A MARBEF RMP workshop was held in IFM-GEOMAR in Kiel 27-29 March 2006
MARBEF aims to assess and monitor marine biodiversity in all waters, including the biota of oceanic pelagic habitats. The objective of this second workshop of the Responsive Mode Project (RMP) entitled "Integration of different methods to study patterns and changes in pelagic biodiversity in the open ocean along the mid-Atlantic Ridge" was to define and propose pelagic reference sites for the open ocean Atlantic.
This ambitious aim was quite daunting, and the group consisting of the host Uwe Piatkowski, and visitors Annelies Pierrot-Bults, Tone Falkenhaug, Olav Rune Godø, Filipe Porteiro and Odd Aksel Bergstad adopted a rather pragmatic approach.
The workshop discussed what would be understood by the term “reference site”, and based the discussion on previous definitions given in relevant literature from e.g. BIOMARE and OSPAR reports. Also considered were selection criteria, again based on conclusions and proposals from earlier work. Concrete recommendations were made considering current level of knowledge on spatial and temporal variation in biodiversity. Recognising the many scientific and socio-economic constraints on work in oceanic waters, the workshop concentrated on proposing realistic candidate sites, preferably locations that may be incorporated into established long-term monitoring efforts such as fishery resource surveys.
The report to MARBEF will specify these areas and suggest combination of current efforts to monitor fish stocks with comprehensive sampling of other biota.