Report of MARE COGNITUM Meeting in Norway -- 27-29 February 1995

contributed by Peter Wiebe

MARE COGNITUM is a regional GLOBEC program now getting underway in Norway. Like the U.S. GLOBEC Georges Bank Program, the scientists funded to participate in MARE COGNITUM are from a government funded laboratory and academic institutions. They also have been working during the past couple of years on pilot projects and 1995 is their first major field effort. The meeting described below was the PI meeting that is intended to occur annually.

The meeting was held at the Solstrand Fjord Hotel, about 40 km south of Bergen, Norway. This hotel sits south facing on the edge of Fusafjord which is a small arm of the larger Bjornafjord. The fjord waters, together with the rugged snow capped mountains rising up to the south and east of the fjord, provided a spectacular setting for the meeting. This will almost certainly be the site for next year's annual MARE COGNITUM meeting.

In attendance were individuals from a number of Norwegian institutions and universities who represented groups that were funded by the Norwegian Research Council to participate in MARE COGNITUM. Also in attendance were representatives from adjoining countries who will be collaborating in this International GLOBEC project. The countries represented were the Faroe Islands, Iceland, and Russia. In addition, Piers Chapman represented U.S. WOCE interests in the Norwegian Sea, and I represented U.S. GLOBEC's Georges Bank Program. The official language of the meeting was English.

The principal objectives of the meeting were 1) to provide a forum for collaborating investigators to present their ideas and any preliminary results that they might have with regard to the MARE COGNITUM research program, and 2) to meet together in smaller groups to refine the cruise plans for 1995, 96 and 97, to discuss the modelling activities, and to consider what steps need to be undertaken to foster international aspects of the research.

The meeting started at noon on Monday the 27th and finished at noon on Wednesday the 29th. During the first two days, the investigators made their presentations. The last half-day was used for working group sessions.

Hein Rune Skjoldal reviewed the goal of the program and major programmatic components. The goal is to identify and quantify the most important factors and mechanisms causing variability in the ecology of the Nordic Seas with the aim to predict fluctuations in ocean circulation, production, and fish stocks. There are three programmatic components--ocean climate, resource ecology, and carbon cycling--each with a specific goal and objectives.

Ocean Climate aims to describe and understand the most important mechanisms responsible for variability in ocean climate. Some objectives are:

Resource Ecology's goal is to describe the structure and function of the ecosystem in the Norwegian Sea and quantify chief mechanisms regulating the effect of climate variation on production and size of fish stocks (herring and cod). Some objectives are:

The Carbon Cycling effort is concerned with quantifying the vertical flux of carbon and pathways for the sinking of CO2 to depth. Objectives are:

Individual investigators made presentations on fish ecology and fisheries (13 presentations), international collaboration and activities (6), plankton dynamics (7), and physical oceanography (5).

The Nordic Seas area (Norwegian Sea (2 basins), Icelandic Sea, and Greenland Seas) is substantial--about 2.5 million km2. For comparison, the Georges Bank study area is about 150 thousand km2 or approximately six percent of the Norwegian Sea area. Thus, there is a substantial requirement for shiptime to cover this sea area. In 1995, a number of ships are scheduled to participate in MARE COGNITUM. Norwegian cruises will cover the late winter, spring, and summer period (February to August) (see Box).

The top three ships will be used to conduct a mix of large-scale surveys of the Norwegian Sea and smaller scale process work. The specific MARE COGNITUM cruises are marked with an MC; the others represent cruises where samples relevant to MARE COGNITUM will be collected and shared. The other two ships will conduct more local shelf/slope studies off northern Norway. Iceland will conduct four large-scale surveys in the waters around the island, and will occupy several transect lines 10 times during the year. The Faroes will conduct 3 surveys around their waters with one cruise specifically directed towards herring. The Russians will conduct a survey of the southern Norwegian Sea in June which will focus on herring, but will include other pelagic fish, plankton, and hydrography.

International cooperation of both logistics and science was discussed. Logistical cooperation issues that arose were:

Scientific cooperation issues that arose were:

What is envisioned as the next step is a series of small meetings or workshops attended by representatives of the collaborating countries to focus attention on:

One point that was emphasized was that ICES was going to establish a secretariat for GLOBEC (and cod and climate change?) which is intended to help coordinate activities in the North Atlantic and foster fruitful interactions. (Peter Wiebe is a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and is chair of the U.S. GLOBEC Georges Bank Executive Committee)

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