Minutes of the U.S. GLOBEC Scientific Steering Committee Meeting
University of Washington, Seattle, WA -- October 8 & 9, 1998

DAY ONE (Thursday, 8 October 1998):

The semi-annual meeting of the U.S. GLOBEC Scientific Steering Committee was held on the campus of the University of Washington, Seattle on October 8-9, 1998. The Executive Committee met on October 7. SSC members attending were: Ted Strub, Steve Reilly, Anne Hollowed , Mike Dagg, Zack Powell (ex-officio), Lou Botsford, Bob Francis, Jose Torres, Eileen Hofmann (ex officio), Valerie Loeb, Bill Peterson, Bob Beardsley, Mark Huntley, Nate Mantua, Phyllis Stabeno, Bill Pearcy, Greg Lough and Michael Fogarty (Chair). Also attending for part or all of the meeting were Hal Batchelder, Susan Allen, Bob Spies, Stan Senner, Jim Overland, Ric Brodeur, Julie Keister, Julia Parish, Tom Wainwright, Kate Myers, Jane Kaje, Jack Helle, Ed Casillas, and Pete Lawson

Fogarty opened the meeting at 8:35 with a brief overview of the agenda and suggestions for change. Two options for the dates for the next Executive and Scientific Steering Committee meeting were put before the group: Option 1: 7-9 April, Washington, D.C.; Option 2: 14-16 April. Preferences of committee members are to be communicated to Fogarty by November 6.

Discussion of an impending funding problem was discussed next. NOAA funding for UNOLS shiptime is short by approx. $1M. This shortfall affects COP GLOBEC and ECOHAB programs dependent on UNOLS shiptime. The strategy for dealing with the potential funding deficit is as follows:

NEP Program

Hal Batchelder provided an overview of the AO for work in the California Current off Oregon and northern California. Batchelder reviewed the core hypotheses for the NEP program as a whole, with special emphasis on the possible out-of-phase relationship between physical and biological systems in northern and southern regions of the overall study region. This potential phase shift is manifest in differences in the timing of peak production of salmon populations on decadal time scales. Key process study questions were also reviewed.

The topic of ways of providing guidelines for the review panel was discussed to ensure that a fully integrated program with each of the major GLOBEC elements (modeling, broad (meso)-scale observations, retrospective studies, and technological development). It was determined that the program won't be allowed to address the panel to provide an overall context for program needs. It was suggested that we provide a short statement of how the funded proposals are integrated into the whole. A precedent for this approach exists in the Georges Bank program where brief program overviews were included in each proposal, but did not count against the page limit.

Several key issues in the development of the California Current program were identified:

  1. Long Term Observation Program (LTOP) lines must be added south of Cape Blanco.
  2. The program must be designed to resolve the evolution of the mesoscale circulation.
  3. Target organisms (salmon) must be related to the mesoscale circulation patterns.
  4. Understanding the population structure of target organisms will be essential. This is particularly important for salmon, where separate populations associated with different river systems will be potentially mixed in the ocean environment.
  5. Process studies and observational programs north and south of Cape Blanco must be carefully coordinated to permit careful comparative analysis in these very different dynamical settings.
  6. LTOP: Mesoscale components of the program are critical to its overall success and must be carefully structured.

An overview of the status of NEP program elements including monitoring, modeling and retrospective analysis, represented by subcommittee groups was provided.

Bill Peterson described the status of LTOP programs in the California Current (CCS) and the Coastal Gulf of Alaska CGOA). Results from recent (June 1998) sampling cruises in the CGOA indicate small size-at-age for juvenile pollock, possibly indicating poor feeding conditions. Indications are that it could be a poor year for euphausiid production. LTOP observations in the CCS have been well timed to study the evolution of the 1997-1998 ENSO event. Hydrography shows an 8 oC anomaly in September 1997 LTOP observations.

Lou Botsford described progress in model development. Several key areas for further development have been identified, including:

Ric Brodeur described progress in NEP retrospective studies including analysis of historical plankton sampling series, information derived from otolith analysis of long-lived sable fish, analysis of long term instrumental records of physical variables and paleo-ecological analysis of salmon lake systems.

A general discussion ensued concerning the advisability of extending the study region nearer to the Columbia River to take advantage of the availability of this major salmon producing river. A major source of concern for the success of the program in the California Current is the depleted status of Coho and Chinook salmon. The sampling difficulties of dealing with populations at low abundance in the ocean environment will substantially complicate the program. The Columbia river has historically been a major salmon producing system and there is still a substantial input of hatchery-reared Coho salmon into this system. Extending the sampling area toward the Columbia would offer the opportunity for enhanced probability of obtaining salmon samples. In addition, the opportunity to link with studies conducted on the extensively-researched Columbia river plume region by BPA and other groups would be increased.

ACTION ITEM: Add BPA effort to front of proposal; build upon/complement the existing studies in this region.

ACTION ITEM: Check AO; Leave more room for process-studies on salmon north of Newport.

Science Talk

To initiate a protocol in which new SSC members have an opportunity to describe their research interests, the science talks at this meeting were devoted to talks given by incoming members. Bill Peterson gave the first such talk: Zooplankton Assemblages and Ecology in the CCS off Oregon. Dramatic changes in abundance and species composition of zooplankton have been noted in this system. These changes are clearly related to changes in temperature patterns related to an apparent regime shift in 1976-77.

Related NEP Programs

GLOBEC studies in the Northeast Pacific must link with other important studies ongoing in this region. The spatial extent of the sampling region is very large and collaborative efforts are essential to provide adequate coverage. Several existing programs in the NEP were highlighted.

Jack Helle described the NMFS Ocean Carrying Capacity (OCC) Program. Sampling programs in the Gulf of Alaska have documented general increases in abundance of salmon over the last two decades and an overall decrease in mean length. However, Bering Sea salmon stocks are down in past 2 years, and mean lengths at age have recently increased. The OCC program and GLOBEC are complementary, and the broader sampling area covered under OCC cruises can provide a valuable context for the more spatially restricted GLOBEC sampling. In turn, GLOBEC process studies and modeling will be beneficial to OCC in evaluating alternative hypotheses concerning fluctuations in salmon stocks.

Bob Spies provided an overview of the Exxon Valdiz Oil Spill (EVOS) Trustee Program. The EVOS program is now in a transition period for their intensive field program. It is anticipated that funding available for the restoration reserve program is on the order of $5-6 M/yr and the total FY1999 funding levels is on the order of $10-12M. The next steps for EVOS involve the development of a long term monitoring program building on the experience of intensive studies conducted in the last several years. There are many areas of mutual interest in the research and monitoring to be conducted under the planned EVOS work and GLOBEC and close coordination will be very beneficial.

ACTION ITEM: Expression from GLOBEC to Executive Director about importance of EVOS RR to GLOBEC.

ACTION ITEM: Letter to BPA about importance of ocean sampling.

Julia Parrish described the status of the PNCERS program which is focusing on physical-biological-social systems in the Pacific Northwest. This work involves hydrographic studies in areas of interest to GLOBEC off Oregon and opens the possibility of sharing data and information. PNCERS biological studies have a major emphasis on recruitment processes of Dungeness crab. The inclusion of the socio-economic dimension is a distinguishing feature of this multi-disciplinary program.

Dave Somerton next provided an overview of NMFS sampling and monitoring programs in the Northeast Pacific. These include:

The triennial bottom trawl surveys measure relative abundance for all species vulnerable to the trawl. In addition, information on size composition is collected, and samples taken for age determination. Stomach samples are collected for determination of food habits and feeding interactions for selected species. Routine hydrographic measurements are also made. Again, this program has the potential to provide a broader spatial context for GLOBEC studies. Salmon are caught during the surveys; however, the bottom trawl gear is relative inefficient for salmon.

Hydroacoustic surveys are conducted with emphasis on pollock off Alaska and hake in the Pacific Northwest to obtain estimates of biomass. The survey is conducted annually in Shelikov Straights and on a rotating 3 year schedule in other locations. Sampling is conducted using a 38 and 120 kHz split beam system. Continuous underway SST/SAU measurements are made and CTD profiles are made a selected locations at some stations. Continuous ADCP observations are also made.

Phyllis Stabeno provided an update on conditions in the Bering Sea. Another Coccolithophore bloom occurred in 1998 but under very different physical conditions than those for the 1997 bloom. It is projected to be poor salmon year in the Bering Sea. No die-offs of birds have been reported, but seabirds are in poor condition and food availability appears to be a problem.

Pat Livingston next provided a review of goals, issues, regions of interest for the Climate Change and Carrying Capacity of PICES. PICES involves researchers from around the North Pacific Rim, and the goals of the CCCC program are consistent with GLOBEC goals to understand the potential impacts of climate change on marine populations. PICES serves as a forum to stimulate and facilitate action and to coordinate program implementation. Funding for the research comes from the member nations. Several major coordinating activities of PICES include BASS (Basin Studies), REX (Regional Experiments), and MODEL (lower trophic level physiological models). The general scientific philosophy of the CCCC program involves monitoring, modeling, retrospective studies and process studies and therefore is similar to the GLOBEC strategy.

Susan Allen briefed the group on the status of Canada GLOBEC. Canada GLOBEC Phase I was initiated in the summer of 1996 and is scheduled to run for 4 years. The focus on fish species for GLOBEC Canada studies on the west coast is sockeye salmon while on the east coast, gadids are the key species of interest. The role of physical-biological coupling and food web dynamics is central to the program. Declines in growth for Skeena Sockeye were observed in coastal waters. However, observations in open oceanic waters have not revealed changes in growth, suggesting more localized processes are important. A proposal for a second phase program will be developed to build on work in Phase I and will be slated for 2000 for and projected duration of 4 years.

A general discussion of approaches to coordinating among programs ensued based around several main themes. Tables providing descriptive information for the types of direct and indirect measurements being made, the instrumentation and gear types employed, general goals and target species were prepared for many of the programs discussed. This set of matrices allows easy cross-comparison among programs for key characteristics of each. Additional suggestions to ease communication and coordination include the development of a master list of PI's, e-mail addresses and web sites; construction of a time-line map for the various programs to see how they match in time; and the development of a homepage describing modeling efforts and providing access to models.

It was also noted that upcoming meetings including the AGU Ocean Science Meeting, ASLO - Aquatic Sciences Meeting, and the annual PICES meeting provide useful forums for exchange of information among NEP programs. There was broad concensus that close coordination among programs is essential because of the magnitude of the task of understanding the dynamics of these systems.

Another initiative that may develop and provide an important source of funding is the Bering Sea Ecosystem Initiative with funding derived from $5-8M revenue from oil and gas leases under the Dinkum-Sands settlement. Stabeno to keep committee informed of developments.

ADJOURN for the day at 17:30

DAY TWO (Friday, 9 October 1998):

Southern Ocean Program

Eileen Hofmann briefed the committee on the status of the U.S. GLOBEC Southern Ocean Program, starting with an overview of the history of the program and its development under the International GLOBEC Program. Krill will be the target species, and the list of critical questions for the program revolve around physical oceanography and sea ice dynamics and the role of top predators including penguins, seals, and whales. In July 1998, the Standing Committee for Antarctic research recognized S.O. GLOBEC as part of their core program.

A Southern Ocean Modeling Working Group has been formed under the auspices of International GLOBEC, with Eugene Murphy as Chair. Hofmann and Powell are members of the committee from the U.S. S.O. data management is under the leadership of Manfred Reinke of the Alfred Wegner Institute. Current plans call for major field years in 2000 - 2001, and there will be some earlier small investigator investigations by Australia, etc. and other nations. A tentative ship schedule has been prepared.

A Southern Ocean Workshop workshop for development of the U.S. Program was held 30 Sept. - 1 Oct. at NSF headquarters. There were 20 participants and agency representatives in attendance. Two Working Groups were established: (1) predator prey interactions, and (2) habitat variability.

Key issues considered included:

The next steps include:

  1. Report published on web (newsletter article)
  2. Regional planning meeting, March / April 1999 (international)

Steve Reilly reported on developments in the IWC research community. Plans call for studies of pollutants and contaminants; climate change and variability; and their effects on whales. There is interest in developing ties to S.O. GLOBEC and CCAMLR. The next CCAMLR Synoptic Survey of krill is scheduled for 2000, and there will be a collaborative effort with IWC researchers. IWC plans to start acoustic tagging studies coupled to examination of prey field distributions and whale sighting surveys over a larger area using provide 2 Japanese ships.

Georges Bank / NW Atlantic Program

Bob Beardsley provided a status report on the Georges Bank program. His report included an update on emerging results from the Phase II field year which focused on processes of retention and loss from the Bank. Considerable effort has gone into evaluation of the hydrodynamic models. It is known that the MY-2.5 implementation used in QUODDY-4 underestimates vertical extent of the bottom boundary layer in stratified conditions, and alternative closure schemes are under consideration.

Greg Lough gave an update on the larval fish studies emphasizing progress on trophodynamic modelling for cod and haddock larvae. Observed growth in 1993 of 6-8 mm larvae was better than 1994. Lough noted that Calanus N1-N6 are not preyed upon by cod larvae (8 mm size) on the Southern Flank in spring (May), but rather mostly consume Pseudocalanus and Oithona. Haddock (of same size as cod) eat more, smaller prey than do cod.

SSC Membership

At Fogarty's request, the SSC agreed to make the chairs of each regional program ex-officio members of the national SSC. Accordingly, Peter Wiebe, Zack Powell, and Eileen Hofmann will formally join the SSC in that capacity to represent the regional programs.

A motion was made by Powell that the by-laws be amended so that SSC members have a 2-term limit (no auto renewal of a third term). This was approved by the committee. SSC members who have served two terms, however, can stand for re-election.

The composition of the SSC was evaluated and it was decided that several key areas should be represented by new members including: Physical Oceanography of the Southern Ocean; Zooplankton Population Dynamics; and Technology and Instrumentation. Suggestions for candidates for these positions were received, and additional suggestions from the research community will be solicited.

The composition of ECXO has been updated to include:

Science Talk

Bill Pearcy presented a talk on The Ocean Ecology of Pacific Salmon

Early-winter spawn (head waters)
1 year each in freshwater / ocean
Spring egg hatch
Spring entry to ocean
Spring Chinook (Stream Type)
Main-stem spawners
Similar freshwater life as Coho
Multiple years in ocean
Fall Chinook (Ocean Type)
Long time in estuary
Short period in freshwater
The accompanying table summarizes key aspects of coho and chinook salmon. Year-class strength is more variable to the south (OR, CA) than further north. These life history characteristics have important implications for GLOBEC sampling strategies. Chinook spend less time in the coastal region before undertaking extensive migrations. Coho and Chinook salmon have declined sharply over the last two decades, apparently in response to changing ocean conditions related to a regime shift in the mid 1970's.

Committee Structure

The following standing subcommittees are currently in place:

  1. EXCO
  2. Data Management (not necessary now - made inactive)
  3. Modeling
  4. Technology
  5. Outreach

In addition three ad hoc subcommittees related to the regional programs now exist:

  1. NEP
  2. S.O.
  3. NW Atlantic Liaison

Fogarty proposed the establishment of two new sub committees to address critical issues within the program. As the U.S. GLOBEC program expands to a truly multi-regional program, the role of the SSC must change to focus on overarching considerations:

  1. Ensure that the program whole is structured to extract general principles through a comparison of the results of the regional programs, and that within programs the multidisciplinary data sets are fully integrated to prove a holistic view of system dynamics.

  2. It will also be critical to ensure that the fundamental question of the role of climate change on marine ecosystems is fully addressed.

The former requires the development of statistical methods for comparison and also coordination and standardization to the greatest extent possible. The latter entails finding approaches to extend the GLOBEC studies conducted on restricted spatial and temporal scales to climate scales. The new subcommittees will be charged with developing white papers that outline approaches to these key issues. The proposed subcommittees are (1) Synthesis and Comparative Analysis, and (2) Climate.

The meeting was adjourned at 16:20.