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Scientific Program and Structure

S1: Science Board Symposium
Toward integrated understanding of ecosystem variability in the North Pacific

Hiroaki Saito (SB)
Se-Jong Ju (BIO)
Xianshi Jin (FIS)
Keith Criddle (HD)
Chuanlin Huo (MEQ)
Jennifer Boldt (MONITOR)
Emanuele Di Lorenzo (POC)
Joon-Soo Lee (TCODE)
Steven Bograd (FUTURE)
Sukyung Kang (FUTURE)
Igor Shevchenko (Russia)
Motomitsu Takahashi (Japan)

Invited Speakers:

The North Pacific marine ecosystem is an assemblage of many local marine ecosystems characterized by regional-specific environmental conditions and biological structures. The status of regional ecosystems is subject to the influence of local changes in various factors as well as interactions with adjacent local marine ecosystems and modifications by basin-scale processes. In recent decades, changes attributable to the influence of global warming have become more apparent, including extreme events in the atmosphere and the ocean that threaten marine ecosystems. Climate projections show monotonic increases in ocean warming and increased frequency of extreme events, such as marine heat waves. Measures to mitigate climate change and to achieve sustainable use of marine resources are integral to the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations in 2015. Adaptation to present and anticipated marine ecosystem change is essential to enable humans to use ecosystem services in a sustainable manner. Consequently, policy makers need information about the status of regional marine ecosystems and forecasts of how they will change. Meeting that need requires information based on an integrated understanding of ecosystem variability in the North Pacific.

We encourage submission of papers on mechanisms of ecosystem responses to natural and anthropogenic forcing across the spectrum of time and space scales in the North Pacific, as well as monitoring, retrospective analysis, and forecasting ecosystem variability. In particular, papers that characterize variability in each regional ecosystem and link them to basin and global scales are welcome. Anticipated changes in North Pacific marine ecosystems include changing water temperature and upwelling intensity, increased occurrence of hypoxia, harmful algal blooms, and ocean acidification, as well as broader impacts from pollutants and contaminants, coastal development, and fishing. In addition, papers are encouraged on strategic options to forestall, mitigate, or adapt to ecosystem change. Examination of interactions among regional marine ecosystems and relationships between regional and basin-scale ecosystem variability will provide an improved understanding of marine ecosystem structure and function in the North Pacific in the face of climate change.

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S2: FIS Topic Session
Fish production through food web dynamics in the boundary current systems


Motomitsu Takahashi (Japan) corresponding
Yuji Okazaki (Japan)
Ryan Rykaczewski (USA)
Akash Sastri (Canada)

Invited Speaker:
Chih-hao (Zac) Hsieh

Trophic interactions from nutrient to fish are variable spatially and temporally in the North Pacific ecosystems. Fish production has been recognized generally as the grazing food chain: diatom-calanoid copepod-fish. In addition, microbial food chain and jelly-associated chain also work for maintaining biological production. Comparative studies on trophic interactions between the western boundary current (Kuroshio and Kuroshio Extension) and the eastern boundary current (California Current) would reveal biogeochemical characteristics in the North Pacific marine ecosystems. This session aims to reveal trophic interactions through nutrient supply to fish production and to compare the structures and function between the different boundary systems in the North Pacific. Interaction examples of nutrient supply, community structures of phyto- and zooplankton, food availability for fish larvae and the synergistic model in the ecosystem are highly encouraged. We also seek presentations on trophic interactions revealed using not only traditional approaches based on observations but also contemporary approaches including stable isotopes and DNA bar-coding analyses.

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S3: FUTURE Topic Session
Science communication for North Pacific marine science


Toyomitsu Horii (Japan), (MEQ / FUTURE SSC), corresponding
Ekaterina Kurilova (Russia), (HD)
Mitsutaku Makino (Japan), (HD / FUTURE SSC)
Jackie King (Canada), (FIS, FUTURE SSC, S-CCME)

Invited Speaker:
Alan Haynie (Alaska Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, USA)

Science communication between researchers and society is increasing in importance for PICES’ integrated marine science. For example, natural scientific information about sustainable uses of ecosystems cannot be meaningful if the social and economic expectations of the users are not considered. The goal of ecosystem conservation activities, or sustaining “a good ecosystem”, cannot be decided without deliberate discussions that include society. In addition, each country or society has a specific view of “a good ecosystem” which could benefit from larger-scale coordination and comparison within the North Pacific basin. Conducting multi-disciplinary integrated marine ecosystem studies, such as those supporting the FUTURE Science Program, requires close and effective interaction of concepts, methodologies, models, and data, from various disciplines. Dissemination of that complex scientific information to society can be difficult. The PICES’ scientific community would benefit from hearing examples of successful scientific communication. An example of communication to society includes providing scientific information about the fish stock sustainability and is often used by fish consumers with impacts on market demand which can ultimately decide the fishing pressure on the marine resources. A better understanding by stakeholders of the scenarios of future ecosystem states is an important step towards a society resilient and adaptable to global changes. This Topic Session invites studies about science communications such as those above. Theoretical studies, case studies, experiences, and perspectives for better science communication for the PICES activities are encouraged.

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S4: BIO Topic Session
Indicators for assessing and monitoring biodiversity of biogenic habitats


Anya Dunham (Canada), corresponding
Hye-Won Moon (Korea)

Invited Speakers:

Biogenic habitats formed by corals, sponges, and other structure-forming taxa support high species abundance and biodiversity, including socio-economically important fishes and invertebrates. These habitats are also known to be vulnerable to disturbances from human impacts and climate change. Predicting, assessing, and monitoring shifts in habitat-forming species and associated communities in response to natural and anthropogenic forcing require suites of measurable indicators. The goal of this session is to improve our understanding of ecologically relevant, sensitive, observation-based indicators for assessing and monitoring biogenic habitats. We invite presentations on indicators encompassing single or compound metrics of the marine biota in a broad sense (from physiological to species, community and habitat levels) which could be measured to indicate the condition of biogenic habitats and monitor changes to the habitats and communities they support. Empirical studies and literature reviews on indicator development, assessment, and/or application are invited. WG-32 members and collaborators will present a literature review of documented functional associations between commercially important fish and invertebrate species and biogenic habitats and address methods to incorporate these associations into indicator development. This session will help improve our understanding and ability to identify and characterize changes in biogenic habitats, as well as their recovery potential. The results of this session will help inform management and policy decisions and marine spatial planning processes that can maintain ecosystem biodiversity, structure, and function.

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S5: POC Topic Session
Seasonal to interannual variations of meso-/submeso-scale processes in the North Pacific


Annalisa Bracco (USA), corresponding
Sachihiko Itoh (Japan)
Elena Ustinova (Russia)

Invited Speaker:
Yu-Lin Eda Chang (Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology)

Recent observations and model simulations suggest that the ocean currents and biogeochemistry at and near the ocean surface undergo prominent seasonal variability at the submesoscales (scales of 0.1–10 km). The submesoscale seasonal variability is a function of the ratio of lateral to vertical density gradients and, in the open ocean, depends primarily on the mesoscale activity of the flow. Consequently, in the open ocean numerous submesoscale cyclonic eddies can form in winter and the vorticity distributions are skewed towards positive values typical of cyclonic structures. This skewness is highly reduced from spring to fall. In coastal areas, on the other hand, density gradients can be forced not only by mesoscale circulations but also by freshwater fluxes from rivers or melting glaciers, resulting in a seasonal cycle that may differ significantly from region to region, and in interannual variability controlled in part by hydrological and cryospheric processes. Implications of such variability for the ocean biogeochemistry and nutrient distributions are poorly understood. This session aims at characterizing the variability of mesoscale and submesoscale circulations and its linkages with the marine ecosystem in the PICES region at seasonal-to-interannual scales. We welcome as well contributions about future changes in mesoscale variability or in mixed-layer depth and its buoyancy, and therefore in submesoscale variability, in warming climate scenarios.

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S6: FUTURE Topic Session
The FUTURE of PICES: Next steps in understanding, forecasting and communicating climate impacts on North Pacific marine ecosystems


Sukyung Kang (Korea), corresponding
Steven Bograd (USA)

‘Forecasting and Understanding Trends, Uncertainty and Responses of North Pacific Marine Ecosystems’ (FUTURE) is the flagship integrative Scientific Program undertaken by the member nations and affiliates of PICES. Since its inception in 2009, FUTURE has contributed to guiding PICES science to understand how marine ecosystems in the North Pacific respond to climate change and human activities, to forecast ecosystem status based on a contemporary understanding of how nature functions, and to communicate new insights to its members, governments, stakeholders and the public. FUTURE is scheduled to conclude in 2019, so this is a good time to reflect on its accomplishments, to identify remaining gaps in fulfilling its research objectives, and to contemplate new directions for PICES science. In this session, we will conduct a FUTURE ‘Mini-Symposium’ to update the PICES community on FUTURE progress and to coordinate activities amongst the PICES Expert Groups. Each Expert Group will provide a brief review of their past, current and planned activities as they relate to the FUTURE Science Program, which will be followed by a plenary discussion on the future path of PICES science in the coming years.

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S7: FUTURE Topic Session
Ecological responses to variable climate changes and their applicability to ecosystem predictions


Ryan Rykaczewski (USA), corresponding
Akinori Takasuka (Japan)
Chan Joo Jang (Korea)

Invited Speaker:
Susan Allen (University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada)

In the North Pacific, regional and large-scale climate forcing impacts a range of physical and ecological characteristics including temperature, stratification, ocean circulation, upwelling, biogeochemical properties, and primary and secondary production. These characteristics, in turn, can impact the distribution, composition, and productivity of fisheries resources. However, the accuracy of many climate-ecosystem relationships derived from historical observations deteriorates when faced with new observations. Reducing the uncertainty associated with climate-ecological relationships requires an understanding of the mechanisms that govern empirical correlations. In this session, we seek presentations focused on climate-ecosystem relationships and whether such relationships can be expected to persist under future (e.g., months to decades) climate conditions. Many regional and large-scale properties of the physical ocean state can be skillfully predicted over scales of seasons (and years for some properties), and we hope that such ability, with further clarification of predictable properties in different regions on different timescales, can be used in combination with understanding of robust climate-ecosystem relationships to provide forecasts of marine ecosystems that will be useful to resource management and utilization.

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S8: POC Topic Session
Internal tides, nonlinear internal waves, and their impacts on biogeochemistry, climate and marine ecosystems via ocean turbulent mixing processes


Shin-ichi Ito (Japan), corresponding
SungHyun Nam (Korea)
John Barth (USA)
Annalisa Bracco (USA)

Invited Speaker:
Kristen Davis (University of California, USA)

Mixing in the ocean occurs over a broad range of scales and plays a major role in the exchanges of water, nutrients, carbon and heat, thus controlling ocean biogeochemistry and climate. Ocean turbulent mixing is often associated with internal tides and nonlinear internal waves, however the internal wave generation, propagation, and dissipation mechanisms in most of the North Pacific are not well understood due to limited observations and model capabilities. Intense ocean mixing generally occurs in presence of tidal movements around rough bottom topography such as that found on continental shelves, in straits, atop ocean ridges, and around island chains. Strong internal tides and nonlinear internal waves are commonly found in the North Pacific, particularly in shallow seas, outer and inner shelves, and nearshore zones. Recently, a periodic fluctuation of seawater properties, nutrients and oxygen concentrations synchronous with the 18.6-year nodal tide has been observed in the subarctic and subtropical oceans in the North Pacific. Some studies have suggested that the 18.6-year nodal tide might regulate a basin wide climate mode in the North Pacific that has the potential to accelerate or decelerate climate warming depending on the phase. Given the key role played by ocean mixing in controlling biogeochemical interactions and global climate variability, it is our urgent task to elucidate mechanisms of ocean turbulent mixing processes and its impacts.

We propose a topic session that involves participation from multiple PICES committees and focuses on internal tides, nonlinear internal waves, ocean mixing processes, and their impacts on biogeochemistry, climate and marine ecosystems. Specifically, we would welcome presentations on topics such as (a) observational and numerical approaches to understand internal tides, nonlinear internal waves, ocean mixing processes and their distribution, (b) turbulent mixing impacts on biogeochemistry, climate and marine ecosystems, (c) future projections of North Pacific considering 18.6-year nodal tide.

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S9: HD Topic Session
Integration of science and policy for sustainable marine ecosystem services


Shang Chen (China), corresponding
Daniel K. Lew (USA)
Jungho Nam (Korea)

Invited Speakers:

The provisioning, cultural, regulating and supporting services are the major benefits people obtain from the coastal and marine ecosystems. The identification, quantification, valuation and management of ecosystem services are key scientific questions, and have attracted more concerns from both the major intergovernmental organizations(such as PICES, ICES, IMBeR, IPBES) and the environmental organizations (such as WWF, TNC, ESP). The goals of this session are: (1) to provide a venue for marine scientists and social scientists to exchange results from research on identification, quantification, valuation and management of ecosystem services, and (2) to provide a platform to share and discuss the integration of ecosystem service science into policy-making of marine affairs. This session will continue providing strong support to the TORs of HD committee and contribute a greater understanding of social and economic status of the North Pacific ecosystem and fill the gaps to achieve the FUTURE Objectives.

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S10: BIO Topic Session
Ocean acidification and deoxygenation and their impact on ocean ecosystems: Synthesis and next steps

Co-sponsor: ICES


Jim Christian (Canada)
Tsuneo Ono (Japan), corresponding
Silvana Birchenough (ICES)

Invited Speaker:
Shoshiro Minobe (Faculty of Science, Hokkaido University, Japan)

Studies of ocean acidification (OA) are showing progress, in particular, monitoring of oceanic acidification status (ca. pH, pCO2 and  aragonite,  calcite) in the various PICES countries has significantly progressed in recent years. Progress has also been achieved in the field of biological OA impact. The importance of interactions with other stressors (temperature, deoxygenation, etc.), interspecific interaction (e.g., OA effects on prey species), and biological ability to adapt to OA stress, are increasingly recognized. We welcome presentations from the fields of OA monitoring and impact experiments, to construct new perspective on present OA status in the North Pacific. Presentations on future projections are also welcome. We also welcome presentations about plans for further progress in our understanding, such as continuous carbon system monitoring by new technologies, new experimental studies for OA adaptation, and field observation of biological responses to existing OA and deoxygenation events.

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S11: MONITOR Topic Session
Influence of climate and environmental variability on pelagic and forage species


Matthew Baker (USA), corresponding
Sei-Ichi Saitoh (Japan)
Mary Hunsicker (USA)
Elizabeth (Ebett) Siddon (USA)

Invited Speakers:

Climate and environmental variability have profound effects on pelagic ecosystems from zooplankton to fish and invertebrate stocks. The dynamics of fish species within the pelagic environment may be particularly responsive to environmental drivers, including temperature and salinity, as well as biological drivers, such as prey production and phenology. In addition, differential species responses to environmental and biological drivers may alter fish condition and interactions. Understanding the mechanisms that drive pelagic fish dynamics is important for estimating fish survival and recruitment. This session aims to integrate research that elucidates mechanisms linking climate with recruitment, survival and condition of forage species, larval and juvenile pelagic stages of ground fish, and pelagic fishes more generally. Papers are encouraged in a wide range of topics relevant to environmental and biological conditions and pelagic species or stages, particularly those in the following areas: biophysical interactions; recruitment fluctuations in response to climate and environmental conditions; shifts in species dynamics, distribution and behavior related to environmental forcing; research on critical life history stages in the pelagic environment; and modeling approaches to improve understanding of environmental effects using climate hindcasts and time series analyses and/or forward projections and climate forecasts.

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S12: FIS Topic Session
Applying ecosystem considerations in science advice for managing highly migratory species

Co-sponsors: ISC and IATTC


Steve Teo (ISC USA), corresponding
Carolina Minte-Vera (IATTC)
Gerard DiNardo (USA)

Invited Speaker:
Yong Chen (School of Marine Sciences, University of Maine, USA)

This topic session will be convened by WG-34: Joint PICES-ISC Working Group on Oceanographic Conditions and the Distribution and Productivity of Highly Migratory Fish. Large-scale oceanographic processes and bioenergetic requirements determine the distribution and productivity of many pelagic fish populations in the North Pacific. For example, highly migratory species (HMS), such as albacore tuna (Thunnus alalungus) and Pacific sardine (Sardinops sagax), have environmental thresholds and preferences, as well as energetic requirements to sustain growth and survival that drive their distribution and productivity. Managing HMS has traditionally focused on maintaining the sustainability of targeted stocks and, as such, comprehensive data sets on the catches, biology and ecology of many exploited stocks exists. In many cases, there are limited quantitative data describing ecosystem impacts on HMS, social and economic impacts on HMS fisheries due to ecosystem variability, and limited formal consideration of the roles of external drivers (e.g., oceanographic variability) in the context of sustainability and governance. Beyond these limitations there is also the challenge to identify linkages and important relationships both within ecosystems (including exploited stocks), and across social, economic and governance facets of fisheries management. This workshop will provide an overview of contemporary research on the topic, including the identification of statistical modeling approaches that link spatially explicit environmental data (e.g., satellite derived SST) to distributional fish data (e.g., fishery-dependent and fishery-independent), methods to assess impacts of oceanographic variability on fish productivity and socioeconomic decision making, methodologies that explicitly incorporate environmentally driven dynamics into HMS stock assessments, and challenges facing governance when applying ecosystem considerations. Group discussion will help facilitate identification by the Joint Working Group of suitable methodologies for advancing fish stock assessment procedures and methodologies, as well as strategies for applying ecosystem considerations to HMS management.

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BIO Contributed Paper Session

Se-Jong Ju (Korea)
Debora Iglesias-Rodriguez (USA)

The Biological Oceanography Committee (BIO) has a wide range of interests spanning from molecular to global scales. BIO targets all organisms living in the marine environment including bacteria, phytoplankton, zooplankton, micronekton, benthos and marine birds and mammals. In this session, we welcome all papers on biological aspects of marine science in the PICES region. Contributions from early career scientists are especially encouraged.

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FIS Contributed Paper Session

Xianshi Jin (China)
Jackie King (Canada)

This session invites papers addressing general topics in fishery science and fisheries oceanography in the North Pacific and its marginal seas, except those covered by Topic Sessions sponsored by the Fishery Science Committee (FIS).

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HD Contributed Paper Session

Keith R. Criddle (USA)
Mitsutaku Makino (Japan)

This session invites papers addressing the promotion, coordination, integration and synthesis of research activities related to the contribution of the social sciences to marine science, and to facilitate discussion among researchers from both the natural and social sciences. We invite abstract submissions on any of these topics.

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MEQ Contributed Paper Session

Chuanlin Huo (China)
Thomas Therriault (Canada)

Papers are invited on all aspects of marine environmental quality research in the North Pacific and its marginal seas, except those covered by Topic Sessions sponsored by the Marine Environmental Quality Committee (MEQ).

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POC Contributed Paper Session

Emanuele Di Lorenzo (USA)
Yury I. Zuenko (Russia)

Papers are invited on all aspects of physical oceanography and climate in the North Pacific and its marginal seas, except those covered by Topic Sessions sponsored by the Physical Oceanography and Climate Committee (POC).

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GP: General Poster Session


Papers that do not fit any other topic sessions / workshops.

W1: BIO Workshop
Ecological roles of gelatinous zooplankton: Evaluation, integration and future prospects in a more gelatinous ocean


Shin-ichi Uye (Japan), corresponding
Chaolun Li (China)
Brian Hunt (Canada)
Richard Brodeur (USA)

Invited Speakers:
Russell Hopcroft (University of Alaska Fairbanks, USA)
Dhugal Lindsay (Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science & Technology (JAMSTEC))

Gelatinous zooplankton, consisting of taxonomically diverse groups such as cnidarians, ctenophores and pelagic tunicates, represent a conspicuous component of the zooplankton communities throughout the pelagic zone. Owing to their characteristic reproductive methods and high somatic growth rates, they can rapidly build a large population biomass, as typically demonstrated by recurrent blooms of cnidarian jellyfish (e.g. Aurelia, Chrysaora and Nemopilema) in the PICES region. Recent studies on their biology and ecology, particularly to elucidate the mechanisms of their problematic blooms, have enhanced our knowledge, yet there is still a large gap in understanding potential ecological roles of gelatinous zooplankton in pelagic ecosystems. Although it is inherently difficult to determine their biomass, spatio-temporal distributions and physiological rates, they may play important roles in transferring materials and energy from picoplankton and zooplankton up to commercially-important fish and other top trophic levels. This workshop seeks contemporary studies on gelatinous zooplankton to evaluate their functional roles. We invite contributions on diverse taxonomic groups and from diverse ecosystems. Studies using new technologies, such as acoustic and optical instruments, remotely-operated and autonomous vehicles, biochemical markers, and molecular approaches, are encouraged. We will discuss future trends of gelatinous zooplankton in the North Pacific region under observed and predicted environmental changes in the context of their ecological roles, and hope to facilitate international research collaborations on gelatinous zooplankton in the North Pacific and elsewhere.

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W2: FIS Workshop
PICES contribution to Central Arctic Ocean (CAO) ecosystem assessment (Second)


Sei-Ichi Saitoh (Japan), corresponding
Hyoung Chul Shin (Korea)
Lisa Eisner (USA)
Gordon Kruse (USA)

Invited Speaker:
Hein Rune Skjoldal (Institute of Marine Research, Norway)

The Central Arctic Ocean (CAO) is in rapid transition, largely driven by North Pacific change, has become accessible to a range of activities. Rapid loss of sea ice cover has opened up the Central Arctic Ocean (CAO) for potential fishing opportunities. Debate and policy initiatives have been launched for regulating fisheries that are anticipated to begin in the CAO. Scientific research in the CAO, however, remains scarce in contrast to an abundance of research in the neighboring North Pacific. To inform and support policy decisions in the CAO, an integrated ecosystem assessment is the foremost task. PICES joined with ICES and PAME for such an assessment by forming WG 39 with its mission period ending 2018. WG 39, despite its late start, intends to provide significant Pacific input for the assessment at the third meeting of the Joint Group in May 2018, and also to the final report expected toward the end of 2018. We propose two workshops in 2018. The first one, which is technical in nature and for experts, will be organized February/March in 2018 and this is mostly in preparation for the third meeting of the Joint Group. As a follow-up to this, a half day workshop is proposed to take place at PICES-2018 to consolidate our findings and advice, connect it to those from ICES and to report to the wider PICES community. The major theses of the second workshop at PICES-2018 will be: key locations in the Pacific Arctic and the critical processes to determine biological production; characterization of major changes for recent decades; ramifications for ecosystem monitoring and management in the region. One of the tasks for WG 39 in doing this will be to explore for and make use of a pool of databases, aided by the general findings of previous reports and literature survey.

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W3: TCODE Workshop
Development of a systematic approach to data management in PICES


Joon-Soo Lee (Korea), corresponding
Peter Chandler (Canada)
Igor Shevchenko (Russia)

Invited Speakers:

Since its establishment in 1992, PICES has produced observation data, experimental data, and model data for scientific purposes through expert group activities and projects, and analyzed the results to produce papers, reports, and data products. Some of the data are also available online. However, PICES data and data products have not been systematically managed and are expected to increase more and more in an unmanaged status in the future. In this regard, there is an urgent need to discuss how to manage the current PICES data and data products as well as how to manage them in the future. Therefore, this workshop aims to identify problems in the sustainable management and use of PICES data and data products, to seek better management structure and system, and to improve the linkage among PICES data producers, scientists and data managers.

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W4: POC Workshop
Synthesizing projected climate change impacts in the North Pacific

Co-sponsor: ICES


Anne Hollowed (USA), corresponding
Shin-ichi Ito (Japan)
Jacquelynne King (Canada)
Myron Peck (ICES)

Invited Speaker:
Taketo Hashioka (Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC))

Scientists have endeavored to project the implications of climate change on marine ecosystems throughout the North Pacific. We expect that many researchers will complete these projections by June 2018 in anticipation of the 4th Effects of Climate Change on the World’s Oceans symposium. A workshop is needed to compare and synthesize results from this international projection modeling effort. The workshop will provide a forum for discussions of: a) Projection outcomes under different modeling approaches; b) Opportunities for comparative studies looking at projected impacts on selected species or fisheries in different LMEs; c) How modeling teams addressed the uncertainty landscape including issues of scenario, parameter and model uncertainty; and d) The range of potential harvest strategies selected and their performance relative to different national value systems. We anticipate that a manuscript will be generated from this session that will be submitted to a peer reviewed journal.

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W5: MONITOR Workshop
Identifying common reference points and leading indicators of ecosystem change


Xiujuan Shan (China)
Mary Hunsicker (USA), corresponding
Vladimir Kulik (Russia)

Invited Speaker:
Caihong Fu (DFO, Canada)

Abrupt nonlinear change in ecosystem structure and function can dramatically alter human-derived benefits from the system and can have negative impacts on people’s livelihoods and well-being. A growing number of driver-response relationships in marine ecosystems are being identified as strongly nonlinear, indicating that they are potentially prone to inflection points and threshold dynamics. Better knowledge of where such thresholds occur can advance our ability to anticipate future conditions and critically inform what management actions can maximize ecological, social or economic benefits. Moreover, thresholds common across analogous systems can be used to develop robust sets of reference points to prevent ecosystem components from tipping into undesirable states. A major goal of WG-36 CERP is to ‘determine shapes or functional forms of driver - response relationships from available datasets, and quantify thresholds to identify potential ecosystem reference points’ in North Pacific ecosystems (TOR 4). The proposed workshop is an important step for completing this goal and for making comparisons among the focal ecosystems selected for WG-36 activities. The workshop will also allow WG-36 to make progress in ‘identifying ecosystem components that respond earliest to changes in biophysical drivers and could potentially serve as leading indicators of loss of resilience and ecosystem change’ (TOR 5). In addition, the proposed workshop will give WG-36 members an opportunity to work together to ensure that the methods and R code generated for the WG activities can be easily used by PICES member nations as well as other nations to identify potential target or limit reference points and early warning signs of ecosystem change. The specific objectives of the workshop are to: 1) Conduct analyses for TOR 4 to ‘determine shapes or functional forms of driver–response relationships from available datasets, and quantify thresholds to identify potential ecosystem reference points’ in North Pacific ecosystems. 2) Identify differences and commonalities among thresholds / ecosystem reference points in the focal ecosystems of WG-36 activities. 3) Select common methods for system-wide comparisons to identify leading indicators of ecosystem 4) Develop, test and share R code via shared GitHub repository that is generalizable for other ecosystems. 5) If time allows, begin applying leading indicator analyses to focal ecosystems of PICES member nations (TOR 5).

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W6: BIO Workshop
Regional evaluation of secondary production observations and application of methodology in the North Pacific


Akash Sastri (Canada), corresponding
Toru Kobari (Japan)

Invited Speaker:
Koichi Ara (Nihon University, Japan)

Zooplankton production represents a quantitative proxy for the functional response of marine ecosystems to regional and global climate change, because material and energy scattering in the lower food web is integrated by zooplankton communities. Although a variety of methodologies for measuring zooplankton production have been developed and applied over the last half century, our knowledge of which approaches are applicable to a diverse range of organisms and habitats remains limited. Recent advances in biochemical methods for measuring zooplankton production have been reviewed, however, such information is still lacking for the traditional methodologies. This workshop will share the current status on zooplankton production methodologies and measurements, to be reported by the working group members representative of each PICES nation. In addition, we also encourage presentations and discussion on advantages, applications and limitations of traditional methodologies on zooplankton production applicable to natural zooplankton populations and communities.

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W7: BIO Workshop
Diets, consumption, and abundance of marine birds and mammals in the North Pacific


Andrew Trites (Canada), corresponding
Tsutomu Tamura (Japan)
Yutaka Watanuki (Japan)
Robert Suryan (USA)

Invited Speakers:

The S-MBM of BIO is midway through a 5-year program to update the 2000 PICES Scientific Report on Predation by Marine Birds and Mammals in the Subarctic North Pacific Ocean. To date, we have held a successful workshop (2016) to frame the program and agree on general modelling approaches, spatial boundaries, time scales and other considerations (see PICES W6 Workshop Report: Consumption of North Pacific forage species by marine birds and mammals). Since our 2016 workshop, we initiated the agreed upon databases to estimate prey consumption, and will continue to add and verify data over the coming 12 months in anticipation of our workshop, when invited experts will review the compiled information. Obtaining this expert consensus on model input parameters through the proposed workshop process is a necessary and critical next step to ensure the success of our program to estimate the amounts of prey consumed by seabirds and marine mammals in the North Pacific. The workshop participants will advance finalizing our databases of diets, abundances, distributions, and energy requirements of 135 species of seabirds, and all 47 species of marine mammals in the 12 PICES eco-regions. During the workshop, the invited holders of data and knowledge on the feeding ecology of seabirds and marine mammals in the North Pacific will 1) review the data summaries compiled by S-MBM members, 2) identify data gaps and sources of missing information, and 3) assist in framing appropriate educated guesses on possible values for missing data. The workshop will be structured with two breakout groups (birds and mammals), where data are presented by individual species and consensus is obtained on their accuracy and completeness. This process will result in near-complete databases of diets, abundances, and energy requirements of marine birds and mammals in the North Pacific.

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Important Dates
June 30, 2018
  1. Early registration
July 15, 2018
Abstract Notification Deadlines
  1. Abstract acceptance notification
August 1, 2018
Support Notification Deadlines
  1. Financial support grant notification
August TBA
Confirmation Deadlines
  1. Confirm your presentations and attendance
  2. Confirm your financial support acceptance
October 24, 2018