3rd International Workshop on Trait-Based Approaches to Ocean LifeInternal

Activity Overview

Type: Foresight Workshop
Start Date: August 20, 2017
End Date: August 23, 2017
Venue: Bergen, Norway
Website: Workshop website
Contact: Professor Øyvind Fiksen
E-mail: oyvind.fiksen [at] uib.no
Funding Call: EuroMarine 2016 Call for Proposals
Decision Body: EuroMarine Steering Committee
Total Budget: €29,000
Funds Granted: €7,500

Application/registration deadline: March 31, 2017
Registration website: https://skjemaker.app.uib.no/view.php


60 to 100 participants are expected to meet undertake foresight and horizon scanning activities to: develop a roadmap for future developments of the approach in the marine scientific community; Invited and contributed lectures; Interactive poster sessions; Discussion groups with plenary presentations; and informal working groups related to the latest trait-based approaches.


Trait-based approaches to understand marine ecosystem structure and functioning. In the report by Barton & al (2016), this topic was described succinctly: ‘The trait-based approach to ocean life is emerging as a novel framework for understanding the complexity, structure, and dynamics of marine ecosystems, but also their broader significance.' The keynote speakers for the event are:

Zoe Finkel:  Macromolecular and elemental composition of microalgae
Oswald Schmitz: The evolutionary ecology of ecosystem functioning: Functional traits, trophic interactions, and ecosystem nutrient cycling
Helmut Hillebrand: Trait variability and environmental heterogeneity constrain community composition and ecosystem processes
Frede Thingstad and Selina Våge: Can we constrain the “everything”  in “everything is everywhere”?


  • To assess and continue the development of trait-based approaches in different fields of ecology and marine science,
  • facilitate cross-fertilization of ideas and progress between marine, terrestrial and limnology-based researchers and students,
  • to use a Horizon-scanning format to identify core emerging questions and issues relevant to the use of trait-based approaches, and
  • to point out how these methods can be utilized to better understand marine ecosystem functioning and as a framework for marine ecosystem modelling.

Expected Outcomes

The product from the last Workshop was an extensive report, now published online and made freely available: Barton, A.D., S. Dutkiewicz, K.H. Andersen, Ø. Fiksen, M. Follows, C. Mouw, N. Record, and T. Rynearson (2016). Report on the “Trait-based approaches to ocean life” scoping workshop, October 5-8, 2015, U.S. Ocean Carbon and Biogeochemistry Program, 35 pp., DOI: 10.1575/1912/8017. The workshop will continue to inspire and trigger publications co-authored by participants from across the Atlantic and the Euromarine member organisations.

The 2017 meeting will 1) produce a full report as from earlier workshops; 2) write a synthesis paper based on experiences and discussions during all three meetings that have taken place in the group; and 3) this appears to be the right time to undertake a full review of the field and to do a Horizon scanning exercise.

The trait-based approach is taken in many areas of ecology and ecosystem science, and the series of workshops on ‘Trait-based approaches to Ocean Life’ has proven to be a rare and vital meeting place for different disciplines in this field. With this third meeting we are anchoring it as the place to be to follow this emerging field. The workshop will attract young talented students and future scientists to this vibrant field.