Working Group 36: Common Ecosystem Reference Points across PICES Member Countries
Terms of Reference
  1. Outline each country’s mission, goals, and governmental science plans that point to the establishment of reference points across PICES member nations, and identify those that are comparable. (Intersessional / Yr1)
  2. Summarize previous efforts identifying data availability for geographic areas and time periods of particularly strong climate influence and dependence on marine systems within specific North Pacific ecosystems, fish stocks, and fishing communities. This will build upon indicators identified via WG-19, WG-28, S-HD and WG-35 (NPESR-3). Determine a subset (or not) of ecosystems and indicators that will be the focus of WG activities. (Intersessional / Yr 1)
  3. Summarize and select previous methods for determining thresholds (both non-linear and societal limits) in ecosystem indicators. This would include statistical and objective-based approaches (Intersessional / Yr 1)
  4. Determine shapes or functional forms of driver - response relationships from available datasets, and quantify thresholds to identify potential ecosystem reference points. (Yr 2)
  5. Identify ecosystem components that respond earliest to changes in biophysical drivers and could potentially serve as leading indicators of loss of resilience and ecosystem change. (Yr 3)
  6. Develop a “heuristic model” to examine drivers (climate forcing, fishing) and ecosystem response using selected ecosystem reference points for member nations. (Yr 3)
  7. Publish final report.
Annual Meetings


2020, 2019, 2018, 2017

Session and Workshop Summaries

S6, Identifying thresholds and potential leading indicators of ecosystem change: The role of ecosystem indicators in ecosystem-based management
W13, Common ecosystem reference points

W5, Identifying common reference points and leading indicators of ecosystem change

S3, Below and beyond maximum sustainable yield: Ecosystem reference points

Symposia / Inter-sessional Workshops

W11, Quantifying thresholds in driver-response relationships to identify reference points, 2018, PICES/ICES/IOC/FAO 4th Symposium on Effects of climate change on the world's oceans


Summer 2018, Vol. 26, No. 2
ECCWO-4 Workshop on Quantifying thresholds in driver-response relationships to identify reference points

Journal Papers
Council additionally approved US$2500 for Open Access fees for
Quantifying ecosystem responses to environmental and human pressures in the marine ecosystem off the west coast of Vancouver Island (Jennifer L. Boldt, Elliott L. Hazen, Mary E. Hunsicker, Caihong Fu, R. Ian Perry, Xiujuan Shan).
Ecological Indicators,Vol. 132, 2021
Final Product
PICES Members as of January 2022