SCOR Working Group 137
Patterns of Phytoplankton Dynamics in Coastal Ecosystems: Comparative Analysis of Time Series Observation

Co-chairs: Kedong Yin (Australia) and Hans Paerl (USA)

Other Full Members: Susan Blackburn (Australia), Jacob Carstensen (Denmark), James Cloern (USA), Paul Harrison (China-Beijing), Ruixiang Li (China-Beijing), Abigail McQuatters-Gollop (UK), Todd O'Brien (USA), Clarisse Odebrecht (Brazil), N. Ramaiah (India), Katja Philippart (Netherlands), and Adriana Zingone (Italy)

Associate Members: Richard Gowen (UK), Alan Jassby (USA), Hans Jakobsen (Denmark), Jormal Kuparinen (Finland), Robert Le Borgne (New Caledonia), Juha-Markku Leppänen (Finland), Thomas Malone (USA), Snejana Moncheva (Bulgaria), Xosé Anxelu G. Morán (Spain), Grant Pitcher (South Africa), Theodore Smayda (USA), Karen Wiltshire (Germany), and Sinjae Yoo (Korea)

Terms of Reference

  1. Identify existing long time series of phytoplankton data in coastal oceans around the world
  2. Facilitate migration of individual data sets to a permanent and secure electronic archive (Requirements for development of a fully-stocked phytoplankton data-base greatly exceed the resources of this WG. However, we expect to produce a small working proto-type, based on the existing archive (to be identified) to demonstrate the value of sharing data through an international database.)

  3. Develop the methodology for global comparisons for within-region and within-time-period data summarization (e.g. spatial, seasonal and annual averaging, summation within taxonomic and functional group categories). The goal is to clarify what level of detail provides the optimal tradeoff (i.e. information gain vs. processing effort).

  4. Based on the above, develop priorities and recommendations for future monitoring efforts and for more detailed re-analysis of existing data sets.

  5. Carry out a global comparison of phytoplankton time series using (in parallel) a diverse suite of numerical methods. We will examine (a) synchronies in timing of major fluctuations, of whatever form; correlation structure (scale and spatial pattern) for particular modes of phytoplankton variability (e.g., changes in total biomass, species composition shifts, among different geographic distribution); amplitude of variability, both for total biomass and for individual dominant species, and a comparison to the amplitude of population fluctuations; and likely causal mechanisms and consequences for the phytoplankton variability, based on spatial and temporal coherence with water quality time series.

  6. Through comparative analysis, we will address the 3 guiding questions.

Approved: October 2009

Financial Sponsors: NSF, SCOR, IGBP


#1: 18-22 October 2010 in Hangzhou, China
#2:  26-30 September 2011 in Naples, Italy
#3:  12-14 October 2012 in Hiroshima, Japan
#4:  2-4 November 2013 in San Diego, California, USA
#5: 3-7 November 2014 in Zhuhai, China

Group Web site: