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

San Francisco, CA --- October 10-11, 1996

(distributed 20 November 1996)

DAY ONE (Thursday, 10 October 1996)

The meeting began at 0830. Present from the SSC were Beardsley, Bentzen, Botsford, Fogarty (Thursday only), Haidvogel, Hofmann, Hollowed, Huntley, Loeb, Mountain, Ortner, Powell, Reilly, Schumacher, Strub and Torres. Robinson was absent. Also present were Batchelder (U.S. GLOBEC office), Goldberg (U.S. GLOBEC office), Brad deYoung (Canada GLOBEC), Judy Gray (U.S. GLOBEC Program manager), Jack Helle (NMFS-Auke Bay), Greg McMurray (PNCERS program), Bill Peterson (ex-officio), Don Scavia (COP), Robert Spies (EVOS Program), and Marsh Youngbluth (NSF).

Powell opened the meeting by noting that most of the first day was devoted to discussions of various programs on the Pacific Coast of North America, most importantly with several hours devoted to discussion of U.S. GLOBEC's Implementation Plan for a Northeast Pacific Study. The plan has been developed in the six months since our last SSC meeting in April. Powell set the stage for those discussions by noting that in June both U.S. GLOBEC and CoOP (Coastal Ocean Processes) programs were informed that they would each receive ca. $800K funding increments from NSF to be devoted to initiating west coast activities. Moreover, in early October, it was confirmed that the COP request for $1.3M for west coast GLOBEC for FY97 was included as part of the approved federal budget just passed. Thus, optimistically, order ca. $2.9M would be available in FY97 for west coast studies. However, to meet agency deadlines for making the awards to investigators, the program managers require a completed U.S. GLOBEC Northeast Pacific Implementation Plan (IP) AND a final COP/GLOBEC/CoOP joint announcement of opportunity (AO) by 1 November, for an anticipated release of the AO on 15 November. Strub expressed concern about how the coordination of the award details from a joint AO (esp. between CoOP and GLOBEC) would be accomplished. Powell responded that for this first AO (primarily directed toward modeling, retrospective analysis and pilot monitoring projects), coordination would be accomplished by the funding agencies and the panel review process.


The Pacific Northwest Coastal Ecosystem Regional Study (PNCERS) program was described by Greg McMurray, executive director for the program. 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. 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 held a workshop in August 1996 to define potential research questions in 5 themes: 1) variability and stability of climatic/oceanic regimes in the northeast Pacific Ocean; 2) variability of marine ecosystems and relation to salmon survival; 3) variability of estuarine and riverine ecosystem productivity; 4) human intervention in the coastal ecosystem; and, 5) socioeconomic consequences of ecosystem change. PNCERS anticipates releasing an AO for work in the region delimited by Vancouver Island to Cape Mendocino (N to S) and from the shelf break into estuaries; watersheds will not be a focus of the program. Moreover, the management committee for the program is recommending that the project focus on regions other than Puget Sound and the Columbia River. Following prior COP program procedures, it is expected that a single, multidisciplinary team of investigators, including both natural, social scientists, and economists, will be funded. The program will have available ca. $1M per year for the five years.


Bob Spies reviewed for the committee the scientific programs and assessment activities supported by the funds made available from the EVOS (Exxon Valdez Oil Spill) program. Approx. $900M was awarded to the trustees (from Exxon) to conduct cleanup operations (1989-1991), resource damage assessment (1989-1991), and restoration (1991-2001) in the damaged Prince William Sound (PWS) region of Alaska. Restoration involves tracking the recovery of species injured by the oil spill, and providing better information for management of the resources of the region. Areas of emphasis have been pink and sockeye salmon, intertidal and subtidal communities, hydrocarbon chemistry, fate and toxicity, and spill-impacted bird and marine mammal populations. . Lack of data about these species and resources prior to the spill have hampered understanding of the impact of the spill from the more recent "post-spill" research activities. Three specific research programs were described: 1) Sound Ecosystem Assessment (SEA); 2) Apex Predator Ecosystem Experiment (APEX); and, 3) Nearshore Vertebrate Predator Project (NVP).

SEA is a program in PWS investigating the factors that might control year-class strength (survival) of juvenile pink salmon. Specific hypotheses being investigated are: 1) the co-occurrence in time and space of outmigrating pink salmon fry with their principal prey (zooplankton) controls survival (match-mismatch hypothesis); 2) eventual recruitment of pinks depends on the size of the fish (e.g., smaller fish are more susceptible to predation mortality); and 3) wild and hatchery released pink fry compete for food from the same prey populations. There are ca. 8 funded projects (including both process studies/sampling in PWS and modeling) to examine these hypotheses. Spies noted that the SEA program will produce products that will be valuable to future U.S. GLOBEC studies in the Gulf of Alaska. For instance, 1) 3D eddy-resolving ocean state models of PWS and the inner shelf region; 2) thermally marked otoliths of ALL hatchery released pink fry in PWS, and 3) a model of juvenile pink salmon in PWS that includes bioenergetics, predation, and advection-diffusion components.

The APEX program also has ca. 8 component projects examining the relationships between seabird populations and their forage fish prey. These projects consider the effects of the oil spill on the populations and the long-term decline in seabird populations (that may have begun prior to the spill). Many of the principal prey of the seabirds (e.g., capelin, sand-lance) began to decline in number during the 1970's (before the spill).

The NVP project is aimed at tracking the recovery of nearshore vertebrate populations following the oil spill. Aspects of this effort include monitoring of vertebrate and invertebrate predators, developing biomarkers, and demographic modeling.

During discussions following the presentation it was noted that the EVOS Trustees have been spending ca. $12M per year since 1989 for these efforts, and that roughly that amount might be spent per year through 2001. In answering questions from the SSC, Spies noted that the trustees (comprised of 3 representatives from Federal Agencies and 3 from State of Alaska Agencies) might be able to fund studies in the vicinity of PWS that would complement research that GLOBEC might pursue in that region. EVOS Trustees funding would probably be handled separately, since it was likely that the trustees would want to retain control of the funding and programmatic directions of the EVOS funds. Beardsley asked how AOs and funding decisions were handled now by the EVOS program. Spies responded that AOs are released and the proposals received are subjected to peer and panel review.


Jack Helle described the Ocean Carrying Capacity (OCC) effort, and presented preliminary results of a summer 1996 trawl survey of the shelf from Dixon entrance to Amchitka on the Alaskan peninsula. OCC began in 1995 to examine the abundance, distribution, age-at-size, and stock composition of salmon in the nearshore to offshore waters of Alaska and British Columbia, Canada. The program was developed because of the observations that recent year-classes of salmon in Alaskan streams have had high ocean survival, but declining mean weight. Prior to the regime shift (ca. 1977), ocean survival of salmon averaged ca. 1%; since 1978, ocean survival of salmon has been much higher--even as high as 30%. The approach of OCC is to conduct research on juvenile and immature salmon in coastal waters, to monitor ocean conditions, and to undertake retrospective studies. Stock structure analysis (from genetics, tagging, or thermal marking) is also an important component of the program.


Brad deYoung described briefly the funded (4 year duration) Canada GLOBEC programs on the east and west coast of Canada. Six projects (3 modeling; 2 field studies; 1 laboratory) were funded to examine larval demersal fish (e.g., cod) and their dependence on zooplankton populations in Atlantic Canada. Process studies in the Pacific will examine 1) the relation between zooplankton populations and salmon growth; 2) shelf circulation and sockeye and hake populations; and, 3) primary production and zooplankton production on the La Perouse Bank region. Three modeling projects were funded: 1) to develop a coupled biophysical food web model of the NE Pacific; 2) a shelf circulation model to examine the return migration pathways of Fraser River sockeye salmon; and, 3) a finite element biophysical model of the Vancouver Island Shelf. The latter will use the same code/formulation as the model developed by Dan Lynch and associates for the Georges Bank and Scotian Shelf region in the Atlantic.


Anne Hollowed told us about the PICES workshop on modeling that was held in Nemuro, Japan in June 1996. Recommendations from the workshop were to 1) facilitate the sharing and distribution of GCM output; 2) develop an inventory of models of coastal and regional seas; 3) develop better models of upper mixed layer dynamics; 4) develop a database of the vertical distribution of nutrients on the same spatial scales as circulation and ecosystem models (and that a workshop be held to accomplish this task); 5) develop better mechanisms to link various sub-models; and, 6) to encourage better coupling between observational/monitoring programs and models in order to obtain the data required to tune and validate the models.

The PICES Regional Experiment (REX) task team has established Terms of Reference (TOR) and will propose to hold a workshop in Korea in October 1997 (in conjunction with the PICES Annual meeting) to 1) identify and prioritize retrospective and process studies; 2) identify and recommend standardized methods for sampling plankton; 3) identify key species for regional studies; and, 4) identify methods for monitoring the distribution and abundance of the key species.


Following lunch on Thursday, Paul Bentzen gave a science talk on the importance of considering population structure in U.S. GLOBEC studies. He used both plankton and fish (but mostly the latter) to document that 1) genetically differentiated populations exist at sub-basin scales in the ocean; 2) there are at least two major genetic/zoogeographic barriers in the eastern North Pacific--Alaskan Peninsula and Point Conception; 3) DNA markers offer important logistical advantages in examining population structure, e.g., in retrospective studies using stored otoliths; and, 4) that one should be careful in evaluating the results of prior genetic studies--e.g., that one should not believe all the previous studies on marine organisms that indicate there is little genetic variation. This last point was documented by comparing the results of allozyme and nuclear RFLP foci studies on Atlantic Cod. Allozyme studies in the early 1980s suggested that cod populations in the Atlantic were only genetically distinct at the basin scale (e.g., Northeast Cod were different from NW Cod); and that there was no differentiation at smaller scales. More recent studies, using more recent techniques such as nuclear RFLP, indicate that even local cod populations are genetically distinct.


Batchelder led the discussion of the Northeast Pacific Implementation Plan (IP). At the April 1996 SSC meeting it was decided that the Pacific U.S. GLOBEC plan should include studies in both the upwelling region of the California Current System and the downwelling region of the Alaska Current, since these were the two coastal flows divided from the west wind drift as it nears the U.S. West coast. Moreover, there is strong evidence supporting synchronous changes in a number of populations within these regions in response to the climate (regime shift) event of the late 1970s; however the covariation between the two regions may be out of phase, with at least two components of the ecosystem (salmon and zooplankton biomass) showing this pattern. Batchelder noted that two workshops were held during the summer to develop the IP. Many of the SSC participated in those meetings. Batchelder made a brief presentation of the plan for U.S. GLOBEC studies in the coastal Gulf of Alaska (CGOA) and the California Current System (CCS). The target species for process-oriented research are several species of salmon and the large zooplankton, especially euphausiids and the calanoid copepods. The list of target species for monitoring, modeling and retrospective studies was expanded to include a number of other taxa, including pollock and herring in the CGOA and sardine and anchovy in the CCS, meroplanktonic stages of benthic invertebrates (crabs, urchins), and birds and mammals.

The IP recommends that monitoring occur along several cross-shelf transects in both the CGOA and CCS, and that additional monitoring be done using moorings, satellites, volunteer observing ships, and drifters. Process-study sites were identified in the CGOA (the shelf region outside of Prince William Sound, AK, extending west to Kodiak Island, and in the CCS (the coastal regions from ca. central Oregon south to ca. Point Reyes, CA. The process-studies in the two regions are structured on alternate years, with process studies in the CCS occurring in Year 1, 3, and 5, and process studies in the CGOA occurring in Year 2 and 4. Process-studies are unlikely to occur until after the Georges Bank-NW Atlantic field program concludes. Monitoring should begin at selected sites prior to the process studies and should occur throughout an ca. 7 year period. Modeling and retrospective analysis are also projected to begin prior to process studies. The IP was discussed in detail following Batchelder's presentation. Several issues were discussed in depth, and specific recommendations were offered to strengthen the document and make the plan for the Northeast Pacific more compelling. Batchelder agreed to revise the IP, taking into consideration the comments and recommendations of the SSC members. Additional details of the draft Northeast Pacific Implementation Plan can be obtained from the document, which will be published shortly by the U.S. GLOBEC office in Berkeley, CA.

Powell and the agency representatives from NSF and NOAA noted that in order to commit the money available for FY97, an AO would need to be released to the scientific community by mid-November 1996. That date establishes a deadline for completing and publishing the Northeast Pacific IP and also producing an Announcement of Opportunity (AO) for U.S. GLOBEC studies in the North Pacific. An AO released on 15 November would provide a 15 February 1997 deadline for proposals, plus additional time for the mail and panel reviews, and disbursing the funds to the PI's before 1 July 1997. Phil Taylor at the Executive Committee meeting on October 9 stressed that to meet the NSF and NOAA regulations to get FY97 money committed to PI's, would require that NSF have an AO by 1 November 1996--it takes at least two weeks to get an AO approved by NSF for release. Powell, Batchelder, Peterson, Schumacher and Hollowed met on Thursday evening to prepare a first draft of an AO. NSF and NOAA want to release a single AO for research in the Pacific by the Coastal Ocean Processes (CoOP--an NSF funded program) and GLOBEC (both NSF and NOAA-COP funding sources). Powell was concerned that the short deadline would not provide sufficient time to coordinate the AO with CoOP. A later phone call to Mike Roman (Chair of CoOP) allayed that concern when Roman indicated a draft AO could be circulated to the CoOP committee by e-mail. [Note: this joint CoOP/GLOBEC AO went forward to NSF and NOAA on 3 November.]

DAY TWO (Friday, 11 October 1996)


Mountain summarized for the group the results of the Phase 2 funding for the Northwest Atlantic (Georges Bank) program. Twenty-nine (29) proposals were funded: 3 retrospective analysis; 4 modeling; 7 physical oceanography; 14 biological oceanography; and 1 data management/service office. In total, 285 ship days on NOAA and UNOLS vessels have been scheduled for Phase 2 research on Georges Bank in 1997. Mountain noted that Phase I field work (cruises) has been completed, but that much data processing and sample analysis remains. He noted that funding had arrived to permit ichthyoplankton sorting of the 1995 broad-scale samples. A scientific investigator workshop of the Phase 1 PI's will be held in Durham, NH from November 5-13, at which time a new executive committee will be elected for the Georges Bank group. Mountain noted that an AO for Phase 3 research (scheduled for 1999) would be needed by late spring 1997. Beardsley reviewed the circulation of the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank. The focus of the 1997 field program is on the sources, sinks and retention times of water and organisms on the bank. Potential sources of water are from 1) slope water intrusions of warm water from the SE; 2) water advecting on the bank from the Great South Channel; 3) water crossing the NE channel, derived from Browns Bank on the Scotian Shelf; and, 4) water from the Gulf of Maine that crosses onto the bank along the Northern edge (this last process is a specific focus of Phase 3 studies on the Bank in 1999). Beardsley showed data that indicated that warm core rings 1) push warm water onto the bank, and 2) pull cold shelf water off the bank, but generally only from the outer shelf (from the region with water depths greater than 80 m). There seems to be a fairly distinct jet (ca. 10-15 km wide, with velocities up to 50 cm/s) along the shelf break on the SE side of the bank. Drifters released on the bank after the gyral circulation becomes well established in spring require a significant wind event (storm) in order to be pulled off the bank. Haidvogel discussed briefly some of the linkages that will be developed between Lynch's finite element model of Georges Bank and the Scotian Shelf, and the basin-scale models of the North Atlantic. Fogarty (on Thursday) described an ICES symposium that will be held in Baltimore in September 1997. The Symposium is entitled, "The Role of Physical and Biological Processes in the Recruitment Dynamics of Marine Populations", and will focus on finfish and benthic species recruitment processes. Batchelder agreed to publicize the symposium in the GLOBEC newsletter and on the GLOBEC web site.


Youngbluth and Gray updated the committee on FY97 funding for GLOBEC for the NSF and NOAA/COP programs, respectively. FY96 NSF funding for science (Georges Bank) was ca. $4M. For FY97, the core funding for GLOBEC science was increased by $800K to initiate science activities on the west coast of the U.S. Youngbluth noted that Phase 3 of the Northwest Atlantic Program is proceeding as planned for now, but might be subject to change depending on the needs of the program and the funding available. Gray noted that COP will have ca. $1.3M (minus internal NOAA taxes; expected to be $100-200K at most) for west coast activities in FY97. She also noted that the structural reorganization of NOAA, including a possible move of COP to either NOS or OAR, has not been completed, and is awaiting Baker's decision. That decision is likely not to occur until after the election.


Botsford summarized the planning that was discussed at the Small Pelagics and Climate Change Meeting (SPACC) held in Mexico City in August. SPACC is advocating a comparative approach, which might include many regional projects. Core observations are being proposed for each regional SPACC project. A report of the Mexico City meeting should be available for distribution from the GLOBEC International office fairly soon. SPACC will be holding a meeting in mid-October in Ispra, Italy to develop and prioritize core modeling approaches that the program will pursue. Batchelder and Botsford will attend that meeting.


Powell reported on a meeting of a National Research Council committee on large oceanographic programs (incl., WOCE, JGOFS, GLOBEC, CoOP, others?). Chair of the committee is Rana Fine. The committee is just beginning to discuss the role of the large programs relative to the "classical", single investigator science projects.

Powell, deYoung (Canada GLOBEC co-chair), and Svein Sundby (Norway GLOBEC) met in Reykjavik, Iceland at the annual ICES meeting to discuss the possibility of holding a small meeting or workshop that would focus on coupling regional studies in the North Atlantic to larger-(basin) scale modeling. The workshop participants and costs will be supported by the national GLOBEC programs, not by ICES.

Powell noted that the first meeting of the GLOBEC International SSC, since Roger Harris was named as chair, will take place in early November. Powell will attend as the chair of U.S. GLOBEC. U.S. members on the GLOBEC International committee are Eileen Hofmann, Tommy Dickey, and Brian Rothschild. Powell expressed his hope that this meeting of the GLOBEC International SSC would assist in moving the planning for a coordinated Southern Ocean GLOBEC program and the SPACC project forward.


Steve Reilly spoke on why marine birds and mammals should be a part of future U.S. GLOBEC studies, especially in the Northeast Pacific and Southern Ocean. He noted that marine birds and mammals were important because 1) their role as predators in the marine environment; 2) they may be indicator species, providing early warning of changes in the ecosystem (advantages of seabirds for instance are that they have great mobility, respond quickly to anomalies; their large numbers facilitate quantification of patterns; and their populations are accessible and therefore easy to monitor); 3) they have societal importance; and 4) they provide opportunities for U.S. GLOBEC to leverage resources from existing programs on mammals, especially, in future studies in the northeast Pacific and Southern Ocean. Several examples of relevance to U.S. GLOBEC studies in the northeast Pacific were discussed in detail. Cassin's auklet, obligate planktivores, feeding primarily on Thysanoessa spinifera, exhibit population variation due to ENSOs, Aleutian Low related shifts, and long-term trends in temperature. Records to date suggest that the timing of the spring transition is critical to fledgling success in the auklets, with early transitions providing good feeding conditions, and successful fledging. Pinniped predation on juvenile salmonids in the northeast Pacific is another case where GLOBEC should consider large predators important in the marine ecosystem. Several case studies were described including 1) dolphin populations and habitat selection in the eastern tropical Pacific; 2) spatial patterns of cetaceans in the California Current and its relation to surface circulation and productivity patterns, and 3) baleen whale populations in the Southern California Bight, and their spatial patterns related to concentrations of krill.

Of particular interest to future U.S. GLOBEC studies in the northeast Pacific is the ORCAWHALE Survey of the entire west coast which is conducted every 4-5 years. The next survey is in 2000, and will consist of ca. 150 days (2 ships) of shiptime to conduct CTDs and collect hydroacoustic data concomitant with observations of marine mammal distributions (Paul Fiedler is the point of contact for the project).


Hofmann informed the committee of the status of a GLOBEC program in the Southern Ocean. First she reviewed prior planning that had been done at both U.S. GLOBEC and GLOBEC International meetings. For various reasons, the GLOBEC Southern Ocean program has been delayed. Hofmann spent time during the past year evaluating when it could be rescheduled by the various nations involved (this is mostly a shiptime issue). It now appears that U.S. GLOBEC will undertake field studies in the Southern Ocean during 1999-2000, with the support of the Office of Polar Programs of NSF. It is anticipated that there would be an AO released in late 1997, with a due date of 1 June 1998. Issues that need to move forward under the aegis of GLOBEC International, is to develop more concrete connections among the various international partners, to ensure adequate (temporal) ship coverage during the field program, and to continue to develop connections between the International Whaling Commission and GLOBEC International. Hofmann believes that there will be a small meeting held to prepare an addendum to the Southern Ocean IP--e.g., to update the plan.


Strub described the major theme areas of the IAI program and brought the SSC current with the planning activities of that group. Specifically, he discussed plans for an IAI workshop that he and Tim Baumgartner are chairing in Chile on 10-16 November to develop an Eastern Pacific Research Program within IAI's theme on Comparative Studies in Oceanic, Coastal, and Estuarine Processes in Temperate Zones. The goals of that workshop will be to develop an implementation plan that would allow for the development of specific proposals (the second goal), that could be supported by the funding agencies of the nations involved. When asked about the sources of funds, Strub indicated that U.S. Scientists would be seeking funds directly from NSF, for example, whereas, Chilean scientists would apply for funds from the NSF equivalent in Chile--in other words, it is not anticipated that there will be a new pool of funds available at IAI that could support these projects.


Following up on some preliminary discussions that took place at the October 1995 and April 1996 SSC meetings, a draft document describing the Terms of Reference (TOR) for an internal review of the U.S. GLOBEC program was presented and discussed. Briefly, it is recommended that a committee of four scientists be tasked to undertake a review of 1) GLOBEC's scientific objectives, 2) strategies used, 3) process by which the strategies have been implemented, and 4) the success of the program. It was moved and unanimously passed that the program review document be accepted (with revisions) and implemented. Powell agreed to ask the scientists identified at the meeting if they would conduct the review. Furthermore, it was determined that the review should take place during next calendar year, that a written report be submitted to the SSC by December 1997 and that the committee examine the reports findings at our April 1998 SSC meeting.


It was moved, seconded and passed that Bill Peterson and Brian Rothschild no longer be ex-officio members of the SSC. The former was ex-officio to the SSC during the transitional period from Peterson to Gray as program manager. That transition is now complete. The latter was ex-officio as a representative of GLOBEC International. The new GLOBEC International SSC includes Eileen Hofmann, also a member of our SSC, thus there is no longer a need for Rothschild as the liaison between the programs. Mike Fogarty was unanimously accepted as a new member of the U.S. GLOBEC Executive Committee, joining Powell, Hofmann, Huntley, Beardsley and Ortner.

The terms of three members (Strub, Bentzen, Robinson) expire in December 1996. The committee asked Strub to serve a second term on the SSC. He agreed to and was unanimously reappointed to another three year term. Following those decisions a discussion about various discipline needs on the committee was held. Several themes that appeared to be underrepresented on the committee emerged from that discussion: 1) salmon, 2) fish, 3) zooplankton, and 4) genetics. Highest priority for additional SSC members is scientists with interests/expertise in salmon or other fish. Zooplankton and genetics are lower priority. The committee agreed that only 2-3 new members should be added at this time. Powell indicated that he would put an advertisement in EOS (and also on the U.S. GLOBEC web page) soliciting nominations from the scientific community.


We set the dates for the next two SSC meetings: April 10-11, 1997 and October 9-10, 1997. Sites for the meetings are under discussion, but the April meeting will probably be at NCAR in Boulder, CO, and the October meeting at an institution on the east coast.

The meeting adjourned at 1703.

Quote of the Meeting (QOTM):

"Brad and I were among the lower quartile in age of the attendees at the ICES meeting in Reykjavik"-- Powell

"Brad in particular, I think." -- deYoung

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