Recent consistent and coordinated scientific efforts to combine molecular microbial observations with trace metal biogeochemistry have demonstrated the potential to deepen our knowledge of environmental controls on functional diversity and its influence on community composition. Progress in this research area is likely to be enhanced by wider application of further disciplines such as proteomics and metabolomics to studies of microbial function in the ocean. In order to fully exploit these insights new approaches for incorporation of microbial diversity and function within biogeochemical models are being explored.
To capitalise on advances in trace element biogeochemistry, -omics disciplines and modelling approaches in marine science, there has been a developing interest in a large-scale coordinated global microbial biogeochemistry program. The foundations of this program – named BioGeoSCAPES - are currently being laid at the international level and momentum is building to take the program forward - a particularly exciting option given the imminent UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.
The goal of this EuroMarine-funded Foresight Workshop is to consider how to advance a program of coordination at the international level within Europe. Participants in this workshop are already coordinating with international partners in the development of an overall strategy for BioGeoSCAPES and this FWS will serve as a a jumping off point for the preparation of a COST proposal. The proposed COST Action submission would facilitate the development of the BioGeoSCAPES program within the European region via development and recommendation of optimal experimental designs and best practices for analysis of key environmental variables.
The workshop has three key objectives it will be working towards.
- Synthesize present knowledge and identify major gaps on the interactions between trace metals and marine microbes.
- Build/foster a community for the coordination of future Biogeoscapes activities at the European level.
- Further develop our plan for a COST Action proposal, including determination of the scope, objectives and expected outcomes of the Action with a view to submission in the autumn of 2021.
- A position paper with contributions on trace metal chemistry, microbial physiology and ecology and/or biogeochemical cycling.
- Active planning steps for the preparation of a COST Action, such as the identification of proposal opportunities at national and European level, setting milestones and identifying national representatives/participants of steering committees.
- Submission of a COST Action proposal.
This workshop expects to contribute directly to BioGEOSCAPES and establish a European programme of coordination for microbial biogeochemistry that is tied intrinsically into the greater global effort.