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  1. Abstract

    The dynamics of marine systems at decadal scales are notoriously hard to predict—hence references to this timescale as the “grey zone” for ocean prediction. Nevertheless, decadal-scale prediction is a rapidly developing field with an increasing number of applications to help guide ocean stewardship and sustainable use of marine environments. Such predictions can provide industry and managers with information more suited to support planning and management over strategic timeframes, as compared to seasonal forecasts or long-term (century-scale) predictions. The most significant advances in capability for decadal-scale prediction over recent years have been for ocean physics and biogeochemistry, with some notable advances in ecological prediction skill. In this paper, we argue that the process of “lighting the grey zone” by providing improved predictions at decadal scales should also focus on including human dimensions in prediction systems to better meet the needs and priorities of end users. Our paper reviews information needs for decision-making at decadal scales and assesses current capabilities for meeting these needs. We identify key gaps in current capabilities, including the particular challenge of integrating human elements into decadal prediction systems. We then suggest approaches for overcoming these challenges and gaps, highlighting the important role of co-production of tools and scenarios, to build trust and ensure uptake with end users of decadal prediction systems. We also highlight opportunities for combining narratives and quantitative predictions to better incorporate the human dimension in future efforts to light the grey zone of decadal-scale prediction.

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  2. Abstract

    The dispersal of dissolved iron (DFe) from hydrothermal vents is poorly constrained. Combining field observations and a modeling hierarchy, we find the dispersal of DFe from the Trans‐Atlantic‐Geotraverse vent site occurs predominantly in the colloidal phase and is controlled by multiple physical processes. Enhanced mixing near the seafloor and transport through fracture zones at fine‐scales interacts with the wider ocean circulation to drive predominant westward DFe dispersal away from the Mid‐Atlantic ridge at the 100 km scale. In contrast, diapycnal mixing predominantly drives northward DFe transport within the ridge axial valley. The observed DFe dispersal is not reproduced by the coarse resolution ocean models typically used to assess ocean iron cycling due to their omission of local topography and mixing. Unless biogeochemical models account for fine‐scale physics and colloidal Fe, they will inaccurately represent DFe dispersal from axial valley ridge systems, which make up half of the global ocean ridge crest.

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  3. Abstract

    The Observing Air–Sea Interactions Strategy (OASIS) is a new United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development programme working to develop a practical, integrated approach for observing air–sea interactions globally for improved Earth system (including ecosystem) forecasts, CO2 uptake assessments called for by the Paris Agreement, and invaluable surface ocean information for decision makers. Our “Theory of Change” relies upon leveraged multi-disciplinary activities, partnerships, and capacity strengthening. Recommendations from >40 OceanObs’19 community papers and a series of workshops have been consolidated into three interlinked Grand Ideas for creating #1: a globally distributed network of mobile air–sea observing platforms built around an expanded array of long-term time-series stations; #2: a satellite network, with high spatial and temporal resolution, optimized for measuring air–sea fluxes; and #3: improved representation of air–sea coupling in a hierarchy of Earth system models. OASIS activities are organized across five Theme Teams: (1) Observing Network Design & Model Improvement; (2) Partnership & Capacity Strengthening; (3) UN Decade OASIS Actions; (4) Best Practices & Interoperability Experiments; and (5) Findable–Accessible–Interoperable–Reusable (FAIR) models, data, and OASIS products. Stakeholders, including researchers, are actively recruited to participate in Theme Teams to help promote a predicted, safe, clean, healthy, resilient, and productive ocean.

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  4. Abstract

    Marine zooplankton are key players in pelagic food webs, central links in ecosystem function, useful indicators of water masses, and rapid responders to environmental variation and climate change. Characterization of biodiversity of the marine zooplankton assemblage is complicated by many factors, including systematic complexity of the assemblage, with numerous rare and cryptic species, and high local-to-global ratios of species diversity. The papers in this themed article set document important advances in molecular protocols and procedures, integration with morphological taxonomic identifications, and quantitative analyses (abundance and biomass). The studies highlight several overarching conclusions and recommendations. A primary issue is the continuing need for morphological taxonomic experts, who can identify species and provide voucher specimens for reference sequence databases, which are essential for biodiversity analyses based on molecular approaches. The power of metabarcoding using multi-gene markers, including both DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) and RNA (Ribonucleic Acid)templates, is demonstrated. An essential goal is the accurate identification of species across all taxonomic groups of marine zooplankton, with particular concern for detection of rare, cryptic, and invasive species. Applications of molecular approaches include analysis of trophic relationships by metabarcoding of gut contents, as well as investigation of the underlying ecological and evolutionary forces driving zooplankton diversity and structure.

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  5. Abstract

    Characterization of species diversity of zooplankton is key to understanding, assessing, and predicting the function and future of pelagic ecosystems throughout the global ocean. The marine zooplankton assemblage, including only metazoans, is highly diverse and taxonomically complex, with an estimated ~28,000 species of 41 major taxonomic groups. This review provides a comprehensive summary of DNA sequences for the barcode region of mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I (COI) for identified specimens. The foundation of this summary is the MetaZooGene Barcode Atlas and Database (MZGdb), a new open-access data and metadata portal that is linked to NCBI GenBank and BOLD data repositories. The MZGdb provides enhanced quality control and tools for assembling COI reference sequence databases that are specific to selected taxonomic groups and/or ocean regions, with associated metadata (e.g., collection georeferencing, verification of species identification, molecular protocols), and tools for statistical analysis, mapping, and visualization. To date, over 150,000 COI sequences for ~ 5600 described species of marine metazoan plankton (including holo- and meroplankton) are available via the MZGdb portal. This review uses the MZGdb as a resource for summaries of COI barcode data and metadata for important taxonomic groups of marine zooplankton and selected regions, including the North Atlantic, Arctic, North Pacific, and Southern Oceans. The MZGdb is designed to provide a foundation for analysis of species diversity of marine zooplankton based on DNA barcoding and metabarcoding for assessment of marine ecosystems and rapid detection of the impacts of climate change.

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  6. Abstract

    We present a new approach for quantifying the bioavailability of dissolved iron (dFe) to oceanic phytoplankton. Bioavailability is defined using an uptake rate constant (kin‐app) computed by combining data on: (a) Fe content of individual in situ phytoplankton cells; (b) concurrently determined seawater dFe concentrations; and (c) growth rates estimated from the PISCES model. We examined 930 phytoplankton cells, collected between 2002 and 2016 from 45 surface stations during 11 research cruises. This approach is only valid for cells that have upregulated their high‐affinity Fe uptake system, so data were screened, yielding 560 single cellkin‐appvalues from 31 low‐Fe stations. We normalizedkin‐appto cell surface area (S.A.) to account for cell‐size differences.

    The resulting bioavailability proxy (kin‐app/S.A.) varies among cells, but all values are within bioavailability limits predicted from defined Fe complexes. In situ dFe bioavailability is higher than model Fe‐siderophore complexes and often approaches that of highly available inorganic Fe′. Station averagedkin‐app/S.A. are also variable but show no systematic changes across location, temperature, dFe, and phytoplankton taxa. Given the relative consistency ofkin‐app/S.A. among stations (ca. five‐fold variation), we computed a grand‐averaged dFe availability, which upon normalization to cell carbon (C) yieldskin‐app/C of 42,200 ± 11,000 L mol C−1 d−1. We utilizekin‐app/C to calculate dFe uptake rates and residence times in low Fe oceanic regions. Finally, we demonstrate the applicability ofkin‐app/C for constraining Fe uptake rates in earth system models, such as those predicting climate mediated changes in net primary production in the Fe‐limited Equatorial Pacific.

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  7. Abstract

    Marine plastic debris floating on the ocean surface is a major environmental problem. However, its distribution in the ocean is poorly mapped, and most of the plastic waste estimated to have entered the ocean from land is unaccounted for. Better understanding of how plastic debris is transported from coastal and marine sources is crucial to quantify and close the global inventory of marine plastics, which in turn represents critical information for mitigation or policy strategies. At the same time, plastic is a unique tracer that provides an opportunity to learn more about the physics and dynamics of our ocean across multiple scales, from the Ekman convergence in basin-scale gyres to individual waves in the surfzone. In this review, we comprehensively discuss what is known about the different processes that govern the transport of floating marine plastic debris in both the open ocean and the coastal zones, based on the published literature and referring to insights from neighbouring fields such as oil spill dispersion, marine safety recovery, plankton connectivity, and others. We discuss how measurements of marine plastics (bothin situand in the laboratory), remote sensing, and numerical simulations can elucidate these processes and their interactions across spatio-temporal scales.

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  8. Abstract We conducted a mesocosm experiment to examine how ocean acidification (OA) affects communities of prokaryotes and eukaryotes growing on single‐use drinking bottles in subtropical eutrophic waters of the East China Sea. Based on 16S rDNA gene sequencing, simulated high CO 2 significantly altered the prokaryotic community, with the relative abundance of the phylum Planctomycetota increasing by 49%. Under high CO 2 , prokaryotes in the plastisphere had enhanced nitrogen dissimilation and ureolysis, raising the possibility that OA may modify nutrient cycling in subtropical eutrophic waters. The relative abundance of pathogenic and animal parasite bacteria also increased under simulated high CO 2 . Our results show that elevated CO 2 levels significantly affected several animal taxa based on 18S rDNA gene sequencing. For example, Mayorella amoebae were highly resistant, whereas Labyrinthula were sensitive to OA. Thus, OA may alter plastisphere food chains in subtropical eutrophic waters. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2024