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2nd International Symposium on Effects of Climate Change on the World's Oceans

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The earth's oceans influence the fundamental processes of our planet and provide the living resources and services upon which humans depend. They play a critical role in the global carbon cycle and provide the habitats that sustain marine biodiversity.

Humans are changing the world oceans to an extent that is unprecedented. Greenhouse gas emissions are warming the planet, affecting the global carbon cycle, and changing the chemical composition of the ocean. Marine ecosystems are being disrupted by overfishing and pollution. These fundamental changes can have serious consequences for oceanic productivity and species composition.

The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), the North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES), and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC) joined forces in 2008 for the first global ocean symposium in Gijón, Spain, to provide a comprehensive view of the current state of the global ocean and comparison between regions. The 2008 symposium in Gijón, Spain, attracted 400 scientists from 48 countries.

The 2nd Symposium on Effects of Climate Change on the World's Oceans covered many issues of the role of climate change on the oceans: sea level rise, changes in thermo-haline ocean circulation, acidification, oligotrophy of temperate seas, changes in species abundance, distribution and phenology, loss of biodiversity, all of which will have serious implications for marine living resources and the humans that depend on them. The symposium's aim was to bring together experts from different disciplines to exchange observations, results, models, and ideas at a global scale and to discuss the opportunities to mitigate and protect the marine environment and its living resources.

Anne Hollowed (co-chair of the ICES/PICES Strategic Initiative on Climate Change Effects on Marine Ecosystems, SICCME), Miguel Bernal (Spain, ICES Working Group on Integrative Physical-Biological and Ecosystem Modeling, WGIPEM) and Keith Criddle (University of Alaska Fairbanks, PICES Section on Human Dimensions, SHD) co-convened Session 4: "Climate Change Effects on Living Marine Resources: from Physics to Fish, Marine Mammals, and Seabirds, to Fishermen and Fishery Dependent Communities."

This session was the largest and most well attended session of the symposium, with 55 oral presentations from scientists from 17 countries. The SICCME co-chair Manuel Barange (United Kingdom) was the keynote plenary speaker, gave a presentation titled "Quantifying the Impacts of Climate Change on Marine Shelf Ecosystems and Their Resources: Feeding the World in 2050." This talk focused on the recent findings of the Quest-Fish program. Dr. Shin-ichi Ito (Japan) was the theme session invited speaker; he gave a presentation titled "Climate-induced Fluctuation of Japanese Sardine; Its Influence on Marine Ecosystem and Human Being."

The theme session spanned 4 days. Day 1 started with a series of synthesis talks followed by presentations that focused on climate change impacts on high latitude and middle latitude ecosystems. The morning of Day 2 highlighted new analytical approaches to understanding how climate change and ocean acidification will impact the spatial distribution of marine species and how these shifts in distribution will impact marine ecosystems. Speakers for the afternoon session targeted social and economic impacts of climate change on fishery dependent communities. Day 3 speakers presented studies of ecosystem level impacts of climate change and results from regional assessments of climate change. Day 4 focused on studies that formally linked climate change projections to assessments of the performance of management strategies.

These 4 days provided a global view of the implications of climate change on marine ecosystems.

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