EXCO Meeting Minutes - May 10, 1999

Date: May 10, 1999
Location: URI, Narragansett, R.I.

Attending: D. Lynch, P. Wiebe, D. Townsend, R. Beardsley, E. Durbin, D. Gifford, J. Bisagni, D. Mountain.

Missing: G. Lough, L. Madin, K. Ashjian

Also attending: D. Busch

The meeting began at 10 AM. The preliminary agenda was reviewed and Peter Wiebe asked for any additional items. Only one was added (by Peter), to review activities/findings on this year’s cruises.

This review became the first discussion item.

Ted described his two cruises, the first of which was largely lost to weather, while the second went quite well. Calanus abundance was not particularly low, as some had anticipated.

On the Broad Scale cruises, the very low salinity conditions experienced over the last few years appears to be abating, with the salinity anomaly about half way back to reference, long term values. Larval cod and haddock appear to be present in good numbers - although not a clear sense of an unusually large abundance. On the April survey, a large catch of large (> 20mm) cod larvae was made off the northern side of the Bank, suggesting an origin in the Gulf of Maine. To investigate this, David Townsend plans to have a genetic analysis done on some samples - which may offer an answer to where these larvae originated.

The Hebert and Gifford coordinated cruises did cross frontal work using a sea-soar and a scanfish. A tidal model was able to target the appropriate times for sampling. Overall, the cruises were felt to be successful and able to accomplish what was planned.

The modelers have had success with assimilative modeling efforts. Over the next week or so, there will be two modeling teams at sea - on the R/V LINK and R/V ENDEAVOR. A trial run last month on the LINK showed that with communication and computation times, there is about a 24 hour turn around time in generating a 3 day forecast, and also showed that the forecasts were pretty good for the intended role.

For the mooring projects, Bob Beardsley reported that all of his process moorings and the long term moorings are back in water and operating. Problems had occurred earlier, but now they are using heavier discus buoys with a swivel at the anchor - and these problems hopefully have been solved. The Schlitz line of moorings was successfully deployed in March. The drifter project is also continuing.


Nominations were accepted for both the Chair and the Rapporteur for the committee. Only one nomination was made for each - Peter Wiebe to continue as Chair and David Mountain to continue as Rapporteur. Both were then elected.

Data Workshop:

With the end field work, we need to insure integrative analyses keep moving forward. The last data workshop (September 1998) was not as successful as the previous one - for a number of possible reasons. Other approaches to scheduling/organizing future workshops may need to be considered. Last fall many potential participants had conflicts with teaching duties; ten or so days was just too long to be away. Shorter and/or more focused workshops might be better. The discussion focused on the option involving two or more events: having meetings (perhaps 3 days) with SI's presenting recent results - much as in the past. With these results fresh in everyone’s mind, then one or a series of subsequent, short data workshops could be laid out, with topics and/or specific analyses identified. A couple of possible dates for an SI meeting focusing on the presentation of recent results were identified:

The SI's will be polled to determine the best of these options. In addition, the poll will include a question of whether having the meeting include a weekend - since this could reduce travel costs for some, and reduce time away from teaching or other duties.

Meetings to Target:

There are a number of meetings coming up at which the program will want to have a presence. AGU/ASLO is meeting the last week of January 2000, in San Antonio,TX. P. Wiebe, T. Powell, B. de Young, E. Hoffman, and R. Beardsley have a preliminary proposal (now submitted) for a session on “Integrating biology and physics in ecosystem studies of planktonic populations”. The committee supported proposing this session.

Chuck Greene has indicated that he is considering requesting a special session at the ASLO meeting next year in Copenhagen looking at climate and oceanic variability in the NE and NW Atlantic. He asked for ExCo thoughts about this. While the basic idea was strongly supported, two concerns were raised. First, as proposed (with a structure of invited speakers on identified topics) the plan doesn't fit how ASLO schedules it sessions - which are much more open. Second, sessions with similar intent may be already scheduled. There is a theme session planned for the 2000 ICES meeting which is believed to be on a similar topic area - although no one was clear on the specific topic. It was recommended that Chuck talk to Ken Drinkwater (one of the coordinators) to find out how close it is to his proposal.

Chuck also indicated interest in proposing to the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis at UC Santa Barbara to support a working group on A Response of the NW Atlantic Shelf Ecosystem to Climate Variability and Change. Again, the committee felt the idea was a good one. However, Peter pointed out the Tom Powell, Mike Fogarty, and others have proposed to this organization a similar topic - without success. It was recommended that Chuck talk to them to find out why they were turned down, and get any recommendations they can offer.

Phase IV:

Program managers still are indicating interest in having a Phase IV for synthesis. The anticipated start time for funding would be in the summer of 2001. The AO would need to be approved by the national GLOBEC SSC at its April 2000 meeting. To prepare, we will plan to use the PI meeting and the January 2000 AGU/ALSO meeting as opportunities to develop the basics of the AO - perhaps through open sessions at each of these meetings. This timing would have the proposal deadline around August 2000.

Data Sets that are slow in coming:

Bob Groman has prepared two lists of data: those which have been collected (as indicated by the cruise event logs) and those which are available through the GLOBEC database system. The point, which is quickly obvious, is that only a small subset of the data are available on line. There are many examples - e.g., larval data from Broad Scale and process cruises, or displacement volumes from the Broad Scale 333 mesh nets. The Program Service office can offer assistance with the mechanics of getting data sets on line. Any SIs having trouble with getting their data served through the database system and wanting help, please contact Bob Groman or Peter Wiebe. Be advised: the drum beat on this issue will need to increase.

Status and Timing of DSR Volume:

The DSR volume is moving forward a lot slower than desired. Reviews are taking a long time to be received - often only after some prodding - everyone is just too busy. Most manuscripts have been reviewed and are back to the authors. However, some are still waiting a second review to be received. We are still hoping to make a 1999 publication data, although this may be hard some of the manuscripts will have to go back to reviewers a second time.

Re-opening of the closed area 2:

The closed area on Georges Bank (closed area 2) was an ideal spot to locate moorings for the tidal mixing front experiment - since there would be no fishing effort there. However, the area is now planned to be opened for scalloping in mid-June. This poses a threat to the Schlitz line of moorings. These moorings are now scheduled to be relocated out side of the closed area to the west to avoid the scalloping effort. This also will have some impact on Diane Gifford's work. She planned a sampling transect along the mooring line, which will now have its southern end in the area of a canyon, which is undesirable.


A wide ranging discussion took place about a possible Long Term Ecological Research site on Georges Bank and on what questions an LTER might focus. Various options involved questions raised by GLOBEC (and not yet fully answered) about the source of zooplankton populations, the importance of zooplankton over wintering processes in determining the subsequent populations on George Bank; the connection to Scotian Shelf and Slope Water influx through the Gulf of Maine boundaries to conditions/dynamics within the Gulf/Georges Bank. The level of support available for an LTER will no doubt limit the scope of any effort. A group (Wiebe, Beardsley, Lynch, Townsend, Mountain, Bisagni) will try to find out background information to allow a more complete discussion at the next ExCo meeting.

Meeting was adjourned at 2:45.

Prepared by: David Mountain, 27 May 1999.
Minor edits: 27 May 1999