Scientific Committee on Ocean Research Working Group 137 Meeting; Hangzhou, China, 17-21 October 2010; Phytoplankton biomass and community structure have undergone dramatic changes in coastal ecosystems over the past several decades in response to climate variability and human disturbance. These changes have short- and long-term impacts on global carbon and nutrient cycling, food web structure and productivity, and coastal ecosystem services. There is a need to identify the underlying processes and measure the rates at which they alter coastal ecosystems on a global scale. Hence, the Scientific Committee on Ocean Research (SCOR) formed Working Group 137 (WG 137), "Global Patterns of Phytoplankton Dynamics in Coastal Ecosystems: A Comparative Analysis of Time Series Observations" (http://wg137.net/). This group evolved from a 2007 AGU-sponsored Chapman Conference entitled "Long Time-Series Observations in Coastal Ecosystems: Comparative Analyses of Phytoplankton Dynamics on Regional to Global Scales.".