Marine Productivity (MarProd)

UK GLOBEC Meeting 26 February 2004

Oral presentations

  1. Welcome and introduction
    Michael Heath (FRS Marine Laboratory, Aberdeen; Chair UK GLOBEC)

  2. The international Global Ocean Ecosystem Dynamics (GLOBEC) project. What's new and what does it all mean? Link to abstract
    K Brander

  3. Plankton responses to hydro-climatic variability around the UK Link to abstract Link to presentation PDF (1647 KB)
    Gregory Beaugrand and Philip C Reid

  4. Southern Ocean ecosystem dynamics and the management of exploitation Link to abstract
    Eugene Murphy and John Croxall

  5. The ultimate top-down control on marine systems: what factors determine human predation pressures? Link to abstract
    Sean Pascoe and David Sampson

  6. Three-dimensional ecosystem modelling for shelf seas Link to abstract Link to presentation PDF (3.83 MB)
    Roger Proctor, Jason Holt, Icarus Allen, Jerry Blackford, Thomas Anderson, Boris Kelly-Gerreyn and Mike Ashworth

  7. Zooplankton genes - useful targets for marine ecosystem research? Link to abstract
    Gary Smerdon and Penelope Lindeque

  8. Microzooplankton matter: the importance of smaller organisms in marine food websLink to abstract Link to presentation PDF (2542 KB)
    David Montagnes, David Wilson, Tom Anderson, Claudia Castellani, Dan Mayor and Mike Lucas

  9. Population dynamics of Calanus finmarchicus in the North Atlantic – integration of modelling and field investigationsLink to abstract
    Marine Productivity programme participants represented by Michael Heath and Bill Gurney

  10. How can information on marine ecosystem processes be integrated with fishery management?
    Discussion led by Colin Bannister (CEFAS Lowestoft) on the wider relevance of Marine Productivity research, the science priorities for UK GLOBEC and future initiatives


The international Global Ocean Ecosystem Dynamics (GLOBEC) project: what’s new and what does it all mean?
Cisco Werner1 and Manuel Barange2

1 Marine Sciences Department, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3300, USA
2 GLOBEC IPO, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Prospect Place, Plymouth PL1 3DH, UK

Cats, dogs and global change science programmes have a lifetime of around 15 years. On that basis, the International Global Ocean Ecosystem Dynamics project is now past middle-age, being only five years away from its completion target-date of 2009. But it is also at its most productive. Whilst four of its regional programmes (SPACC, CCC, Southern Ocean, and CCCC) as well as several national programmes (such as the US, UK and Japan) are entering their synthesis and integration phase, new regional programmes (CLIOTOP and ESSAS) are being developed. But what's behind those acronyms? How far have we come to meeting the GLOBEC science goal – of knowing enough about how marine ecosystems work, so that we can forecast their responses to global change? How has having a programme helped advance the science, and answer policy problems?

Integration and synthesis are now key activities for international GLOBEC. A strong conceptual framework makes it possible to bring together worldwide data from process experiments, large-scale studies and retrospective analyses – combining their results in mathematical models. In turn, models will provide predictions of marine ecosystem responses to climate change and human impacts. Synthesis requires closely similar analyses across systems and taxa. As different ocean regions are compared, e.g. NW Atlantic and North Sea, or Humboldt and Benguela, the combined results deliver a much better (and much needed) understanding of what causes variability in marine productivity, from plankton to fisheries, at larger spatial and longer temporal scales.

GLOBEC has recently said farewell to its former partner programme, the Joint Global Ocean Flux Study (JGOFS). But it soon expects to welcome a new offspring from its co-sponsors, IGBP and SCOR, the Integrated Marine Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Research project (IMBER). Subject to satisfactory review, IMBER will formally start its activities in mid-2004, working closely with GLOBEC on issues of common interest. A further process of synthesis and integration is then envisaged, leading to a “single integrated IGBP ocean project on global change research” (in effect, combining GLOBEC and IMBER) by 2009.

Plankton responses to hydro-climatic variability around the United Kingdom
Grégory Beaugrand1,2 and Philip C. Reid1 Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Sciences, The Laboratory, Citadel Hill, Plymouth PL1 2PB
2CNRS, UMR 8013 ELICO, Station Marine, Universite des Sciences et Technologies de Lille BP 80, 62930 Wimereux, France

Understanding and predicting responses of marine ecosystems to current climate change represent a key challenge. This talk reviews the diversity of hydro-meteorological influences on biological processes, marine organisms and ecosystems and their variety of responses to physical forcing. It is shown that major changes have taken place after the 1980s in the North Sea and the eastern part of the North Atlantic Ocean. These modifications are seen in the biogeography, abundance of both phytoplankton and zooplankton and in functional attributes (mean size, diversity of sizes, species diversity, species composition) of marine ecosystems. While north-west Atlantic marine pelagic ecosystems have moved towards a cooler dynamic regime, north-east Atlantic ecosystems have shifted towards a warmer dynamic equilibrium which is likely to be a consequence of the global increase in temperature observed in this region. Large-scale causal hydro-meteorological processes and intermediate pathways that have involved these opposite shift are identified and quantified. Possible consequences of these changes on the functioning of ecosystems, biogeochemical processes and fisheries are illustrated and discussed. The importance of biological indicators based on species assemblages and numerical procedures that allow decomposition of the time series are also stressed.

Southern Ocean ecosystem dynamics and the management of exploitation
Eugene J Murphy and John P Croxall
NERC British Antarctic Survey, High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0ET

Southern Ocean ecosystems show marked interannual variation and are changing as a result of climate change and exploitation effects. Developing a capacity to predict the dynamics of the Southern Ocean ecosystem is major goal of the international science community. Here we review some of the recent advances in our understanding of factors affecting the dynamics of the ecosystem that have developed during the period of the Southern Ocean GLOBEC programme. Field and model studies indicate that advection of Antarctic krill in the ocean currents plays a major role in maintaining their distribution, which in turn affects the large-scale operation of the ecosystem. Such advection of biological material generates a highly connected ecosystem where physical or biological fluctuations in one area can affect distant ecosystems. The central focus for Southern Ocean GLOBEC has been to improve understanding of how Antarctic krill survive during winter to grow and develop in spring, and we briefly highlight some of key results from those studies. Perhaps uniquely, these ecological insights are being considered in the development of sustainable management procedures for exploitation of living resources in the Southern Ocean. Under the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) an ecosystem approach to the management of exploitation has been developing during the last twenty years. We briefly discuss the current status of the ecosystem approach and consider some of the wider challenges faced in developing such procedures.

The ultimate top-down control on marine ecosystems: what factors determine human predation pressures?
Sean Pascoe and David B. Sampson
Centre for the Economics and Management of Aquatic Resources (CEMARE), Dept of Economics, University of Portsmouth, Locksway Road, Portsmouth PO4 8JF.

Although fishers face many of the same problems and constraints as natural apex predators (e.g., finding suitable prey while making efficient use of time and energy), several aspects of modern commercial fishing operations have no analogue among natural predators. Where natural predators hunt to obtain food energy for survival and reproductive success, fishers are motivated primarily by financial rewards. Because prices for fish, fuel and labour can be very dynamic, fishing revenues and costs are often highly variable over very short time scales and fishers can exhibit rapid changes in prey selection. Over longer time scales fishing technology undergoes a process of ‘evolution’ that is unconstrained by genetics and can be unnaturally rapid. As well as responding to changes in the economic environment, fishers also respond to changes in the management environment. Fishery management that ignores the response of fishers to changing ‘environmental conditions’ cannot be efficient or effective. In this paper, these key behavioural characteristics of fishers are reviewed, and illustrated using case studies from real fisheries.

Three-dimensional ecosystem modelling for shelf seas
Jason T. Holt1, Roger Proctor1, J. Icarus Allen2, Jerry C. Blackford2, Thomas R. Anderson3, Boris A. Kelly-Gerreyn3 and Mike Ashworth4
1Proudman Oceanographic laboratory, Bidston Observatory, Prenton, Wirral, CH43 7RA
2Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Prospect Place, Plymouth, PL1 3DH
3Southampton Oceanography Centre, European Way, Southampton, SO14 3ZH
4CLRC Daresbury Laboratory, Warrington, WA4 4AD

A prescription of the 3-dimensional hydrodynamic environment on the appropriate time and space scales, coupled to pelagic and benthic ecosystems, is required to enhance our understanding of the interaction between physical and biological processes in shelf seas. The Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory Coastal Ocean Modelling System (POLCOMS) is applied, in conjunction with the European Regional Seas Ecosystem Model (ERSEM) at eddy resolving (~1.8km) scales to the stratified region of the western Irish Sea to investigate the effects of horizontal and vertical transport processes on the ecosystem. We find, following the spring bloom, the surface currents can transport nutrient and biota rich water into the otherwise depleted surface stratified region, fuelling intermittent production throughout the summer. Only limited and anecdotal observational evidence exists to support the model results, which points to a need for high spatial and temporal resolution observations to investigate these processes in conjunction with further model studies. Nevertheless, we utilise the available data and a 1-D representation of the Fasham/Anderson/Kelly-Gerreyn (FAK) model to investigate the phytoplankton structure and the primary production in this area, and demonstrate the controlling influence that the physical environment exerts on the biological response.

Zooplankton genes - useful targets for marine ecosystem research?
Gary Smerdon and Penelope Lindeque
Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Prospect Place, Plymouth, PL1 3DH

For any living organism, the genetic material within each cell carries the blueprint from which the mature organism will be formed. Based on this genetic material common to all biota, and using the continually evolving toolbox of molecular biology, we have developed the capacity to address fundamental aspects of the life histories of organisms, and the structure and function of ecosystems, that were hitherto intractable using more traditional methodologies. In the Marine Productivity programme, and through its predecessor PRIME, we have developed molecular tools to address aspects of zooplankton life histories, and some of these tools are now being deployed ‘in the field’. To date the focus of our research has been on the Calanus genus of calanoid copepods, and the major targets have included:

Identification beyond the microscope – the development of simple molecular systems to unambiguously identify operational taxonomic units of zooplankton (generally at the species level) at any developmental stage.

Early development as a target for gene expression studies – knowledge of the key genes controlling early development and their expression patterns facilitates the study of the effects of environmental variables on these vital life stages.

Diapause as an overwintering strategy – the factors controlling diapause in marine copepods are unclear. Multi-faceted approaches, including molecular and biochemical techniques, are being developed to help understand this complex phase of life history.

The above systems will be discussed in relation to their usefulness in marine ecosystem research, and the potential for the deployment of new molecular tools.

Microzooplankton matter: the importance of smaller organisms in marine food webs
David Montagnes1, David Wilson1, Xabier Irigoien2, Tom Anderson3, Claudia Castellani 3,4, Dan Mayor3, Russell Davidson3 and Roger Harris4
1School of Biological Sciences, University of Liverpool, Crown Street, Liverpool L69 7ZB
2Arrantzarekiko Zientzia eta Tecnologia Institutoa (AZTI), Herrara kaia portualdea s/n, Pasaia, Spain
3Southampton Oceanography Centre, European Way, Southampton, SO14 3ZH
4Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Prospect Place, Plymouth, PL1 3DH

It is well recognised that microzooplankton (heterotrophic protists and metazoa 20-200µm) are important components of marine food webs. Microzooplankton are a link between smaller plankton, which are often the major primary producers, and larger metazooplankton, which in turn are eaten by fish. They are thus, ultimately, a potential link to fisheries. Furthermore, microzooplankton are major consumers of phytoplankton and act as both links and sinks in biogeochemical cycling (eg transfer of CO2 to the oceans). They are also typically responsible for the major proportion of regenerated nitrogen which fuels further primary production; creating a “microbial loop” between producers and grazers. Recognising this, UK Marine Productivity, a GLOBEC affiliate, is examining the role of microzooplankton in the poorly characterised north-eastern Atlantic waters, using a four pronged approach: 1) field studies to assess microzooplankton abundance, species composition, biomass, and production; 2) field studies to assess and characterise phytoplankton production, the potential prey of microzooplankton; 3) field-based experiments to quantify copepod (mesozooplankton) grazing on microzooplankton; and 4) models that integrate these data and other parameters to assess the impact of microzooplankton. After introducing microzooplankton, this presentation will integrate these aspects of our work and indicate the role of microzooplankton in the north-eastern Atlantic ocean.

Population dynamics of Calanus finmarchicus in the North Atlantic – integration of modelling and field investigations
Marine Productivity programme participants represented by Michael Heath1 and Bill Gurney2
1FRS Marine Laboratory, PO Box 101, Victoria Road, Aberdeen AB11 9BD
2 Dept of Statistics and Modelling Sciences, University of Strathclyde, 26 Richmond St, Glasgow G1 1XH

The population dynamics, climate connectivity, and fisheries relevance of the copepod Calanus finmarchicus are key aspects of North Atlantic GLOBEC Programmes such as the ICES Cod and Climate Change and US-GLOBEC, and also of the NERC Marine Productivity programme. One of the major objectives of Marine Productivity is to develop a basin-scale simulation model of C. finmarchicus across its entire geographic range in the North Atlantic, and assimilate observational data from contemporary field programmes to estimate the space-time dynamics of the demography.

The modelling approach is based on a numerical representation of the life history of C. finmarchicus, embedding this in a simpler representation of the predator, prey and physical oceanographic environment. Key life-cycle properties to be represented are: the entry to, and exit from diapause (the non-feeding, overwintering state); stage development rates in relation to temperature and food; and the recruitment of nauplii (the earliest larval stage, post-hatch) to the population. The computational challenge was to devise a numerical scheme capable of basin scale simulations at credible spatial resolutions (better than ¼ degree latitude), with sufficient computing speed to enable automatic optimisation of key parameters to fit the demographic predictions to observations. In this presentation we show results from a prototype model of the north-eastern Atlantic and outline the implementation of a full North Atlantic scale version.

The Marine Productivity field programme, which ran in parallel with the model development, was focused on a relatively unstudied region of the northern North Atlantic – the Irminger Basin, east of Greenland. This area is important oceanographically (as a potential site of deep convection under certain atmospheric conditions), and has been identified by the Continuous Plankton Recorder survey as supporting high numbers of C. finmarchicus; however, it has rarely been visited for biological sampling in the past 40 years. Furthermore, when the Irminger Basin was last intensively sampled for plankton, in 1963, the North Atlantic Oscillation Index was in opposite phase to recent years, providing a unique opportunity to directly compare the state of the pelagic ecosystem under contrasting climate conditions. The 3-dimensional spatial patterns of C. finmarchicus and other micro, meso and macro-plankton species' demography, together with physical and chemical properties, were sampled during four surveys in 2001/2002, covering the main seasons of the year. In addition, sampling and ship-borne experiments were carried out for various process studies investigating egg production, growth, feeding and mortality of C. finmarchicus. The data from the field programme are being integrated with outputs from a number of national and EU-sponsored international programmes carried out since 1994 to produce composite data sets for assimilation into the modelling system.


Related Marine Productivity pages at BODC

Poster Presentations at UK GLOBEC meeting      BODC processing
Contents     Cruise programme
Project overview     Data inventories
BODC's role     Data delivery
Data policy      Project Specific
Data submission     Other links

Related external pages

Official MarProd web site      Global Ocean Ecosystem Dynamics (GLOBEC)