2014 CalCOFI Symposium: Modeling the California Current Ecosystem

CalCOFI scientists deploy equipment to sample seawater

What will the California Current Ecosystem (CCE) off our coast be like in the coming decades and beyond? Scientists are exploring how to accurately forecast future conditions in the CCE on a scale of days to seasons. The latest scientific information on predicting fluctuations and long term changes in the CCE will be showcased at the upcoming annual CalCOFI Symposium.

This year, the symposium will take place Dec. 8-10 at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla. A major focus of the symposium will be modeling the effects of warming, stratification, acidification, and deoxygenation on the CCE, which stretches from British Columbia to Baja California.

towed net
Tow net samples surface waters

Presentations will include CCE forecasts produced by statistical and dynamical models, ranging from physics to fishermen, as well as models that include the atmosphere and ocean. Model types will include general circulation models, regional models, ecosystem dynamics models, and hybrids including fish and human biology. Management and policy decisions are informed by the data scientists produce using such models.

CalCOFI conducts quarterly cruises off southern and central California, collecting a suite of hydrographic and biological data while under way and at various stations. The southern end of the CCE has been observed by CalCOFI for more than 65 years.

The California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI) are a unique partnership of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, NOAA Fisheries Service and Scripps Institution of Oceanography. CalCOFI was formed in 1949 to study the ecological aspects of the sardine population collapse off California. Today their focus has shifted to study the marine environment off the coast of California and the management of its living resources, while monitoring the indicators of El Niño and climate change.

For further information and to register for the symposium, please visit the CalCOFI website.

post by Mary Patyten, CDFW Research Writer  ♦  CDFW photos by K. Lesyna