PROGRAM TITLE:	Global Ocean Ecosystems Dynamics  (GLOBEC )   
ACTIVITY STREAM: 	Process, Observe, Model, Data
SCIENCE ELEMENT:	Ecological Systems

 NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

SCIENTIFIC MERIT:  GLOBEC's purpose is to determine the impact of the 
global changes on marine ecosystems, specifically mechanisms that determine 
the variability of marine animal populations.  A focus on coupled physical 
and biological processes derives from the assertion that the success of 
recruitment from juvenile stages and the stability of populations are not 
dependent on biological processes alone but on the physical milieu that affects 
transport, distribution, abundance, food, and predator-prey interactions.  Such 
understanding will allow assessments and predictions of population changes 
in a changing environment.  The concept of GLOBEC stems from the 
observations that marine animal populations can exhibit huge oscillations on 
time scales from seasonal to decadal.  The dramatic example of the anchoveta 
off Peru helped form the basis for our understanding of how climate 
processes of the atmosphere and ocean, i.e., ENSO, work to control ocean 
circulation, temperature, rainfall and the important marine resources of the 
region.  GLOBEC models of ecosystem dynamics and physical/biological 
interactions will link with physical models of  ACCP,  TOGA, WOCE  to 
predict population, and ecosystem responses.  GLOBEC will start a framework 
for understanding how ecological systems can adapt to rapid rates of change 
providing marine system links to EROC.   Ecosystem accommodation of 
global changes, and the role of species shifts vs. evolutionary changes in this 
process will vary with the type and intensity of the changing environmental 
factors, such as changes in meso- to basin-scale circulation, elevated 
temperatures, relative importance of ocean physical structures (fronts, eddies, 
vertical stratification).  Understanding these features and their influence on 
populations, their prey, predators, and competitors, both singly and in 
composite will provide the framework for predicting responses to global 
change.  The potential role of increased atmospheric CO2 in influencing 
marine animal populations will be addressed by the linking of GLOBEC and 
the JGOFS.  JGOFS will provide understanding of  fertilization effects on the 
production and biomass of phytoplankton in the sea that GLOBEC will use for 
evaluating effects on consumer populations.

STAKEHOLDERS:  GLOBEC is a NSF/NOAA program; ONR is a partner in 
technology development.  At NSF, it is the sole marine ecosystems response 
program (c.f., EROC for terrestrial, LMER for estuarine, and ARCSS/Antarctic 
Ecosystems for polar systems) and links with SBI.  GLOBEC grew out of 
community workshops and recommendations of an NAS report.  GLOBEC is 
the U.S. component of the IOC,  SCOR/ICSU, ICES, PICES sponsored 
international GLOBEC program with 10 national programs established.   
International cooperation has been instrumental in the U.S. regional 
programs, in particular the Cod and Climate Change program of ICES and 
Southern Ocean research.   GLOBEC 's first focus on the NW Atlantic 
ecosystem stems from strong evidence of ecosystem response to large scale 
climate change.  This is the U.S. part of the pan-N. Atlantic ICES program.  
Other GCRP programs (WOCE, NOAA's ACCP) will provide physical data 
sets and models.  Ongoing NOAA-NMFS ecosystem programs, the Canadian 
OPEN program and ICES activities contribute resources to the problem.  
Predicting marine animal populations dynamics is an absolutely 
fundamental requisite for other GCRP goals, e.g.,  JGOFS predictions of 
biogeochemical fluxes in the ocean will eventually require a the prediction of 
animal population dynamics.  Results from GLOBEC and JGOFS will be 
coupled to predict how the variability in animal populations and 
communities will change the function of the biological pump and the 
assimilation capacity of the oceans for carbon dioxide.   Ecosystem 
understanding and technological developments of GLOBEC will form a basis 
for the international Global Ocean Observing System's Living Marine 
Resources module.
   
POLICY RELEVANCE:  A much enhanced understanding of the factors that 
control populations and production in marine ecosystems is essential to 
provide predictions and assessments of effects of climate change on marine 
ecosystems. It  is essential for the preservation and utilization of living 
resources in the sea, but also because marine animals are pivotal in shaping 
ocean ecosystems and in cycling biogenic materials.   The ecological settings of 
GLOBEC's currently planned studies (e.g., NW Atlantic, California Current, 
Southern Ocean) harbor major marine resources that must be managed by 
NOAA , industry, and international counterparts. GLOBEC programs will 
deal directly with issues of the role of biodiversity in the target marine 
systems and how diversity is likely to be altered in marine systems.

PROGRAM CONTACT:    Phillip Taylor, Biological Oceanography Program 
Director