This workshop aims to address the current poor link between OWF- environment monitoring observations and the societal relevance by introducing the field of biodiversity – ecosystem function into the ecosystem services concept. The biodiversity – ecosystem function field introduces the theory and examines the mechanistic role of biodiversity in shaping ecosystem services (Duncan et al. 2015). Organisms, through their activity (filtering, burrowing, irrigating) affect the biogeochemical processes underlying ecosystem services.
The introduction of man-made structures affect the local communities, and the distribution of the functional traits within the communities, which in turn affect ecosystem functioning rates. However, at the present time, the biodiversity – ecosystem functioning and biodiversity-ecosystem services research fields are detached (Cardinale et al. 2012), rarely working together and generally being conducted in different contexts and at different scales (Duncan et al. 2015). As such, it is unlikely that the existing gap will be bridged using single research teams. Therefore, our proposal unlocks the potential of the EuroMarine initiative to bring specialists in both the biodiversity - ecosystem functioning and ecosystem services fields together in a EuroMarine foresight workshop to promote the understanding of how OWF affect the delivery of ecosystem services.
The workshop will focus on the effect of the introduction of OWF on the biogeochemistry of the water column and sediment, as many ecosystem functions and services that biodiversity rely on can be related to biogeochemical processes linked to the cycling of carbon and nutrients in the marine environment. In addition, these processes are affected by both biological and physical changes in an OWF environment.
The final outcome of the foresight workshop will be a synthesis publication in a peer reviewed international scientific journal and presentations on international conferences (European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly, Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO), World Conference on Marine Biodiversity 2018).