Synthesis

Synthesis includes a number of activities. Some will occur throughout the Northeast Pacific program, others will necessarily be more concentrated during the final years of the program. This is reflected in the effort devoted to synthesis in the timeline. There are numerous, at present mostly disconnected, research, monitoring, retrospective and modeling efforts ongoing or planned along the west coast of North America. In addition to U.S. GLOBEC, other large programs are 1) the CalCOFI long-term studies of the California Bight region to just north of Point Conception, 2) the NOAA-COP sponsored programs along the west coast (two in particular are relevant--the SEBSCC (Bering Sea) and PNCERS (Pacific Northwest Coastal Ecosystem Regional Study)), 3) the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Sound Ecosystem Assessment (SEA) program, 4) NOAA/NPAFC Ocean Carrying Capacity (OCC) program, 5) NOAA's FOCI investigations in the Shelikof Straits, 6) the Canadian funded study of the La Parouse ecosystem, 7) Canada GLOBEC research, 8) NOAA's triennial groundfish survey along the U.S. west coast, and 9) NOAA's mammal surveys conducted every 4-5 years. There are also numerous individual investigator studies of various west coast ecosystems that are related to U.S. GLOBEC studies in the Northeast Pacific. Some of these are the GAK1 monitoring line off Seward Alaska; the Line-P sampling done by the Intitute of Ocean Sciences, Sydney, BC; intermittent sampling programs that have been conducted off of a) Newport, OR, b) Point Reyes, CA, c) Monterey Bay, CA; and others unknown. U.S. GLOBEC recognizes the need to foster intercommunication and coordination among these programs and individual investigator projects, to provide the larger picture of climate change impacts on Northeast Pacific ecosystems. This synthesis activity should begin immediately.

During the final years of the Northeast Pacific program timeline, synthesis includes completing the analysis of the samples collected during the Northeast Pacific GLOBEC program. It also includes deriving new understanding from those studies, and especially from the activities that couple the monitoring and research activities with the retrospective and modeling efforts. Most importantly, this synthesis will use the results of U.S. GLOBEC's research endeavours in the downwelling CGOA and upwelling CCS to consider how marine populations (esp. zooplankton and salmon) residing in the nearshore regions of these two, contrasting, coastal ecosystem types differ in their responses to physical forcing, including forcing due to large-scale climate. During recent years, catches of salmon from Alaskan and northern British Columbia waters have been at historic highs; conversely, catches of coho and chinook salmon from Washington, Oregon and California have been so low that some of the fisheries have been closed to commercial harvest. U.S. GLOBEC's scientific interests in the nearshore ecosystems of the west coast of North America, coupled with the regional interest in salmon, economically and socially, demand that U.S. GLOBEC undertake an integrated research approach in the Northeast Pacific that encompasses both the upwelling and downwelling regions.

A final activity that falls within the realm of synthesis is to conduct comparative studies of the results of the Northeast Pacific program (in the CGOA and CCS) with those obtained from the U.S. GLOBEC funded studies in the Northwest Atlantic. Specifically, U.S. GLOBEC desires more than the development of scientifically strong and socially relevant regional programs—the U.S. GLOBEC program, in the broadest sense, should provide an opportunity to obtain a broader understanding of the processes structuring marine ecosystems. One way in which this may be accomplished is by encouraging explicit comparisons across U.S. GLOBEC regional studies. These comparisons could be accomplished by focusing on physical processes (transport, residence time, frontal dynamics might be examples) or biological processes (zooplankton production, etc.). Alternatively, related taxa in different U.S. GLOBEC study regions might provide a framework that could lead to more general insights. For example, are there broader understandings that can be obtained by comparing how large calanoids (Calanus in the NW Atlantic; Calanus and Neocalanus in the NE Pacific) and perhaps, gadids (cod and haddock in the NW Atlantic; pollock in the CGOA), respond to physical forcing and food-web relations in different regional ecosystems, that might not emerge from a single regional study alone?


homepage contents previous section next section