Legacy of the US GLOBEC program: current and potential contributions to marine ecosystem-based management

Fogarty, MJ, Botsford LW, Werner FE.  2013.  Legacy of the US GLOBEC program: current and potential contributions to marine ecosystem-based management. Oceanography. 26:116-127.

Date Published:



Management of living marine resources is undergoing a profound transition toward a more holistic, ecosystem-based paradigm. The interplay of climate and environmental forcing, ecosystem structure and function, and human influences and requirements shape the dynamics of these systems in complex ways. The US Global Ocean Ecosystem Dynamics (GLOBEC) program was designed to unravel the elements of this complexity and to forge the tools needed to explore the scope for predictability of ecosystem change in a rapidly changing ocean. As a basic science program, US GLOBEC established new standards in ecological monitoring, technological development, and coupled bio-physical modeling of marine systems. Its legacy goes beyond these fundamental achievements, however, through the realized and potential importance of the GLOBEC approach and findings in resource management. Development of the US GLOBEC program considerably predated the formal adoption of strategies for ecosystem-based management of coastal and marine systems in the United States under the aegis of the National Ocean Policy. The GLOBEC strategy and its resulting products and tools have nonetheless proven extremely valuable in moving toward the goal of operational marine ecosystem-based management. The GLOBEC selection of target species of direct relevance to management (including economically important species and those with special conservation status) underscored the recognized need to provide results of the highest scientific caliber while also meeting broader societal needs and objectives for sustainable resource management. Here, we trace some of the current applications of GLOBEC science in resource management (including the extension of single species management strategies to incorporate climate forcing and the use of broader ecosystem models) and point to its potential to further shape the evolution of marine ecosystem-based management.