U.S. GLOBEC: POBEX (Pacific Ocean Boundary Ecosystems and Climate)
Funded by NSF through the US GLOBEC program, a multi-disciplinary group of PIs and international collaborators (in Canada, Japan, and Chile) are studying climate influences on large-scale and regional ecosystem variability around the Pacific Ocean basin using a combination of circulation models, time series of in situ observations, and remote sensing. For project website, visit: POBEX project website.
An observation that shifts in the zooplankton species composition in the northern California Current tracks the pattern of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (A) led to the working mechanistic hypothesis that changes in basin-scale ocean transport leads to advection of different species into the California Current from the north or south (B). We tested that hypothesis by releasing passive tracers into a ROMS circulation model along the northern and southern boundaries of our study region. A regression of the two tracer time series constructed over the years of the circulation model revealed a good correlation (r=0.60) between the north/south advection and the zooplankton community (C), indicating that advection does control a substantial portion of the shifts in species composition that are observed.