Chemical Ecology of Marine Interactions, the chemical language that shapes future marine healthInternal


Activity Overview

Type: Foresight Workshop
Start Date: August 28, 2015
End Date: August 31, 2015
Host: UoE
Venue: University of Essex, Colchester Campus (UK)
Contact: Michael Steinke
E-mail: msteinke [at]
Funding Call: EuroMarine 2014 Call for Proposals
Total Budget: €19,925
Funds Granted: €10,000

Manager(s): Michael Steinke
Co-organiser(s): Philippe Potin, Erik Selander

Marine chemical ecology is still an emerging field that has not been addressed using concerted, cross-disciplinary effort. Increasing understanding on the chemical ecology of food-web networks would provide opportunities for implementing new management solutions, improving the predictive capability of environmental change scenarios and sustaining healthy marine resources.

This foresight workshop will assess the unknowns and identify the benefits of marine chemical ecology for the sustainable management of marine resources. It will facilitate the integration of expert activities and visions on this topic through the participation of invited researchers in the fields of marine and terrestrial chemical ecology. The intention is to form a synthesis of current knowledge on marine chemical ecology and identify important knowledge gaps or key milestones in terrestrial chemical ecology. This will contribute to the coordination of a ten year roadmap and allow for opinion building and knowledge exchange via the publication of an open access collaborative foresight paper. Public engagement of the outcomes are of benefit to the entire field, increasing public interest and awareness of the resources available from the marine realm. This event will ensure international co-operation across EuroMarine members and the wider European research community.

21 experts interested in the chemical ecology of terrestrial, marine and freshwater ecosystems covered processes from cellular to ecosystem scales in the workshop. Chemical ecologists from across Europe discussed their activities and visions, synthesising current knowledge on marine chemical ecology and identifying important knowledge gaps. A World Café event raised public awareness of the topic. Key milestones in terrestrial chemical ecology were identified that could provide a blueprint for new cross-disciplinary activities to unravel chemical signalling processes in marine ecosystems. The co-ordination of a ten year roadmap is ongoing and will focus on addressing the lack of mechanistic understanding in chemical ecology.

Next steps include developing a workshop that would combine participants’ expertise to address the role of chemical signalling in marine food webs. Another aim is to develop a foresight manuscript to increase awareness of the potential of aquatic chemical ecology research for addressing societal challenges in the areas of food security, climate change, and the development of novel disease detection, monitoring and prevention methodologies. Other activities proposed at the workshop include developing an EU Horizon 2020 proposal and developing an EU ITN in Aquatic Chemical Ecology.


Due to the interest and success of the EuroMarine workshop in August 2015, a second workshop was held at the University of Gothenburg/Tjarno Marine Station in May 2016. During this workshop a set of three short experiments were conducted and a draft manuscript is being prepared for one of these experiments, as are two papers stemming from the outcomes of these workshops.

The researchers created a draft manuscript of the first workshop and planned to submit a proposal for a new COST Action, however unfortunately these plans have been put on hold due to Brexit.