Scientific Session Descriptions

1. Physical, Chemical, and Biological Connections between Coastal Zones (The Inner, Middle, Outer Shelf and Continental Slope)

Co-Chairs: Melanie Fewings (UC Santa Barbara)

Erika McPhee-Shaw (Moss Landing Marine Laboratories)

It has long been recognized that continental shelf waters and deep ocean waters have different dynamics. We now also recognize differences between the dynamics of sub-regions of the continental shelf itself,including the inner shelf, midshelf, outer shelf, and shelf slope. The outer shelf and slope may be influenced by a shelf break jet, slope-water intrusions, and deep-ocean eddies interacting with the shelf. On the inner shelf, where surface and bottom boundary layers overlap, bottom friction can influence a large part of the water column, and the geostrophic response to wind forcing is weak compared to the mid- and outer shelf. Dynamics near the coast can include a non-geostrophic baroclinic response to the diurnal sea breeze, the development of intense fronts, convergence/overlap of bottom and surface Ekman transport, and shoaling nonlinear internal waves that may drive a net circulation. Even offshore of the surf zone, circulation can be strongly affected by surface waves. The shelves in the California Current region are relatively narrow, so the different coastal zones can be close together in space. Transport between offshore waters and the coast is important for larval settlement since the larval stages of many species may be transported far from the coast but must come back to it to settle. There is some evidence that harmful algal blooms can be trapped against the coast (retentive circulation). Cross-margin transport and export or import to or from the deep sea can also be important for carbon and nutrient distributions, low-oxygen water masses, and pollutants. We invite observational and theoretical presentations addressing physical, biological, and chemical aspects of cross-shelf transport and details of interactions and connections between the shallow and deeper coastal zones.

2. Potential Impacts of Climate Change on California Current Ecosystems: Physics, Chemistry, and Biology

Co-Chairs: Bill Peterson (NOAA Fisheries)

Ryan Rykaczewski (NOAA UCAR)

We seek papers that discuss the relative influence of basin scale vs local changes in climate forcing on the physics and chemistry of the California Current, and how such changes might influence ecosystems of the California Current. As examples of what we seek, one could ask in which ways do/may the three major basin-scale oscillations (PDO, ENSO and NPGO) affect plankton and fish communities in the California Current. What is the relative importance of local, basin-scale, and global climate changes to the productivity of various ecosystem components? How might individual species respond to changes in the frequency and/or magnitude of the PDO or ENSO? Further, do these major oscillations downscale to locally measured changes in upwelling, temperature-salinity properties, nutrients, and oxygen of shelf and slope waters, and if so, in what ways?

3. Advances in Ecosystem Modeling in the N.E. Pacific

Co-Chairs: Al Hermann (NOAA)

Richard Dugdale (San Francisco State University)

  The rapid advance of CPU and GPU-based computing power, coupled with continuing refinements in numerical methods (cognitive power), drives an exponential increase in our ability to explore the evolution of model ecosystems. While there are fundamental limits on the predictability of real ecosystems, this increasing power can nonetheless serve to broaden and deepen our search for governing principles in marine ecology. This session invites contributions which describe progress in new approaches to ecosystem modeling of the Northeast Pacific, including (but not limited to): Eulerian, Lagrangian (IBM), size-structured, and genetic (self-selecting) models, and combinations thereof.

4. Oceanographic Processes in the Coastal Ocean-Estuary Transition Zone

Co-Chairs: Dave Sutherland (NOAA)

Jim Lerczak (Oregon State University)

Over the past several years, major programs have begun to study the connections between estuaries and the coastal ocean, emphasizing the interactions among physical, biological, chemical, and geological processes. This session invites papers that advance our understanding of this important transition region and identify key questions and directions for future research. Topics might include how estuarine outflows affect coastal ocean circulation, how species connect across these regions and the dynamical processes that regulate this exchange, how long term variability in coastal ocean properties influence estuarine systems, or how terrestrial influences (e.g., nitrate, pollution) brought to estuaries might impact the coastal ocean. Papers that contrast regions (Alaska, Pacific NW, No. CA, and So. CA) or scales (small vs. large estuaries, tidal to interannual time scales) are also welcome.

5. General Session

Chair: Clarissa Anderson (UC Santa Cruz)

We welcome any and all abstracts related to Eastern Pacific Oceanography and Ecology.