Published 09.02.2018 - Updated 09.02.2018

Climate vulnerability and resilience in the most valuable North American fishery

Climate change is impacting global fisheries and societies that depend on them. Identifying climate adaptation measures requires understanding of how environmental changes and management policies interact in driving fishery productivity. Coincident with the recent exceptional warming of the northwest Atlantic Ocean and removal of large predatory fish, the American lobster has become the most valuable fishery resource in North America. A new PNAS paper by Arnault Le Bris et al. shows that interactions between warming waters, ecosystem changes, and differences in conservation efforts led to the simultaneous collapse of the lobster fishery in southern New England and record-breaking landings in the Gulf of Maine. The results demonstrate that sound, widely adopted fishery conservation measures based on fundamental biological principles can help capitalize on gains and mitigate losses caused by global climate change.

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Published 01.02.2018 - Updated 01.02.2018

Global Change in Marine Systems: Societal and Governing Responses – a new publication by the IMBeR Human Dimensions Working Group (HDWG)

Marine social and ecological systems are facing multiple challenges due to global change. The IMBeR Human Dimensions Working Group’s recently published book “Global Change in Marine Systems: Societal and Governing Responses”, examines some of the actions taken in response to an environmental or other impact resulting from global change in 20 case studies from a range of marine systems around the world. The "I-ADApT" analytical decision support tool developed by the HDWG to help decision makers consider possible responses to global change, based on experiences elsewhere was applied to the case studies. Assessment of the societal and governing responses, highlighted similarities and differences between “the good, the bad and the ugly” - successful, and less successful, responses. Beth Fulton says “…This is the kind of go-to guide that will see us jump from simply identifying problems to doing something about it and finding our way to robust solutions." Rosemary Ommer: “While emphasizing on the importance of in-depth disciplinary perspectives, it also applies an innovative framework for cross-disciplinary analysis, which the governability of these systems requires. Thus, the book has important lessons for policy makers, management practitioners and academics alike." Read the full reviews here


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Published 23.01.2018 - Updated 23.01.2018

New IMBeR Scientific Steering Committee members

IMBeR is very pleased to welcome the following new members who have just joined its Scientific Steering Committee: Chris Cvitanovic (Early Career Rep.), Oscar Iribarne, Olav Sigurd Kjesbu, Frank Muller-Karger, Alice Newton, Suvaluck Satumanatpan, and David VanderZwaag. They come to IMBeR from an array of marine disciplines with wide and varied research interests, and a staggering amount of expertise and experience!

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank Alida Bundy, Ratana Chuenpagdee, Masao Ischii, Tatiana Rynearson and Svein Sundby who are rotating off, for their amazing contributions to IMBeR over the years that they served on the SSC.

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Published 29.11.2017 - Updated 29.11.2017

Climate-driven changes in functional biogeography of Arctic marine fish communities

The distribution of fish species in the Barents Sea is changing due to increasing temperatures and reduced sea ice cover. We were eager to know if shifts in species composition and distribution are also reflected in changes in ecosystem functioning, i.e., in the way important biological and biogeochemical processes work. The warmer temperatures and reduction in sea ice coverage are rapidly altering how marine communities function in the Barents Sea. The rapid changes in functional characteristics of Arctic communities indicate that it is not only the species that are changing, as previous studies had shown, but the way the ecosystem functions is also changing. The functional characteristics associated with warmer boreal fish species are quickly replacing the functional characteristics associated with the colder Arctic fish species. Boreal and Arctic communities each previously covered about 50% of the Barents Sea, but the Arctic communities were reduced to 20% of the region during the recent warming period.

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Published 20.11.2017 - Updated 20.11.2017

The 2016-2025 IMBeR Science Plan and Implementation Strategy has been ratified!

After an intensive consultation and review process that began in 2012, the IMBeR Science Plan and Implementation Strategy (SPIS) has now been sanctioned by IMBeR’s sponsors – the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR) and Future Earth. The SPIS outlines IMBeR´s research agenda until 2025, towards its vision of Ocean sustainability under global change for the benefit of society.

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Published 23.10.2017 - Updated 23.10.2017

New CLIOTOP special issue - Tunas and their fisheries: safeguarding sustainability in the twenty-first century

Tuna are one of the pelagic species central to IMBeR´s CLIOTOP regional programme. The relationship of tunas to their environment has been studied for decades and is increasingly important as the effects of climate change become more apparent in the pelagic environment. Recent studies relating climate change to changes in movements and distributions of tunas are based on physiological studies on tunas and awareness of species-specific suitable habitats. This special issue focuses on these commercially and ecologically important species, with contributions on species, life history stages, fisheries, and bycatch, with the following contributions.

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Published 28.09.2017 - Updated 28.09.2017

Expanding marine predator isotope work: community-level metrics, mercury isotopes, and data-model linkages

Ecological applications of stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis are rapidly expanding through the analysis of metadata. Recent efforts of the IMBeR CLIOTOP Task Team on Marine Predator Isotopes have focused on finalising an open-access data paper and three research papers that present novel findings of global scale, spatial and temporal analyses on migratory tuna muscle isotopes. The task team recently met in Brest, France to discuss novel ways to expand our ecological understanding of the ocean. The main approaches included formulating community level metrics, using isotopes of mercury, and finding practical ways to link isotopic data with ecosystem and biogeochemical models.

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Published 24.08.2017 - Updated 24.08.2017

Emergent constraints on projections of declining primary production in the tropical oceans

Marine primary production by phytoplankton provides the main source of food and energy to the marine food web, and influences the concentration of atmospheric CO2. Projections of how such primary production will respond to climate change are currently highly uncertain with models projecting both increases and declines of up to 20% by 2100. This uncertainty is mainly driven by the sensitivity of tropical ocean primary production to climate change, with the latest models suggesting 21st century tropical declines of between 1 and 30%. A new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change by Lester Kwiatkowski, Laurent Bopp, Olivier Aumont and others, identifies a novel way to reduce the uncertainty associated with projections of marine primary production. The study shows that across a large ensemble of models there is a consistent relationship between the long-term sensitivity of ocean primary production to climate change and the interannual sensitivity of primary production to El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Models that are highly sensitive to interannual climate variability are also highly sensitive to long-term climate change. By using this relationship in combination with satellite-based observations of the historical interannual sensitivity of primary production, the authors were able to constrain projections of the long-term climate impact on primary production.

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Published 07.09.2017 - Updated 07.09.2017

Governing fisheries through the critical decade: the role and utility of polycentric systems

The next 10 years are considered a critical decade for fisheries. Declining fish stocks in combination with mounting climate pressure are likely to lead to significant and adverse socio-ecological impacts, threatening sustainability. Responding to these challenges requires modes of governance that are capable of dealing with the complexity and uncertainty associated with the world’s fisheries and their ecosystems. While a range of governance frameworks exist, the concept of polycentric governance has gained prominence in the environmental sector and is posited as a key principle underpinning the resilience of complex socio-ecological systems. However, the application of polycentric governance to fisheries management has been seldom explored. To address this, a new paper in Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries by Chris Cvitanovic, Alistair Hobday, Ingrid van Putten and others reviewed the literature on polycentric governance to elucidate its potential value in improving the outlook for fisheries and their associated ecosystems. They identify a number of characteristics unique to polycentric governance arrangements that overcome known limitations in other forms of governance - polycentric systems are highly participatory and promote the broadest levels of stakeholder involvement, they increase policy freedom at the local level, and they improve the spatial fit between knowledge, action and socio-ecological contexts to ensure that governance responses are implemented at the most appropriate scale. Through fisheries case-studies, they then demonstrate that these characteristics are important in helping fisheries respond to complex challenges, and articulate future research needs that should be addressed to understand the conditions under which polycentric governance systems are most suited, and the ways in which they can be operationalised most effectively.

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Published 15.08.2017 - Updated 15.08.2017

A global science–business initiative for ocean stewardship

The oceans are under considerable pressure from a wide variety of anthropogenic activities. Addressing the challenge of ocean sustainability necessitates collaboration between multiple actors. A recent paper by Henrik Österblom et al investigates the process of identifying the “keystone actors” in marine ecosystems – specifically global fisheries and aquaculture corporations - and engaging with them to explore how together they could promote transformative change, that could alter the international seafood business, and support global ocean sustainability. The authors established a global science-business coalition “Seafood Business for Ocean Stewardship” (SeaBOS) with the CEO’s of some of the largest seafood businesses to work together towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, starting with making the seafood industry more sustainable.

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Published 19.06.2017 - Updated 19.06.2017

2019 IMBeR OSC will be held in Brest, France

IMBeR is delighted to announce that its 2nd Open Science Conference will be held in Brest, France in 2019.
In some ways, this is a bit like going home – as Brest hosted the IMBeR International Project Office at the European Institute for Marine Sciences (IUEM) from 2005-2012. We look forward to working with the local scientific community and staff of the Campus Mondial de la Mer, to organise a great event in 2019.
We would like to thank all those who submitted bids to host the event. You gave us a difficult choice!

Watch this space for more details about the 2019 IMBeR OSC!

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Published 02.06.2017 - Updated 26.07.2017

Deadline to submit abstracts for IMBIZO5 has been extended to 15 June!

IMBIZOs are IMBeR´s flagship conferences and IMBIZO5 is the fifth in the series. They are limited to about 120 participants, which we have found is a good size for stimulating discussions. Participants are selected on the relevance of their abstracts, so you must submit one to be considered.

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Published 20.03.2017 - Updated 20.03.2017

Tackle global change challenges using I-ADApT

Ratana Chuenpagdee, leader of the Too Big To Ignore (TBTI) project and member of IMBeR’s Scientific Steering Committee and Human Dimensions Working Group, gave a plenary talk at the ICES/PICES Symposium on the Drivers of Dynamics of Small Pelagic Fish Resources (March 2017, Victoria, BC). The title of her presentation was Small fish, big stake: Vulnerability and adaptation of small-scale small pelagic fisheries to global changes.

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Published 23.02.2017 - Updated 28.02.2017

IMBIZO 5: Marine biosphere research for a sustainable ocean: Linking ecosystems, future states and resource management

Abstract submission and registration is now open for the IMBeR IMBIZO 5!  We will follow the proven IMBIZO format of three parallel workshops with joint plenary and poster sessions. To ensure good discussions and interactions, the number of participants is limited to about 40 per workshop. For a diversity of scientific interests, selection willl be based on the research interests and abstracts submitted by would-be attendees. Choose a workshop and submit an abstract soon!

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Published 07.12.2016 - Updated 07.12.2016

The 2016 PICES Annual Science Meeting and 25-year anniversary celebration

IMBER was well represented at the 2016 PICES Annual Science Meeting (ASM) that was held in San Diego, CA, USA, from 2 - 11 November. It was a special meeting as PICES was celebrating its 25th anniversary, so the meeting included a look back at where they have been as well as where they are going.


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Published 30.11.2016 - Updated 30.11.2016

Global patterns and trends of tuna isotopes

Stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis is a common tool to estimate trophic position and examine habitat patterns of a range of coastal and marine predators, but due to the extensive oceanic habitat and logistics required to conduct wide-scale sampling, global comparisons have been limited to date. The CLIOTOP 2016-01 ‘Tuna Isotopes’ Task Team recently convened two workshops in Hobart, Australia to draft two scientific papers. 

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Published 17.11.2016 - Updated 18.11.2016

East China Normal University to host the IMBER Regional Project Office for a further three years

A ceremony to mark the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between IMBER and the East China Normal University (ECNU) was held on 20 October 2016 at ECNU in Shanghai, China. This MOU relates to the renewal to host and support the IMBER Regional Project Office (RPO) at the State Key Laboratory of Estuarine and Coastal Research (SKLEC) at ECNU for an additional three years. Carol Robinson, IMBER Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) Chair and Rongming Wang, ECNU Vice President, signed the MOU on behalf of IMBER and ECNU.

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Published 01.11.2016 - Updated 01.11.2016

Registration is now open for the 2017 ESSAS Open Science Meeting

ESSAS will hold its 3rd Open Science Meeting from 11-15 June 2017 in Tromsø, Norway. The theme of the meeting is Moving in, out and across the Subarctic and Arctic marine ecosystems: shifting boundaries of water, ice, flora, fauna, people and institutions.

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Published 05.10.2016 - Updated 19.10.2016

Call for bids to host 2019 IMBER Open Science Conference

IMBER plans to hold its second Open Science Conference (OSC) in 2019 and is requesting proposals to host the OSC.  We anticipate that between 250 and 500 people will attend. Bids should be submitted by 1 April 2017 and should include information given in this article.

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Published 22.09.2016 - Updated 07.03.2017

ESSAS 3rd International Open Science Meeting

Moving in, out and across the subarctic and Arctic marine ecosystems: shifting boundaries of water, ice, flora, fauna, people and institutions

ESSAS (Ecosystem Studies of Subarctic and Arctic Seas) will hold its 3rd Open Science Meeting 11-15 June 2017 at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Tromsø, Norway. Registration to attend the Meeting will open soon.

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Published 12.09.2016 - Updated 14.09.2016

Our new website

IMBER is in the process of taking on the next 10 years. After 10 years, a new science and implementation strategy is prepared, and a new logo and revision of the name is under way to reflect the new strategy. This new web site will be the place to get to know IMBER, to present news, in short and in in-depth articles, and will be developed to function as archive for previous publications and event reports. The intention is to produce this site to provide information and contacts within and about the IMBER project.

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Published 09.09.2016 - Updated 09.09.2016

IMBER - Future Earth Norway workshop

Research has an important role to play in providing our policy makers and communities with the knowledge base required to secure or achieve sustainable oceans, including research on the structure and functioning of linked ocean and human systems, on interactions of different drivers of change, on thresholds, and on social-ecological dynamics. 

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Published 08.09.2016 - Updated 09.09.2016

Release of SOCAT Version 4 – The first annual release using automated data upload

The Surface Ocean CO2 Atlas (SOCAT) is a synthesis activity by the international marine carbon research community (>100 contributors). SOCAT version 4 has 18.5 million quality-controlled, surface ocean fCO2 (fugacity of carbon dioxide) observations with an accuracy of better than 5 μatm from 1957 to 2015 for the global oceans and coastal seas. Automation of data upload and initial data checks speeds up data submission and allows annual releases of SOCAT from version 4 onwards.

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Published 08.09.2016 - Updated 08.09.2016

The IMBER ClimEco5 Summer School

Towards more resilient oceans: Predicting and projecting future changes in the ocean and their impacts on human societies

The IMBER ClimEco5 summer school was held in Natal Brazil from 10-17 August 2016: It was attended by 65 participants from 27 countries, and 10 lecturers, chosen for their expertise in relevant interdisciplinary topics.

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Published 07.09.2016 - Updated 09.09.2016

The new Journal of Ocean Law and Governance in Africa (JOLGA) seeks contributions relating to marine law or ocean governance in Africa

The adoption of the 2050 Africa Integrated Maritime (AIM) Strategy by the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government on the 31st of January 2014 marked a sea change in Africa’s consciousness of its maritime domain. The implementation of the Strategy will require tackling a vast range of governance and regulatory challenges. While doing so, numerous opportunities will arise to develop the fields of marine law, maritime law and ocean governance to support the sustainable growth of the African blue economy. 


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Published 24.08.2016 - Updated 24.08.2016

New article on the South China Sea dispute

Fishing, not oil, is at the heart of the South China Sea dispute.

By Clive Schofield, Rashid Sumaila, and William Cheung

Contrary to the view that the South China Sea disputes are driven by a regional hunger for seabed energy resources, the real and immediate prizes at stake are the region’s fisheries and marine environments that support them.

It is also through the fisheries dimensions to the conflict that the repercussions of the recent ruling of the arbitration tribunal in the Philippines-China case are likely to be most acutely felt

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Published 15.08.2016 - Updated 15.08.2016



Four main goals:

  1. Introduction of new WG members and their participation in HDWG activities
  2. Discussion of the new IMBER Science Plan and Implementation Strategy and development of a Work Plan for next phase of the IMBER HDWG, representing the interests of all members
  3. Continued development and future of I-ADApT
  4. Funding and collaborations adn new members for 2018
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