Workshop 2: Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 1-3rd May, 2007

Download Chapel Hill meeting report

The Chapel Hill meeting was the second of four BASIN workshops being held during 2007 leading up to the development of a BASIN Science Plan. It was held from 1 – 3 May, and followed on from the first meeting, which had a primarily European focus, held in Hamburg from 23 – 25 January. The Chapel Hill discussions built on the conclusions detailed in the Hamburg meeting report

Building on the Reykjavik and Hamburg meetings (Wiebe et al. 2006), the aims and questions of BASIN defined in Chapel Hill are:

BASIN AIM: To understand and predict the impact of climate change on key species of plankton and fish, and associated ecosystem and biogeochemical dynamics in the North Atlantic Subpolar Gyre System, in order to improve ocean management and conservation.

Question 1. How will climate variability and change – for example changes in temperature, stratification, transport, acidification – influence the seasonal cycle of primary productivity, trophic interactions, and fluxes of carbon to the benthos and the deep ocean? How will the response to these changes differ across the basin and among the shelf seas?

How are the populations of phytoplankton, zooplankton, and higher trophic levels influenced by large scale ocean circulation and what is the influence of changes in atmospheric and oceanic climate on their population dynamics?

What are the consequences of changes in ecosystem structure and dynamics for climate?

Question 2. How do life history strategies of target organisms, including both vertical and horizontal migration, contribute to observed population dynamics and community structure and how are these life history strategies affected by climate variability? How will life history influence the response of key species to anthropogenic climate change?

Question 3. How does the removal of exploited species influence marine ecosystems? Under what conditions can such harvesting result in substantial restructuring of shelf or basin ecosystems, i.e. alternate stable states? Do such changes extend to primary productivity and nutrient cycling? How is resilience of the ecosystem affected?

Workshop objectives: Our goal is to build upon previous and ongoing research in the North Atlantic, integrating and synthesizing the results of these programs, thus determining the mechanisms that link zooplankton, fish, ocean biogeochemistry, climate and environment at ocean basin scales.  The Hamburg meeting had  primary input from European participants, with limited representation of North American scientists.  The Chapel Hill meeting will build on the Hamburg results with  greater representation from  from North Americans than from Europeans.

1) Assess and report on the status of climate-related ecosystem research  in the North Atlantic basin and associated shelf seas (from Georges Bank to the Barents Sea and the North Sea shelf) conducted intensively over the past decade particularly through national GLOBEC programs (US, Canada, UK, Germany), GLOBEC related projects (ICES, Mare Cognitum), and  EU projects, particularly ICOS and TASC.

2) Identify and document gaps in systematic observations and understanding of atmospheric and oceanic parameters, necessary to improve forecasting of ecosystems in the North Atlantic and associated shelves

3)Identify via the development of a meta-database the potential for consolidation of long-term observations from North American, EU and other international databases for the modeling and in particular prediction of the dynamics of North Atlantic and associated shelf ecosystems and their services (biogeochemical and exploited resources).

4) Consider the feasibility of producing a science plan for the future development a BASIN research program on:

This was an open meeting attended by 32 scientists from Europe and North America. 

Background reading:
Reykjavik meeting report
Hamburg meeting report
JRC Report: "Marine and Coastal Dimension of Climate Change in Europe: a report to the European Water Directors"