W1 – Capacity Development for IMBER – Jing Zhang; Ed Urban; Julie Hall; Carina Lange; John Morrison (Held on 22 June 2014)

The implementation of IMBER at regional and international scales needs capacity development (CD) support at the research project level. Different regions and different IMBER-related projects have different CD needs in order to make their research truly international and sustainable. This workshop provided opportunities for individual regional projects and task teams to meet in a small forum to discuss what CD activities would be useful to achieve their goals, individually and collectively, within IMBER. At the same time, early-career scientists who attended the IMBER OSC was invited to discuss what they would find most useful for their personal capacity development in a workshop focused on this topic. The IMBER Capacity Building Task Team took advantage of the OSC 2014 to assess IMBER’s achievements in terms of capacity development so far and to organize some specific future IMBER-related CD activities.

The workshop was primarily focused around discussion sessions designed to discuss past and current IMBER CD activities and to produce specific plans for future IMBER CD activities. These sessions provided an opportunity for IMBER projects to present what they viewed as their CD needs. There was presentations by individuals with experience in ocean science CD (teaching, supervision, mentoring, etc.). This approach showcased both IMBER CD activities and what was happening within the IMBER community in relation to capacity development, as well as helping to determine whether any additional efforts was needed, especially in relation to developing countries.

W2 – Data Management for IMBER – Cyndy Chandler; Todd O’Brien; Alberto Piola (Held on 22 June 2014)

Marine scientists need to be aware of the benefits of good data management.  Often lack of time, fear of technical jargon, lack of knowledge about the resources that are available, etc., can make it difficult to follow good data management practices. Managing data properly during and after the cruise(s) and after project completion, is good for scientists, their research projects and the larger community, and ensures availability and perpetuity of the data.  The legacy of properly managed and preserved data goes on long after the project has been completed and the papers have been published as data are used for different purposes in future applications.

The purpose of this workshop was to enhance awareness of the need to establish data management procedures, to highlight the important advantages arising from following these procedures, and to provide hands-on training on data management and data preservation. These skills will not only benefit IMBER scientists now, but can shape and help to ensure good data management habits in their future research endeavors. 

W3 – A view towards integrated Earth System models: human-natural system interactions in the marine world – Baris Salihoglu; Raghu Murtugudde; Eileen Hofmann; Laurent Bopp; Alistair Hobday; Elizabeth Fulton

The human dimension is acknowledged as an important component of the marine ecosystem. The explicit inclusion of human interactions as an integral component of marine ecosystems is only beginning, but is already yielding new insights about the functioning of marine ecosystems. To project more accurate future states of marine ecosystems it is essential that human impacts be included with food web and biogeochemical processes. Models that are inclusive of these processes are now beginning to be developed, but considerable effort is still required to allow meaningful interfacing of food web, biogeochemical and socio-economic systems.

This workshop focused on the interface between marine ecosystem biogeochemistry and food webs and socio-economic systems in the framework of natural-human system interactions of relevance for policy and decision making for sustainable management of marine resources. Abstracts that focused on marine food webs, biogeochemistry, modeling and socio-economic systems and coupling through Earth System models was encouraged.

W4 – Communities of practice for supporting long-term sustainability of the world’s oceans – Oran Young; Luis Valdes; Isabel Torres de Noronha; David Vousden; Ruben Zondervan; Robin Mahon; Marion Glaser; Suzanne Lawrence; Peter Fox; Leopoldo Cavaleri Gerhardinger

Global ocean governance needs to address the sustainability challenges of the 21 century. This requires linking natural and social science knowledge with that of decision-makers and ocean users in business and civil society in order to deliver science and knowledge to the governance process for more timely and effective adaptive management. There is thus a large number of individual and organisational actors engaged in the fields of knowledge generation and governance and management relating to the global oceans. Members of the then,recently initiated “Future Ocean Alliance”, understand effective ocean governance as requiring an operational global social network which effectively links ocean governance actors across sectors, issues, regions, disciplines and interest groups. Our session also invited the presentation of case examples on how to generate connectivity in ocean governance at various levels of the Earth system from the regional to the global (eg Agulhas and Somali Current Large Marine Ecosystems Project, Western Indian Ocean Sustainable Ecosystem Alliance; Caribbean LME project; LOICZ). The session was accompanied by a world café type of participatory exercise in which all was invited to engage in a digitally supported systematic mapping of ocean governance actors and their linkages. The developing global network was made visually available during the course of the conference. A final discussion panel examined first results at the end of the conference. It sat the scene for building a global alliance for ocean governance and also for producing a published analysis of the state of world ocean governance today.

W5 – Marine regime shifts around the globe: the societal challenges (co-sponsored by ICES) – Alessandra Conversi; Christian Möllmann; Carl Folke; Martin Edwards; Sebastian Villasante

Regime shifts are phenomena during which the entire ecosystem may shift from one stable state to another. In the oceanic realm, regime shifts have been reported in all basins, and are expected to increase in occurrence, because of climate change, and of human impacts in the oceans, which lead to a decline in ecosystem resilience. They have been reported also in limnology, estuarine, and terrestrial ecology. The interest of the scientific community on the field of regime shifts is shown by the large and growing number of articles on this topic in the recent years.

These phenomena do not just interest scientists, but managers as well, since such shifts may carry unforeseen changes in ecosystem services (e.g., collapses of fisheries, habitat reduction), which can have substantial impacts on human economies and societies. Because of their abruptness and unpredictability, regime shifts are difficult to anticipate and costly to reverse, or mitigate, if at all possible.

The aim of this IMBER session was to focus on the social-ecological impacts of regime shifts, linking the effects of global change and anthropogenic impacts on marine systems with societal impacts and possible futures. The overall objective was to build on this scientific understanding in order to explore the best strategies to mitigate or adapt to regime shifts, and to evaluate the range of possible marine policy actions.

To achieve this objective, this session brought together experts from both natural and social/economics sciences in order to discuss how to predict and mitigate the effects of ecological marine regime shifts on human societies; to propose possible future scenarios; to evaluate policy and management options; and to identify the key challenges in this area.

W6 – Paradigm shift in plankton ecology: the central role of mixotrophic protists in future oceans – Aditee Mitra; Diane Stoecker; Hae Jin Jeong; Beth Fulton

Planktonic primary production is a cornerstone process in planetary biogeochemical cycling with associated interactions with climate change. Traditional descriptions of the planktonic food-web link inorganic nutrients to autotrophic phytoplankton, to the heterotrophic zooplankton and then eventually to fisheries production, with the microbial loop channelling nutrient regeneration through bacteria and microzooplankton. Recent work, stemming from a Leverhulme funded International Network, challenges this traditional paradigm, arguing that open water marine ecology is heavily dependent upon the activity of protists that are mixotrophic (i.e., single-celled organisms capable of photosynthesis as well as phagotrophy). Mixotrophy is not confined to a single protist group rather it is employed by a variety of “phytoplankton” and “microzooplankton” groups, occurring widely in oceanic and coastal as well as fresh water systems. Mixotrophic “phytoplankton” dominate primary production most of the time; for example, thriving in summer temperate waters (which support the bulk of fisheries production), and in oligotrophic systems (which cover the bulk of the oceans). The combination of predatory activity, anti-grazing and varied nutritional capabilities, potentially renders mixotrophs supreme bloom forming organisms. At the extreme, mixotrophs can form harmful algal blooms responsible for severe socio-ecological damage such as fish kills.

Increases in eutrophication, driven by anthropogenic inputs especially due to growing human populations, and increases in the stability of the water column, predicted under climate change, may equally favour mixotrophic dominance due to their ability to flourish in high nutrient eutrophic systems as well as low nutrient, ecologically mature systems. Therefore, by shifting the flow of materials and forming blooms, mixotrophs can affect the structure and function of other parts of the food web and human societies. In terms of socioeconomic impacts they can cause direct losses through impacting water quality and contaminating shellfish cultures and fisheries, indirectly they can shift energy pathways and thence affect the relative composition and flows of ecosystems specifically in relation to fisheries which would have immense societal effects. All these processes and events represent a major shift in the way that we see the functioning of food-webs and biogeochemical cycling in marine ecosystems from the coastal zones to mid- oceans. This has important implications for both the natural environment and human society. This workshop brought together researchers from across disciplines to explore the implications for this paradigm shift in our perception of planktonic ecosystems upon marine science and society. The vision behind this workshop was to spread the science to a much wider audience, to embed the concept of the importance of mixotrophic protists in open water ecology, into mainstream marine ecology and biogeochemistry, and to socio-economics (specifically in view of the role of mixotrophs in HABs and in trophic upgrading to support fisheries).

W7 – Approaches to predicting fish from physics: strengths, weaknesses and ways forward (co-sponsored by ICES) – Eric Galbraith; James Watson; Myron A. Peck

Tremendous progress has been made in simulating fish biomass from the physics of marine environments. Three-dimensional ocean circulation models predict the distribution of light, temperature and nutrients, driving primary production, which is then transferred to upper trophic levels to provide a spatially- and temporally-resolved prediction of fish biomass. The focus of this workshop was to be on the latter part of the problem: the transfer of primary production to upper trophic levels.

At present, the transfer of biomass to upper trophic levels is being tackled through a number of approaches of varying complexity, from simple size-spectrum models to complex species-resolved ecosystem models. Most of these have been developed only in the last few years, by groups working in parallel, with little inter-comparison. The success of all approaches is limited to the strength with which available data can be used to constrain them. We invited contributions on the topic of predicting the abundance and distribution of fish, with the explicit understanding that the goal of this session was to compare related works, both with each other and with data, and to identify key weaknesses and strengths of the various tools employed. A significant part of this session was devoted to discussing ways in which to move forward in light of the work presented. Data assessments, numerical simulations and mathematical theory was all welcomed.

W8 – Beyond ‘Z’: what modellers need and empiricists have to offer to better incorporate higher trophic levels and humans in end-to-end models – Alistair Hobday; Kevin Weng; Joel Llopiz; and CLIOTOP SSC members

Marine ecosystem models can differ greatly, but often focus on productivity-driven relationships between a few broad groups such as nutrients, phytoplankton, zooplankton, and detritus. Other, much more elaborate models can, to various degrees, also include aspects related to physics, biogeochemistry, small and large nekton, top predators, and humans. However, such end-to-end models are only recently being developed, and the appropriate inclusion of higher trophic levels and humans in such models is understandably challenging. The IMBER regional programme CLIOTOP (Climate Impacts on Oceanic Top Predators) wanted to engage both the modeling community (biogeochemical and whole-ecosystem modelers) and the empiricists who study higher trophic levels, fisheries, and the socioeconomics of fisheries to outline the current state of our fields and the data that will be needed in the future to advance and parameterize large-scale marine ecosystem models. In addition to highlighting how empiricists can better contribute to the data needs of marine ecosystem modelers, we focused on a subset of the following questions:

  1. What model constructions can support realistic representations of high trophic levels and humans?
  2. How are the various life stages (e.g. larval vs. adult) of upper trophic levels or human behavioral typologies accounted for in models?
  3. Can higher trophic levels affect biogeochemical cycles?
  4. What role do the mesopelagic micronekton play as an intermediate step between lower and higher trophic levels, and in overall energy pathways and biogeochemical cycles?
  5. How does exploitation and biodiversity loss impact biogeochemistry and food web structure?
  6. How will physical, chemical, and biological changes affect the distribution and abundance of upper trophic levels and, thus, the feedback into the system?
  7. How will such changes affect fisheries, economies and cultures?

W9 – Eastern Indian Ocean upwelling research initiative planning Workshop Phase 3: physical dynamics and ecosystem responses – Yukio Masumoto; Raleigh R. Hood; Weidong Yu; Nick D’Adamo

Recent progress on the Indian Ocean Observing System (IndOOS) has significantly promoted the understanding of the monsoon-ocean interaction and the role of the ocean in climate variations over a wide spectrum of time scales from intra-seasonal to inter-decadal, with global relevance and also specific relevance to the constituency of the Indian Ocean Global Ocean Observing System Regional Alliance (IOGOOS). Stimulated by this basin-scale progress, a new endeavour towards developing an interdisciplinary Eastern Indian Ocean Upwelling (EIOU) research initiative, involving its dynamical characterization and related ecosystem impacts, has been identified as an emerging multidisciplinary research priority by the Indian Ocean Panel (IOP) (under CLIVAR, GOOS and IOGOOS) and the Sustained Indian Ocean Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Research (SIBER) program (under IOGOOS and IMBER). It was also a key component of the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the International Indian Ocean Expedition (IIOE-2). Interdisciplinary upwelling research has been identified as a high priority within CLIVAR as well. EIOU, compared with the Western Indian Ocean Upwelling (WIOU), is much less observed and understood. The monsoon-forced essence associated with the EIOU also distinguishes it from upwelling in other basins. Therefore, it deserves urgent scientific attention given the critical role it plays in basin to global scale climate (for example, relating to the Indian Ocean Dipole) and marine ecosystem and fishery dynamics.

This workshop reviewed the past research relevant to EIOU and EIOU-WIOU contrasts, existing gaps in observational requirements to understand EIOU, summarized the outcomes of intensive discussion from two EIOU-targeted workshops respectively in April and November 2013, finalized the EIOU science and observational plan, discussed and refined the EIOU working plan for 2015-2020 time frame and IIOE-2.

W10 – Surface Ocean CO2 Atlas (SOCAT) Community Event – Dorothee Bakker; Are Olsen; Bronte Tilbrook; Simone Alin; Kevin O´Brien; Maciej Telszewski 

The Surface Ocean CO2 Atlas (SOCAT) is an activity by the international marine carbon research community. It aims to improve access to surface water CO2 data by regular releases of quality controlled, synthesis and gridded fCO2 (fugacity of carbon dioxide, similar to partial pressure) data products for the global oceans and coastal seas. SOCAT version 2, public since June 2013, contains 10.1 million surface water fCO2 data from 2660 data sets between 1968 and 2011. Version 3 extends the data set to December 2013 and includes CO2 measurements from alternative sensors and platforms. Quality control for version 3 will be carried out in summer 2014. The automation system for data submission (for version 4) was launched in 2014.

Key questions to be addressed include:

  • What is needed for efficient quality control (version 3)?
  • How does data submission via the automation system work?
  • Should SOCAT products include additional parameters (version 4)?
  • How do we promote SOCAT science?

The workshop updated the SOCAT community on recent progress, welcomed new members, enabled discussion of SOCAT strategy and sat the SOCAT agenda for the next 24 months. The workshop contributed to efficient quality control and submission via the automated data submission system. It provided feedback on SOCAT strategy to the global and regional leads.

W11 – Scientific Peer Review and Publication for Young Marine Researchers

This workshop for students and early career researchers aimed to provide information on the publishing process and help guide the audience through the process of writing and reviewing papers for international journals.

The following topics was discussed:

  • Understanding scholarly publishing
  • Preparing, writing and structuring your article
  • Getting to grips with publishing ethics and knowing your rights as an author
  • Information on the peer review process
  • Steps to follow when reviewing a manuscript