Marine Ecosystem Responses to Climate in the North Atlantic and U.S. Global Ocean Ecosystems

Program or topic

Marine Ecosystem Responses to Climate in the North Atlantic (MERCINA)

Global Biogeochemical Engineering

Department(s) or unit(s)

  • Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Contact information

Charles H. Greene

Professor, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Director, Ocean Resources and Ecosystems Program

(607) 255-5449

Program goals

Marine Ecosystem Responses to Climate in the North Atlantic (MERCINA): Research focuses on the impacts of climate variability and change on marine ecosystems in the North Atlantic, with the goal of understanding and predicting the effects of climate change and variability on the structure and dynamics of marine ecosystems and fisheries.

Global Biogeochemical Engineering: Research focuses on development of algalbioenergy for use in powering direct air capture of carbon dioxide, with ultimate goals of reducing the threats from greenhouse warming and ocean acidification.

Brief Description

Charles Greene’s groundbreaking work with sensor technology, ocean observing systems, and computational methods is shining new light on the response of marine ecosystems to a changing climate. With oceans covering more than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, it is critical to understand the implications of climate change to this colossal system. Dr. Greene uses a combination of process-oriented field studies and retrospective analysis to predict how marine ecosystems respond to climate change. Greene’s work has provided insight on regime shifts in the context of fisheries, right whale protection, and major ecosystem shifts in response to many factors including climate. Using over 50 years of time-series data, Greene and his colleagues have created predictive models that will help commercial fisheries and also guide policymakers in designing effective plans for populations of exploited and protected cetacean species in the Atlantic. Cornell researchers were among the first to sound the warning bell about the threat of Arctic climate change to marine ecosystems along the eastern seaboard of North America.

Charles Greene has taken responsibility for coordinating Cornell University’s Sustainable Earth, Energy, and Environmental Systems (SEEES) Initiative. This responsibility includes coordinating a campus-wide SEEES seminar series and freshman writing course during autumn semesters, supervising a Sustainable Earth and Environmental Systems Semester in Hawaii Program during spring semesters, and supervising the new Cornell – WHOI Master of Engineering Program in Ocean Observing Science and Technology. Recently, he has facilitated a partnership between Cornell, other universities, and the private sector to develop innovative research initiatives in algal bioenergy production and biogeochemical engineering, with a special focus on carbon dioxide reduction technologies.

For more information


Charles Greene’s Home Page

Charles Greene’s Research Program

Key publications:

  • 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 89(11) Supplement 2008: S24-S38.
  • Greene, C.H., D.J. Baker, and D.H. Miller. 2010. A very inconvenient truth. Oceanography 23 (1): 214-218.
  • Greene, C.H., Monger, B.C., Huntley, M. 2010. Geoengineering: the inescapable truth of getting to 350. Solutions 1(5): 57-66. (
  • Greene, C.H., and B.C. Monger. 2012. An Arctic wildcard in the weather. Oceanography 25 (2); 7-9.
  • Greene, C.H., et al. 2012. Recent Arctic climate change and its remote forcing of Northwest Atlantic shelf ecosystems. Oceanography 25 (3): in press.

Category: Ecosystems, Marine

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