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North Atlantic needs an ‘end-to-end’ research strategy

‘Studying the North Atlantic basin and associated shelf seas as an integrated ‘basin-scale’ system is the key challenge for the early twenty-first century’.

An international group of scientists, led by Dr Clive Fox, have recently evaluated the trans-regional mechanisms linking parts of the pelagic ecosystem in the north-eastern Atlantic and how those connections may change over our lifetimes. (The workshops which underpinned the study were funded through the EC-FP6-NoE-EUR-OCEANS,

The study, published in Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review (Vol 47), summarises research in the NE Atlantic and demonstrates that although ocean physics underpins all trophic levels in the basin, climate and anthropogenic forcings are major players for the near future. Through regional warming and invasive species in warmer water, biogeography and ecosystem structure and function is changing from the current status.

The report highlights the fact that local marine ecosystems are strongly affected by regional scale forcing, and due to the uncertainties of the regional response to global climate change, the authors call for a JGOFS-like ‘integrated approach in the linked system of the North Atlantic related to ecosystem structure’. Such an approach will require closer coordination of effort and priorities among North Atlantic states, in an ‘end-to-end’ manner – from individual researchers to national and regional funding bodies. The article is published just ahead of an anticipated EC-Framework Program 7 and National Science Foundation calls for improved and advanced ocean management strategies for the North Atlantic, in a coordinated manner between basin-bordering states.

The annual review volume also includes annual reviews of controls on zooplankton dial vertical migration, cephalopods biogeography and ecology in the NE Atlantic and an ecological review of Anchovies and Sardines populations in the Adriatic.

Ivo Grigorov

Fox, C., R. Harris, S. Sundby, E. Achterberg, J.I. Allen, J. Allen, A. Baker, C.P.D. Brussaard, P. Buckley, E. Cook, S.R. Dye, M. Edwards, L. Fernand, P. Kershaw, J. Metcalfe, S. Østerhus, T. Potter, E. Sakshaug, D. Speirs, E. Stenevik, M. St. John, F. Thingstad & B. Wilson. 2009. Transregional linkages in the North-Eastern Atlantic - An ‘end-to-end ’ analysis of pelagic ecosystems. Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review 47: 1-75.

Receive a FREE COPY of the volume
CRC Press offers a free volume worth 179.95 USD, to EUR-OCEANS Consortium Research Highlights section, to be awarded to a young scientist who contributes a review of a topical, high impact article of relevance to the consortium’s scientific. For full details contact Ivo Grigorov (

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