The biological uptake of carbon by marine plankton plays a central role in the regulation of Earth's climate, and supports fisheries providing essential nutrition to more than half the world's population. Ongoing changes in global climate are likely to put pressure on both these aspects of ecosystem function, with many developing countries particularly vulnerable. The future security and resilience of marine food systems is therefore dependent on a sound scientific understanding of marine ecosystem function. Trait-based thinking on marine ecosystem functioning has been emerging as an important new methodology in the quest to understand these issues. Indeed, many groups within EuroMarine have adopted this approach as a core to their thinking and modelling activities, in particular the Centre for Ocean Life, DTU Aqua, but also at Plymouth Marine Lab, University of Bergen, Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology, University of Southampton, GEOMAR, and many other places this approach is gaining momentum.
This workshop therefore takes this trait-based, multidisciplinary approach in an attempt to obtain a better understanding of marine ecosystems for healthy oceans under global change. A varied group of attendees, including oceanographers, ecologists, geneticists and computer scientists will seek to address issues concerning how energy and biomass are transferred through marine food-webs, leading to improved predictions of future environmental change, and of the likely response of marine ecosystems to that change.
The funding of €5000 from EuroMarine has been provided primarily to cover the participation of Young Scientists from EuroMarine Full Member Organisations.
The key objectives of the workshop are:
- 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
- to point out how these methods can be utilized to better understand marine ecosystem functioning and as a framework for marine ecosystem modelling
- A full report, as from the previous iterations of this workshop
- A synthesis paper based on experiences and discussions from all four meetings
- A full review of the field including 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. This workshop will serve as the anchor of the series, establishing it as the place to be to engage in this emerging field. It is expected that the workshop will continue to inspire and trigger publications coauthored by participants from across the Atlantic, as well as Euromarine member organisations. The workshop will furthermore attract young talented students and future scientists to this vibrant field.