COI New Initiatives: Coastal Ecosystem Research in the Northwest Atlantic


Project Funded 2006:

The Initiative advocates the development of a research plan that will advance our ability to measure, monitor, and analyze the fundamental processes shaping the northwest Atlantic continental shelf ecosystem. The concept is inherently interdisciplinary and brings together PIs from multiple WHOI Departments who share common interests. The study region is the continental shelf from Nova Scotia to Cape Hatteras, comprising a complex physical and biogeochemical environment. The Initiative focuses on developing a coupled observation and modeling framework that will enable predictive understanding of seasonal-to-interannual, and ultimately decadal-to-climate-scale, variability in the continental shelf ecosystem. The science driver is the need to understand transports, fluxes, and transformational processes in the region. The primary goal of the Initiative is to develop a refined research framework that is sufficiently broad to be of interest to many WHOI scientists, yet sufficiently focused to have a goal that can be clearly articulated. This framework will integrate existing observational and modeling resources and promote a coordinated plan to acquire and focus the use of new resources. Funding for implementation will presumably come from a combination of federal, state and private sources. A key aspect of the Initiative will be to identify sub-components of the overall plan that can be implemented in a step-wise fashion, and to package those components in a manner suitable for presentation to a range of audiences. The Initiative has a specific geographic focus, but its conceptual basis is generic and portable - knowledge gained from this regional implementation will be broadly applicable to the global coastal ocean.