The first two phases (2003-2015)

Following the“Climate and Fisheries” meeting convened by Olivier Maury and Patrick Lehodey in Hawaii in November 2011, the international "CLimate Impacts on Oceanic TOp Predators" research programme on worldwide comparative analysis of open ocean ecosystems and associated top predators was established. The project was endorsed by the Gobal Ocean Ecosystem Dynamics (GLOBEC) project and implemented in 2004. When GLOBEC ended in 2009, CLIOTOP entered a second phase under  IMBeR. In 2015, IMBeR approved a third phase of CLIOTOP for a further five years.

During its first two phases, CLIOTOP proceded by a Scientific Steering Committee and six working groups. The science direction of the working groups were decided by the Scientific Steering Committee, and the working group Chairs developed the science initiatives to address the questions (see Maury and Lehodey 2005). Two international science symposia were convened and over 130 publications produced, including three special issues of the journals Progress in Oceanography and Deep Sea Research II 

The third phase (2016-2020)

For its third phase, the Scientific Steering Committee  decided to re-work CLIOTOP's structure. Now, the Scientific Steering Committee, together with the CLIOTOP community will identify a series of task teams  These task teams will be cross-disciplinary, problem-solving and output-oriented, with varying life times (e.g. six months to two years). They will bring together experts from domains needed to resolve overarching questions orientated around the goals of CLIOTOP and be consistent with the Grand Challenges and Innovative Challenges of IMBER. Task teams may be led by individuals or groups, tasks may be simple (e.g. writing a paper) or complex (developing new approaches to addressing a problem) and can be directly aligned to CLIOTOP, or can conduct science that is consistent with CLIOTOP’s objectives.

This framework will allow the science community to play a greater role in developing science initiatives that address the goals of CLIOTOP. The Scientific Steering Committee will provide guidance and oversight of task teams, assisting with the identification of people working on different taxa and in different disciplines with the aim of integrating of the science developed under task teams.