Biological Oceanography in Canada (with Special Reference to Federal Government Science)
This is a personal account of the history, accomplishments and future of biological oceanography in Canada with emphasis on Canadian government research. Canadian biological oceanographers have a rich history pre-dating the formal beginning of marine scientific research in the country with the establishment of the St Andrews and Nanaimo field stations in the early 1900s. Over the years, they have distinguished themselves by being leaders in the early developments of the discipline, including methodologies, concepts and understanding of both the pelagic and benthic ecosystems. In more recent years, Canadian biological oceanographers have led in the conceptualization, planning and implementation of major interdisciplinary/international research initiatives on climate change and ecosystem dynamics. Additionally, they are making important contributions to ecosystem and climate monitoring, research aimed at understanding the influence of ecosystems on harvestable living resource variability and on climate change, and development and application of ecosystem and climate models. Canadian biological oceanographers have made and continue to make significant contributions to the understanding of the biology of the oceans and its interactions with the physical, chemical and geological world. The challenge of solving the complex scientific and societal problems of the future will require better planning, coordination and stronger commitment to the ocean sciences by universities and government than is currently in place. Strategic planning to define goals and responsibilities is urgently needed and should include not only government and universities, but also private sector research and industry.