Published 02.09.2019 - Updated 02.09.2019

Perceptions of system-identity and regime shift for marine ecosystems

Management of marine ecosystems often seeks to maintain systems in stable states that are close to their historical pristine state, or a state where pressures and resource extraction does not degrade the system beyond a point of no return. When regime shifts occur these can therefore considered to be failures in management. Regime shifts should be recognisable as the system departs from the status quo or away from a desirable state and transgresses over some definitive reference points. However, Ingrid van Putten* and colleagues from CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) and the University of Tasmania found that there is limited consensus among marine scientists as to what actually constitutes a regime shift. Thus, the authors identified a fundamental ambiguity in a key concept for ecosystem based management.

See full paper:

Ingrid van Putten*, Fabio Boschetti, Scott Ling, and Shane A. Richards (2019) Perceptions of system-identity and regime shift for marine ecosystems. ICES Journal of Marine Science, fsz058 

The idea for this research was first conceptualized at the marine regime shift workshop at the fourth IMBeR IMBIZO meeting: Marine and human systems: Addressing multiple scales and multiple stressors, hosted by the Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia and Geofisica Sperimentale in Trieste, Italy, October 2015. 

*Ingrid van Putten is Chair of the IMBeR Human Dimensions Working Group.


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Published 27.08.2019 - Updated 27.08.2019

Drivers of abundance and biomass of Brazilian parrotfishes

The long Brazilian coast encompasses most of the reef environments of the southwestern Atlantic, and are characterized by unique reef formations and high rates of endemism. Parrotfishes (Labridae: Scarinae) are among the most ubiquitous and dominant reef fish worldwide, and in Brazil, 60% of the group are comprised of six endemic species. It is known that parrotfishes can affect the physical structure and composition of benthic communities through grazing and bioerosion. Despite their ecological importance, parrotfishes have been intensively targeted in many regions of the world. In Brazil, four of the endemic species are now threatened to some degree due to overfishing, including the largest, Scarus trispinosus, which can reach a length of 90 cm. Signs of depletion of these species strengthen our need to inform conservation and management through a better understanding of their patterns of abundance, biomass, habitat preferences, and assemblage structure across different reef types. We assessed abundance and size class distributions of six parrotfishes in northeastern Brazil and identified habitat preferences based on reef attributes. Species’ distributions were variable and related to their respective feeding modes and reef types. Such heterogeneity in habitat use suggests functional complementarity rather than functional redundancy among Brazilian parrotfish assemblages. Outer-shelf reefs sustained larger individuals for most of the species, whereas inner-shelf reefs supported higher abundances of small individuals. Despite being nurseries or developing areas, shallow inshore reefs sustain intense artisanal fishing activities targeting parrotfishes. The ongoing fishing pressure in nursery habitats may be causing significant declines in adult numbers in deeper outer-shelf reefs that are yet to be quantified. Such information may have important implications for management and conservation in the face of increasing fishing pressure. Conservation of Brazilian endemic parrotfishes requires protection of reefs with diverse attributes in order to conserve functional diversity.

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Published 22.08.2019 - Updated 22.08.2019

Call for Abstracts - IMBeR endorsed Forum “Experiencing China – Dialogue on the Maritime Silk Road”

The “Experiencing China” series, initiated by the China Scholarship Council (CSC, www.csc.edu.cn), is designed to give its scholarship students the opportunity to explore academic and industrial possibilities, and give insight into the Chinese culture. As a part of the 2019 “Experiencing China” activities, a Doctoral Forum entitled “Dialogue on the Maritime Silk Road” will be hosted by East China Normal University (ECNU, www.ecnu.edu.cn) in Shanghai, China from 10-13 October 2019.

The Forum will cover “Culture and Civilization”, “Estuaries and Coast” and “Economics and Trade” and will consist of three concurrent but interacting sessions. The sessions are: 1) The Maritime Silk Road and cultural exchange across regions, 2) Estuarine and coastal science and technology and sustainable ecosystems, and 3) Building a world of common prosperity through win-win cooperation. The Forum will include keynote lectures, presentations and discussions, as well as a workshop on career planning and a field trip to the Yangshan Deep Water Port or China Maritime Museum. After the Forum, students will be invited to submit a short paper for a special issue of the Journal of East China Normal University (Natural Sciences).

Deadline for applications is 10 September 2019

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Published 26.07.2019 - Updated 26.07.2019

New IMBeR publication: Towards integrating evolution, metabolism, and climate change studies of marine ecosystems

Global environmental changes are challenging the structure and functioning of ecosystems. However, a mechanistic understanding of how global environmental changes will affect ecosystems is still lacking. The complex and interacting biological and physical processes spanning vast temporal and spatial scales that constitute an ecosystem make this a formidable problem. There is thus the need to combine the study of evolution, together with metabolism and climate change. To study these interactions, a framework based on theoretical ecology that considers fundamental and realized niches, appears to be a promising approach.

This paper arose from the fifth IMBeR IMBIZO meeting: Marine biosphere research for a sustainable ocean: Linking ecosystems, future states and resource management, hosted by the Ocean, Carbon & Biogeochemistry Group at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in October 2017, with a format of three concurrent, interacting workshops. In particular, this work was generated from the working group from Workshop 2: Metabolic diversity and evolution in marine biogeochemical cycling and ocean ecosystem processes.

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Published 08.07.2019 - Updated 08.07.2019

Interdisciplinary Marine Early Career Network (IMECaN) launched at the IMBeR Future Oceans2 conference

IMBeR officially launched its latest programme dedicated to students and early career researchers. The Interdisciplinary Marine Early Career Network (IMECaN) provides a networking platform, training programmes, and leadership opportunities for early career marine researchers. The official launch happened at a workshop at the Future Oceans2 Open Science Conference in Brest, France on 16 June 2019. The workshop focused on career development paths for marine researchers, and using infographics in research outputs.

IMECaN has lots of plans for the future, and will be providing training and development in areas not traditionally provided through formal curricula.

IMECaN currently has members in 59 countries and we hope to encourage more people to join up – so help us spread the news. More info about IMECaN and  sign up to receive updates on activities and events organised by IMECaN.

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Published 05.08.2019 - Updated 05.08.2019

Kuroshio Current: Physical, Biogeochemical, and Ecosystem Dynamics - New book of findings by the IMBeR endorsed project – SKED

The North Pacific western boundary Kuroshio current, transports large amounts of heat, chemicals, and organisms, but is known to be nutrient-poor. Despite the low-nutrient concentration of Kuroshio water, the Kuroshio is an important spawning and nursery ground for various fish species, and a productive fishing ground. To understand the mechanisms of how this high fisheries productivity results from the oligotrophic conditions, i.e., the Kuroshio Paradox, and to determine how to use the ecosystem services sustainably, the Study of Kuroshio Ecosystem Dynamics for Sustainable Fisheries (SKED) started in October 2011. This ten-year project was funded by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan (MEXT). This recently published book is based largely on the results from the SKED project. Physical, chemical, and biological aspects of the Kuroshio are described and compared to those of the Gulf Stream, the western boundary current of the North Atlantic Ocean, to understand the similarity and differences between them.


Volume highlights include:

  • New insights into the role of the Kuroshio as a nutrient stream
  • The first interdisciplinary examination of the Kuroshio Paradox
  • Reflections on the influence of the Kuroshio on Japanese culture
  • Research results on both the lower and higher trophic levels in the Kuroshio ecosystem
  • Comparisons of nutrient dynamics in the Kuroshio and Gulf Stream
  • Predictions of ecosystem responses to future climate variability


Kuroshio Current: Physical, Biogeochemical, and Ecosystem Dynamics, Geophysical Monograph 243, First Edition.
Edited by Takeyoshi Nagai, Hiroaki Saito, Koji Suzuki, and Motomitsu Takahashi.
©2019 American Geophysical Union. Published 2019 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Preview the book that is available in print from Wiley.com or Amazon.com

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Published 06.05.2019 - Updated 06.05.2019

IMBeR at the 2019 SOLAS Open Science Conference in Sapporo, Japan

The Surface Ocean-Lower Atmosphere Study (SOLAS) held its 7th open science conference in Sapporo, Japan from 21-25 April 2019. Members of IMBeR Japan Committee, Jun Nishioka, Koji Suzuki and Masahiko Fujii from Hokkaido University, and Atsushi Tsuda from the University of Tokyo, attended the conference and presented an IMBeR poster highlighting the collaboration between IMBeR and SOLAS, including new research successes and trends.

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Published 18.03.2019 - Updated 18.03.2019

SOLAS-IMBeR Interior Ocean Carbon working group, led by Niki Gruber, has determined the amount of man-made CO2 emissions taken up by the ocean from the atmosphere between 1994 and 2007.

The state of ocean CO2 uptake

The ocean is an important sink for anthropogenic CO2. From the beginning of the industrial revolution to the mid-1990s roughly 30% of our emissions have been absorbed by the oceans. This process is an important moderator of climate change, but can we count on it to remain as strong in the future? Gruber et al. calculated the ocean uptake of anthropogenic CO2 for the interval from 1994 to 2007, which continued as expected. They also observed clear regional deviations from this pattern, suggesting that there is no guarantee that uptake will remain as robust going forward

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Published 11.03.2019 - Updated 11.03.2019

Marine heatwaves threaten global biodiversity and the provision of ecosystem services

Marine heatwaves (MHW) are periods of above average temperatures (above the expected 90th percentile) that persist for more than 5 days in a region. They provide an unwanted look at how the ocean might respond to temperatures that exceed the 2C target for limiting global warming. A study by an international team of researchers including IMBeR SSC member Alistair Hobday published a global review of the impact of MHW on species and habitats. damage marine heatwaves are causing to the marine environment wherever they occur. The research in Nature Climate Change demonstrates periods of extreme temperatures can cause rapid loss of marine habitat, local extinctions, reduced fisheries catches and altered ocean food webs. Regardless of where MHW had occurred, they had negative and often detrimental effects on all kinds of marine organisms, including plankton, seaweed, coral, fish, birds and mammals. Impacts on marine life were more severe at the warm part of the species range, as heatwaves elevate already relatively warm temperatures. Studies like this one contribute to addressing IMBeR Grand Challenge 1 – understanding and quantifying the state and variability of marine ecosystems. Learn more about MHWs at www.marineheatwaves.org

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Published 15.05.2019 - Updated 15.05.2019

We are seeking an Administrative Assistant for the IMBeR Regional Project Office in Shanghai, China

IMBeR and the East China Normal University (ECNU) jointly established a regional office, the IMBeR Regional Project Office (IMBeR RPO), to promote IMBeR in the Asia-Pacific region and support the implementation of the IMBeR Science Plan. IMBeR and ECNU are looking to appoint an enthusiastic, organised, Administrative Assistant to work at the IMBeR RPO located at ECNU, Shanghai, China.

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Published 06.02.2019 - Updated 06.02.2019

Updated “recipes” for SOCAT quality control published in a new version of the cookbook

The Surface Ocean CO2 Atlas  (SOCAT) that was developed by the international marine carbon research community, celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2017. It provides a synthesis of quality-controlled, surface ocean fCO₂ (fugacity of carbon dioxide) observations, and is a milestone for biogeochemical and climate research and in informing policy. SOCAT data is readily available and can be used to quantify ocean carbon sink and ocean acidification, and to evaluate ocean biogeochemical models.

SOCAT data are released in versions, with each succeeding version containing new data sets and updates of the previous one. SOCAT version 1 was released in 2011. The most recent, version SOCAT version 6, comprises 23.4 million global oceans and coastal seas observations from 1957 to 2017, as well as calibrated sensor data.

A team led by Siv Lauvset (Bergen, Norway) recently released an updated “cookbook” of quality control procedures for SOCAT data. This update will be used from SOCAT version 7 onward. The revised quality control criteria will not be retrospectively applied to data sets in SOCAT versions 1-6. The “cookbook” is useful for quality control and to give those who wish to submit data to SOCAT an indication of what is required to achieve the highest quality rating. New data can be submitted at any time, and will be included in the next SOCAT release. The deadline for quality control of SOCAT version 7 is 31 March 2019.

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Published 29.01.2019 - Updated 29.01.2019

Microbial Respiration, the Engine of Ocean Deoxygenation

Carol Robinson, University of East Anglia

This paper synthesis of current knowledge of microbial plankton respiration in relation to deoxygenation, including the drivers of its variability and possible constraints to our ability to project future scenarios.

Microbial plankton respiration is key to the balance between the storage of organic carbon in the oceans or its conversion to CO2 with accompanying consumption of dissolved oxygen. Many areas of the world´s oceans have experienced reduced dissolved oxygen concentrations for the past 50 years, and this ocean deoxygenation trend it seems set to continue. Despite its central role in ocean deoxygenation, microbial respiration is one of the least constrained microbial metabolic processes. There is thus the need for improved understanding of the magnitude and variability of respiration, and the attribution to component plankton groups. This, together with the quantification of the respiratory quotient, would enable better predictions, and projections of the intensity and extent of ocean deoxygenation and of the integrative impact of ocean deoxygenation, ocean acidification, warming, and changes in nutrient concentration and stoichiometry on marine carbon storage

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Published 06.12.2018 - Updated 06.12.2018

One Ocean – the Global Science Opera 2018

The Global Science Opera (GSO) is the brain-child of Oded Ben-Horin. The goal of this initiative is to boost scientific interest in learners through a combination of curiosity-driven education and artistic expression in the form of digital interactions and live-streaming.

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Published 19.11.2018 - Updated 19.11.2018

The 8th China-Japan-Korea IMBeR Symposium and Training Course

The 8th IMBeR China-Japan-Korea (CJK) Symposium was held at the East China Normal University in Shanghai, China last month. The theme was Marine Biogeochemical Sciences for the Sustainability of the West Pacific Biosphere. In addition to participants from China, Japan and Korea, the symposium attracted researchers and students from Thailand, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Canada.

Following the symposium, the IMBeR Human Dimensions Working Group held a training course. These meetings are held every second year and the next one will be in Thailand in 2020.

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Published 26.10.2018 - Updated 26.10.2018

’Mind the Gap’ between ecosystem services classification and strategic decision making

Although ecosystem services are increasingly embedded in policy agendas, it is largely unknown if and how policy actors are considering them. This paper features a retrospective analysis of interviews with key policy actors involved in the strategic decision-making process leading to an innovative large-scale Dutch coastal management project, the Sand Motor mega beach nourishment. The interviews were analysed to ascertain which ecosystem services were considered and how they were described by policy actors. The findings suggest that broad, unspecified ecosystem services were adopted highly by the policy actors, while specific ecosystem service categories were rarely considered. Also, relatable and easy to understand cultural ecosystem services also constituted critical arguments for policy actors in their strategic decision making. The study suggests a ‘translation step’ between ecosystem services research and decision making for ecosystem services to truly align with relevant aspects of decision making.

Alexander van Oudenhven et al, 2018, ’Mind the Gap’ between ecosystem services classification and strategic decision making. Ecosystem Services. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoser.2018.09.003

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Published 08.10.2018 - Updated 08.10.2018

Call for abstracts - Future Oceans2 Brest, France 17-21 June 2019

We are now accepting abstracts for Future Oceans2. We welcome abstracts for oral and poster presentations. Abstracts must be submitted for specific sessions or workshops, and so it is advised to consult the session and workshop details prior to submission. The deadline for abstract submission is 1st December 2018. Abstracts must be submitted via the registration and abstract submission portal. There is no fee for abstract submission. 


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Published 11.09.2018 - Updated 11.09.2018

New IMBeR publication: Extending regional stable isotope analyses to global scales

IMBeR´s regional programme, CLIOTOP’s largest Task Team ‘Marine Predator Isotopes’ recently published an article in Global Ecology and Biogeography. The paper presents a global spatial and comparative analysis of nitrogen stable isotopes for three species of tuna: yellowfin, albacore and bigeye. Predictive models were employed to assess broad-scale spatial patterns and environmental drivers of oceanic food webs. The analyses highlighted that while there are regional differences in the trophic structure of oceanic ecosystems, globally, tunas share similar functional trophic roles. Their work suggests that habitat compression resulting from the predicted global expansion of oxygen minimum zones with ocean warming will impact marine food webs and the corresponding foraging habits of marine predators.

Pethybridge, H., Choy, C.A., Logan, J.M., Allain, V., Lorrain, A., Bodin, N., Somes, C.J., Young, J., Ménard, F., Langlais, C. & Duffy, L., (2018) A global meta‐analysis of marine predator nitrogen stable isotopes: Relationships between trophic structure and environmental conditions. Global Ecology and Biogeography. https://doi.org/10.1111/geb.12763

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Published 06.08.2018 - Updated 06.08.2018

An introduction to achieving policy impact for early career researchers

Scientists are increasingly required to demonstrate the real world tangible impacts arising from their research. Despite significant advances in scholarship dedicated to understanding and improving the relationships between science, policy and practice, much of the existing literature remains high level, theoretical, and not immediately accessible to early career researchers (ECRs) who work outside of the policy sciences. In this new paper, Megan Evans and Chris Cvitanovic draw on the literature and their own experiences working in the environmental sciences to provide an accessible resource for ECRs seeking to achieve policy impact in their chosen field. They (i) describe key concepts in public policy to provide sufficient background for the non-expert, (ii) articulate a number of practical steps and tools that can help ECRs to identify and enhance the policy relevance of their research, and (iii) highlight some of the key personality traits that ECRs can foster to operate more effectively at the interface of science, policy and practice.

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Published 25.04.2019 - Updated 25.04.2019

IMBeR at the Global Ocean Summit 2018 in Qingdao, China

The Global Ocean Summit 2018 (GOS 2018) was organised by the Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Thchnology (QNLM) at Oceantec Valley, Qingdao from 3-5 July 2018, with the aim of enhancing partnerships on ocean observations and research. The Department of Science and Technology of Shandong Province and the Science/American Association for the Advancement of Science co-hosted the event. GOS 2018 was attended by over 150 delegates including leaders and scientists from 118 marine-related institutions and universities, from 24 countries representing Asia, North America, Oceania, Europe and Africa, as well as delegates from five international organisations/programmes.

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Published 27.06.2018 - Updated 27.06.2018

Version 6 of the Surface Ocean CO2 Atlas now available

SOCAT scientists proudly announce the release of Version 6 of the Surface Ocean CO2 Atlas.

The Surface Ocean CO2 Atlas (SOCAT, www.socat.info) is a synthesis activity by international marine carbon scientists (>100 contributors) with annual public releases. SOCAT version 6 has 23.4 million quality-controlled in situ surface ocean fCO2 (fugacity of carbon dioxide) measurements from 1957 to 2017 for the global oceans and coastal seas, as well as additional calibrated sensor fCO2 measurements.

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Published 20.06.2018 - Updated 20.06.2018

John Claydon is the new IMBeR Executive Officer

We are delighted to introduce, John Claydon, IMBeR’s new Executive Officer!

John has a background as a marine ecologist focusing on tropical marine systems, and has worked in a range of roles that includes research, teaching, management, policy, and governance. His most recent position was Director of the Department of Environment and Coastal Resources for the Turks and Caicos Islands Government.

Originally from the UK, after studying at St Andrews University in Scotland, John moved to Australia for postgraduate studies and finished up with a PhD from James Cook University focused on spawning aggregations of coral reef fishes. During much of this time he lived in Papua New Guinea collecting data and helping deliver environmental education programs to local school children.

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Published 08.06.2018 - Updated 08.06.2018

When push comes to shove in recreational fishing compliance, think ‘nudge’

Mary Mackay, Sarah Jennngs, Ingrid van Putten, Hugh Silby and Satoshi Yamazaki

Enforcing compliance with rules and regulations in recreational fisheries has proved difficult due to factors such as the high number of participants and costs of enforcement, the absence of regular monitoring of recreational fishing activity, and the inherent difficulties in accurately determining catch levels. The effectiveness of traditional punitive deterrence is limited, yet current management is heavily reliant on this compliance approach. In this paper, the potential of behavioural based management is considered through a narrative review of the relevant literature; specifically, exploring the use of nudges, which aim through subtle changes and indirect suggestion to make certain decisions more salient, thereby improving voluntary compliance. A number of potential nudges for compliance management in recreational fisheries are suggested, but caution is advised. As with any novel management approach, nudges must be rigorously tested to demonstrate their cost-effectiveness and to avoid unintended consequences.

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Published 06.06.2018 - Updated 06.06.2018

Marine Spatial Planning in Romania: State of the art and evidence from stakeholders

Natasa Vaidianu & Madalina Ristea. Ocean & Coastal Management

In the past few decades, unsustainable activities and increasing demands on marine resources have compromised the future use of the marine environment. Within this context, Romania has initiated efforts to incorporate a Maritime Spatial Planning Directive into the national legislative framework; and, in 2017, established a competent authority to undertake its implementation, so that marine spatial plans can be enacted by 31 March 2021. The authors reviewed Romania’s legal regime on MSP and developed a first approach for a MSP framework in Romania. The paper identified key challenges and concerns that are anticipated from the incorporation of MSP into the national spatial planning framework in its current form: a) Romanian stakeholders have a relatively poor understanding of European, national and regional sea planning regulations, b) concerns related to MSP implementation at regulatory level, c) huge need for sharing of MSP-relevant information for coherent planning, d) challenges of assessing the needs of interconnected ecosystems (including relevant EU and international legislation). Public engagement in marine spatial planning design is not commonplace. The study considered very specific aspects of how the marine spatial planning process evolves and will contribute to providing a coherent approach to reduce conflicts in the Romanian marine environment, appropriate MSP implementation, as well as minimizing the pressures and impacts on the marine resources.

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Published 24.05.2018 - Updated 24.05.2018

Call for Expressions of Interest to host the IMBeR International Project Office

IMBeR is a multidisciplinary global environmental change research initiative sponsored by the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR) and Future Earth.

It began in 2005 and has advanced understanding about potential marine environmental effects of global change, and the impacts and linkages to human systems at multiple scales. It is apparent that the complex environmental issues and associated societal/sustainability choices operate at and across the interfaces of natural and social sciences and the humanities, and require both basic, curiosity-driven research and problem-driven, policy-relevant research. This underpins IMBeR's vision: “Ocean sustainability under global change for the benefit of society”.

The IMBeR International Project Office (IPO) provides management support for the planning and implementation of IMBeR activities, coordination between the international network of IMBeR scientists, and collaboration with related international projects and programmes. 

The IPO is currently hosted at the Institute of Marine Research in Bergen, Norway until the end of March 2020. IMBeR is soliciting offers for a new host arrangement from April 2020 onwards, for a period of at least three, and preferably five years.

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Published 08.05.2018 - Updated 08.05.2018

A Framework for Combining Seasonal Forecasts and Climate Projections to Aid Risk Management for Fisheries and Aquaculture

Alistair Hobday, Claire M. Spillman, J. Paige Eveson, Jason R. Hartog, Xuebin Zhang and Stephanie Brodie. Frontiers in Marine Science April 2018, 5(137): 1-9

A changing climate, in particular a warming ocean, will very likely impact marine industries. For example, aquaculture businesses may not be able to maintain production in their current location into the future, or area-restricted fisheries may need to follow the fish as their distribution shifts. Preparation for these potential climate impacts can be improved with information about the future.. The authors suggest risk management in a globally changing environment can be improved by combining seasonal forecasting to manage short-term variability, while using climate scale projections to plan transformative change, such as when to relocate a seafood business. Use of seasonal forecasts can reduce the costs and increase the profits at a location, thus extending the time that the business can operate.

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Published 13.04.2018 - Updated 13.04.2018

Growing seasonal extremes in ocean acidity

A new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change finds that if atmospheric CO2 continues to increase, the differences in extremes in surface-ocean acidity between summer and winter will roughly double by the end of the century. The amplified seasonality in acidity is projected to occur in all ocean regions. In the tropics and subtropics, associated impacts on organisms are likely to worsen during summer when acidity is highest and improve during winter when acidity is lowest; in colder ocean regions, these summer-winter tendencies are reversed. Future projections of these seasonal extremes come from nine Earth System Models that participated in the last Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Assessment Report. Projections were made not only for acidity (hydrogen ion concentration) but also for a saturation index that indicates how suitable conditions are for calcification, a process by which corals and shell builders produce hard skeletal material. The seasonal amplitude of that index (the aragonite saturation state) was found to generally decline as atmospheric CO2 increases. With time this could affect the ability of shell forming organisms to grow, with summer seawater conditions becoming less suitable for growth over most of the ocean.
Article: Kwiatkowski, L., & Orr, J. C. (2018). Diverging seasonal extremes for ocean acidification during the twenty-first century. Nature Climate Change, 8(2), 141-145. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-017-0054-0

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Published 30.03.2018 - Updated 30.03.2018

Call for Abstracts - 8th CJK IMBeR Symposium

IMBeR will hold its 8th China-Japan-Korea (CJK) Symposium at the East China Normal University in Shanghai, China from 17-19 September 2018.
The theme of this regional IMBeR symposium is Marine Biogeochemical Sciences for the Sustainability of the West Pacific Biosphere.
The focus will be on analyzing the impact of climate change and anthropogenic forcing on physical processes and biogeochemical cycles, ecosystem structure and functions, and fisheries in the West Pacific region, and how these combined complex interactions, in turn, influence marine ecosystems and human society.

The session themes are:
* Advances in observation and modelling of physical and biogeochemical processes in the West Pacific region
* The response of marine ecosystems to natural and anthropogenic forcing: past, present and future
* Responses of society to global change in marine systems: ways forward (this session will be expanded upon in a training course on the 3rd day)

The number of participants will be limited to 100, so you are encouraged to register soon and submit an abstrac, at: http://mform.imr.no/view.php?id=78294

Deadline for applications is 15 June 2018.

More information on the CJK symposium is available at:

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Published 19.03.2018 - Updated 19.03.2018

Welcome to the new IMBeR endorsed project – MEMFiS !

IMBeR is pleased to announce its endorsement of the Marine Ecosystem Modelling and Forecasting System in the China Seas and Northwestern Pacific (MEMFiS) project.

China´s coastal regions are under increasing pressure from both climate change and intensive human activity. The ecology of the coastal regions are particularly threatened by eutrophication, red tides and hypoxia events, etc. This raises the question of whether, and to what extent, ecological changes in coastal regions can be predicted, in order to preserve and retain their function and economic value.

Focusing on the ecology of the Bohai, Yellow, East and South China Seas, and the Northwestern Pacific, the MEMFis project aims to develop an integrated modelling and forecasting framework, using high-resolution physical-ecosystem models and data from multiple sources. By investigating ecosystem variability at different temporal and spatial scales, several key scientific questions will be tackled. Marine ecosystem variability will be addressed at the interface of different systems, parameterizations optimized for biogeochemical processes in different regions, data assimilation and ecosystem forecasting using multiple observations not only from moorings, buoys and ships, but also from bio-Argo, gliders and high-resolution satellite imagery.

More than 15 research institutes are involved in MEMFiS including the Second Institute of Oceanography, Tianjin University, the South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, and the National Marine Environmental Forecasting Center.

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Published 09.02.2018 - Updated 09.02.2018

Climate vulnerability and resilience in the most valuable North American fishery

Climate change is impacting global fisheries and societies that depend on them. Identifying climate adaptation measures requires understanding of how environmental changes and management policies interact in driving fishery productivity. Coincident with the recent exceptional warming of the northwest Atlantic Ocean and removal of large predatory fish, the American lobster has become the most valuable fishery resource in North America. A new PNAS paper by Arnault Le Bris et al. shows that interactions between warming waters, ecosystem changes, and differences in conservation efforts led to the simultaneous collapse of the lobster fishery in southern New England and record-breaking landings in the Gulf of Maine. The results demonstrate that sound, widely adopted fishery conservation measures based on fundamental biological principles can help capitalize on gains and mitigate losses caused by global climate change.

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Published 01.02.2018 - Updated 01.02.2018

Global Change in Marine Systems: Societal and Governing Responses – a new publication by the IMBeR Human Dimensions Working Group (HDWG)

Marine social and ecological systems are facing multiple challenges due to global change. The IMBeR Human Dimensions Working Group’s recently published book “Global Change in Marine Systems: Societal and Governing Responses”, examines some of the actions taken in response to an environmental or other impact resulting from global change in 20 case studies from a range of marine systems around the world. The "I-ADApT" analytical decision support tool developed by the HDWG to help decision makers consider possible responses to global change, based on experiences elsewhere was applied to the case studies. Assessment of the societal and governing responses, highlighted similarities and differences between “the good, the bad and the ugly” - successful, and less successful, responses. Beth Fulton says “…This is the kind of go-to guide that will see us jump from simply identifying problems to doing something about it and finding our way to robust solutions." Rosemary Ommer: “While emphasizing on the importance of in-depth disciplinary perspectives, it also applies an innovative framework for cross-disciplinary analysis, which the governability of these systems requires. Thus, the book has important lessons for policy makers, management practitioners and academics alike." Read the full reviews here


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Published 23.01.2018 - Updated 23.01.2018

New IMBeR Scientific Steering Committee members

IMBeR is very pleased to welcome the following new members who have just joined its Scientific Steering Committee: Chris Cvitanovic (Early Career Rep.), Oscar Iribarne, Olav Sigurd Kjesbu, Frank Muller-Karger, Alice Newton, Suvaluck Satumanatpan, and David VanderZwaag. They come to IMBeR from an array of marine disciplines with wide and varied research interests, and a staggering amount of expertise and experience!

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank Alida Bundy, Ratana Chuenpagdee, Masao Ischii, Tatiana Rynearson and Svein Sundby who are rotating off, for their amazing contributions to IMBeR over the years that they served on the SSC.

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Published 29.11.2017 - Updated 29.11.2017

Climate-driven changes in functional biogeography of Arctic marine fish communities

The distribution of fish species in the Barents Sea is changing due to increasing temperatures and reduced sea ice cover. We were eager to know if shifts in species composition and distribution are also reflected in changes in ecosystem functioning, i.e., in the way important biological and biogeochemical processes work. The warmer temperatures and reduction in sea ice coverage are rapidly altering how marine communities function in the Barents Sea. The rapid changes in functional characteristics of Arctic communities indicate that it is not only the species that are changing, as previous studies had shown, but the way the ecosystem functions is also changing. The functional characteristics associated with warmer boreal fish species are quickly replacing the functional characteristics associated with the colder Arctic fish species. Boreal and Arctic communities each previously covered about 50% of the Barents Sea, but the Arctic communities were reduced to 20% of the region during the recent warming period.

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Published 20.11.2017 - Updated 20.11.2017

The 2016-2025 IMBeR Science Plan and Implementation Strategy has been ratified!

After an intensive consultation and review process that began in 2012, the IMBeR Science Plan and Implementation Strategy (SPIS) has now been sanctioned by IMBeR’s sponsors – the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR) and Future Earth. The SPIS outlines IMBeR´s research agenda until 2025, towards its vision of Ocean sustainability under global change for the benefit of society.

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Published 23.10.2017 - Updated 23.10.2017

New CLIOTOP special issue - Tunas and their fisheries: safeguarding sustainability in the twenty-first century

Tuna are one of the pelagic species central to IMBeR´s CLIOTOP regional programme. The relationship of tunas to their environment has been studied for decades and is increasingly important as the effects of climate change become more apparent in the pelagic environment. Recent studies relating climate change to changes in movements and distributions of tunas are based on physiological studies on tunas and awareness of species-specific suitable habitats. This special issue focuses on these commercially and ecologically important species, with contributions on species, life history stages, fisheries, and bycatch, with the following contributions.

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Published 28.09.2017 - Updated 28.09.2017

Expanding marine predator isotope work: community-level metrics, mercury isotopes, and data-model linkages

Ecological applications of stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis are rapidly expanding through the analysis of metadata. Recent efforts of the IMBeR CLIOTOP Task Team on Marine Predator Isotopes have focused on finalising an open-access data paper and three research papers that present novel findings of global scale, spatial and temporal analyses on migratory tuna muscle isotopes. The task team recently met in Brest, France to discuss novel ways to expand our ecological understanding of the ocean. The main approaches included formulating community level metrics, using isotopes of mercury, and finding practical ways to link isotopic data with ecosystem and biogeochemical models.

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Published 24.08.2017 - Updated 24.08.2017

Emergent constraints on projections of declining primary production in the tropical oceans

Marine primary production by phytoplankton provides the main source of food and energy to the marine food web, and influences the concentration of atmospheric CO2. Projections of how such primary production will respond to climate change are currently highly uncertain with models projecting both increases and declines of up to 20% by 2100. This uncertainty is mainly driven by the sensitivity of tropical ocean primary production to climate change, with the latest models suggesting 21st century tropical declines of between 1 and 30%. A new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change by Lester Kwiatkowski, Laurent Bopp, Olivier Aumont and others, identifies a novel way to reduce the uncertainty associated with projections of marine primary production. The study shows that across a large ensemble of models there is a consistent relationship between the long-term sensitivity of ocean primary production to climate change and the interannual sensitivity of primary production to El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Models that are highly sensitive to interannual climate variability are also highly sensitive to long-term climate change. By using this relationship in combination with satellite-based observations of the historical interannual sensitivity of primary production, the authors were able to constrain projections of the long-term climate impact on primary production.

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Published 07.09.2017 - Updated 07.09.2017

Governing fisheries through the critical decade: the role and utility of polycentric systems

The next 10 years are considered a critical decade for fisheries. Declining fish stocks in combination with mounting climate pressure are likely to lead to significant and adverse socio-ecological impacts, threatening sustainability. Responding to these challenges requires modes of governance that are capable of dealing with the complexity and uncertainty associated with the world’s fisheries and their ecosystems. While a range of governance frameworks exist, the concept of polycentric governance has gained prominence in the environmental sector and is posited as a key principle underpinning the resilience of complex socio-ecological systems. However, the application of polycentric governance to fisheries management has been seldom explored. To address this, a new paper in Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries by Chris Cvitanovic, Alistair Hobday, Ingrid van Putten and others reviewed the literature on polycentric governance to elucidate its potential value in improving the outlook for fisheries and their associated ecosystems. They identify a number of characteristics unique to polycentric governance arrangements that overcome known limitations in other forms of governance - polycentric systems are highly participatory and promote the broadest levels of stakeholder involvement, they increase policy freedom at the local level, and they improve the spatial fit between knowledge, action and socio-ecological contexts to ensure that governance responses are implemented at the most appropriate scale. Through fisheries case-studies, they then demonstrate that these characteristics are important in helping fisheries respond to complex challenges, and articulate future research needs that should be addressed to understand the conditions under which polycentric governance systems are most suited, and the ways in which they can be operationalised most effectively.

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Published 15.08.2017 - Updated 15.08.2017

A global science–business initiative for ocean stewardship

The oceans are under considerable pressure from a wide variety of anthropogenic activities. Addressing the challenge of ocean sustainability necessitates collaboration between multiple actors. A recent paper by Henrik Österblom et al investigates the process of identifying the “keystone actors” in marine ecosystems – specifically global fisheries and aquaculture corporations - and engaging with them to explore how together they could promote transformative change, that could alter the international seafood business, and support global ocean sustainability. The authors established a global science-business coalition “Seafood Business for Ocean Stewardship” (SeaBOS) with the CEO’s of some of the largest seafood businesses to work together towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, starting with making the seafood industry more sustainable.

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