Appendix A - History of Planning Efforts for GLOBEC

The GLOBEC research initiative is designed to incorporate the results and recommendations of several independent planning meetings as well as the workshops and working group activities conducted under the auspices of GLOBEC. These independent planning meetings involved the communities of fisheries biologists, marine zooplankton biologists, nearshore marine benthic ecologists, and physical oceanographers.

Planning Processes Leading Up To GLOBEC

Fish Ecology I, II, III

In the early eighties, the Biological Oceanography Program of NSF developed documents in response to growing community interest in the underlying causes of population fluctuations from seasonal to decadal time scales in the ocean. One expression of that interest was a series of three workshops between 1980 and 1983 which were organized by John Steele, Brian Rothschild, and others. These workshops came to be known in retrospect as "Fish Ecology I, II and III". Fish Ecology III, the culmination of this effort, was a large international gathering (Miami, 1983) sponsored by CIMAS, the NOAA/University of Miami Cooperative Institute of Marine and Atmospheric Science. It focused primarily on recruitment, food chains, and the coupling of physical forcing, and resulted in a substantial workshop report.

The Lake Arrowhead Marine Zooplankton Colloquium

In April 1988 a group of 58 biological oceanographers and marine ecologists interested in marine zooplankton biology met in a week-long workshop at Lake Arrowhead in Los Angeles, California to identify the new directions emerging in marine zooplankton research. The report of that workshop (Marine Zooplankton Colloquium 1, 1989) lists seven principal issues and areas of future research emphasis in the field of marine zooplankton biology, all of which are embraced by the science plan of GLOBEC:

The Lake Arrowhead colloquium also argued compellingly for the urgent need to develop and deploy instrumentation for measurement of abundances with higher frequency and resolution and for assessment of vital aspects of physiological and demographic rates.

The Nearshore Marine Benthic Ecology Workshop

In September 1987 a group of 40 marine benthic ecologists interested in systems in the coastal zone met in Seattle at the campus of the University of Washington to discuss the emerging issues and new directions in the field of nearshore marine benthic ecology. The report of that workshop (Eckman et al., 1989) recommends establishment of a new research initiative, with the acronym of COAST (A Coastal Initiative), to explore several important scientific questions in the oceanography and marine ecology of the coastal zone. The report argues effectively that certain characteristics of marine benthic systems render them tractable for a variety of important tests of processes that are common to most marine animal populations. The report also presents the argument that the coastal zone is that portion of the oceans where anthropogenic changes in the marine environment are most likely to be expressed in important biological responses. Many of the recommendations of this workshop have been adopted by the GLOBEC plans, while others are appropriate to such initiatives as LMER (Land Margin Ecosystems Research) and COOP (Coastal Ocean Processes). Those recommendations that have been incorporated into GLOBEC are:

The nearshore marine benthic ecologists also emphasized the need to develop and apply new technologies and instrumentation to solve some of these important scientific questions about the functioning of coastal ecosystems. There was concern that coastal oceanography, and especially biology, had not been receiving its share of resources to support development of new technology. Finally, this group of benthic biologists expressed a strong commitment to promoting greater interdisciplinary collaboration to address the most urgent problems in coastal zone ecology and oceanography.

Planning by CoPO - Coastal Physical Oceanography

In January 1988 a broadly representative group of physical oceanographers met in Gulf Park, Mississippi to discuss the urgent scientific questions in coastal physical oceanography. This initiated planning for a national program in Coastal Physical Oceanography (Brink, 1988), a planning process that has now been expanded in scope to include interdisciplinary aspects of coastal oceanography. The research initiative CoOP (Coastal Ocean Processes) is now being developed around these interdisciplinary problems. Nevertheless, the working group reports produced by CoPO also serve well to identify the important current questions in physical oceanography of the coastal zone and have been extremely helpful in guiding planning for the coastal aspects of GLOBEC.

The major goal articulated by the coastal physical oceanographers in CoPO is to understand better the processes of cross-shelf exchange of mass, momentum, and energy. To that end, working group reports on buoyancy-driven exchange, air-sea exchange, inner-shelf exchange, and benthic-interior exchange describe the fundamental problems to be addressed and provide some guidance to approaching these questions. The output of these working groups has been utilized and their recommendations adopted by GLOBEC in designing the coastal physical oceanographic elements of the GLOBEC science plan:

Deep-Sea Observatories Workshop

The Deep-Sea Observatories Workshop was held November 7-9, 1989 at the David Taylor Research Center in Carderock, MD. Over 60 people attended, including scientists from a wide variety of oceanographic and meteorologic disciplines as well as representatives from federal agencies and commercial firms. The focus of the workshop was to discuss the rationale and goals of deep-sea observatories (DSOs), and to discuss the possibility of refitting as DSOs radar surveillance platforms that the navy may establish for drug interdiction in the Gulf of Mexico. The scientific rationale and general goals of deep-sea observatories were defined as: a) to operate as bases for obtaining long-term, high-frequency, multidisciplinary time series for the study of variability in open ocean ecosystems, b) to function as bases for process-oriented experiments that would benefit from the time series data or need facility support from the DSO, and c) to function as stations for monitoring environmental change. Four working groups centered on frequency spectra of ecosystem variables, biogeochemical processes, coupled ocean-atmosphere processes, and the perspective of a regional Gulf of Mexico DSO program settled on several conclusions:

A more detailed summary of the working group reports and conclusions can be found in the Deep-Sea Observatories Workshop Report available from Wood Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Planning Efforts Explicitly for GLOBEC

The National Academy of Sciences Report on Recruitment Processes and Ecosystem Structure in the Sea

In the context of NSF, "Recruitment Dynamics" was identified as a sub-initiative in the first Ocean Sciences Division Advisory Committee Long Range Plan (1985). By the time of the Ocean Sciences Long Range Plan revision of 1987,' the NSF Global Geosciences Program had begun. It was clear that the term, "recruitment dynamics" was too restrictive and was expanded to "global ocean ecosystems dynamics coupling", to reflect the broader issues of which recruitment processes were a special case.

After the issue of the original Long Range Plan, the Ocean Studies Board of the National Research Council, under the chairmanship of John Steele, called together a small working group in 1985 to advise on how to develop the recruitment initiative. This spawned a series of small working group meetings involving physical oceanographers that were arranged by Brian Rothschild, Ken Sherman of NOAA and others. The progress of these meetings culminated in a small workshop, chaired by Brian Rothschild and Mike Mullin, in July 1985 at the National Academy Study Center. The resulting report, which defined the scope of "Recruitment Processes and Ecosystem Structure in the Sea" was approved by the Ocean Studies Board and published in December 1987. Meanwhile, Brian Rothschild had organized a NATO Advanced Research Workshop (France, June 1987) on Biodynamics of the Sea, which explored the wider issues of biological/physical interactions in the ocean and the international scientific interest in it.

The Wintergreen Workshop on GLOBEC

In May 1988, 90 scientists representing interests in marine fish, zooplankton, benthos, physics, and technology met for a week in Wintergreen, Virginia at a workshop to explore the level of enthusiasm for the GLOBEC initiative and to help shape its future. This workshop had been preceded by meetings of several working groups, each of which prepared an extensive written report. These working group reports are assembled and published together with the results of the workshop as the Wintergreen GLOBEC Workshop Report (available through JOI). Working groups were organized around (1) oceanography and modeling, (2) benthos, (3) food chains, (4) population genetics and biotechnology, and (5) sampling technologies. Scientists at the meeting reached a consensus that fundamental knowledge of the interrelationships among physical processes, population dynamics, and other relevant phenomena could be materially improved, that new approaches are available to address these issues, and that such a program should begin immediately. This initial science plan follows directly from the recommendations of that Wintergreen meeting and adopts the GLOBEC guidelines articulated in the Wintergreen report:

The seeds for all the plans described in this initial science plan for GLOBEC can be found in the Wintergreen report. Perhaps the area of investigation most greatly elaborated since the Wintergreen meeting is the approach to how global climate change might be related to finer scales of events that influence individual organisms.

Activities of the GLOBEC Steering Committee

Following the Wintergreen workshop, a committee was named to nominate the initial GLOBEC steering committee. John Steele, Peter Niiler and Karl Banse solicited nominations and suggestions from the oceanographic community throughout the summer and autumn of 1988. This time frame was intentionally protracted to ensure that this large community of interested scientists had ample opportunity to provide input. The nomination period extended through and past the autumn meeting of AGU/ASLO in San Francisco. In February 1988, an initial steering committee of 13 scientists was named to further the planning process for the GLOBEC research initiative. All 13 accepted the invitation to serve on this committee.

Table A: Chronology of important events in GLOBEC planning

May 1Initial meeting of the steering committee
Summer/FallWorking group meetings on technology, modeling, conceptual issues, and field programs
February 13AGU/ASLO technology session and GLOBEC workshop (New Orleans)
FebruaryCall for GLOBEC modeling proposals by NSF, due in May
June 18-21Northwest Atlantic workshop (Halifax)
June 22Technology workshop (Halifax)
November 12-13Workshop on biotechnological applications (Miami)
JanuaryNOAA call for proposals for GLOBEC studies
FebruaryNSF call for proposals for GLOBEC studies, especially biotechnology development

homepage contents previous newsletter