Minutes of the U.S. GLOBEC Scientific Steering Committee Meeting

Boulder, CO --- April 10-11, 1997

(distributed 8 May 1997)

DAY ONE (Thursday, 10 April 1997)

The meeting began at 0830. Present from the SSC were Beardsley, Botsford, Dagg, Fogarty, Grant, Haidvogel, Hollowed, Huntley, Loeb, Mountain, Ortner, Pearcy, Powell, Reilly, Schumacher, Strub and Torres. Hofmann and Francis were unable to attend. Also present were Batchelder (U.S. GLOBEC office), Goldberg (U.S. GLOBEC office), John Knauss (Dean Emeritus, Scripps), Ken Denman (IOS), Bruce Frost (Univ. Wash.), Ed Houde (U. Maryland), Peter Wiebe (WHOI), Ted Durbin (URI), John Kindle (NRL-Stennis), Paul Bissett (NRL-DC), Robert Buddemeier (Univ. Kansas), Judy Gray (U.S. GLOBEC Program manager), Don Scavia (COP), Jim Yoder (NASA-day two only), Phil Taylor (NSF) and Sean Powers (NSF).

Powell reviewed the agenda. The morning of the first day was devoted to scientific presentations of the results to date of the Georges Bank program. Powell introduced the "internal review committee" members, Knauss, Denman, Frost, and Houde, and expressed his gratitude that they had agreed to participate in the review of the program in general and to attend this SSC meeting in particular. Powell noted that Friday morning would be devoted to discussion of the Northeast Pacific (NEP) Program, and of related programs in the Pacific (e.g., PNCERS, PICES).

The fall SSC meeting will be at Rutgers University on 9-10 October 1997. Next springs meeting will be 16-17 April 1998 in Washington, DC.


Presentations were made by Peter Wiebe (Introduction/Overview), Dave Mountain (Physical Variability), Ted Durbin (Zooplankton Ecology--Distribution and Dynamics), Bob Beardsley (Physical Oceanography--Stratification Study and Exchange Processes), Dale Haidvogel (Large-scale Modeling of the North Atlantic Basin), and Mike Fogarty (Predator Abundances, Predation Pressure and Ecological Changes in the Georges Bank Ecosystem).

In his introduction, Wiebe described the rationale, target species (cod and haddock larvae, Calanus and Pseudocalanus copepods) and program elements (broadscale surveys, process studies, modeling, retrospective studies) of the NW Atlantic program on Georges Bank. Some of the more interesting results so far are the importance of hydroids as predators of both the copepods and larval fish, and the importance of microzooplankton prey to first feeding, yolk-sac, cod larvae. Wiebe described a combined retrospective/modeling effort in which historical MARMAP data on zooplankton abundance and distribution are being assimilated into circulation models of the region to project the future distribution and abundance of the copepods--first without consideration of vital rates, and then after inverting the model, with consideration of copepod vital rates (i.e., growth, reproduction, and mortality). Similar efforts to assimilate biological and physical data into circulation models will be done with data collected during the GLOBEC program.

Mountain used deep-water salinity to show how the Gulf of Maine (GOM)circulation has varied interannually from 1995 to 1997. There have been major changes in water properties of the GOM, which appear to be related to temporal shifts in the proportion of water entering the GOM from the Scotian Shelf (cold, fresh) and slope water (warm, salty). The variability is not local in origin, which points out the need to consider regional connections and provides an opportunity for regional comparisons, especially with the programs that have been ongoing and are planned for the Scotian Shelf. The take-home message from his presentation was that the physical variability in the GOM/GB system is climate variability, in that it is driven by large time and space scale processes. This variability can be identified in retrospective analyses, and may provide a proxy for the types of changes that might occur as a result of climate change.

Durbin showed how Calanus reproduction occurred early in the year (perhaps in Nov-Dec), since in January there were many naupliar stages on the GB. The winter-spring cohort of Calanus matures in April-May. In stratified regions, a second generation of nauplii was spawned in June, but did not result in older copepodite stages on the bank. On the shallowest crest regions, there were no Calanus nauplii after May, despite high proportions of reproductive females. These patterns may be the result of intense predation on the crest and later in the summer, perhaps by hydroids. Studies of carbon and nitrogen growth rate, and molting rate show similar spatial and temporal patterns. This suggests that molting rates may be useful in estimating C and N growth rates--which are much more difficult and labor intensive to measure.

Haidvogel emphasized the dynamical interactions between the coastal regions and the open ocean. Of particular interest in the GB region are the tides, basin scale currents and pressure fields, and mesoscale variability, such as warm core rings. The rationale for looking at the physical dynamics at larger spatial scales is that there is substantial non-local forcing to the circulation on GB and there are long time scale variabilities. Haidvogel will be working with Lynch to develop coupled finite element models of the GOM, GB, and entire western North Atlantic--i.e., a regional modeling system that includes mesoscale prediction, with coupling to at least the GOM/GB and NY Bight coastal regions.

Fogarty spoke about long-term basic changes that have occurred in the GB ecosystem, especially within the fish. The COP study of predation on GB is directed toward developing multispecies management advice. The principal research goal is to examine the effects of the vertebrate predator community on the GB target species. Cod and haddock landings from GB have varied dramatically since 1890, with the present landings so low, that most of the bank has been closed to harvesting. After the distant water fleet was excluded from fishing the bank in 1977, the domestic fleet expanded and consistently imposed fishing mortalities on both the haddock and cod that exceeded what the populations could sustain. It was shown how cod and haddock recruitment in the past 20 years have not been synchronous and how cod appear to be somewhat more resilient, with limiting levels for stock persistence that are lower than haddock. It is believed that this greater resilience is due to a "bet-hedging" strategy in which cod spawn for a protracted period (ca. 4 mos) on the bank, and thus some of the offspring are likely to encounter favorable transport and feeding conditions and survive. Conversely, haddock spawning is narrowly focused in time. If conditions are not favorable, then the entire year class can be impacted; however, if conditions are favorable, then extremely large year classes can occur. Since the 1960's-70's the abundance of groundfish has declined dramatically, whereas the abundance of pelagic species (herring and mackerel) and elasmobranchs (skates and sharks) on the bank has increased dramatically. The herring and mackerel are planktivores that consume ca. 2% of their body weight per day. These changes in the predominant fish species in the ecosystem have had impacts, both as competitors and predators, on the groundfish resources.


Wiebe summarized the draft of the AO for Phase III. Phase III will focus on cross-frontal exchange of water and organisms, where the forcing functions are believed to be tides, winds, seasonal heating/cooling, and offshore forcing. Broadscale surveys will continue to quantify the seasonal and interannual variability in the abundance and distribution of the target species. There is an increased emphasis on interactive modeling at sea, and on assimilating past and real-time data into models. Synthesis of Phase I and Phase II data should continue so that the data are made widely available. Looking toward potential future operational monitoring of the GB ecosystem, there should be some emphasis now to develop indices of ecosystem status--i.e., can we identify a suite of core observations that could feed a coupled biophysical ecosystem model that could provide predictions.

During the discussion, the issue of how to scale up from rather small-scale studies (frontal processes) to climate change phenomena was raised. Denman argued that cross-frontal exchange is the analog of a "thunderstorm weather event" in atmospheric sciences--i.e., weather not climate. Schumacher felt the key was to understand the process and then make the link to climate change scenarios. Mountain asserted that there is sufficient rationale to expect that climate change will influence cross-frontal exchange dynamics and therefore biological processes. Wiebe responded with a resounding "yes" in answer to Reilly's question about whether the region selected for broad-scale surveys is the correct region, based on the results of Phase I and Phase II. Despite a lot of discussion about standardization of methods and modeling, Houde encouraged the program to diversify in modeling approaches. Powell asked that the SSC carefully read the AO and provide written comments to Batchelder by 1 May 1997.


Judy Gray noted that there are Fisheries Management issues, Fisheries Prediction Issues, and Research Issues, and they are often not the same. U.S. GLOBEC on Georges Bank is directed toward obtaining an improved understanding of the ecosystem and how the physical forcing controls the distribution and abundance of the target species. At the conclusion of Phase III, we want to be able to make recommendations on how to conduct a core measurement program to supplement fisheries management based on NMFS surveys and commercial catches. She reviewed how the Shelikof Strait FOCI program is providing recruitment prediction within six months of spawning that is being used in determining quota recommendations for the Gulf of Alaska pollock fishery. A small committee of Gray, Torres, Mountain, and Schumacher (added later) agreed to meet with Mike Sissenwine and some key members of the GB executive committee to determine what information might be of use to fishery management in the NW Atlantic and to explore how to transition an expensive, comprehensive monitoring program (now) to a cost-effective, information-rich (valuable) monitoring effort, maintained by NOAA, in the future.


Following lunch on Thursday, John Kindle and Paul Bissett gave a science talk on the physical and biological modeling of the U.S. west coast eastern boundary current that will be done as part of a 5 year Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) initiative to begin in FY99. The project is called CoBALT (Coupled Biophysical Dynamics Across the Littoral Transition). The project hopes to be able to take advantage of advances in numerical modeling, the abundance of remote sensors that will be collecting surface data, and in situ data from past and future programs, especially CalCOFI and the NEP GLOBEC program. To begin, a high-resolution west coast Princeton Ocean Model (POM) will be embedded in a global (1/4 degree, 5.5 layer) model. Moreover, the POM model will be coupled to a high resolution bioptical model (currently available as a 1D model). Preliminary model runs of the west coast POM, with 1/12 degree resolution and 30 vertical levels showed good agreement with tide-gauge data from Neah Bay, WA, and Crescent City and San Francisco, CA. Additionally, the representation of coastal filaments and an SST bias within 100 km of the coast were improved after assimilating (nudging?) sea surface temperature data. Paul Bissett showed results of the 1D bioptical model for the Sargasso Sea, that showed good agreement between observed and predicted pigment distributions and optical properties. Their goal is to incorporate a modified bioptical model, perhaps including more kinds of higher trophic level organisms, into the POM model of the west coast. NRL is very interested in obtaining more information about dominant (= important) species, so that more types of zooplankton and perhaps fish can be included in the model. To date, the model is primarily a nutrient-pigment model, and it needs to include more information about specific grazer types.


Fogarty led a brainstorming session on how to best accomplish comparisons across U.S. GLOBEC regional efforts and between GLOBEC studies and other, similar studies, like FOCI, SPACC, so that the knowledge of how ecosystems respond to climate change and physical forcing is more than the sum of the component regional studies. He prefaced the brainstorming session with some remarks on how the studies might need to consider a priori how to undertake cross-regional comparisons. He noted that U.S. GLOBEC was already including retrospective comparative studies --by examining a single location for multiple years and evaluating past periods. He used the framework established in the long-range plan (e.g., GLOBEC's identification of categorical types of ecosystems--banks, EBC's, Open Ocean, Southern Ocean) to direct the discussion. Ideally, one would like to have studies of multiple banks (or EBC's, etc.) to perform cross-regional comparisons, since these systems could be considered "replicates". Such comparisons are still possible, for example, using GLOBEC's GB study and the Canadian GLOBEC studies of the banks on the Scotian Shelf. Or by eventual comparison of GLOBEC studies in the CCS with studies undertaken by SPACC in other EBC's. Fogarty emphasized that U.S. GLOBEC should attempt to extract common themes from the various regional programs. Identifying common response variables (biological observations of target species) and covarying factors (physics, other species) would be a start. For example, one possible response variable could be population variability in calanoid copepods. Although the GLOBEC studies in different regions examine different species, they have very similar life history characteristics. Fogarty suggested that U.S. GLOBEC organize and hold a workshop to explore this intercomparison/synthesis issue.

Hollowed stated that thinking about making these comparisons is important and ties in nicely with a workshop that CCCC's REX group will have in Pusan, Korea this fall. A goal of that workshop is to facilitate comparative experiments in coastal Pacific regions--esp. in relation to physical forcing. It would be helpful to have some members from each of these workshops (Pusan and a potential U.S. GLOBEC) at the other. Buddemeier noted that LOICZ had taken an approach of first identifying ecosystem types and then globalizing, in an attempt to better understand coastal biogeochemical cycles. Fogarty noted that a valid, robust classification scheme was a requirement to make cross-regional and within-type comparisons. The tradeoff of classifying by species or life history type versus physical setting was discussed briefly and should be considered at any future workshop on this topic. Loeb felt that focusing on species could create difficulties in comparing systems like the NW Atlantic and Southern Ocean where there is little overlap in target species. She felt that a focus on the dominant forcing and dominant species would be more feasible for regional comparisons. Pearcy noted the natural overlap in species type (gadids) between the Georges Bank program and FOCI. Huntley felt that perhaps the comparisons should be made at a more basic level: the essence of GLOBEC is the linkage between population dynamics and physical forcing. I.e., How is it that the populations maintain themselves in their habitat? Fogarty commented that this type of comparison was more qualitative than quantitative. The question of how the results of a workshop on regional intercomparisons will feed into the international program was raised. Fogarty felt that a white paper from the meeting could be a bridge to other international programs--i.e., if they felt the approach was appropriate they could conform their programs, to the extent possible, to be intercomparable with U.S. efforts. Ortner and Wiebe emphasized the importance of making the sampling designs comparable--with at least the biophysical models being comparable. Others felt that the ecosystems might be sufficiently different to require different techniques, although there should be enough overlap in observations and techniques to provide a database for comparison. Strub mentioned that SPACC has as a goal an intercomparison of a number of different EBC systems. Botsford noted, however, that comparative studies require a common element, and even in SPACC, the systems and species have differences. Mountain argued that the systems chosen by U.S. GLOBEC (banks, NEP, So. Ocean) are very different. They should be sampled the best way possible to understand how physics influences population dynamics, and comparisons will be done on generalities. He noted that it would be more reasonable to compare GLOBEC studies with other similar non-GLOBEC regional studies, like TASC and the NE Atlantic. Wiebe emphasized the importance of common protocols, and for early and sustained communication among the U.S. GLOBEC regional programs. He noted that for Calanus in the Atlantic there exist a number of programs providing comparison: U.S. GLOBEC; Mare Cognitum; UK GLOBEC; TASC, Canada GLOBEC on the Scotian Shelf. The goal of GLOBEC is to understand how climate change impacts marine animal populations at lots of places on the globe. Finally, Schumacher felt that a small workshop to develop commonalities and to explore the interregional comparison concept in greater detail would be valuable. The workshop should produce a document with guidelines on how to make regional comparisons more feasible. He noted that cross-frontal exchange is a major emphasis in both the COP study in the Bering Sea and in GLOBEC's Georges Bank program.

DAY TWO (Friday, 11 April 1997)


Batchelder summarized how the Northeast Pacific (NEP) Implementation Plan (IP) was developed (a historical review) and described the key elements of the plan. The details of the IP are not repeated here. The IP was published by the U.S. GLOBEC coordination office in December 1996 as U.S. GLOBEC report no. 17. An AO was released by NSF and NOAA in November 1996, soliciting proposals to conduct retrospective analysis, modeling and pilot monitoring of the NEP ecosystem. Judy Gray summarized the response to the scientific community to the AO. Fifty-one proposals were received. Most requested funds for three years. Total funding requested averaged ca. $7.5M/year--this compares to ca. $2.8M available/year. There were 20 monitoring proposals, 16 retrospective analysis proposals, and 10 modeling proposals. The remaining proposals covered more than one of the program elements (e.g., perhaps both monitoring and retrospective analysis). There appeared to be a relatively even balance in the number of proposals and funds requested between the Coastal Gulf of Alaska (CGOA) and the California Current System (CCS), and among subjects (physical oceanography, zooplankton ecology, and fish ecology). There was significantly more modeling proposed for the CCS than for the CGOA, which probably reflects that the Coastal Ocean Processes (CoOP) program only solicited proposals for modeling of the CCS.

Mountain argued that in the end, we want a coherent NEP program, that will permit comparisons between the CGOA and CCS. Powell suggested that he draft a letter to the agencies asking them to communicate some relevancy guidelines to the panel review. Fogarty asked if it were possible for someone from the SSC to provide an overview of the whole NEP program to the panel. Wiebe noted that such a mechanism was used years ago in the Warm Core Ring program. Powell noted that the agencies preferred something written and noted that the CoOP SSC had met earlier in the week to draft a similar letter detailing the core CoOP activities. Botsford felt there should be a statement emphasizing the development of coupled models that link physics to populations of commercially important species. Strub suggested that the letter emphasize the goals of the program, not specific bulleted items in the AO. The committee came to consensus that at a minimum, the letter should emphasize: 1) need for coupled biophysical models in both the CCS and CGOA; 2) start pilot monitoring in both regions; 3) need a balance among regions and among elements (modeling, retrospective analysis, monitoring), and 4) retrospective studies and monitoring that will aid the design of future process studies and full-scale monitoring. Powell agreed to circulate a draft letter to the SSC for comments by 14 April. Comments should be returned to Powell by 16 April. He and Roman (Chair of CoOP) would coordinate the respective programs letters and forward them to the agencies.


Scavia noted that objective of the Pacific Northwest Coastal Ecosystem Regional Study (PNCERS) program was described at our October 96 meeting by Greg McMurray, executive director for the program. Briefly, PNCERS is a 5 year long COP-funded project that has goals of examining both natural and anthropogenic variability as it relates to coastal ecosystem health in the Pacific Northwest. An ultimate goal is to provide better data for managing coastal ecosystems and marine resources. Scavia pointed out that the domain of the PNCERS program is the very nearshore and estuarine system. The program is structured around salmon habitat--assuming that salmon, because they pass from freshwater to estuarine to marine systems, may be an integrator of the health of the coastal ecosystem. PNCERS received planning letters in response to an AO released late last year. Two multidisciplinary project teams were requested to prepare and submit full proposals, of which one team will be selected after a panel review in late May. Scavia would like to see COP's PNCERS team and U.S. GLOBEC NEP coordinated, much the same as the NW Atlantic GLOBEC program has been coordinated with COP's study of predation on Georges Bank. It was noted that there might be some overlap, particularly in the analysis of retrospective data sets between the programs. Another concern was that some key observations, e.g., sampling of target species, might be assumed to be conducted by the other program. Judy Gray noted that she would be reading the two full PNCERS proposals, so she would be in a position to identify (and avoid) overlap, and to consider potential data gaps. Judy agreed to provide an update on the funded PNCERS project at the October meeting.


Yoder noted that within the Mission to Planet Earth (MTPE) is a biological oceanography program broader in scope than just satellite ocean color. A primary objective in the recent NASA research announcement (included in the briefing book) was to, "Understand biological variability of major coastal and open ocean ecosystems at seasonal to interannual time scales, their responses to changes in physical climate, and the resulting effects on productivity, including interannual and longer term changes in abundance of commercially important fish stocks" Sounds a lot like U.S. GLOBEC. Future NASA AO's will be relevant to both the GB and NEP programs of GLOBEC. He noted that these AO's represent a change in the way NASA operates. No longer will most NASA research funds be directed to relatively closed shop groups. Now, proposals will be requested by research announcements, undergo mail and panel reviews (NSF style), and the most relevant, highest quality science will be funded. Yoder reviewed the various types of data products, their resolutions, and the timeliness (i.e.. real-time or delayed) that will be available from satellite remote sensing during the next 5-10 years, including OCTS, radar scatterometer, TOPEX altimeter, SAR radar, AVHRR Pathfinder reprocessed SST data. Future sensors, especially from Japan will be coming on-line. An improved color and scatterometer will be launched, probably in 1999. Since Yoder is only at NASA on an interim basis, he suggested that U.S. GLOBEC invite his successor to future SSC meetings, so that future NASA research announcements can be better coordinated with GLOBEC's regional programs.


Hollowed summarized the PICES REX (Regional Experiment) team recommendations (included in the briefing book). The terms of reference (TOR) include: 1) to promote and coordinate research activities related to the Climate Change and Carrying Capacity program; 2) to foster communication among PICES members of advancements in technology or research findings (using various media, incl. workshops, newsletters); 3) to encourage the establishment of component programs; and, 4) to identify linkages between regional studies and basin-scale studies. The primary recommendation is to hold a workshop to 1) identify and prioritize retrospective and process oriented research that could be conducted to allow regional comparisons; 2) standardize plankton sampling among the regions; 3) identify key species within the REX regions; and, 4) identify methods for monitoring the distribution and abundance of selected species. The REX workshop will be held in Pusan, Korea (associated with the Annual PICES meeting) on 17-18 October 1997.


Stewart Grant spoke on global phylogeography of sardines and anchovies. Examples were shown that demonstrate how genetic data on these small pelagics is useful for establishing taxonomic relatedness, examining biogeographic patterns at a variety of spatial and temporal scales, quantifying genetic differentiation, and examining population persistence. For example, comparative studies show that geographic complexity greatly influences genetic subdivision among populations. Populations of Mediterranean anchovies show genetic differences over short distances, whereas anchovy populations along unbroken coastlines, South Africa or California for example, are largely genetically homogeneous. These data suggest that in environments lacking strong alongshore transport, populations can diverge (in genetic terms) relatively rapidly. On a larger geographic scale, the analysis of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) indicates different levels of divergence between regional populations of anchovies in the old and new worlds. The Argentinean, Chilean, and Californian anchovies are genetically very distinct from one another, whereas the Japanese, Australian, southern African and European anchovies appear to represent populations of a single species.

In contrast to anchovies, sardine populations within a region tend to show less genetic subdivision, even in the Mediterranean. On a larger scale, the distribution of mtDNA variants among regions shows a very different ocean-wide pattern from anchovies. In this case, Indian and Pacific Ocean sardine populations represent a single species and Mediterranean anchovies another species. However, the genetic dissimilarity between Japanese and sardines in the CCS indicates that the recent partial recovery in California populations is not due to an influx of sardines from Japan.


Bob Buddemeier provided an overview of how the LOICZ (Land Ocean Interactions in the Coastal Zone) program fits within the IGBP framework. He suggested that since both LOICZ and GLOBEC were now core programs in the IGBP, we should explore complementary interests. He reviewed the aim of the LOICZ program which places a priority on the impacts of human activities directly (as opposed to the climate system) on the coastal zone, and especially on biogeochemical cycling and fluxes through the coastal zone. The program also emphasizes the initiation of new work in tropical regions where the coastal zone is most highly populated. Linking research on the natural and socioeconomic aspects of human impacts is a high priority. LOICZ's approach is to develop a typology of coastal ecosystems that share common features/properties, then to develop data on specimens for each of these classes. Using these improved estimates for each type, and extrapolating to other ecosystems of the same type, will allow improved estimates of the global role of the "coastal zone" on biogeochemical interactions and other research foci. Buddemeier noted that LOICZ has no pre-existing research community or program funding base. Rather, the science is being conducted by a distributed network of coastal researchers. The eventual goal is to use local studies for methods development and to scale-up using the coastal typology framework. Powell agreed to write a letter to Mike Roman, co-chair of the U.S. LOICZ committee, expressing U.S. GLOBEC's interests in coordinating GLOBEC and LOICZ in the U.S., where there are complimentary interests that such coordination would benefit both programs.


Huntley informed the committee of the status of a GLOBEC program in the Southern Ocean. GLOBEC International is moving toward putting a coordinated multinational Southern Ocean GLOBEC program together. The GLOBEC southern ocean implementation plan will be discussed and revised as appropriate at a meeting in San Diego in July of this year. Hopefully, many of the recommendations of the existing IP will be acted upon following that meeting. Steve Reilly has agreed to be interim chair (during Eileen Hofmann's "sabbatical") of the U.S. GLOBEC Southern Ocean subcommittee. Other members on the committee will be Torres, Loeb, Huntley and Dagg. We agreed that Southern Ocean activities would be a priority for discussion at the October SSC meeting.


We briefly discussed a number of requests for U.S. GLOBEC support of travel by scientists to workshops/meetings. Some of these meetings were suggested by discussions that took place during the previous (Oct 1996) and present SSC meeting. Others were requested from scientists not on the committee.

The priorities for meetings/workshops appeared to point to:

Other SSC priorities include:

Other suggestions:

It was also noted that there would need to be a meeting of all of the investigators funded by the present NEP AO (when they become known) to foster cooperation among 1) modelers, data analysts, and monitors and 2) Coastal Gulf of Alaska and California Current projects. It was suggested that it would also be valuable to include several Georges Bank PI's and perhaps a few others from related NEP programs at such a "scoping out" meeting. Some funds might be needed to support attendees from non-GLOBEC activities.

The meeting adjourned at 1530.

Quote of the Meeting (QOTM):

"I think SeaWIFS will be launched this summer, but I don't know which direction it will go when launched." -- Yoder

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