Sei-Ichi-san and Patricia Livingstone

Photo: Hal Batchelder, PICES

The 2016 PICES Annual Science Meeting and 25-year anniversary celebration

IMBER was well represented at the 2016 PICES Annual Science Meeting (ASM) that was held in San Diego, CA, USA, from 2 - 11 November. It was a special meeting as PICES was celebrating its 25th anniversary, so the meeting included a look back at where they have been as well as where they are going.


There are many areas of overlap and common interest between IMBER and PICES.  These include the research being conducted by IMBER´s CLIOTOP and ESSAS Regional Programmes, the Carbon Working Group (SIC) and the Continental Margins Working Group. Links have also been strong between the IMBER Human Dimensions Working Group and the PICES FUTURE programme. These will ensure that the good collaboration between IMBER and PICES continues into the next decade and beyond.

Of special note, ESSAS co-chair Prof. Sei-Ichi Saitoh from Japan received the PICES Wooster Award 2016. The award is named in honour of Professor Warren S. Wooster, a principal founder and the first Chairman of PICES, and is given annually to an individual who has made significant scientific contributions to North Pacific marine science.  Prof. Saitoh received the award for his world class research on satellite oceanography, his efforts to use satellites to help the fishing industry understand the role of physical oceanography on fish stock distributions, his outstanding contribution to PICES over many years and for excellent supervision to a long list of students.  Congratulations to Prof. Saitoh!

Several other members of the IMBER community are involved in the various PICES scientific and technical committees, programmes, expert groups and working groups while many other IMBER scientists work closely with PICES.  At this year’s ASM, IMBER was represented on several fronts.  ESSAS co-Chairs, Franz Mueter (USA), Ken Drinkwater (Norway) and Sei-Ichi Saitoh, convened a session on Resilience, Transitions and Adaptation in Marine Ecosystems under a Changing Climate. The keynote presentation was given by Benjamin Planque (Norway) who addressed the question of marine ecosystem resilience, what is it and how can we measure it? Ken Denman (Canada) reminded the audience that species adaptations may be key in future climate change responses, and presented a model investigating adaptive evolution through mutation of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi. Salvador Lluch-Cota (Mexico) discussed predictions of potential latitudinal shifts in species under climate change but noted that abalone along the west coast of Mexico have a fixed centre of high abundance off Baja California and show no evidence of latitudinal shifts in response to climate variability.  PICES ensured that early career scientists (ECSs) were an important component of all sessions. One such presentation was given by Koji Sugie (Japan) who found that the combined effect of temperature and ocean acidification will likely lead to a future phytoplankton community with faster growth rates and smaller cell size. This is expected to negatively affect the trophic transfer efficiency and the biological carbon pump in the ocean.

The FUTURE Session: The Response of Marine Ecosystems to Natural and Anthropogenic Forcing: Past, Present and Future was also representative for the interlinked research interest between PICES and IMBER groups. Naomi Harada (Japan), an SSC member of ESSAS, gave an invited presentation on the impact of sea-ice reduction on primary production in the western Arctic Ocean and identified a new key mechanism controlling biogeochemical cycles in the region, i.e., mesoscale anticyclonic eddies. She also introduced a new evaluation method of acidification using micro X-ray computer tomography for marine calcifiers. Alan Haynie (USA), another invited speaker, addressed how to integrate social sciences and economics into marine science. He suggested that evolving technology, socioeconomic data collection, improved management institutions, better long-term collaboration among natural and social scientists, and expanding research efforts together offer a hopeful future for better interdisciplinary science and a more sustainable marine environment. Jeff Polovina (USA) discussed fisheries management issues in the central North Pacific and proposed that management on the basis of a multispecies maximum yield is needed to maintain ecosystem structure and biodiversity.


Several other presentations were made by IMBER scientists. Cisco Werner (IMBER SSC Vice-Chair) gave an update about IMBER to the PICES Scientific Board. Masao Ishii (IMBER SSC and member of the SOLAS-IMBER Carbon Interior Ocean Working Group) presented IMBER carbon research in the session on Carbon Cycles and took part in a discussion between SSC members of Joint SOLAS/IMBER Carbon Research Working Group and PICES Section on Carbon and Climate. Gro van der Meeren (IMBER Executive Officer) gave a presentation on IMBER to the Biological Committee (BIO).  Updates on ESSAS, including invitations to attend the ESSAS Open Science Meeting in Tromsø, Norway in June 2017, were given by Franz Mueter to BIO and the Fisheries Committee (FIS), Sei-Ichi Saitoh to the Monitoring Committee (MONITOR), and by Ken Drinkwater to the Physical Oceanography Committee (POC).  An IMBER poster showing its current structure and future challenges was presented by Gro.  In addition, an ESSAS poster was presented on its past and upcoming activities by the three co-Chairs.

IMBER congratulates PICES on its first 25 years, and looks forward to continued interactions and collaborations in the future.