GFI/BCCR Seminar | Mark R. Payne: Marine Ecological Climate Services: user-driven forecasts of life in the ocean
Marine Ecological Climate Services: user-driven forecasts of life in the ocean
Mark R. Payne (National Institute of Aquatic Resources (DTU-Aqua), Technical University of Denmark)
Marine scientists have long dreamed of forecasting life in the ocean, but after a century of trying, we have little to show for our efforts. However, recent years have seen a rapid development in the ability of earth system models to predict the physical state of the ocean on seasonal (3-6 months) and even decadal (5-10 years) time scales. Such forecasts are potentially of great value to society, as these are the time-scales where many important decisions are made. Here I review the rapidly emerging field of marine ecological forecasting that aims to generate such predictions of biological variables and develop so-called “Marine Ecological Climate Services”. I first examine existing ecological forecast products globally to identify the conditions where forecasts have been successfully developed. I then use these lessons to identify “low-hanging fruit” that can potentially be predicted and illustrate these approaches to prediction using examples of both successes and failures from my own work in Europe, including the distribution of Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) and blue whiting (Micromesistius poutassou), the productivity of herring (Clupea harengus) and citizen-science driven forecasts of Garfish (Belone belone) migration. Ensuring the usefulness of these forecast products requires close collaboration between actively engaged end-users and researchers and I discuss the importance of co-development. Finally, I look at future opportunities, approaches and applications, including the use of forecast information to support climate adaptation and sustainable development goals.