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Proceedings of OceanObs'09: Sustained Ocean Observations and Information for Society

PLENARY PAPERdoi:10.5270/OceanObs09.pp.20

Observation of Ocean Biology on a Global Scale: Implementing Bio-GOOS

John Gunn(1), Alex Rogers(2), Ed Urban(3)

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One of the key messages to come from the OceanObs'09 Conference was that the 1990's revolution in technology for observing ocean physics (e.g. Argo (Array for Real-time Geostrophic Oceanography) and remote sensing) provided the scope for a truly operational Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) for key ocean physics variables during the first decade of the 21st century. Over the same period however, there had been limited progress in development of biological components within GOOS, the expansion of the Continuous Plankton Recorder network and the development of an Ocean Tracking network being promising exceptions. Excitingly, there have been quantum advances in the technology to study biological components of ocean ecosystems over the last few years. These include microbial samplers employing genetic and optical systems to identify and count the lower levels of food webs; smart electronic tagging technologies that allow animals to be tracked, their habitats and feeding habits revealed, and their physiology monitored; acoustic sensors and associated processing software to undertake qualitative and quantitative studies of animals in the water column; and mobile and fixed observation systems to explore benthic habitats and processes. The potential for these technologies to be deployed over the next decade is explored, along with the desirable advances in sensor technology. The challenges to the development of a comprehensive Bio-GOOS program are also explored. The urgent need for enhanced data on the state of ocean ecosystems that are under pressure from multiple human stresses, demands that the ocean biology community work together, with some urgency, to drive implementation of Bio- GOOS. Mature technologies are available now, and several others may reach this status over the next decade, to make BioGOOS a feasible prospect over this period.

1Australian Antarctic Division, Channel Highway, Kingston Tasmania 7050, Australia
2Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, Regent's Park, London, NW1 4RY U.K
3Scientific Committee on Ocean Research, College of Earth, Ocean and Environment, Robinson Hall, University of Delaware, Newark, DE19716, U.S.A.

Correspondence should be addressed to E-mail: John.Gunn@aad.gov.au

This paper shall be cited as:

Gunn, J., Rogers, A. and Urban, E., (2010). "Observation of Ocean Biology on a Global Scale: Implementing Bio-GOOS" in Proceedings of OceanObs’09: Sustained Ocean Observations and Information for Society (Vol. 1), Venice, Italy, 21-25 September 2009, Hall, J., Harrison, D.E. & Stammer, D., Eds., ESA Publication WPP-306, doi:10.5270/OceanObs09.pp.20

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