Plan for the Phase IV Synthesis of the GLOBEC Georges Bank Program

Phase IV of the US GLOBEC Georges Bank program will synthesize the results from the program’s earlier phases to provide an integrated understanding of the population dynamics of key, target species and evaluate how a varying climate may influence these populations. Following the program’s Implementation Plan (GLOBEC Report 6,, each earlier phase focused field studies on a particular physical process and the influence of that process on the bank’s biology: Phase I - stratification, Phase II - source/retention/loss of water and organisms from the Bank, Phase III - cross frontal exchange. Bank-scale survey and moored sampling was conducted each year of the program to provide time series of the physical conditions and of the distribution/abundance of the biological populations on the bank. In addition a modeling component has been supported throughout the program to develop models for investigating the bank’s bio/physical dynamics and to provide a rigorous framework for synthesizing the results from the program.

Synthesis of the large amount of data collected will be done in incremental steps (by necessity and by logic). Different groups of researchers likely will need to collaborate at different stages of the synthesis. This plan presents a structure and a timeline to guide synthesis activities and to provide opportunities for researchers to collaborate for achieving the specific objectives as the synthesis activities progress.

Each year a series of related workshops will be held to focus on a particular step in the synthesis. Each workshop will focus on a specific topic with a set of specific objectives. At the end of each year a symposium will be held to present the products of these integrated analyses. The last year of the synthesis will be dedicated to the production of book that will present the overall results of the program and address the original programmatic goals articulated in the Implementation Plan. The workshops are expected to last 2-3 days and the symposia, 3-5 days.

Year 1 (January 2002 to January 2003)

Theme for the year: Phase-Specific Integration and Synthesis

Workshops spaced in the first two-thirds of year 1:

1) Stratification
2) Source/retention/loss
3) Cross-frontal exchange
4) Broad Scale patterns and relationships

The data sets from the individual process studies and from the interdisciplinary broad scale activities will be analyzed to address the phase-specific hypotheses and questions put forth in the Implementation Plan (see GLOBEC Report 6, p. 24-41). While each physical process was the focus for one year of process studies, information about that process was collected – by design or inadvertently – each year, in the broad scale studies and in the other process studies. The focused workshops will allow all information about each physical process, and the biological processes associated with it, to be brought together. The Broad Scale workshop will combine five years of observations from shipboard surveys, moored instrumentation, drifters and satellite imagery to quantify the characteristic physical/biological patterns and the bio/physical and trophic relationships evident on the bank. Major events captured in the observational record that represent deviations from the characteristic patterns also will be documented. Knowledge of these patterns and major events will help guide the synthesis activities in years two and three. Coupled physical/biological modeling is expected to play an important role in the analyses at each of these workshops.

Symposium #1: Biological/Physical Interactions – Synthesis of the Process and Broad-Scale Program Components

Year 2: January 2003- January 2004

Themes for the year: Population Dynamics of the Target Organisms and

Basin-Scale Climate Coupling

Workshops spaced in the first two-thirds of year 2:

5) Zooplankton population dynamics
6) Larval Fish population dynamics
7) Basin-scale climate forcing and physical/biological variability on Georges Bank

Having synthesized the bio/physical relationships associated with each of the dominant physical processes, the second year will focus on determining the integrated influence of the various processes on the population dynamics on the individual target organisms. The overriding question to be addressed is how do the various physical and biological process influence the reproduction, growth and survival of the target zooplankton populations and the growth and survival of the target larval fish populations? Answering this question will require integrating the population scale observations from the Broad Scale studies with the vital rate information derived from the process studies in coupled physical/biological models. An additional focus in the second year will be to relate regional/climate scale forcing to the physical and biological variability observed on Georges Bank. For example, variability in the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) has been shown to be similar to that for various physical and biological parameters across the North Atlantic and on Georges Bank, but mechanisms underlying those relationships generally are not well known. Understanding the basin-to-bank connections will be important for selecting the appropriate climate scale forcing to address in the final programmatic synthesis.

Symposium #2: Population Dynamics of the Target Organisms

Year 3: January 2004-January 2005

Theme for the year: System Level Synthesis

The process level and species level syntheses from years one and two will be combined in a system level synthesis for Georges Bank. The goal of the system level synthesis will be to develop conceptual and numerical coupled physical/biological models capable of addressing three primary objectives:

1) explaining the characteristic physical and biological seasonal patterns and relationships observed on the bank;
2) reproducing the physical and biological response of the system on time scales ranging from events to interannual as observed during the program;
3) evaluating the potential effects on the bank system of anticipated variations in climate.

Symposium #3. Georges Bank Ecosystem Dynamics, the Connection to Climate Change.

Year 4: January 2005-January 2006

Theme for the year: Synthesis book preparation

A book containing the results of the GLOBEC George Bank program will be produced. Writing workshops will be held during the year to guide and accomplish its preparation.