A three-year field program now underway is measuring carbon distributions and primary productivity in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean to help scientists worldwide determine the impacts of a changing climate on ocean biology and biogeochemistry. The study, Climate Variability on the East Coast (CliVEC), will also help validate ocean color satellite measurements and refine biogeochemistry models of ocean processes.
Researchers from NOAA, NASA and Old Dominion University are collaborating through an existing NOAA Fisheries Service field program, the Ecosystem Monitoring or EcoMon program. The EcoMon surveys are conducted six times each year by the Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) at 120 randomly selected stations throughout the continental shelf and slope of the northeastern U.S., from Cape Hatteras, N.C., into Canadian waters to cover all of Georges Bank and the Gulf of Maine. This area is known as the Northeast U.S. continental shelf Large Marine Ecosystem.
The climate study team will participate in three annual EcoMon cruises aboard the 155-foot NOAA Fisheries Survey Vessel Delaware II, based at the NEFSC's laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass. The most recent cruise returned to Woods Hole on February 18.
Findings from the climate impact project, funded by NASA, will help scientists better understand how annual and decadal-scale climate variability affects the growth of phytoplankton, which is the basis of the oceanic food chain. The project will also examine organic carbon distributions along the continental margin of the East Coast and collect data for ocean acidification studies.
John O'Reilly of the satellite ocean productivity group and Kimberly Hyde of the ecosystem assessment program at NEFSC's Narragansett, R.I., laboratory are co-principal investigators on the CliVEC project. Laboratory colleague Jon Hare, an oceanographer and plankton specialist, oversees the EcoMon program and is a collaborator on the new climate
|Contact: Shelley Dawicki|
NOAA Fisheries Northeast Fisheries Science Center