A global continuous plankton recorder programme

Plankton are the main food source in the majority of marine ecosystems and have a crucial role in climate change through primary production and the export of carbon to the deep ocean. Understanding how ocean biology and biogeochemical cycles contribute and respond to climate and other global change is a major challenge of high significance for the future of mankind. Given their importance it is a major concern that, with the exception of data collected by the Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) survey, our knowledge of plankton at ocean scales and over time is still rudimentary. Using ships of opportunity, the CPR survey has sampled the plankton for more than 75 years in the North Atlantic, aided more recently by sister surveys in Southern Ocean, North Pacific and Australasian waters. Monitoring plankton variability over large areas of oceanic and coastal water with the CPR is efficient and cost effective and is a powerful, proven tool for detecting and predicting oceanic impacts of both global and climate change. There is an urgent need to improve global coverage of plankton and provide data for modelling. To address this need we propose the development and implementation of an integrated and appropriately funded global CPR programme linked to SOOP/VOS. Our vision is to build regional surveys with common standards for sampling, analysis, data processing and sample storage that generate compatible and freely exchangeable data. It is envisaged that the resulting global network, of preferably instrumented CPR routes, would be closely associated with other traditional and new plankton sampling and analysing technologies, plus remote sensing and the Global Tracking Network (GTN). To develop this network it is proposed that SAHFOS should have a central role as a ‘Centre of Excellence’ for coordination, training and quality control, as well as the production of indicators, habitat niche modelling and other global outreach products.


Publication status:
Authors: Reid, Philip C., Bathmann, Ulrich, Batten, Sonia D., Brainard, Russell E., Burkill, Peter H., Carlotti, Francois, Chiba, Sanae, Conversi, Alessandra, Dickson, Robert R., Dooley, Harry, Edwards, Martin, Flinkman, Juha, Fukuchi, Mitsuo, Goes, Joaquim, Goni, Gustavo, Greene, Charles H., Hare, Jonathan A., Hays, Graeme C., Head, Erica, Hood, Raleigh R., Hosie, Graham, Hunt, Brian P.V., John, Anthony W.G., Jonas, Tanya D., Jossi, Jack W., Karlson, Bengt, Kim, Kuh Kim, Kirby, Richard R., Kitchener, John, Kobayashi, Donald, Lakkis, Sami, Llope, Marcos, Lopes, Rubens M., MacDiarmid, Alison, McQuatters-Gollop, Abigail, Malone, Tom, Matondkar, Prabhu, Muxagata, Eric, Pershing, Andrew, Richardson, Anthony J., Robertson, Don, Robinson, Karen, Sartimbul, Aida, Stenseth, Nils C., Sugisaki, Hiroya, Stevens, Darren, Vanden Berghe, Edward, Verheye, Hans, Vezzulli, Luigi, Ward, Peter

Editors: Hall, J., Stammer, D., Harrison, D.E.

On this site: Peter Ward
1 January, 2010
In: Hall, J., Stammer, D., Harrison, D.E. (eds.). Ocean Obs 09: Ocean information for society: Sustaining the benefits, realizing the potential, ESA Publications, 10 pp.