3. Summary of Meeting Recommendations

This section provides a summary of the recommendations from the International GLOBEC Southern Ocean Planning Meeting. The working group reports from which these recommendations have been extracted are presented in their entirety in Section 4.

3.1 Population Dynamics and Physical Variability

3.1.1 Zooplankton

The key questions for a zooplankton component of a Southern Ocean GLOBEC programme should focus on:
  1. zooplankton overwintering strategies;
  2. seasonal and geographical variations in the distribution of Southern Ocean key zooplankton species, especially in relation to the physics of the environment;
  3. factors affecting successful reproduction;
  4. physical processes influencing larval survival and recruitment to the adult population; and
  5. the distribution of Southern Ocean zooplankton in relation to the distribution of food biomass and reproduction.

These questions are designed to provide a basis from which to develop elements of research programmes and to select core study sites.

Key zooplankton species should represent a diversity of life-history strategies and include species that are of importance to higher predators. The key zooplankton species selected for a Southern Ocean GLOBEC programme are: Euphausia superba, Calanoides acutus, and Metridia gerlachei. However, the scientific basis of a Southern Ocean GLOBEC programme should be broad enough to accommodate research on other zooplankton species as needed. For example, Salpa thompsoni could be an important species since it tends to dominate in years and/or locations when Euphausia superba is scarce.

3.1.2 Top Predators

The key questions for a top predator component of a Southern Ocean GLOBEC programme should focus on:

  1. effects of variability in the physical and biological environments on predator population dynamics;
  2. the role of sea-ice in affecting foraging performance, reproductive success and survival of top predators;
  3. krill variability and its allocation among several top predator species;
  4. the effect of predator foraging activities on altering the distribution and abundance of krill; and
  5. the nature of the functional relationships between krill availability and performance and survival of its predators.

These questions are intended to provide a framework for the development of field and laboratory research and numerical modelling initiatives as related to a Southern Ocean GLOBEC top predator research programme.

Target species for a predator programme were selected in terms of their degree of association with ice cover or the ice edge, their dependence on krill, availability of historical data and feasibility of study. Given these criteria, the primary target species are Crabeater seals, Adelie penguins, Snow petrels, Antarctic petrels, fish, and squid. However, it was recognized that other target species may be appropriate in some regions of the Antarctic, such as areas not strongly influenced by pack ice.

3.1.3 Zooplankton/Top Predators

The above questions for zooplankton and top predators require that a Southern Ocean GLOBEC programme study the population dynamics of a variety of organisms that range from small copepods to large seals. This presents severe difficulties in programme design and implementation since the key organisms operate over a wide range of space and time scales. The major components required for a joint zooplankton/top predator study include time-series surveys, process surveys, process studies, laboratory experimental studies and modelling. In terms of joint studies of zooplankton and top predators, it was recommended to implement:

  1. time series surveys--that focus on collection of data at high temporal resolution that are directed at answering specific questions, e.g. factors influencing zooplankton reproduction;
  2. process surveys--to address questions relating to the interactions between krill and top predators, e.g. underway sampling of prey with concurrent sampling of predators; and
  3. ship-board process studies--to address questions concerning mechanisms and processes which do not require high resolution time-series information over a large geographic area.

The working group provided detailed interaction matrices of the types of sampling approaches that are needed to address the questions posed by the zooplankton and top predator working groups.

3.2 Data Needs

The Historical Data and Data Management working group noted that a large body of historical data exist for the Antarctic that are relevant to the objectives of GLOBEC and are important in planning of GLOBEC activities. It is important to describe the types of data that exist, where they are located and how to access or obtain them. It was also recognized that biological data are collected in a variety of formats, with different devices and different sampling techniques. Thus, the working group recommended that:
  1. SCAR be requested to prepare a catalog of national archived biological data and samples;
  2. GLOBEC develop a protocol of standard methods for data collection and reporting; and
  3. a group be formally tasked by GLOBEC.INT with developing the necessary protocols and with making detailed suggestions for methods of data submission and handling.

3.3 Modelling

Modelling is recognized as an important component of all GLOBEC programmes. Several of the key questions identified for Southern Ocean GLOBEC require modelling approaches or input from model simulations. It was suggested that many of these questions be examined within the context of a conceptual model that would be developed for the Antarctic prior to the development of a field programme. The conceptual model would also provide a framework for the field programme. There are also unique features of the Antarctic ecosystem (e.g. sea-ice, krill swarming) that need to be included in models. The primary recommendations from the working group are that:

  1. a conceptual model of the Antarctic physical environment and marine food web be developed;
  2. GLOBEC.INT sponsor a workshop on observation, theory, and modeling of krill swarms;
  3. existing circulation, ice and biological models of the Southern Ocean be evaluated for use as a point of departure for future modelling efforts; and
  4. models of krill allocation among various predator species be developed.

3.4 Sampling and Observations Systems

The working group reviewed the availability of satellite remote sensing and non-satellite remote sensing capabilities for the Southern Ocean. The working group also noted the technologies that need development or enhancement for application to sampling Southern Ocean zooplankton and top predator populations. Recommendations were made for the:

  1. development of a new satellite dedicated to wildlife telemetry studies;
  2. incorporation of data compression algorithms developed for other systems; and
  3. development of data loggers for deployment on mammals and birds that use GPS and low earth orbiting satellites.

3.5 International Connections

The Meeting stressed the need for close contacts with several international organizations and programmes in order to gain as much as possible from cooperation and to avoid duplication of work. Among organizations, SCAR and CCAMLR and their subgroups were mentioned in particular and among programs, WOCE (World Ocean Circulation Experiment) and JGOFS (Joint Global Ocean Flux Study) were mentioned as being of particular importance to GLOBEC.

3.6 Future Activities

The Meeting participants decided to hold a second meeting of the International GLOBEC Southern Ocean Planning Group, preferably in May 1994. One possible meeting place could be Cambridge, United Kingdom. The main purpose of the next meeting will be to write an implementation plan for Southern Ocean GLOBEC.