Report of MARE COGNITUM Meeting in Norway -- 27-29 February 1995
contributed by Peter Wiebe
MARE COGNITUM is a regional GLOBEC program now getting underway in
Norway. Like the U.S. GLOBEC Georges Bank Program, the scientists
funded to participate in MARE COGNITUM are from a government funded
laboratory and academic institutions. They also have been working
during the past couple of years on pilot projects and 1995 is their
first major field effort. The meeting described below was the PI
meeting that is intended to occur annually.
The meeting was held at the Solstrand Fjord Hotel, about 40 km south of
Bergen, Norway. This hotel sits south facing on the edge of Fusafjord
which is a small arm of the larger Bjornafjord. The fjord waters,
together with the rugged snow capped mountains rising up to the south
and east of the fjord, provided a spectacular setting for the meeting.
This will almost certainly be the site for next year's annual MARE
In attendance were individuals from a number of Norwegian institutions
and universities who represented groups that were funded by the
Norwegian Research Council to participate in MARE COGNITUM. Also in
attendance were representatives from adjoining countries who will be
collaborating in this International GLOBEC project. The countries
represented were the Faroe Islands, Iceland, and Russia. In addition,
Piers Chapman represented U.S. WOCE interests in the Norwegian Sea, and
I represented U.S. GLOBEC's Georges Bank Program. The official language
of the meeting was English.
The principal objectives of the meeting were 1) to provide a forum for
collaborating investigators to present their ideas and any preliminary
results that they might have with regard to the MARE COGNITUM research
program, and 2) to meet together in smaller groups to refine the cruise
plans for 1995, 96 and 97, to discuss the modelling activities, and to
consider what steps need to be undertaken to foster international
aspects of the research.
The meeting started at noon on Monday the 27th and finished at noon on
Wednesday the 29th. During the first two days, the investigators made
their presentations. The last half-day was used for working group
Hein Rune Skjoldal reviewed the goal of the program and major
programmatic components. The goal is to identify and quantify the most
important factors and mechanisms causing variability in the ecology of
the Nordic Seas with the aim to predict fluctuations in ocean
circulation, production, and fish stocks. There are three programmatic
components--ocean climate, resource ecology, and carbon cycling--each
with a specific goal and objectives.
Ocean Climate aims to describe and understand the most important
mechanisms responsible for variability in ocean climate. Some
Resource Ecology's goal is to describe the structure and function of the
ecosystem in the Norwegian Sea and quantify chief mechanisms regulating
the effect of climate variation on production and size of fish stocks
(herring and cod). Some objectives are:
- To describe variations in the influx of Atlantic water to the Norwegian Sea.
- Establish quantitative relationships between the variation of influx and the different branches of Greenland and Norwegian Seas.
- To establish quantitative relationships for interactions between ocean and atmosphere (heat flux, wind stress).
- To identify and quantify mechanisms causing or influencing periodic variations in ocean climate.
- To construct models based on fundamental knowledge of mechanisms, which can be used to forecast the development of ocean climate on time scales from one to several years.
The Carbon Cycling effort is concerned with quantifying the vertical flux
of carbon and pathways for the sinking of CO2 to depth. Objectives are:
- To describe pelagic food webs of the Norwegian Sea.
- To quantify new harvestable production and its spatial/temporal variation.
- To describe the structure and dynamics of key zooplankton and fish (mesopelagic) and how these populations are adapted to or influenced by the large-scale circulation in the Greenland and Norwegian Seas.
- To establish relationships between growth, maturation, and migration of herring as a function of stock size, predation, and ocean climate.
- To determine trophic interactions between blue whiting, herring, and mesopelagic fish and the effects of a herring stock increase on other stocks (the last herring crash, blue whiting increased).
- To determining food requirements for salmon and establish relationships between variations in its food conditions and its growth in the Norwegian Sea.
- To identify regulatory mechanisms and quantify effects of variations in ocean climate and zooplankton populations in the Norwegian Sea on recruitment and year-class strength of herring and cod.
- To determine the effects of life cycle and migration of zooplankton and fish on the distribution and feeding ecology of marine mammals and sea birds.
- To construct models to capture the essence of regulatory forces and mechanisms controlling stocks.
Individual investigators made presentations on fish ecology and fisheries
(13 presentations), international collaboration and activities (6),
plankton dynamics (7), and physical oceanography (5).
- To specify and quantify the effects of meteorological and physical oceanographic factors on the spring phytoplankton bloom and annual primary production.
- To specify and quantify the role of zooplankton and fish on the magnitude and variability of the sedimentation of biogenic matter to great depths and the sea floor.
- To specify the mechanisms regulating the interaction of physical and biological processes determining the degree of new (nitrate-based) production.
- To specify the mechanisms regulating the dominance of certain phytoplankton taxa (e.g. diatoms, Phaeocystis, coccolithophorids) and quantify the role of algal type for the sedimentation of biogenic material out of the euphotic zone.
- To develop models of the biological pump based on knowledge of mechanisms and vertical structure of the water column.
The Nordic Seas area (Norwegian Sea (2 basins), Icelandic Sea, and
Greenland Seas) is substantial--about 2.5 million km2. For comparison,
the Georges Bank study area is about 150 thousand km2 or approximately
six percent of the Norwegian Sea area. Thus, there is a substantial
requirement for shiptime to cover this sea area. In 1995, a number of
ships are scheduled to participate in MARE COGNITUM. Norwegian cruises
will cover the late winter, spring, and summer period (February to
August) (see Box).
The top three ships will be used to conduct a mix of large-scale surveys
of the Norwegian Sea and smaller scale process work. The specific MARE
COGNITUM cruises are marked with an MC; the others represent cruises
where samples relevant to MARE COGNITUM will be collected and shared.
The other two ships will conduct more local shelf/slope studies off
northern Norway. Iceland will conduct four large-scale surveys in the
waters around the island, and will occupy several transect lines 10
times during the year. The Faroes will conduct 3 surveys around their
waters with one cruise specifically directed towards herring. The
Russians will conduct a survey of the southern Norwegian Sea in June
which will focus on herring, but will include other pelagic fish,
plankton, and hydrography.
International cooperation of both logistics and science was discussed.
Logistical cooperation issues that arose were:
Scientific cooperation issues that arose were:
- Common Sampling Protocols: WOCE and JGOFS have protocols that should be followed wherever possible. Measurements or use of instrumentation not covered should have agreed upon protocols developed.
- Common data bases. Need to establish ways to exchange information and data.
- Exchange of cruise personnel.
What is envisioned as the next step is a series of small meetings or
workshops attended by representatives of the collaborating countries to
focus attention on:
- Large-scale modelling
- Linking regional models with basin scale/global models.
- Genetics, otoliths: need to exchange material.
One point that was emphasized was that ICES was going to establish a
secretariat for GLOBEC (and cod and climate change?) which is intended
to help coordinate activities in the North Atlantic and foster fruitful
interactions. (Peter Wiebe is a senior scientist at the Woods Hole
Oceanographic Institution and is chair of the U.S. GLOBEC Georges Bank
- Common protocols and analysis
- Data management and documentation.
- The North Atlantic Teleconnections (SeeSaw - NS/EW)
- Genetics [zooplankton/fish (cod/herring)]
- Otoliths [gadids and clupeiids)
- Exchange of personnel between programs (emphasis on young scientists).