4.1 GLOBEC: North Atlantic Activities and Other Entities
GLOBEC efforts to understand the effects of climate change on the biology of the Georges Bank
region need to be carefully planned to coordinate activities with the two major Canadian efforts and
with the international Cod and Climate Change (CCC) program being planned under the auspices of
ICES. In addition, other national and international programs such as WOCE, ACCP, JGOFS, CoOP
have elements which are of mutual interest. Here a short synopsis of these overlapping elements will
be outlined. The reader should look to the planning documents for these other entities for details of
their full science plans.
4.2 Canadian Initiatives: OPEN and NCSP
As reflected by the venue chosen for the meeting, GLOBEC activities in the North Atlantic should be
carefully coordinated with the Canadian efforts to understand their fisheries and the massive changes
they are undergoing. The status of Canadian cod stocks has recently been reviewed by Harris (1990)
in a report that is one of several pieces of evidence which has caused great concern in Canada for the
status of the cod fisheries. In response to these concerns the national government, local provincial
governments and industry have combined to fund a massive effort to better understand the ecosystem
of Atlantic Canada and its fisheries.
One of these efforts is the Ocean Production Enhancement Network (OPEN), which is a four year
program focusing on cod and scallops. Field work aimed at addressing the recruitment problem of cod
on Sable Island Bank, scallop distributions, growth and survival in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Nova
Scotia and Newfoundland, and migration of cod in the Labrador/ Newfoundland shelf will be
complemented with laboratory, data analysis and modeling studies as part of this $25.4M program.
The program is outlined in a 115 page overview document available from the OPEN Secretariat,
Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3H 4J1. The OPEN effort provides a wealth of
opportunities for collaboration and, with its data from alternative field sites, provides an excellent
comparative data base which will complement the envisioned Georges Bank work. GLOBEC planning
needs to be carefully coordinated with that of OPEN and should allow funding for active cooperation
between Canadian and U.S. Scientists.
Another program centered in Newfoundland is the Northern Cod Science Program (NCSP). It is
aimed at a fuller understanding of the oldest continuously exploited cod stock in the western
hemisphere (see section 8.2, Northern Cod). The $43M program will focus on fisheries oceanography
and predator-prey dynamics off northern Newfoundland and the Labrador coast. Again, there is
opportunity for collaborative work on a range of issues. Of particular interest are the long time series
data and attempts on the part of programs like NOAA's ACCP to reconstruct and understand the
physical mechanism behind climate change in the subpolar regions.
Nova Scotian regional efforts include ongoing programs on the Scotian Shelf, Gulf of Maine and
Georges Bank. Efforts such as the 1982-89 southwest Nova Scotia Fisheries Ecology Program (Smith
et al., 1989) which focused on the Browns Bank region, provide many lessons for use in GLOBEC
planning. Future cooperative field work should be strongly encouraged with an emphasis on
interactions between U.S. and Canadian scientists.
4.3 Other International Programs
On a broader scale the GLOBEC Georges Bank initiative is part of a pan-Atlantic effort to understand
the relation between gadoid stocks and climate change. An ICES working group on Cod and Climate
Change (CCC) is presently in the process of completing an initial study via correspondence (S.
Sundby, Bergen, Chairman). The basic idea behind this planning process is to stimulate an
international effort to understand the impact of climate variability on cod stocks throughout the Atlantic
Ocean. Of particular interest are the various responses of different cod populations to climate variations
in different regions of the cod's range. Differences in the regional data bases available for addressing
the question of cod and climate make inter-regional comparisons a high priority. For example,
spawning, egg and larval distributions are much better known for the Arcto-Norwegian cod than for
other populations, suggesting that some progress might be made in test simulations using regional
physical models. The knowledge gained from such an exercise will in turn be useful for future
attempts to simulate distributions on Georges Bank. Other areas of particular mutual interest between
scientists studying the various cod stocks involve differences in genetics and cod physiology
throughout their range. A combination of genetic, physiological, paleobiological and
paleoclimatological work should provide important information on the long term relationship between
cod and climate.
Another international science working group of interest in the context of GLOBEC is a new SCOR
working group on pelagic biogeography. This newly constituted effort is interested in understanding
the factors which control the distributions of various species in the marine environment. The working
group should exchange ideas and plans with personnel involved in planning work as part of GLOBEC
in the North Atlantic.
International aspects of the World Ocean Circulation Experiment are apt to provide data sets on the
variations in conditions in the North Atlantic throughout the period of the envisioned GLOBEC work.
In particular, Canadian and United Kingdom research in the subpolar Atlantic should provide data sets
that address the nature of the ocean's response to the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO, see section
8.6.1). A Nordic country effort at the Greenland-Iceland-Scotland sills will also provide important
information in this context. A new SCOR Working Group on the Impacts of Fishery Harvests and
Stability of Marine Ecosystems is bound to address issues which complement those considered by
4.4 Other U.S. Programs
Other U.S. sponsored initiatives of interest to GLOBEC North Atlantic work include WOCE, ACCP,
JGOFS and CoOP. U.S. WOCE is primarily concentrating on work in regions outside of the North
Atlantic and therefore will not be of much relevance to the program at least in the near term. The
NOAA Atlantic Climate Change Program, on the other hand, can be expected to provide considerable
support in terms of large scale data analysis to interpret climate signals, through monitoring work to
follow climatic variations through the 1990s and through the development of models with the explicit
goal of better simulations of climate variations in the Atlantic. An effort as part of ACCP to provide a
higher resolution geological record for the Northern Atlantic is also relevant to GLOBEC goals. U.S.
JGOFS plans do not call for further field programs in the Atlantic, but several aspects of JGOFS
equipment development and the time series studies at Bermuda are important to Atlantic efforts in
GLOBEC. GLOBEC should consult with JGOFS scientists regarding long term moored technologies
currently in development or use. The time series at Bermuda and its relationship to the longer Bermuda
Biological Station time series provides an additional time series with respect to climate change in the
North Atlantic. The relevance of these time series to the region north of the Gulf Stream requires
The Coastal Ocean Processes Program (CoOP) has several aspects which overlap with the interests of
the GLOBEC Georges Bank effort. CoOP is a multidisciplinary effort focusing on the transfer of
properties in the coastal ocean. Particular overlap in interest will occur in relation to model
development and testing, observation technologies and process studies. Of primary importance is the
development of truly multidisciplinary cooperation within CoOP and between CoOP and GLOBEC.