Basin-scale Analysis, Synthesis and INtegration

What is BASIN?
BASIN is an initiative to develop a joint EU and North American research program in the field of ocean ecosystems in support of the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) initiative.  The first BASIN meeting took place in Iceland in March 2005 (Wiebe et al., 2007).  Three additional meetings have been held since 2007 to engage both the European and North American communities, explore coordinated funding mechanisms and to produce a BASIN Science Plan. The implementation of joint research programs is at present a significant obstacle facing researchers in many research areas where a large-scale multi-national approach is now needed to tackle the key problems of the future (e.g. climate, ecosystem research).  BASIN seeks to identify, with the aid of program managers, appropriate and effective implementation mechanisms.

Why do we need a Basin scale approach?
One of the key issues facing the scientific community at present is to further our predictive understanding of the complex linkages between physics, chemistry, and biology and their importance for the functioning of marine ecosystems in order to understand, adapt to, and anticipate the effects of global change.  Based on the importance of the North Atlantic Basin for global climate and for exploited resources such as fisheries, it is timely and appropriate to conduct focused research on the North Atlantic deep ocean and associated shelves as a whole by examining:

BASIN is envisioned to consist of two phases:
The first phase focuses on organising and developing existing data for use in basin-scale marine ecosystem models and beginning to collect new data in order to resolve crucial basin-scale problems. The second phase of BASIN will involve a substantial field effort whose detailed design will be guided by the modelling and synthesis activities accomplished during the first phase, as well as laboratory results.

GEOGRAPHIC DOMAIN: BASIN, as its name implies, focuses on the North Atlantic basin and associated shelf-seas. In developing a program the geographic scale of BASIN, it is crucial to define the interests and needs of the program. It has been agreed that the primary focus of BASIN would remain the sub-polar gyre system and associated shelf systems of the North Atlantic, but that important connections to the sub-tropical gyre would not be neglected.

BASIN poster
Download BASIN poster

BASIN AIM: At present the aim of BASIN is to understand and simulate the impact of climate variability and change on key species of plankton and fish, as well as community structure as a whole, of the North Atlantic and to examine the consequences for the cycling of carbon and nutrients in the ocean and thereby contribute to ocean management.

LINKS to MANAGEMENT: Useful and relevant results for management are essential to the success of the BASIN programme. BASIN has the potential to offer data, analysis and models that could be included in ecosystem management activities around the whole of the Atlantic basin in a fully integrated way. Explicit plans to coordinate the integration of basic science into management should be developed. One approach is for BASIN to form partnerships with the management agencies in North America and Europe (NOAA/NMFS, DFO, ICES, and DG FISH) to ensure that the science developed is relevant to needs of management.

BASIN is now funded on the European Union side to conduct a four year program of modeling, data synthesis, and field experimentation (See Feb 2011 Kickoff meeting report. Coordinated funding of the North American side is still in the offing. Additional planning has taken place through and a BASIN Implementation Plan has been developed based on discussions from two implementation plan workshops held in Woods Hole on 18-19 March 2010 and the University of Massachusetts Boston on 18-19 October 2010.

The US BASIN Science Implementation workshop was held 19-20 May 2011 at University of Massachusetts Boston to provide an opportunity for investigators interested in BASIN to discuss research plans and to develop collaborations.  Projects included modeling, fieldwork, and experimental studies from meso- to basin-scales. Discussion also included methods to foster collaboration with European scientists involved in EU BASIN research.


EURO-BASIN Cruise Program & Mesocosm Experiments Planning Workshop
29-30 September 2011, Medical Research Council, London, UK

Aim: Coordination of the EU field program with US/Canada planned field programs under the BASIN umbrella and complimentary national programs for 2012-2013.
The two-day meeting will also address mesocosm experiments planning. US/Canada PI’s are invited to attend (please contact Ivo Grigorov, or

Confirmed EU attendees: Michael St John (Un. Hamburg), Adrian Martin (NOC, UK), Christina De la Rocha (UBO, France), Richard Bellerby (Uni Research, NO), Rolf Koppelmann (Un. Hamburg), Torkel Gissel Nielsen (DTU-Aqua, DK), Assthor Gislasson (MRI-HAFRO, Iceland), Marja Koski (DTU-Aqua, DK), Webjorn Melle & Geir Huse (IMR, NO).

 EURO-BASIN Cruise Metadata and proposals are posted on the POGO-SCOR Oceanographic Cruise Database