Question 1. What is (are) our ultimate goal(s)?

Question 1 Response--Comments on the ultimate goal ranged from specifics on modeling to an overall view of understanding how ecosystems are structured and how they function. Overall, three-dimensional models coupling physics and biology over time are needed. They should consider in situ growth and reproduction, spatial gradients and realistic animal behavior. They should have the potential to 1) understand the processes and mechanisms that affect rates of zooplankton, 2) provide an accurate hindcast of distribution and abundance of zooplankton species, of interannual variability, and 3) eventually result in an understanding of the effects of global environmental changes on zooplankton structure and dynamics. One respondent provided a time-line for his perception of the future: after 2 years we should have initial results on coupling physical transport models with biological models; after 5 years one should use these first generation models during U.S. GLOBEC field studies and begin to reformulate the models; and after 10 years we should be able to use second generation models, i.e., reformulated first generation models that have been tested against field observations.

Many of the comments were aimed at eventually obtaining an understanding of processes, rates and structures. These included coupling of major components; how (and if) variability in fish stocks and recruitment are related to physical forcing via the zooplankton (serving as food); how short-term, intense events vs. time-averaged processes affect species abundance; and how a long-term perturbation will affect an ecosystem. A better integration of observations and modeling was requested. Models should also be sufficiently mechanistic to allow testing, including concepts. However, development of elaborate, detailed models may not be useful, if the models cannot be understood or verified. Development of models that are simple and with few parameters should be encouraged. To come to grips with recruitment models, and observational efforts, we need to focus on mortality, immigration and emigration. Eventually one would like to predict recruitment, at least its potential, from few observational variables.