At a GLOBEC (Global Ocean Ecosystems Dynamics) Workshop held in Halifax, Nova Scotia (U.S.-Canada Workshop on Climate and Fisheries, June 1990), several discussion groups met to consider desirable directions to take in the study of zooplankton (including holoplankton, meroplankton and ichthyoplankton) dynamics as part of NSF's GLOBEC program. GLOBEC's goal is to understand the factors that affect population abundance in the sea and to predict, based on this understanding, population and community changes likely to arise from climatic change. Several working groups concluded that advances in biological sampling and methods of measurement are urgently needed if we are to make substantial progress in our understanding of population dynamics in the oceans, It was felt that biotechnological approaches might hold particular promise in two key areas: 1) molecular identification of zooplankton taxa as it relates to improved methods of sample sorting (i.e., greater speed and accuracy) and population genetic structure; and 2) molecular proxies for rapid assessment of physiological rates and condition. On behalf of many participants in the Halifax meeting, we forwarded the recommendation that a follow-up biotechnology workshop be convened specifically to address these topics related to zooplankton field studies. The GLOBEC Steering committee accepted that recommendation and provided guidance and support that ultimately resulted in this workshop on biotechnology applications.
This workshop consisted of 24 scientists (Appendix I) in the disciplines of marine biology/oceanography and molecular biology/biochemistry/genetics. The goal of this workshop was to draft two RFPs on biotechnology development and application in the areas of population genetics and physiological rate measurements as applied to GLOBEC research. These two drafts are included as appendices II and III. Two other considerations were unavoidable. First, since feeding rate and dietary composition are central factors in animal physiology, means of enhancing sampling methodologies would be relevant to our discussions of assessing physiological condition and establishing cause. Second, new approaches (biotechnology-enhanced sampling) would have to be implemented and integrated within a sampling scheme that is both realistic and useful in the oceanographic context. Goals and obstacles will have to be discussed between the various disciplines. Thus, four working groups were formed: Physiological Rates and Condition; Genetics; Feeding Rates and Dietary Composition; and Sampling. Groups were interdisciplinary and were jointly led by one "marine biologist/oceanographer" and one "molecular biologist/biochemist". The agenda and working group assignments are given in Appendix IV.
Chapters II through V summarize discussions held by the various working groups as reported by the group leaders. They comprise a record of major topics and conclusions of the groups and are not intended as research documents. Recent publications by Joint Oceanographic Institutions (1990) and Powers et al. (1990) provide useful overviews of how developments in molecular biology may be applied to problems in the ocean sciences. Both papers can be consulted for introductions to relevant literature.