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.
While researchers have recently explored the environmental effects of important seaweed monocultures and the use of seaweeds in integrated marine aquaculture on a local scale, there is still much uncertainty about the broader consequences for marine biodiversity and biogeochemical cycles. Important biogeochemical parameters in seaweed aquaculture modeling studies, such as oxygen, are still missing. The balance between nutrient uptake and farm yield – as well as maximum yield of desired constituents and seaweed mortality – is sensitive.
Biodiversity protection is now recognized as a planetary challenge. Mediterranean marine benthic communities, such as biogenic reefs, are one of the most threatened habitats owing primarily to human disturbances. As these systems come under increasing human pressures, the need for spatial and temporal monitoring of the species composition of these threatened communities becomes paramount.
Seagrasses are declining at alarming rates due to climate change and human activities near the coasts, with the risk of experiencing abrupt and irreversible collapses. It is estimated that present rates of seagrass loss could result in the release of up to 299Tg carbon per year, eventually shifting from sinks to sources of carbon.
Increasing exploration and exploitation of marine resources, as well as climate change and pollution are affecting ocean’s health. Fundamental knowledge of marine biodiversity and ecosystem functioning is therefore vital to understand the magnitude of natural and human-induced impacts in the marine environment. Advances in technology over the past four decades have enabled an unprecedent development of underwater research, extending from near shore to the deepest regions of the globe.
Recent focus on Blue Carbon strategies, including actions to mitigate and adapt to climate change through conservation and restoration of coastal vegetated habitats, have directed attention to the globally relevant role of vegetated coastal habitats in carbon sequestration in the ocean. However, while the focus has primarily been on angiosperm-dominated systems (salt-marsh, seagrass and mangroves) growing over soft sediments, recent studies have highlighted the potentially highly significant role of macroalgae in this process.
Specialized meetings on various aspects of marine sciences on one side and lipidomics on the other already exist and respond to their respective specific needs. However, the structure of the community is such that there is often no space left for comprehensive discussions of lipidomic issues, apart from specific sessions during broader marine sciences meetings. Similarly, during lipidomic events, marine scientists tend to only meet opportunistically and have little hope of reaching the critical mass necessary to organize a session specifically dedicated to broad marine science questions.
Ecosystem modelling tools are increasingly applied in the contexts of management advice, policy exploration, and environmental impact analysis under climate change scenarios. The interdisciplinary modelling required integrates a wide range of disciplines - environmental change, biochemistry and hydrology, food web dynamics, and human activities, at local and global scales, and at various time scales.
Certain types of algae are known to form intense blooms at the sea surface, but their occurrence is sporadic and unpredictable. Episodic blooms not only contribute significantly to ocean biogeochemistry in terms of cycling of carbon and nitrogen, but some can also be considered harmful with production of toxins and disruption of food webs.
The overarching aims of this workshop are to: