OCB summer workshop included a planning session for OCB coordination of a coastal synthesis as part of the North American Carbon Program’s interim synthesis activities, a presentation of exciting new results on the Spring 2008 plankton bloom (North Atlantic Bloom Experiment), a plenary discussion of OCB’s leadership role in defining future carbon cycle research directions, and plenary discussions following up on two recent OCB scoping workshops, one on ocean acidification and one on terrestrial and coastal carbon fluxes and exchanges in the Gulf of Mexico.

For further information (meeting agenda, list of participants, talks, live web-casts, etc.), please visit http://www.whoi.edu/sites/ocbworkshop2008.

The OCB newsletter is published online and can be downloaded from http://www.us-ocb.org/publications/index.html

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National activities

Research update from New Zealand

By Julie Hall

In May and June this year a research voyage was undertaken over the Chatham Rise off the East coast of the South Island of New Zealand. This is a geographic region where the subtropical convergence zone is geographically locked in place and is a key region for New Zealand fisheries. The overarching questions addressed on the voyage were:

  • What is the composition, abundance and spatial distribution of marine organisms on the Chatham Rise?
  • What are the key trophic linkages leading to commercial fish stocks on the Chatham Rise?

The data collected on the voyage will support the development of a quantitative picture of the current state of the marine food web of the Chatham Rise. Previous work to develop such a trophic model has identified the importance of, and paucity of information on, middle trophic level groups, including mesozooplankton, macrozooplankton, gelatinous zooplankton, squid, mesopelagic fish, small epipelagic fish species, juvenile/pre-fishery sized fish, and benthic invertebrates. Measurements under taken on the voyage included basic physical and chemical oceanographic measurements such as, temperature, salinity, nutrients, and chlorophyll a  and rate measurements such as primary and bacterial production, microzooplankton and mesozooplankton grazing and export fluxes using thorium techniques. The abundance biomass and distribution of bacteria, phytoplankton, microozplankton, mesozooplankton, macrozooplankton, and mesopelagic fish were all measured with the mesopelagic fish being assessed using both acoustic and trawl methodologies. Scientists on the voyage were from New Zealand, Australia, Canada and China making it a truly international research activity.

In September and October another research voyage will take place off the East coast of New Zealand with the overarching question:

  • What determines productivity and carbon export in New Zealand waters during the spring bloom?

The subtropical waters to the East of New Zealand are characterized by a spring bloom of several weeks duration. This event provides one of the largest biogeochemical signals within the New Zealand Exlusive Economic Zone, and has been observed remotely from both satellite and a time series mooring in these waters. Analysis of the last ten years of this bloom event, using a 10 year archive of SeaWiFS and MODIS data reveals that its onset is usually in mid- September and it peaks (ca. 1 µg chlorophyll L-1) around 14 days later. This voyage is another international effort with scientists from New Zealand, USA and Chile. 

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IMBER-related meetings & conferences

Final Symposium of the Global Ocean Data Assimilation Experiment “The revolution in global ocean forecasting GODAE: 10 years of achievement”

12-15 November 2008, Nice, Palais des Congrès Acropolis, France

GODAE is an initiative which aims to make ocean monitoring, analysis, and prediction a routine activity akin to NWP analysis and weather forecasting. Its vision is of a global system of observations, communications, modelling and assimilation that will deliver regular, comprehensive information on the state of the oceans that will have wide utility for the public good. GODAE started in 1997 and will be brought to a close in 2008. 

The Final GODAE Symposium will provide an opportunity to review the key achievements of the last 10 years, to celebrate the outstanding successes, to critically examine the outcomes, and to discuss the future of operational ocean analysis and forecasting and proposals for its international coordination. Presentations will demonstrate the feasibility of global ocean analyses and forecasts, illustrate the impact of observations and describe the scientific assessments of analysis and forecast quality. Other presentations will review achievements in the development of the observing system, forecasting systems and the product servers and the development of useful applications and services.

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International Arctic Change 2008 conference

9-12 December 2008, Quebec City, Canada

Session T36: Recent Advances in Coupled Physical / Bio-Geochemical modelling in Polar Seas

See detailed programme at http://www.arctic-change2008.com/

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2008 AGU Fall Meeting 

15 -19 December 2008, San Francisco, United States

Special sessions related to IMBER science:
OS09: Air-Sea Gas Exchange
OS14: Decadal Trends in the Ocean Carbon Cycle
OS17: Carbon Cycling in the Coastal Ocean
OS32: Ocean Acidification: Impacts From the Coast to Open Ocean Based Upon Laboratory Studies, Proxy Data and Instrumental Records
B46: Carbon Flux and the North Atlantic Bloom- Early Results from a New Measurement Program
OCB-relevant sessions: Read the document

For details regarding the above special sessions, please go to the AGU session search page


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Austral Summer Institute IX

15 December 2008 -30 January 2009, Concepcion, Chile

The Department of Oceanography and the Center for Oceanographic Research in the eastern South Pacific (FONDAP COPAS) of the University of Concepcion, are pleased to announce the Austral Summer Institute IX (ASI IX)
ASI IX will be devoted to Coastal Processes and Environmental Problems and will be held at the Main Campus of the University of Concepcion, Chile,.
Detailed information on program, lecturers and application form at: www.udec.cl/oceanoudec/oceanografia

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ASLO Aquatic Sciences Meeting

25-30 January 2009, Nice, France

IMBER special sessions
IMBER/SOLAS session: Biogeochemistry and physical dynamics of coastal upwelling regions
Organizers: Carol Robinson (carol.robinson@uea.ac.uk), Des Barton(e.d.barton@iim.csic.es), Doug Wallace, (dwallace@ifm-geomar.de)
Oxygen Minimum Zones: Structure, Processes, and Climate Change
Organizers: Karen Wishner, Bess Ward, Kendra Daly, S. W. A. Naqvi, Brad Seibel, Stuart Wakeham, Jing Zhang
The Dark Ocean: Changing Paradigms in a Changing Ocean
Organizers: Gerhard J. Herndl (Herndl@nioz.nl) Javier Arístegui (jaristegui@dbio.ulpgc.es) Dennis A. Hansell (dhansell@rsmas.miami.edu )

More IMBER-related special sessions on the IMBER website


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Climate Change: Global Risks, Challenges and Decisions 

10-12 March 2009, Copenhagen, Denmark

Preliminary congress programme can be downloaded from http://cms.ku.dk//upload/application/pdf/008aaad0/webpdf_KU_program_01oktober.pdf


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SCOR 2009 Project Summit

30 March -1 April 2009, Newark, Delaware, United States

SCOR logo

One of IMBER’s sponsors, the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR), has sponsored ‘summits’ of large-scale international ocean science projects in 2004 and 2006. The purpose of these meetings is to provide a forum for discussion of common opportunities and challenges among the projects. Data management and capacity building have been discussed in past meetings and will be a topic again at the 2009 summit. Other potential topics include data publication, project data legacies, observing technology/ocean biology observatories, project visibility/publicity, modelling, and interactions with intergovernmental organizations. These meetings are funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The next summit will occur on 30 March-1 April 2009 in Newark, Delaware (USA), where the SCOR Secretariat is located. Participation is limited to representatives of relevant projects (including IMBER) and organizations that sponsor these projects.

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Other meetings:

Physiomar meeting
Physiological aspects of reproduction, nutrition and growth "Marine molluscs in a changing environment"

1-4 September 2008, Brest, France 


Physiomar 08 was convened from the 1st to 4th of September, 2008, in Brest (France). It followed a very successful workshop held in La Paz (Mexico) in November 2006 under the guidance of Maria Concepcion Lora Vilchis and Elena Palacios Metchenov from CIBNOR. Physiomar 08 was organized jointly by Lemar (IUEM: European Institute for Marine Studies) and LPI (Ifremer : French Institute for the Research and Exploitation of the Sea), as both laboratories are involved in research on molluscan physiology. These labs represent the two complementary points of view (ecology and aquaculture) that interacted in this conference. Researchers, students and mollusc farmers had the opportunity to communicate in that field to better understand their ecological significance, and to promote the sustainable culture of the organisms. Read more

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SOCAT-II Meeting Report Released
The Surface Ocean CO2 Atlas (SOCAT) project is developing a common format dataset of all publicly available surface CO2 data. This compilation currently includes data from more than 10 countries, producing an initial database composed of more than 1250 cruises from 1968 to 2007 with approximately 4.5 million measurements of various carbon parameters. The second level quality-controlled (QC) dataset will be published in late 2009, and will be made available through Live-Access Server. The project will also develop a gridded product of monthly surface water fCO2 means on a 1° x 1° grid with no temporal or spatial interpolation using the second level quality-controlled global surface ocean fCO2 data set.
In June of this year, the IOCCP, along with CARBOOCEAN and the SOLAS-IMBER Joint Carbon Group, held a second technical meeting to discuss second level QC and regional synthesis issues. The report from the meeting is now available from the IOCCP workshop report page.
The sponsors would like to thank Chair Dorothee Bakker, data set developers Are Olsen and Benjamin Pfeil, the regional working group chairs, and the participants who attended the workshop for their efforts.

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Bottle files including extensive DOC (and some DON) data generated by Dennis Hansell and Craig Carlson since the mid 1990's (JGOFS and WOCE) and through the present (CLIVAR) are accessible at http://www.rsmas.miami.edu/groups/biogeochem/Data.html
If you have DOM data that you wish to make publicly available through this collection, please contact Dennis Hansell (dhansell@rsmas.miami.edu) or Craig Carlson (carlson@lifesci.ucsb.edu)

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The Takahashi Annual Flux Gridded Database with spatial resolution of 4° (latitude) X 5° (longitude) is now available for public use through CDIAC Global Surface pCO2 (LDEO) Database (Version 1.0) from: http://cdiac.ornl.gov/oceans/LDEO_Underway_Database/LDEO_home.html

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Report published: air-sea CO2 flux from satellite and Argo data
A report on utilizing remote sensing and profiling float data to constrain air-sea CO2 fluxes in the North Atlantic has been published.
The reference of the report is:
Lueger, H., R. Wanninkhof, A. Olsen, J. Trinanes, T. Johannessen, D.Wallace, and A. Koertzinger, 2008: The CO2 air-sea flux in the North Atlantic estimated from satellite data and ARGO profiling float data. NOAA Technical Memorandum, OAR AOML-96, 28 pp.
the report can be obtained in electronic format from:
or you can send your mailing address to Rik Wanninkhof (rik.wanninkhof@noaa.gov)

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IMBER International Project Office
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Published by IMBER
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ISSN 1951-610X

If you wish to contribute to the IMBER Update, please contact Virginie Le Saout (virginie.lesaout@univ-brest.fr)


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