Temporal Studies of Biogeochemical Processes Determined from Ocean Time-Series Observations During the JGOFS Era

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A comprehensive understanding of the global carbon cycle is required to address contemporary scientific issues related to the atmospheric accumulation of greenhouse gases and their cumulative effects on global environmental change. Consequently, detailed in situ investigations of terrestrial and marine ecosystems are necessary prerequisites for developing a predictive capability of future environmental variability and the effects of human-induced perturbations. These investigations need to address broad questions regarding the distribution, abundance, diversity and control of key plant, animal and microbe populations and their interactions with their habitats. They must be conducted with an explicit recognition of the interdisciplinary connections between physics, chemistry, biology and geology in each ecosystem. Ideally, these field studies should be conducted at strategic sites that are representative of large biomes or in regions that are likely to exhibit substantial interannual variability over large areas. However, it is more important that the unique features of each site elucidate representative processes that underpin the dynamics of the wider ocean. Furthermore, these field investigations should be conducted for at least several decades, in order to distinguish natural variability from that induced by human activities.