The workshops

Data managsment workshop

Sunday 27 January 2013, 09:00-17:00

The objectives of this workshop are to enhance awareness of the need to establish data management procedures early in the research process, to highlight the advantages arising when such procedures are followed, and to provide real-world examples of these data management procedures as implemented in IMBER research projects. An additional goal is to cover recommendations specific to management of social science data, and to identify any gaps that might exist in the data management needs of IMBER research projects

Workshop conveners: Cyndy Chandler, Todd O´Brien and Bernard Avril

This one-day workshop will introduce good data management practices highlighting specific recommendations included in the IMBER Data Management Cookbook (  IMBER research projects generate and require access to a large variety of data. For data to be fully used, they must be made available and must also be organized and documented in a way that supports accurate re-use by colleagues. Until recently, IMBER’s focus has been mainly on the natural sciences. However its scope also includes the human dimensions of open and coastal waters ecosystems and there is now a need to also plan for the management of social science data (sensus largo), and for further integration of datasets from multiple sources and disciplines.

The objectives of this workshop are to enhance awareness of the need to establish data management procedures early in the research process, to highlight the advantages arising when such procedures are followed, and to provide real-world examples of these data management procedures as implemented in IMBER research projects. An additional goal is to cover recommendations specific to management of social science data, and to identify any gaps that might exist in the data management needs of IMBER research projects.

Workshop 1 – Biogeochemistry-ecosystem interactions on changing continental margins

Shelf sea and continental margin ecosystems, including estuaries, exhibit natural fluctuations in material cycles due to climate variability, but also suffer from anthropogenic stressors of global (such as CO2-induced warming, ocean acidification and enhanced nutrient element transport via the atmosphere), and regional/local impacts (eutrophication/pollution from agriculture and industry in individual watersheds, altered nutrient ratios, coastal hypoxia, intensification of sea floor use, and overexploitation of fish stocks). We need to understand the linear and non-linear responses of biogeochemical and ecological processes to such drivers, which are diverse in the level of disturbance, temporal and spatial scales. This is because they strongly affect the resource value of shelf seas and continental margin systems. Therefore, there is a great deal of societal interest to recognise and possibly manage ecosystem services in a changing world. Our session asks the following overarching questions:

Can we better understand the dynamics of biogeochemical cycles in continental margin ecosystems by segregating effects of natural forcing variability from long-term trends driven by human actions? (The former are supposedly forced by interannual and decadal variability in the regional climate system, while the latter include effects from the ever-increasing anthropogenic CO2 emission, rising SST, shifting hydrological patterns, atmospheric and riverine delivery of anthropogenic nutrients, and direct impacts from pollution, fisheries, energy extraction, invasion, coastal development, etc.)

Which combinations of natural variability of the external forcing, human-induced environmental changes (e.g. rising sea levels, stratification, and increased storminess), compound effects (e.g. eutrophication enhanced acidification and hypoxia), synergistic interactions, compensating or ameliorating interactions, additive effects, thresholds and tipping points and additional stresses by direct human foodweb manipulation and habitat destruction induce or promote non-linear responses (“regime shifts”) in marine and coastal ecosystems?

Answering these questions entails the clarification of several poorly understood processes, by which modified continental margin ecosystems and material cycles interact and communicate with the open ocean. This includes processes at the sediment-water interface, “memory effects” of past conditions on present status of ecosystems, land-sea fluxes of materials, processes that affect the functioning of the “continental shelf pump” for CO2, and the oxygen status. Especially intriguing is the hysteresis of the watershed-coastal ocean coupled system, which often delays the full manifestation of adverse as well as remedial effects, and, therefore, warrants special attention.

We invite contributions on the ecosystem and biogeochemical dynamics of continental margins, how they vary and how they may change in the future due to anthropogenic drivers, and how the changes may feedback to the climate system and threaten the livelihood of the large coastal human population. The session is aimed at promoting awareness of both natural and human-induced changes in continental margin ecosystems and the resulting potential hazards and long-term effects. The discussion is purported to assess threats from various anthropogenic changes imposed upon continental margins and to prioritize future research needs for better assessment. Since not all continental margins are the same, it is highly desirable to identify the most vulnerable continental margins and to specify different types of processes and interactions that are likely to play out on different types of continental margins. Last but not the least we also welcome contributions on how such trends may be checked or averted by regulatory measures.


  • Kay-Christian Emeis (Helmholtz Center Geesthacht, Germany)
  • Lisa Levin (Scripps Institution of Oceanography, USA)
  • Kon-Kee Liu (National Central University, Taiwan, China)
  • Wajih Naqvi (National Institute of Oceanography, India)
  • Mike Roman (Horn Point Laboratory, USA)

Workshop 2 – The impact of anthropogenic perturbations on open ocean carbon sequestration via the dissolved and particulate phases of the biological carbon pump

Anthropogenic impacts such as elevated pCO2 and eutrophication threaten the structure and functioning of marine ecosystem as well as the role of the ocean in the global carbon cycle. The ocean absorbs approximately one-third of the CO2 released by fossil fuel combustion (Doney et al., 2004) raising the question of the potential of the ocean for long-term net carbon sequestration. While sinking-particle-based carbon sequestration (the biological pump; BP) has been extensively studied, the biogeochemical behaviour of dissolved organic matter (DOM) – and its potential role in climatically significant carbon sequestration in the dissolved phase (the microbial carbon pump, MCP; Jiao et al., 2010)  – is largely unexplored. Furthermore, while the impacts of changes in thermal stratification on the BP have been discussed at an earlier IMBIZO workshop, the effects of climate change and anthropogenic perturbations such as eutrophication and ocean acidification on the MCP and BP, remain poorly understood.

The BP and the MCP operate simultaneously and interactively but their responses to environmental conditions may be regulated differently (e.g. in shallow coastal waters versus deep waters; oligotrophic oceanic waters versus eutrophic waters) but these regulatory mechanisms have not been examined – particularly for MCP-based carbon sequestration. Further, it is not known whether the BP and the MCP would interact to enhance or reduce their individual effects. A potential effect of eutrophication, or nutrient addition in general, (in addition to algal blooms and hypoxia) may be a shift in the balance of carbon sequestration via the MCP and the BP. Predictions of any marine carbon cycle manipulations should therefore take into account such potential interactions between the BP and the MCP. For example, it is possible that reducing the use of chemical fertilization on the land could lead to an enhancement of the MCP as a carbon sink in eutrophic coastal waters (Jiao et al., 2010). Fishing practices are further changing the structure of the marine food web and the dominant pathways of carbon flow in marine ecosystems, so an integrative consideration of the BP and the MCP could help identify practices conducive to enhanced carbon sequestration. Such comprehensive ecosystem based optimizations (rather than piecemeal manipulations) of the regulation of the ocean carbon cycle may benefit from emerging knowledge of previously unrecognized carbon sinks, notably the MCP.

Processes, which are deemed to interfere with the MCP and BP and their interaction, in the open oceans, and which may be considered for discussion during the workshop comprise (non-exclusively) nutrient addition from land via rivers and the atmosphere, intentional and unintentional addition of trace elements, and ocean acidification, as well as comparisons with environments having naturally accentuated occurrences of anthropogenic species affecting the BP and the MCP.

This workshop will attract scientists from multiple disciplines including microbial ecologists, biogeochemists, organic chemists, climate scientists, fisheries scientists and economists to exchange ideas and devise strategies to integrate the MCP into the concepts and models of carbon sequestration in the ocean’s and the global carbon cycle. The recognition of the significance of MCP-based carbon sequestration and its interaction with the BP will deepen our current knowledge for predicting the outcomes of geo-engineering of the ocean carbon cycle (e.g. by iron fertilization etc.). Of considerable interest is the possibility that the integration of MCP processes to better understand the ocean carbon cycle may lead to win-win strategies for enhanced carbon sequestration. IMBIZO is an excellent opportunity to discuss future natural and social science research needs to integrate the MCP to better understand the marine carbon cycle, as well as multi-disciplinary brainstorming on “eco-engineering” as system-based optimization of multiple desirable environmental goals.


  • Nianzhi Jiao (Xiamen University, China)
  • Farooq Azam (Scripps Institute for Oceanography, USA)
  • Carol Robinson (University of East Anglia, UK)
  • Helmuth Thomas (Dalhousie University, Canada)

Workshop 3 – Understanding and forecasting human-ocean-human interactions, drivers and pressures, with respect to global change

From biogeochemical cycles through foodweb interactions to human use of the oceans, dependent societies and governments there is a complex set of drivers, responses and interactions at multiple levels and scales. In a marine world increasingly affected by global change, the need to develop understanding of this complexity is paramount. Approaches must necessarily be inter- and transdisciplinary, from local to global and at multiple scales. They can include broad comparative studies and in-depth case studies, modelling and empirical indicator approaches or statistical analyses. The overall aim is to link the effects of global change through natural systems and humans systems, identifying their interconnections, vulnerabilities and to create understanding of the possible futures of these interrelated social, ecological and biogeochemical systems in the continental margins and in the open ocean. Our overall objective is to build on this scientific understanding and explore the best strategies to mitigate or adapt to the changes by means of a policy framework.

To achieve this objective this session will bring together experts from a range of natural and social sciences to discuss how to adapt to, and mitigate, the effects of global change on marine ecosystems and the human communities with which they interact; to identify the key challenges to progress in this area and to discuss potential ways ahead. To this end, we seek contributions that focus on the marine environment and provide:

  1. An analysis of societal changes in response or anticipation of global change – their historical contexts and relationships with contemporaneous states of marine environment and institutions
  2. Identification of vulnerabilities to global change and evaluation of current capacities to address these
  3. Identification of key governance and policy thematic foci to empower societies to address marine environmental change


  • Alida Bundy (Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Canada)
  • Ratana Chuenpagdee (Memorial University, Canada)
  • Liana McManus (Independent Scientist, USA)
  • Sarah Cooley (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, USA)
  • Bernhard Glaeser (German Society for Human Ecology, Germany)

Scientific Organizing Committee for IMBIZO III

  • Alida Bundy  (Co-chair) Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Canada
  • Kon-Kee Liu  (Co-chair) National Central University, Taiwan, China
  • Julie Hall National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, New Zealand
  • Eileen Hofmann Old Dominion University, USA
  • Lisa Maddison IMBER IPO, Norway
  • Wajih Naqvi National Institute of Oceanography, India
  • Liana Talaue-McManus Independent Scientist, USA
  • Helmuth Thomas Dalhousie University, Canada