From the onset, POGO focused strongly on the need for improved monitoring of marine life and their interactions with their physical and chemical environment.  To address the lack of a system for sustained, long-term, monitoring of marine biota and biological processes at the global scale, POGO convened a Biology Meeting to explore the requirements of such an observing system, and to recommend step-wise and organised implementation of elements of such a system, through the POGO institutions. Read more…

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During the three days of the meeting, the participants discussed what POGO could contribute towards achieving the requirements and goals of existing emerging biological programmes. Traditional and conventional observational techniques, as well as new and promising methods were discussed. The philosophy followed was that the proposed observations must serve the scientific and societal needs for large-scale ocean observations. The observational requirements were discussed in the context of the vast size spectrum of marine organisms, which ranges from microbial organisms to fish and mammals. The need to record marine biodiversity and the functional diversity in marine organisms was examined. Various types of sensors designed for biological observations, and observation platforms were discussed, ranging from satellites, research vessels, autonomous underwater vehicles, drifting and moored buoys and underwater observatories. Methods that are ready for immediate implementation, and those that merit further development towards implementation in the short to medium term were also treated. Methods that provide low-cost measurements at large scales were given high priority in the discussions.

The need to have data management and distribution systems that are suitable to address the requirements of biological observations was also dealt with. In view of the POGO commitment to enhancing observations in the Southern Hemisphere, the special issues and requirements pertaining to the Southern Hemisphere were also examined.

There was remarkable consensus among the participants of the meeting on the useful role that POGO could play in enhancing biological observations of the oceans. There was also agreement that sensor developments have brought biological oceanography to the stage where certain key variables could be measured in operational mode, at the global scale. It was agreed that biodiversity studies, on the other hand, were best addressed as a series of regional initiatives. Action plans were proposed to address both these aspects of biological oceanographic studies.

Click to read the “Dartington Report”

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