Introduction to marine phytoplankton identification and taxonomy workshopInternal

Activity Overview

Type: Workshop
, Type: Capacity building and training
, Type: Course
Start Date: July 3, 2017
End Date: July 14, 2017
Host: SAHFOS
Venue: Plymouth, UK
Website: SAHFOS training courses
Contact: David Johns
E-mail: djoh [at] sahfos.ac.uk
Funding Call: EuroMarine 2016 Call for Proposals
Decision Body: EuroMarine Steering Committee
Total Budget: €52,000
Funds Granted: €5,000

Manager(s): David Johns
Co-organiser(s): Nicolas Pade

Scope

The workshop will give participants the chance to discuss results from multiple time series providing phytoplankton data into the MSFD process throughout Europe, and ensure consistency in identification across multiple methods

Topic

The workshop will train early career scientists, technical and support staff in identification of key marine phytoplankton taxa. These skills are needed to monitor and predict future distributions and impacts of a changing environment.

Objectives

The workshop will focus on the taxonomic identification of phytoplankton, from key experts in the field, aiding the prediction of biodiversity, distributions of and primary productivity from phytoplankton. The course will also provide training in cutting edge molecular techniques, including DNA barcoding and bioinformatic analyses, to complement morphological identification and assess population size and variability. The course will show how Next Generation Sequencing metabarcoding can help our understanding of real species diversity in the plankton and how to interpret phylogenetic trees.

Expected Outcomes

The introductory phytoplankton identification workshop will transfer knowledge from renowned international experts to PhD students and early career scientists in a high standard of phytoplankton identification techniques, thus addressing questions related to the function and sustainability of marine ecosystems. The workshop will sustain a taxonomic skill set that is recognised to be rapidly diminishing and will introduce new practical skills to PhD students and early career scientists. A summary report will be made available post-workshop.

Whilst there are a number of workshops aimed at improving knowledge on many areas of phytoplankton identification, particularly for harmful taxa, the aim of this workshop was to introduce to and train early career scientists, technical and support staff in identification of key marine phytoplankton taxa. These skills are essential to monitor and predict future distributions and impacts of a changing environment.

The aims of this workshop were to: Focus on the taxonomic identification of phytoplankton, from key experts in the field, aiding the prediction of biodiversity, distributions of and primary productivity from phytoplankton; Provide training in cutting edge molecular techniques, including DNA barcoding and bioinformatic analyses, to complement morphological identification and assess population size and variability; Provide valuable practical experience in all the methods described; Have input from leading scientists on the use of phytoplankton in policy science.

The workshop lasted for two weeks and proved popular, welcoming participants from around the world. It is always important to seek feedback from the participants. The majority of delegates returned their forms and very positive feedback was received, delegates found their time enjoyable and were all very complimentary. It is hoped they can disseminate what they have learnt to others and put their new-found expertise to practice.