Sevastopol Workshop Report

by William T. Peterson

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution recently co-hosted a workshop together with the Marine Hydrophysical Institute (MHI) and the Institute of Biology of the Southern Seas (IBSS) of Sevastopol, Ukraine. The goals of the meeting, held in Sevastopol on 20-24 September 1993, were to share what each of us knew about the oceanography of the Arabian Sea, to explore ways and means of sharing data, and to identify counterparts with whom future research collaboration might take place, in the Arabian Sea, Black Sea, and elsewhere. Our hope was that such a workshop would aid greatly the planning of forthcoming JGOFS, ONR, WOCE and GLOBEC efforts in the Arabian Sea. The chief organizers of the workshop were Joel Goldman, Biology Department at WHOI, Hugh Livingston, Scientific Officer, U.S. JGOFS Planning Office at WHOI, Valery Eremeev, Director, MHI and Stanislaw Knonvalov, Director, IBSS. Funding was provided by the National Science Foundation (International Programs and Biological Oceanography), by WHOI, and by NOAA through the U.S. GLOBEC Interagency Program Coordination Office.

Those attending from the U.S. included Joel Goldman, Hugh Livingston, Karl Banse, Ken Brink, John Brock, Ken Buessler, Ed Buskey, Dave Caron, Lou Codispotti, Alessandra Conversi, Alan Devol, Tom Dickey, Hugh Ducklow, Ann Edwards, Margarita Conkright-Gregg, Syd Levitus, Charlie Miller, Mark Ohman, Don Olsen, Dave Stein, and myself. Most of the attendees from the Former Soviet Union were from MHI or IBSS, but Moscow State University and the Ukraine NIRO (a federal fisheries lab in Kerch, Crimea) were represented as well.

The goal of educating each other on what we knew collectively about the Arabian Sea was accomplished through oral and poster presentations. Issues relating to data exchange and future collaboration were discussed during three meetings of six working groups: ocean physics, remote sensing, chemistry, microplankton, zooplankton, and myctophid fishes/squids. One full day was devoted to touring the MHI and IBSS facilities and visiting scientists in their laboratories. Evening social activities assured lively discussions of Arabian Sea and other issues. While there, we stayed aboard a passenger ship, moored next to the Russian fleet.

We learned that at least twenty major research expeditions have visited the Arabian Sea since 1963. However none of the oceanographic data reside in a centralized archive; rather data are kept in various laboratories (at least five in number) both in Moscow and in the Crimea. In the case of plankton data, thousands of plankton samples have been collected and enumerated from the Arabian Sea but most of the data remain on the original laboratory counting sheets. We also learned that a staggeringly high biomass of squid lives in the Arabian Sea, which apparently turns over annually! These squid feed on the large myctophid stocks, doing so even in the oxygen minimum zone; the fate of the squid carbon pool is completely unknown. Not surprisingly, we learned of a large number of papers and monographs that have been published in Russian reviewing aspects of the oceanography of the Arabian Sea. Since few of them have been translated into English, these papers and their contents were unknown to all of us. Each of us returned with at least a dozen monographs which beg translation.

Meeting participants resolved that the first steps toward future collaborations should include three efforts: funding for translation of key papers and monographs, funding for visits of U.S. scientists to the Ukraine for the purpose of writing co-authored review papers based on retrospective analysis of existing data sets, and funding for Ukraine scientists to visit the U.S. and work on joint research ventures, including preparation of review articles. Facilitation of these options is being explored--an ad hoc interagency working group may be formalized soon so stay tuned. In the interim, interested parties should contact Bill Peterson, U.S. GLOBEC Interagency Program Coordination Office (301) 713-2367, W.PETERSON/Omnet.

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