4th Workshop on Trait-Based Approaches to Marine LifeInternal

Activity Overview

Type: Foresight Workshop
Start Date: August 18, 2019
End Date: August 21, 2019
Host: Soton - NOCS
Venue: Chicheley Hall, Buckinghamshire, UK
Contact: Ken Andersen
E-mail: kha [at] aqua.dtu.dk
Funding Call: EuroMarine 2018 call for FWS and WG proposals
Total Budget: €43,329
Funds Granted: €5,000

Application/registration deadline: April 30, 2019

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.

KEY OBJECTIVES

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

EXPECTED OUTCOMES

  • 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

EXPECTED IMPACT

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.

Summary

From the 18th to the 21st of August 2019, 81 researchers from 24 different countries gathered at Chicheley Hall in Buckinghamshire, UK for the 4th Workshop on Trait-Based Approaches to Ocean Life. The purpose of this workshop was to discuss the extent to shich the structure and function of marine ecosystems are underpinned by the fundamental phenotypic traits of organisms, and how these higher level and lower level properties depend on one another.

The workshop featured four keynote addresses and 21 additional talks over four plenary sessions, as well as 56 posters presented in two dedicated sessions. Participants also had the opportunity to take part in small themed group discussions and an outdoor group activity.

The workshop was a great success, with both speakers and participants engaging in many active and productive sessions covering the four main objectives of the event:

  • 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

Details on the proceedings and the discussions held will be covered in an activity report that will be published to this page.

Outcome

The activity continued the successful development of this area of research, building upon the previous workshops on a trait-based approach. The researchers expect future research in this regard to have benefitted from this coming together of experts, and a future workshop has already been agreed to be held in 2021 in Tennessee, USA. Any further outputs will be noted here as they are publicised.

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