Mon, Nov


New study identifies impacts of ocean-climate variability on biodiversity of pelagic forage species in California Current: A new study from researchers at NOAA fisheries, as part of the Sanctuaries MBON project, quantified biodiversity indices of pelagic forage species that are linked to ocean climate conditions.

Using NOAA SWFSC data, the researchers calculated diversity indices of forage species and analyzed data derived from satellite observations on sea surface temperature, climate indices and oceanographic survey data to quantify the natural variability and environmental drivers of biodiversity within the California Current upwelling ecosystem. The study found that cooler years were associated with increased biodiversity of juvenile groundfish, whereas warm years coincide with increased biodiversity of coastal and mesopelagic fishes and species from southern and subtropical waters. Further, unprecedented high biodiversity was found during the recent large marine heatwave and El Niño. Attributing changes in marine biodiversity to productivity cycles and anomalous climate events, and detecting long-term biodiversity trends, provides a critical index toward understanding climate forcing on upwelling ecosystems. Read the article here.

MBON Awarded Two NASA ROSES Projects: Congratulations to the MBON team for two successful new NASA ROSES projects supporting the GEO Work Programme. These were announced publicly on October 23 during GEO Week 2017. NASA received 110 proposals across the nine Work Programme elements included in the solicitation, and made 32 total awards. U.S. IOOS is a collaborating partner on both projects, and both feature broad partnerships across multiple federal agencies, academic institutions, and private organizations. The two projects, which will expand MBON activities in polar ecosystems and in the Americas, were awarded to:

  • Maria Kavanaugh, Oregon State University, “Dynamic seascapes to support a biogeographic framework for a global marine biodiversity observing network.” This project will formalize the US-MBON relationship with the USGS/ESRI Ecological Marine Units by conducting comparative analyses of satellite-derived global seascapes with surface EMUs to highlight variability at depth not directly observed by satellites but important to pelagic species. The team will also work with Arctic MBON and the Distributed Biological Observatory in an effort that will expand MBON efforts to classify and validate dynamic seascapes in tropical and temperate coastal environments along North America to a global scale and include a polar case study.
  • Enrique Montes, University of South Florida, “Laying the foundations of the Pole-to-Pole Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (P2P MBON) of the Americas.” P2P MBON is a regional effort to collect biological measurements using common methodologies and to share knowledge on a continental scale. It is a voluntary, collective effort and a partnership among independent monitoring and research programs, GOOS, OBIS, and GEO BON/MBON. P2P MBON supports groups in the American continent and small island developing states to: develop and document best practices associated with marine biodiversity observations, including methods for data collection and data management, while allowing flexibility to ensure national needs are addressed; enhance coordination of data collection within and between nations; integrate biodiversity data collection with physical and biogeochemical observations; and evaluate status and trends of marine biodiversity and ecosystems.

MBON Side Event Discusses News Strategies and Tools at GEO Week 2017: On October 24, a two-hour side event explored evolving strategies being implemented by MBON projects and partner organizations to integrate biological observations into ocean observing systems for practical applications. Woody Turner, program manager for Ecological Forecasting at NASA kicked off the program and reviewed NASA's support. Keynote speaker Nancy Knowlton, Smithsonian Institution senior scientist, discussed the advances in tools and automation, standardization of sampling methods and procedures which are improving marine biodiversity monitoring in situ. Gabrielle Canonico gave an overview of MBON goals and plans for next steps.

  • A preview of the first MBON prototype products (MBON Explorer and a set of infographics tools) developed to support UN Sustainable Development Goal 14 requirements were given by MBON product developers, Ben Best, Ecoquants, and Enrique Montes, University of South Florida. The prototype tools use biological data from OBIS and sea surface temperature and chlorophyll from MBON seascapes in a dynamic geographic map. In the panel discussion, Steve Gittings, NOAA Office of the National Marine Sanctuaries, Pat Halpin, Duke University, and Michael Ott, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, offered perspectives about the future of MBON and value for Sustainable Development Goals and global assessments. The session was organized by US MBON Gabrielle Canonico and Woody Turner, with the GEO BON Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON) co-chair Frank Muller-Karger. MBON Explorer and MBON infographics are built on open source technologies and are intended for use by scientists, policy makers, resource managers, national governments, and others -- demonstrations are available upon request by contacting [email protected].