Recent Developments in International GLOBEC

by Roger Harris

GLOBEC adopted by IGBP as Core Project

The overall objective of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program (IGBP) is:

"To describe and understand the interactive physical, chemical and biological processes that regulate the total Earth system, the unique environment that it provides for life, the changes that are occurring in this system, and the manner in which they are influenced by human activities"

During the IGBP meeting held in Beijing in October 1995, the GLOBEC Science Plan was presented to and approved by the SC-IGBP as a contribution to this objective. GLOBEC is thus accepted as a new IGBP Core Project, with co-sponsorship by the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR) and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC).

The adoption of GLOBEC as a Core Project of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program is a significant land-mark in the development of the international program. GLOBEC has come a long way since the first international GLOBEC planning meeting in Ravello in 1992 attended by David Cushing, Bob Dickson, John Field, Liz Gross, Tom Osborn, Brian Rothschild, Mike Sissenwine, Victor Smetacek, Jarl-Ove Stromberg, Takashige Sugimoto, Qisheng Tang, Phil Taylor and Dr A DeMaio.

IGBP Congress

GLOBEC was represented at the first IGBP Congress held in the small medieval town of Bad Münstereifel in Germany from 17 to 23 April, 1996. This was the first time in the ten year history of the IGBP that all the Program Elements had met together. The Core Projects and Framework Activities represented were:

BAHCBiospheric Aspects of the Hydrological Cycle
IGBP-DISIGBP Data and Information System
GAIMGlobal Analysis, Interpretation and Modeling
GCTEGlobal Change and Terrestrial Ecosystems
GLOBECGlobal Ocean Ecosystem Dynamics
IGACInternational Global Atmospheric Chemistry Project
JGOFSJoint Global Ocean Flux Study
LOICZLand Ocean Interactions in the Coastal Zone
LUCCLand Use/Cover Change
PAGESPast Global Changes
STARTGlobal Change System for Analysis, Research and Training

On the first and last full days of the Congress the Program Element SSCs held their business meetings (with the exception of GLOBEC, whose SSC was still in the process of formation). These included special emphasis on inter-Program Element collaboration, and significant progress was made in terms of planning and specific agreements. The second full day was devoted to presentations from the Chairs of the of the eleven IGBP Program Elements (including GLOBEC) in which recent successes and future plans were reviewed. A particular question after the GLOBEC presentation concerned the apparent northern hemisphere focus of the project; developing GLOBEC in the southern hemisphere is an important issue which clearly needs addressing. The following two days covered a wide variety of theme sessions and discussion topics, "Ice and Earth System Variability", "Ecological Buffering in Global Change", "Modeling the Total Earth System", "Global Change and Food Supplies", "Capacity Building" and "Closing the Carbon and Nitrogen Cycles" being just a few examples to give a flavor of the Congress discussions. These discussions were lively and productive. A specific session addressed the topic of "IGBP Oceans Research", and clearly a challenge for the GLOBEC community will be to establish effective integration and links with the other two marine Program Elements (JGOFS and LOICZ). However, an even more stimulating challenge will be to view GLOBEC research in the wider context of the IGBP, and to look to developing good interactions with relevant terrestrial projects, making comparisons between terrestrial and marine ecosystems. For example there is potential for linking, through theoretical and modeling work, with the initiative of GCTE on "Global Change and Ecological Complexity". The wider IGBP context also challenges GLOBEC to bear in mind the human dimension, for example aspects of food supply (the significance of fisheries), and also the important issues of training and capacity building.

The venue of the Congress was the Bad Münstereifel Kurhaus, an old monastery which was renovated and converted relatively recently. This setting provided an excellent environment for both individual and group interactions and discussions. The Congress was very efficiently organized by the IGBP Secretariat, especially by the Deputy Executive Director, Neil Swanberg, who is well know in the marine science community. Another familiar face at the Congress was that of Liz Gross, Executive Director of SCOR, who represented a variety of oceanic research interests.

Scientific Steering Committee Changes

The adoption of GLOBEC by IGBP has provided the opportunity make some changes in the composition of the SSC. Both SCOR and IGBP rules call for a rotation of the Chairs and members of their committees every three years; this mechanism ensures that there is an opportunity for new people to become involved. The composition of the GLOBEC SSC strives for balanced disciplinary and international representation while at the same time maintaining important continuity with the membership of the original committee. The current members are listed below, and nominations are currently being considered to expand membership from the southern hemisphere.

The current membership of the International GLOBEC SSC:

Dag AksnesDept. of Fisheries and Marine Biology, University of Bergen, Norway
Jürgen AlheitBaltic Sea Research Institute, University of Rostock, Germany
Tommy DickeyUniversity of California, Santa Barbara, USA
Roger HarrisPlymouth Marine Laboratory, UK (Chairman)
Eileen HofmannOld Dominion University, USA
Tsutomu IkedaFaculty of Fisheries, Hokkaido University, Japan
Ian PerryPacific Biological Station, DFO, Nanaimo, Canada
Brian RothschildUniversity of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, USA
Jarl-Ove StrombergKristineberg Marine Research Station, Sweden
Svein SundbyInstitute for Marine Research, Bergen, Norway
Qisheng TangYellow Sea Fisheries Research Institute, Qingdao, China

The SSC is responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of the GLOBEC program in accordance with the published Science Plan. The SSC will develop a detailed Implementation Plan for GLOBEC for presentation to the sponsoring organizations and the larger scientific community; and it will recommend to the sponsoring organizations the necessary action to be taken in accordance with the GLOBEC Science and Implementation Plans and will coordinate and manage the resulting activities. The Steering Committee will collaborate, as appropriate, with other global change programs and planning activities, such as JGOFS, LOICZ, WCRP, the IOC/FAO program on Ocean Science and Living Resources, and the emerging Global Ocean Observing System, GOOS. Appropriate data management policies will be established to ensure sharing and preservation of the GLOBEC data set. The SSC will report regularly to SCOR, IGBP and IOC on the state of planning and accomplishment of GLOBEC.

SSC Meeting

The new GLOBEC Scientific Steering Committee held it's first meeting at the Johns Hopkins University from 11-13 November 1996, together with representatives of national and regional GLOBEC programs, and invited specialists (See photo below). The meeting began by considering the Science Plan, and then moved to a review of the status of the major GLOBEC field programs. Keith Brander and Svein Sundby presented the ICES Cod and Climate Change Program, Ian Perry the PICES Climate Change and Carrying Capacity Program, Jürgen Alheit and John Hunter the Small Pelagics and Climate Change Program, and finally Eileen Hofmann reviewed Southern Ocean GLOBEC. After this, discussion moved to the four major research foci of GLOBEC. Alan Robinson and Tommy Dickey, respectively, reviewed the work of the Numerical Modelling, and Sampling and Observation Systems, Working Groups. John Hunter and Brian Rothschild then followed by leading discussion of initiatives in Retrospective Data Analysis, and Process Studies.

GLOBEC SCIENTIFIC STEERING COMMITTEE MEETING: The John's Hopkins University, Baltimore, 11-13 November 1996—Left to right: Dag Aksnes, Eileen Hofmann, Jarl-Ove Stromberg, Ian Perry, Tom Powell, Svein Sundby, Tommy Dickey, Brian J. Rothschild, Jürgen Alheit, Brad deYoung, Roger Harris, Ole Henrik Haslund, John Hunter, Qisheng Tang, Allan Robinson, Keith Brander, Neil Swanberg, Tsutomu Ikeda, Elizabeth Gross.

A major objective of the Baltimore SSC meeting was to strengthen communication and links with the active national and regional GLOBEC programs. A special session of presentations reviewed the impressive range of established research activities and plans within these programs. Tom Powell presented the U.S. GLOBEC program, Brad de Young spoke about GLOBEC Canada, Qisheng Tang reviewed China GLOBEC, Tom Ikeda Japan GLOBEC, Svein Sundby reported on Norway and Mare Cognitum and Keith Brander provided a report on UKGLOBEC planning. There was also discussion of developments in other countries, for example, Germany and France, Korea, Russia, the ICES countries, South Africa, Chile and New Zealand.

Other issues considered by the SSC included relations between GLOBEC and Global Change System for Analysis, Research and Training (START) on which a presentation was given by Hassan Virji, plans for developing an Implementation Plan and an Open Science Meeting, and various aspects of GLOBEC communication, for example publication of GLOBEC reports (see below), the GLOBEC Newsletter and web-site.

The GLOBEC Report Series is published by the GLOBEC INTERNATIONAL Secretariat's office and includes the following:

  1. Towards the Development of the GLOBEC Core Program: A report of the First International GLOBEC Planning Meeting. GLOBEC Report No. 1. SCOR.

  2. Population Dynamics and Physical Variability: Report of the First meeting of an International GLOBEC Working Group. GLOBEC Report No. 2. SCOR.

  3. Sampling and Observational Systems: Report of the First Meeting of an International GLOBEC Working Group. GLOBEC Report No. 3. SCOR.

  4. Cod and Climate Change: Report of the First Meeting of an ICES/International GLOBEC Working Group. GLOBEC Report No. 4. SCOR.

  5. Development of an International GLOBEC Southern Ocean Program. Report of the first meeting of the International GLOBEC working group. GLOBEC Report No.5. SCOR.

  6. Numerical Modelling. Report of the first meeting of the International GLOBEC working group. GLOBEC Report No.6. SCOR.

  7. Southern Ocean Implementation Plan. GLOBEC Report No.7. SCOR.

  8. Small Pelagic Fishes and Climate Change Program. Report of the first planning meeting. GLOBEC Report No.8. SCOR.

The GLOBEC Science Plan

The GLOBEC Science Plan will shortly be published by IGBP. The GLOBEC Science Plan has benefited from the careful drafting by the SCOR/IGBP Core Project Planning Committee. It has been based on a draft plan written by the SCOR/IOC SSC for GLOBEC in 1994. That plan was itself based on a number of scientific reports generated by the successful series GLOBEC working groups, and on discussions at the GLOBEC Strategic Planning Conference (Paris, July 1994). The members of the SCOR/IGBP CPPC were Brian Rothschild (Chair), Robert Muensch (Chief Editor), John Field, Berrien Moore, John Steele, Jarl-Ove Stromberg and Takashige Sugimoto.

At the beginning of the Science Plan, the GLOBEC Goal is stated:

To advance our understanding of the structure and functioning of the global ocean ecosystem, its major subsystems, and its response to physical forcing so that a capability can be developed to forecast the responses of the marine ecosystem to global change.

Consideration of how best to achieve this goal has lead directly to the development of four primary GLOBEC objectives.

Development of an Implementation Plan and the first Open Science Meeting

The publication of the GLOBEC Science Plan provides a strong foundation for moving to implementation. This is the critical issue facing the members of the new GLOBEC SSC who will develop a detailed Implementation Plan, during 1997, for presentation to the sponsoring organizations and the larger scientific community. An Open Science Meeting will be held 17-20 March 1998 at the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO in Paris. This first Open Science Meeting of GLOBEC will serve to present the draft Implementation Plan to the international science community and provide a forum for its discussion and feed-back (see Open Science Meeting announcement).

The four objectives of the Science Plan lead to a specific set of research foci, which describe the scientific approach, and will be developed in the Implementation Plan. These program foci are as follows:

The Major Components of GLOBEC

The GLOBEC Core Program consists of a series of activities, planned under the aegis of the GLOBEC SSC. Much of the foundation has been laid at a series of planning meetings, in particular the 1993 GLOBEC Working Group on Population Dynamics and Physical Variability (GLOBEC Report No, 2); other working groups are directing GLOBEC efforts in, for example Numerical Modeling (GLOBEC Report No, 6) and Sampling and Observation Systems (GLOBEC Report No, 3).

In addition, the GLOBEC Core Programme has a major field study component. The four largest field research programmes are briefly described below. Much more detailed planning documents are available for each of them.

The first two field studies - Southern Ocean GLOBEC and the study on Small Pelagic Fishes and Climate Change - are the responsibility of two GLOBEC working groups (see GLOBEC Reports Nos.5 and 8) and therefore, fall directly under the oversight of the GLOBEC SSC. In the case of the former, the extent of the Southern Ocean region, the number of countries involved and the enormous logistical difficulties encountered in any major oceanographic effort there, make full international co-ordination essential. The SPACC programme will involve a very large number of countries in studies in many different regions of the world ocean. Again, the GLOBEC SSC and its SPACC working group are directly responsible for the planning and implementation of SPACC.

Finally, there are two large-scale studies, each of which is confined to a single ocean basin, which are being planned by regional oceanographic organisations in very close co-operation with GLOBEC. While individuals involved in each of these studies provide scientific input to the international GLOBEC SSC, the lead responsibility for these programmes is taken by the regional organisation as its contribution to the GLOBEC programme. These programmes are the Cod and Climate programme in the North Atlantic Ocean which is cosponsored by GLOBEC and the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), and the North Pacific programme on Climate Change and Carrying Capacity of the North Pacific Marine Science Organisation (PICES) and GLOBEC.

GLOBEC Southern Ocean Program (SO-GLOBEC). The SO-GLOBEC program is focused on understanding how physical forces influence population dynamics and predator-prey interactions between key species. Special efforts will be made to study the little-known overwintering strategies of zooplankton and top predators. The knowledge gained will significantly advance understanding of Southern Ocean marine ecosystems and will enable us to adequately monitor and predict the impact of climate change.

Planning for a Southern Ocean GLOBEC program has been developed at a number of meetings and working groups (GLOBEC Reports Nos, 5 & 7), and issues of implementation are now being considered as a matter of urgency by the new SSC. A new Southern Ocean Working Group has been established under the Chairmanship of Eileen Hofmann.

Small Pelagic Fishes and Climate Change (SPACC). SPACC aims to identify linkages between the physical forces that control growth of small pelagic fish populations (sardines, anchovies, scads, herrings, mackerels, sprat, menhadens and others). The long-range goal is to forecast how changes in the patterns and intensity of these forces, caused by elevated greenhouse gases and global warming, will alter the productivity of small pelagic fish populations.

SPACC planning has already involved major workshops in Mexico (GLOBEC Report No, 8) and Namibia, and further consideration of implementation was made at a meeting in Mexico City in August 1996.

ICES - GLOBEC Cod and Climate Change Program (CCC or "3Cs"). The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) and GLOBEC have joined together to develop an innovative program to advance the understanding and prediction of variability in fish stock recruitment, both in the short term (annual forecasts) and in the long term ("climate effects"). Cod was chosen for this exercise because its biology is well-known and supported by ample data bases. It has a pan-Atlantic distribution, and its abundance and distribution have been shown to be sensitive to specific past examples of climate variability. These considerations provide the possibility of developing new capabilities in predicting fish recruitment from a better understanding of the interaction of physical processes and population dynamics. Planning for CCC is described in GLOBEC Report No, 4.

PICES-GLOBEC Climate Change and Carrying Capacity (CCCC or "4Cs"). The North Pacific Marine Sciences Organization (PICES) and GLOBEC are jointly organizing a program on Climate Change and Carrying Capacity (CCCC) in the temperate and subarctic regions of the North Pacific Ocean. The general scope of the CCCC Program has a strong emphasis on coupling between atmospheric and oceanographic processes, their impact on the production of major marine living resources and how they respond to climate change on time scales of decades to centuries. Particular emphasis is being placed on regime shifts, and on the biology of salmonid stocks.

Developing National and Regional Programs

A major future priority of the GLOBEC SSC is to work closely with National GLOBEC committees and emerging regional programs to ensure effective co-ordination and integration, and to realize the full research potential of these regional initiatives. Many such GLOBEC activities are well established, productive, and ongoing, for example the US Georges Bank Program. It is a strength of the international program that there is already so much GLOBEC research momentum.

A further good example of such a regional development is the establishment of the TASC (TransAtlantic Study of Calanus finmarchicus) project, which is described in the article by Charlie Miller in this issue.

(Dr. Roger Harris is a zooplankton ecologist at the Plymouth Marine Laboratory and the chairman of International GLOBEC. For further information about International GLOBEC, contact Roger at Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Prospect Place, Plymouth PL1 3DH, United Kingdom [Tel: +44-1752-633400; FAX:+44-1752-633101;])