Over the past two decades, we have made significant strides in our understanding of the linkages between physical and biological processes. We have established the importance of turbulence in the feeding environment of zooplankton and fish early life stages, high-resolution numerical models provide realistic representation of circulation features – which, when coupled with the organisms' active behaviors – have resulted in quantitative descriptions of dispersal, and the evolution of basin- and global-scale models now include ecologically-relevant scales that allow us to begin to assess the effect of changing climate in species successions and biogeographic shifts of populations.
Such advances in unraveling the processes underlying physical-biological interactions at multiple scales have helped address fundamental hypotheses and gain insights into the forces driving the structure and function of marine ecosystems.
However, over these same two decades, we have witnessed unprecedented changes in absolute magnitudes and rates of change in our environment – temperature, oxygen, pH, and related variables – with trends to likely continue over the coming decades. As such, the questions and needs for advancement are as much fundamental scientifically, e.g., how will the rapidly changing physical and biogeochemical conditions affect individual organisms and populations, as they are essential to decision-makers, e.g., what management strategies should be considered to best determine the sustainability and protection of our living marine resources and, in turn, the health and resilience of the human communities that depend on them.
This presentation will build on recent advances, identify successes and challenges, as well as pose questions and suggest steps we will need to take (laboratory-, field- and model-based) to understand and represent physical-biological linkages relevant to the next decades' challenges.
Francisco “Cisco" Werner is Director of Scientific Programs and Chief Science Advisor of U.S. NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service. His research has focused on the study of the oceanic environment through numerical models of ocean circulation and marine ecosystems in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. He has studied the effects of physical forcing on lower trophic levels and the subsequent effect on the structure, function and abundance of commercially and ecologically important species, and he has contributed to the development and implementation of ocean forecasting systems.
Cisco's past appointments include being the Director of NOAA's Southwest Fisheries Science Center, Director and Professor of Rutgers University's Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Professor and Chairman of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Department of Marine Sciences, and co-Editor in Chief of Progress in Oceanography. Cisco received a BSc in Mathematics and a PhD in Oceanography, both from the University of Washington.