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HABs, Iron, Ferries, and Celebrations

SCOR, the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research, held its first annual meeting in 1957 and will celebrate its fiftieth anniversary with a symposium in Woods Hole, Massachusetts in 2008. Meanwhile, SCOR has moved its secretariat from Johns Hopkins University to the University of Delaware.

Its annual Executive Committee Meeting of 2007 took place in Norway in August. Many ideas and decisions were discussed and made at this meeting. The following are among those that are of interest from a (bio)geochemist's point of view.

The Legacy of in situ Iron Enrichments: Data Compilation and Modeling

The light went on green for initial funding of Working Group 131 with the above title. The money will be used to compile data from ten iron enrichment experiments and three natural fertilization experiments. The second phase, for which a proposal will be submitted at a later stage, will concern modeling with these data. This would address aspects like physical mixing, phytoplankton productivity, iron chemistry, CO2 budgeting, nutrient uptake ratios, and DMS(P) processes.

Land-based Nutrient Pollution and the Relationship to Harmful Algal Blooms in Coastal Marine Systems

Potentially very interesting is this new working group, which deals with the topic more popularly known as "red tides". Red tides are major ecosystem disturbances that affect a wide range of organisms and also often have a profound impact on local tourism. The idea for this working group in itself was approved, but no funding is available yet.

Instruments on commercial ships

Also intriguing is an idea presented at the meeting in Bergen to place oceanographic instruments on commercial ships. This is something that the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, U.K. has been doing for quite some time now, with great success, on various ferries.

An example is the Red Funnel ferry which shuttles back and forth between Southampton and Cowes on the Isle of Wight and measures chlorophyll. The so-called FerryBox network is an EU-funded projects and encompasses nine other European research partners. See http://www.ferrybox.com/ for more information. To this end, SCOR will work with the Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans (POGO; http://www.ocean-partners.org/) which is currently managed predominantly from Plymouth in the United Kingdom. For more information on SCOR, see http://www.scor-int.org/

Angelina Souren
Associate Editor for the Geochemical News
Southampton, United Kingdom