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Short minutes from the MAR-ECO International Steering Group, Oct 03

The MAR-ECO International Steering Group (SG) attended the Census of Marine Life events in Washington DC 23-24 October. Highlights from the Census of Marine Life Meetings, where MAR-ECO received substantial attention, may be found on

On 25 October, a SG meeting was held. Short minutes from the SG meeting, of common concern for MAR-ECO project participants, are provided here.
Participants at the SG meeting held at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History were Uwe Piatkowski, Michael Vecchione (host), Ricardo Santos, Monty Priede, Odd Aksel Bergstad, Elinor Bartle, and Tone Falkenhaug. Apologies: Ulf Båmstedt, Pascal Lorance, Olafur Astthorsson.

Items on the SG meeting agenda were:

9/03 Status overview.
a) Management, components, commitments.
b) Changes to SG membership
c) Field Phase proposal

Major conclusions and Action points:
1. The SG is generally happy with the progress and management of the project.
2. The status of all ten scientific components were reviewed (leadership, progress, resources). Some changes to leadership may be needed, and most components need additional resources, especially for the analysis phase.Some copmponentshave unsatisfactory progress and needs special attention.
3. It is essential to encourage PIs and partners to formulate and submit proposals.
4. The MAR-ECO SG will invite a Russian member.
5. The project is progressing according to the plans outlined in the Field Phase Proposal accepted by A.P. Sloan Foundation in June 2003.

10/03 The RV G.O. Sars cruise 2004.
a) Schedule, crew and planning process
b) Unresolved issues (ROV, AUV, associated longliner, moorings).

Main Conclusions and Action points:
1. The planning process is continuing and participant lists were reviewed and accepted for presentation.
2. Keys to species identification need to be available well before the cruise.
3. People from the Bergen Museum and IMR are working on the procedure for sample treatments onboard.
4. MAR-ECO can support cruise planning meetings. A planning meeting with Z1 and PN1 has high priority..
5. A deep ROV on the G.O.Sars cruise 2004 is essential.The secretariat is exploring options.
6. AUV: We have not succeeded in getting support for an AUV on the G.O.Sars cruise 2004.
7. The Norwegian Fishing Vessel Owners Association and the Norwegian Fishermen’s Association will partly support and are looking for opportunities for further support for chartering of a modern commercial longliner.

11/03 Potential new funding and ship-time proposals in support of science components.

Main Conclusions and Action points:
A list of proposals submitted to various funding agencies was presented. In addition, some specific national processes were discussed in some detail:

UK consortium: I.G. Priede
1. A NERC Consortium Application will be prepared by Southampton, Aberdeen, St Andrews and SAMS. The proposal will be submitted to NERC, November 2003. The proposal includes a focused study on the MAR-ECO central box with field work in 2005 and 2006: Sediment traps, remote sensing, acoustics.
2. In order to prepare the NERC proposal, M. Priede will need information from MAR-ECO partners on Bathymetry, results from MIR-dives, and on the progress of the RV D Carlos I proposal. Oceanlab has one PhD student related to the MAR-ECO project: Nicola King.

US consortium: M. Vecchione
1. An U.S. MAR-ECO proposal planning meeting was held at VIMS July 9-10, 2003. Deadline for submission to NSF is February. For further progress in the process, the consortium will need a new person to take the lead. Tracey Sutton would be asked to take on the task.
2. In 2002 the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service and the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research signed a collaborative agreement. MAR-ECO has been accepted as a concrete project for collaboration. Meeting was held with Mike Sissenwine (NOAA Fisheries director of Scientific Programs and Chief Science Advisor) at S. Natural Museum on October 22, 2003. Possibilities for a cruise with the new NOAA ship to the MAR in 2007 was mentioned. OAB will finish the draft action plan.
3. Two proposals have been submitted to NOAA OE to support US participation on G.O. Sars 2004.

German consortium: U. Piatkowski
1. A proposal has been submitted for ship-time on Meteor.
2. Other options for ship-time:
a) Apply for smaller vessels
b) Apply for money for analysing material that has been or will be collected on other ships.

The Netherlands
A. Pierrot-Bults will apply for a studentship from the Dutch Research Council in Jan/Feb 2004.

Portugal: R. Santos
1. Proposal for RV D. Carlos I cruise in 2004 has been submitted by the Portuguese-Norwegian group.
2. Proposal submitted to the Norway-Portugal Exchange Cultural Programme to support the visit of Portuguese scientists at IMR and Bergen Museum in 2004.
3. Ricardo will make a report on OASIS cruises to Sedlo seamount, to be put on the website.

12/03 Field phase grant from the Sloan Foundation. Review and revision of spending plan.
A revised budget for the Sloan Grant produced by Petter Baardsen at IMR was discusses, also spending plans from Bergen Museum and PO group.

Main Conclusions and Action points:
1. The revised MAR-ECO Field Phase budget was accepted.
2. Sub-group support: MAR-ECO can support sub-group planning meetings. The timing and agenda of meetings need to be flexible. PIs are asked to formulate concrete needs and apply to the MAR-ECO secretariat for support.
3. Data management incl.OBIS liasoning: A person from IMR, Norway will start working full time on MAR-ECO data management from 1 January 2004.
4. Museum collections: 60 000 USD of the Field phase budget are allocated to museum collections. The Bergen Museum has presented a spending plan for 45 000 of these. The spending plan was accepted by the SG.
5. The MAR-ECO Field phase workshop will be in Lisbon, Portugal, April-May 2005.
6. Oceanography services. A action document will be provided later by Henrik Søiland.
7. Public Outreach.
- The PO group has prepared a spending plan for the 97 000 USD, allocated to PO activities. The spending plan was accepted by the SG, but the PO group will be asked to make a more detailed plan.
- M.Vecchione: Plans for a permanent ocean exhibition at the Smithsonian Natural Museum. There will be space for rotating exhibitions, where a MAR-ECO exhibition could be placed.
- Elinor is working 50% on MAR-ECO until December, and thereafter only 20%.
- A proposal for a TV production on MAR-ECO by Norwegian Television (NRK) has been prepared for submission to the Sloan Foundation.
- A Deep Sea exhibition at Bergen Museum is being planned: The exhibition will have three modules: planning phase, field phase, and result phase. This should be a travelling exhibition: SG members were asked to find interested museums/aquaria etc. and inform PO group via the secretariat. A co-ordination meeting for exhibition contacts was suggested.
- MAR-ECO Posters should be distributed electronically among SG members.
- A European school network is being established, and representatives for the key schools will meet in Bergen in early November.

8. The final synthesis. We need a person to lead the process and to appoint a group. It was agreed to ask J.D.M. Gordon to start the process, and find participants for a group.

13/03 Review of field phase schedule.
Important events 2003-2004:
1. December 2003: Deep Sea Ecology Symposium at the Zoological Society of London
2. December 2003: Deep Sea Symposium New Zealand. OAB and Tone will have a MAR-ECO presentation and submit a paper.
3. G.O. Sars call in Aberdeen 6 June 2004
4. Cruise change in Horta, 3-4 July 2004
5. G.O. Sars at NORFISHING in Trondheim, August 2004
6. The Ocean Symposium on “European Marine Technology” in Aberdeen 2007: MAR-ECO should be represented.
7. Partners in the project are asked to inform the secretariat and/or PO group on further events.

14/03 EuroCoML and CoML
1. A meeting was held in Barcelona in October, led by Prof Ulf Lie, with the aim to explore the interest in a European CoML Committee. If it is established, the tasks of the committee would be promotional, supporting existing and new European-led CoML initiativse, targting funding agencies and the community at large.
2. On result of this process is that the three CoML projects CeDAMar, MAR-ECO and CheEss will submit a first outline for e Eurocores deep-sea ecology project to the European Science Foundation.

Relations with CoML:
The relationship with the CoML management and leadership is good. The text on MAR-ECO in the draft CoML Research Plan needed revision.

15/03 Next MAR-ECO Steering Group meeting
Date: November 2004

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