eEOVs – ecosystem Essential Ocean Variables Workshop

A workshop on defining and identifying eEOVs and enhancing collaboration in Southern Ocean ecosystem observations was hosted by Oscar Schofield (SOOS Co-chair) at Rutgers University (New Brunswick, USA 18 - 21 March 2014). Thirty international experts attended, with representatives from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, the Republic of Korea, the UK, the USA and the organisations GOOS, DOOS, IOCCG, IMOS, SCOR and SCAR, amongst others. This workshop contributes to the global effort of identifying eEOVs, which is being led by GOOS, using the process and concepts outlined in the Framework for Ocean Observing (FOO).

A significant outcome of the workshop was a common understanding about the attributes and definition of an eEOV and how one would be used to support the questions being addressed by an observing system. Identifying, developing and communicating eEOVs for the Southern Ocean is expected to be a continual process and it was not intended that all eEOVs would be resolved from this initial workshop. The workshop identified the requirement for standard methods to acquire field measurements, as well as acquiring, storing and managing the data collected by the system. Standard nomenclature for infrastructure or methods associated with an eEOV (e.g., equipment, platforms, measurements and model outputs) was also deemed important for future collaboration. These need to be considered as part of the design of each eEOV.

WhatIsAneEOVFigure: eEOV-to-Question Hierarchy: The hierarchy of the process required to move from discrete field measurements to data and products that address the overarching question of ecosystem change and its attribution. The interplay between data collection and different types of models is shown to the right. The triangle illustrates that the process may have 1-to-1 relationships between each level but, more likely, will have many elements from a lower level contributing to fewer synthetic elements at the next level, and that, on the whole, there is a general reduction in the number of elements from one level to the next. The observing system would have standard methods to collect measurements used in the eEOVs. The example illustrates how measurements of the acoustic backscatter can deliver estimates of abundance (eEOV) that help assess change in this ecosystem property. 

With limited time and resources, participants agreed eEOVs should be those variables with the greatest capacity for future scientific impact. To aid the selection process, a draft template, with associated assessment criteria, was developed with the aim of providing a relative ranking for potential variables. 

Several documents are currently under development to communicate more broadly the outcomes from the workshop. These include: a summary of the workshop outcomes; a scientific article; a policy article; and a submission for a SCOR Working Group on eEOVs in the Southern Ocean.  

For more details please contact Andrew Constable (SOOS Vice Chair).  
andrew dot constable at aad dot gov dot au


This workshop was funded by the International Council of Science (ISCU), Rutgers University, SCOR, SCAR and the Census of Antarctic Marine Life (CAML).

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