Charles h. Greene

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Biological oceanography

Director, Ocean Resources and Ecosystems Program, Cornell University

Professor, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, Cornell University

Visiting Investigator, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

2130 Snee Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853

(607) 255-5449,

B A. 1978 University of Colorado

Ph.D. 1985 University of Washington

Research Interests
My primary goal as a scientist is to pursue my curiosity, while at the same time addressing oceanographic problems of societal relevance. I attempt to be innovative in developing both the problems I address as well as the approaches by which I address them. My research interests range from the ecological dynamics of marine animal populations to the effects of global climate change on marine ecosystems. While I am a field-oriented oceanographer, which has led me to focus much of my attention in the past on the spatial scales we are capable of studying from ships, I also take great satisfaction in scaling up our results through collaborative modeling, remote-sensing, and synthesis projects with other scientists. Over the past 12 years, the US GLOBal ocean ECosystems (GLOBEC) Northwest Atlantic/Georges Bank Program has provided me with an opportunity to conduct some of the most satisfying research that I have attempted during my career.
Our US GLOBEC research began in 1995 as an investigation of factors regulating the dynamics of diapausing Calanus finmarchicus (Copepoda: Calanoida) populations in the deep basins of the Gulf of Maine. Diapausing C. finmarchicus copepodites in the Gulf of Maine seed the springtime population that develops on Georges Bank. Secondary production during the spring on Georges Bank is dominated by C. finmarchicus, and this production is critical to the year-class success of larval and juvenile fishes, especially cod and haddock. Thus, our overall goal has been to determine how oceanographic processes occurring upstream affect the secondary production and fish recruitment on Georges Bank.
During the field portion of the project, I served as chief scientist on five broad-scale survey cruises to the Gulf of Maine. These survey cruises were conducted during October 1997 and during October and December in both 1998 and 1999. Our surveys involved the use of a high-speed, deep-towed system, BIOMAPPER II (Bio-Optical Multiple-frequency Acoustic Platform and Physical Environmental Remote-sensing system), configured with a multiple-frequency acoustic system, a video plankton recorder, and several physical and bio-optical sensors. BIOMAPPER II was on the drawing board when our project began in 1995, and it is currently recognized as one of the most sophisticated towed instruments in use by the civilian oceanographic community. I am nearly as proud of our efforts to make and keep this instrument operational during the five cruises (including some fairly nasty hurricanes in October and December 1999) as I am in the success that we have had in meeting our project’s scientific objectives.
Our final field season in the US GLOBEC Northwest Atlantic/Georges Bank Program was completed in December 1999. We were fortunate to have conducted our field research during one of the most dramatic climate-driven events affecting the Northwest Atlantic during the 20th century. In the winter of 1995/1996, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) Index exhibited its largest drop of the century. This drop led to the most extensive intrusion of Labrador Subarctic Slope Water (LSSW) into the Scotian Shelf/Gulf of Maine region of the NW Atlantic since the 1960's. Canadian and US oceanographers were able to track this subarctic slope water as it steadily advanced along the Scotian Shelf break and replaced the deep basin waters of the western Scotian Shelf and Gulf of Maine over the subsequent two years. By the late autumn of 1998, most of the warmer, more saline Atlantic Temperate Slope Water (ATSW) in the deep basins of the Gulf of Maine had been replaced by the cooler, fresher LSSW. Simultaneously, C. finmarchicus exhibited an unprecedented decline in abundance in the Gulf of Maine, a response which we attribute to the NAO-induced changes in ocean circulation that began two years earlier. This response was short-lived, however. The 1996 drop in the NAO Index was a single-year event, and the circulation patterns reverted back rapidly to those characteristic of positive NAO conditions. By the autumn of 1999, most the LSSW that had recently entered the deep basins of the Gulf of Maine was once again replaced by ATSW. Our zooplankton data from two autumn cruises to the Gulf of Maine during 1999 indicated that the C. finmarchicus population had recovered from the extremely low abundance observed during 1998 to a level within the range of abundances observed during the latter half of the 20th century.
The timing of our fieldwork in the US GLOBEC Program was fortuitous and could not have been planned any better. We were able to survey the physical and biological oceanographic conditions in the deep-basin ecosystems before (1997), during (1998), and after (1999) the major circulation effects from the 1995/1996 drop in the NAO manifested themselves downstream in the Gulf of Maine. With the US GLOBEC Program currently in its synthesis phase, my laboratory group is developing a variety of models to interpret our own field data from the late 1990’s as well as other physical and biological data sets extending back to the 1950’s. Retrospective analyses of these longer time-series data have enabled us to explain our own field observations within the context of interdecadal-scale climate variability. They have also led our research in new directions, such as the conservation biology of the highly endangered North Atlantic right whale.
The relationship between our Gulf of Maine research and the NAO has opened up new avenues for international collaboration. I organized a special symposium and post-meeting workshop on, “The Response of Northeast and Northwest Atlantic Shelf Ecosystems to Climate Variability and Change,” at the June 2000 Meeting of the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) in Copenhagen, Denmark. At the ASLO workshop, we established a working group, Marine Ecosystem Responses to Climate In the North Atlantic (MERCINA), to continue studying the effects of climate variability and change on North Atlantic ecosystems. I continued developing this basin-wide view of the NAO and its effects on marine ecosystems during my sabbatical fellowship at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis in Santa Barbara, CA. Our working group’s ultimate goal is to develop a predictive understanding of how shelf ecosystems around the world respond to basin-scale forcings and regime shifts associated with natural and anthropogenic-induced climate change. Five years ago, I organized another special symposium and post-meeting workshop on this general topic at the AGU/ASLO Ocean Sciences meeting held in Honolulu, Hawaii. The working group was expanded at this meeting to include participants working on common problems in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. In 2005, NSF awarded us a grant to continue this synthesis research through 2007.
While I anticipate that my research in the Northwest Atlantic will continue, the focus of this research has shifted from field studies to retrospective analyses of remote-sensing and time-series data. This shift has enabled me to interpret the results of our field studies in the context of patterns developing over inter-annual to inter-decadal time scales. I am of the opinion that the combination of process-oriented field studies and retrospective analyses is essential to achieving a predictive understanding of marine ecosystem responses to climate change.
Since my research in the Northwest Atlantic has entered a phase requiring less time at sea, I have initiated new field projects that will create many new and exciting opportunities for studying the ecological dynamics of pelagic animal populations. With colleagues from a number of institutions on the mainland and Hawaii, I have been involved in the development of undersea listening arrays in the Pacific Northwest and the Hawaiian Archipelago. It is intended that these listening arrays will be used to track acoustically tagged and/or vocalizing pelagic animals over relatively large geographic expanses of the ocean.
In the Pacific Northwest, I spent much of 2006 working as a senior scientist with the Census of Marine Life’s Pacific Ocean Shelf Tracking (POST) Project, based in Vancouver, British Columbia. POST has funding from the Sloan and Moore Foundations to deploy acoustic line arrays across the continental shelf at numerous locations along the West Coast spanning from California to the Aleutians. The initial focus of POST has been on tracking juvenile salmon migrations and estimating their survivorship during critical stages of their life history. Additional species will be added as the full POST array is completed by 2010.
Last year, the Ocean Tracking Network (OTN), a global expansion of the POST concept, was funded by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation. I have been invited to lead an international training program for OTN. The foundation for this OTN training program will be the series of summer Marine Bioacoustics courses that I have been coordinating at Friday Harbor Laboratories (FHL) during alternate, odd-numbered years since 2003. Funding for this series of advanced, graduate-level courses has been provided by the Office of Naval Research (ONR), and both ONR and OTN have committed to continue support for an expanded program through 2012.

The Integration of Research and Teaching

As a faculty member at Cornell, I have worked hard to be a dedicated educator as well as research scientist. Throughout my career, I have promoted the integration of research and teaching in the ocean sciences through several series of summer workshops and courses. This effort began in 1991 when I chaired a panel discussion on training and human resources development at a National Science Foundation-sponsored workshop on US GLOBEC Acoustic Instrumentation. The recommendations from this panel discussion led to funding by ONR of a series of six summer workshops and courses on Bioacoustical Oceanography that ran from 1993 - 1998. The first training workshop was held during the summer of 1993 at FHL. This workshop focused on plankton and fisheries acoustics, the conventional topics addressed in bioacoustical oceanography. The following summer (1994), I hosted a research and educational planning workshop at Cornell that focused on the topic of Marine Mammals and Acoustic Remote Sensing. This meeting set the stage for the next four courses in which marine mammals and passive acoustic techniques were added to the list of topics previously covered. The Bioacoustical Oceanography courses conducted during the summers of 1995-1997 were held at the University of California in Santa Cruz, California; the 1998 course was held at the Cornell’s Shoals Marine Laboratory. Whereas the first few workshops and courses were directed at advanced graduate students and postdoctoral investigators, the last two were offered to advanced undergraduates as well.

In 1998, I decided that we had trained enough students in bioacoustical oceanography to meet the existing demand and other areas of ocean remote sensing required similar attention. Therefore, I assisted Dr. Bruce Monger in organizing a new summer course focusing on Applications of Satellite Remote Sensing in Biological Oceanography. Dr. Monger and I subsequently secured funding from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and he has offered this course to students since Summer 1999. In 2002, program managers at ONR requested that I consider restarting the bioacoustics courses. This led to the funding of our current grant, which has supported a five-year series of Marine Bioacoustics courses from 2003-2007. Program managers at ONR have committed to supporting an expansion of these courses for an additional five years through 2012.
The most rewarding aspect of our acoustic and satellite remote-sensing workshops and courses has been the opportunity to promote teaching at the cutting edge of research in biological oceanography. Our students have had the unique opportunity to work side by side with internationally renowned scientists using state-of-the-art instrumentation and techniques. Each workshop or course has acted as a research magnet, attracting top scientists to conduct their own research in a creative teaching environment. A better sense of what these courses have accomplished in terms of research can be found in a special issue of Deep-Sea Research that I edited with Dr. Tim Stanton, of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and Dr. Kurt Fristrup, of Cornell’s Bioacoustics Program. Nearly all of the contributors to this special issue on Bioacoustical Oceanography had some affiliation with our 1993-1998 courses as either faculty members, students, or, in some cases, as both.
In addition to graduate education, which lends itself more naturally to the integration of research and teaching, I also have developed a reputation at Cornell as an innovator in undergraduate education. I have developed field courses in marine ecology on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico and on Hawaii Island. These field courses have been developed in addition to the courses I teach on main campus, including Introduction to Oceanography, Marine Ecosystem Dynamics, and Marine Ecology. Although the field courses are intensive and add considerably to my teaching load, I offer them because I know that these are where students draw their inspiration to pursue careers in oceanography and marine biology. In recognition of my contributions to undergraduate education, Cornell has honored me with the J.P. and Mary Barger Excellence in Teaching Award from the College of Engineering during 1998, the Merrill Presidential Scholar Outstanding Educator Award during 1999, and a Faculty Innovation in Teaching Fellowship during 2001-2002.
Finally, when it comes to education, I am committed to the principal that no developing nations or underrepresented groups should be left behind. International capacity building is a major component of the OTN training program, and that will be reflected in the Marine Bioacoustics courses that we will be offering during the next five years. In our previous courses, between 1993 and 2007, we trained over 165 undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral students from 25 different countries. Female graduate students, including those from developing nations, have been given prominent leadership roles in these courses. Our goal has been to establish a tradition in this field of encouraging female students, from the United States as well as those from developing nations, to envision themselves among the next generation of leaders in oceanography and marine biology.

Recently Organized Symposia and Workshops:
Symposium and Workshop: “The Response of Northeast and Northwest Atlantic Shelf Ecosystems to Climate Variability and Change. American Society of Limnology and Oceanography Summer Meeting, Copenhagen, Denmark; June 2000. Organizers: Charles Greene and Benjamin Planque.
Workshop: “Response of NW Atlantic Marine Ecosystems to Climate Variability,” National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, Santa Barbara, CA; Spring 2001. Organizer: Charles Greene.
Symposium and Workshop: “Marine Ecosystem Responses to Climate: The Responses of Large Marine Ecosystems to Interdecadal-Scale Climate Variability.” American Society of Limnology and Oceanography/American Geophysical Union Ocean Sciences Meeting, Honolulu, Hawaii; February 2002. Organizers: Charles Greene, Michael Fogarty, and Nathan Mantua.
Workshop: “Climate-Based Assessment and Forecasting of Ecosystems in the Gulf of Maine,” Boston, Massachusetts: December 2004. Organizers: Andrew Pershing and Charles Greene.
Workshop: “Responses of NW Atlantic Shelf Ecosystems to Arctic Climate Change,” Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Portland, Maine: November 2006. Organizers: Andrew Pershing and Charles Greene.
Symposium: “Influence of Recent Changes in the Arctic on Sub-arctic and Mid-latitude Marine Ecosystems,” ASLO/AGU Ocean Sciences Meeting, Orlando, FL: March 2008. Organizers: Andrew Pershing, David Mountain, Igor Belkin, and Charles Greene.
Recent Invited Talks at International Meetings:
Invited Talk: Greene, C.H., and A.J. Pershing. Trans-Atlantic responses of Calanus finmarchicus to basin-scale forcing associated with the North Atlantic Oscillation. American Geophysical Union Chapman Conference on the North Atlantic Oscillation, Ourense, Spain; November 2000.
Invited Talk: Greene, C.H., and A.J. Pershing. Trans-Atlantic responses of Calanus finmarchicus to basin-scale forcing associated with the North Atlantic Oscillation. 70th Anniversary of the Continuous Plankton Recorder Surveys of North Atlantic Symposium, Edinburgh, Scotland; August 2001.
Invited Talk: Greene, C.H., and A.J. Pershing. Biocomplexity and climate: recovery of the North Atlantic right whale population in the context of climate-induced changes in oceanographic processes. Climate Change and Aquatic Systems, Plymouth, England; July 2004.
Invited Talk: Greene, C.H. Oceanographic responses to climate variability in the Northwest Atlantic. Coordinating Research on the North Atlantic (CORONA) Workshop, Plymouth, England; July 2004.
Recent Publications:
Benfield, M.C., P.H. Wiebe, T.K. Stanton, C.S. Davis, S.M. Gallager, and C.H. Greene. 1998. Estimating the spatial distribution of zooplankton biomass by combining video plankton recorder and single-frequency acoustic data. Deep-Sea Res. II 45: 1175-1199.
Greene, C.H., P.H. Wiebe, C.R. Pelkie, M.C. Benfield, and J.M. Popp. 1998. Three-dimensional acoustic visualization of zooplankton patchiness. Deep-Sea Res. II 45: 1201-1217.
Greene, C.H., P.H. Wiebe, A.J. Pershing, G. Gal, J.M. Popp, N.J. Copley, T.C. Austin, A. M. Bradley, R.G. Goldsborough, J. Dawson, R. Hendershott, and S. Kaartvedt. 1998. Assessing the distribution and abundance of zooplankton: a comparison of acoustic and net-sampling methods with D-BAD MOCNESS. Deep-Sea Res. II 45: 1219-1237.
Greene, C.H., and A.J. Pershing. 2000. The response of Calanus finmarchicus populations to climate variability in the Northwest Atlantic: Basin-scale forcing associated with the North Atlantic Oscillation. ICES J. Mar. Sci. 57: 1536-1544.
MERCINA. 2001. Oceanographic responses to climate in the Northwest Atlantic. Oceanography 14: 77-83.
Drinkwater, K.F., A. Belgrano, A. Borja, A. Conversi, M. Edwards, C.H. Greene, G. Ottersen, A.J. Pershing, and H. Walker. 2002. The response of marine ecosystems to climate variability associated with the North Atlantic Oscillation. Pages 211-234 in J.W. Hurrell, Y. Kushnir, G. Ottersen, and M. Visbeck, editors. The North Atlantic Oscillation: Climatic Significance and Environmental Impact. American Geophysical Union Monograph Series Vol. 134, Washington, DC.
Wiebe, P.H., T.K. Stanton, C.H. Greene, M.C. Benfield, T.C. Austin, and J. Warren. 2002. BIOMAPER II: an integrated instrument platform for coupled biological and physical measurements in coastal and oceanic regimes. IEEE J. Ocean. Eng. 27: 700-716.
Barton, A.D., C.H. Greene, B.C. Monger, and A.J. Pershing. 2003. Continuous plankton recorder survey phytoplankton measurements and the North Atlantic Oscillation: interannual to multidecadal variability in the Northwest Shelf, Northeast Shelf, and Central North Atlantic Ocean. Prog. Oceanogr. 58: 337-358.
Benfield, M.C., A. Lavery, P.H. Wiebe, T.K. Stanton, C.H. Greene, and N. Copley. 2003. Distributions of physonect siphonulae in the Gulf of Maine and their potential as important sources of acoustic scattering. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 60: 759-772.
Greene, C.H., and A.J. Pershing. 2003. The flip-side of the North Atlantic Oscillation and modal shifts in slope-water circulation patterns. Limnol. Oceanogr. 48: 319-322.
Greene, C.H., A.J. Pershing, R.D. Kenney, and J.W. Jossi. 2003. Impact of climate variability on the recovery of endangered North Atlantic right whales. Oceanography 16: 96-101.
MERCINA. 2003. Trans-Atlantic responses of Calanus finmarchicus populations to basin-scale forcing associated with the North Atlantic Oscillation. Prog. Oceanogr. 58: 301-312.
Greene, C.H., and A.J. Pershing. 2004. Climate and the conservation biology of North Atlantic right whales: being a right whale at the wrong time? Front. Ecol. Environ. 2: 29-34.

MERCINA. 2004. Supply-side ecology and the response of zooplankton to climate-driven changes in North Atlantic Ocean circulation. Oceanogr. 17(3): 10-21.

Pershing, A.J., C.H. Greene, B. Planque, and J.-M. Fromentin. 2004. The influence of climate variability on North Atlantic zooplankton populations. Page 59-69 in N.C. Stenseth, G. Ottersen, J. Hurrell, and A. Belgrano, editors. Ecological Effects of Climatic Variations in the North Atlantic. Oxford University Press.
MERCINA. 2004. Supply-side ecology and the response of zooplankton to climate-driven changes in North Atlantic Ocean circulation. Oceanography 17(3): 10-21.
Pershing, A.J., C.H. Greene, J.W. Jossi, L. O’Brien, J.K.T. Brodziak, and B.A. Bailey. 2005. Interdecadal variability in the Gulf of Maine zooplankton community with potential impacts on fish recruitment. ICES J. Mar. Sci. 62: 511-523.
Greene, C.H., and A.J. Pershing. 2007. Climate drives sea change. Science 315: 1084-1085.
Greene, C.H., A.J. Pershing, T.M. Cronin, and N. Cecci. 2008. Arctic climate change and its impacts on the ecology of the North Atlantic. Ecology: in press.


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