SILICAMICS - biogeochemistry and genomics of silicification and silicifiersInternal


Activity Overview

Type: Foresight Workshop
Start Date: September 23, 2015
End Date: September 25, 2015
Venue: Aber-Wrac'h (France)
Contact: Aude Leynaert
E-mail: Aude.Leynaert [at]
Funding Call: EuroMarine 2014 Call for Proposals
Decision Body: EuroMarine Steering Committee
Total Budget: €75,000
Funds Granted: €18,000

Manager(s): Aude Leynaert
Co-organiser(s): Karine Leblanc, Pascal Jean Lopez, Manuel Maldonado, Brivaëla Moriceau, Bernard Quéguiner, Paul Tréguer

The foresight workshop by will bring together 80 senior and junior scientists in September 2015 in France with the aim of developing a transdisciplinary approach to better understand and model silicification and silificiers. This workshop will cover various topics including: a biogeochemical/genomic approach for ecosystems modelling; silicifiers in open ocean ecosystems; isotope chemistry providing tools for processes and fluxes; silicifiers in coastal ecosystems/cycle of silica in coastal ecosystems; genomic/proteomic tools for silicifiers; and silicification processes and properties.

The objectives are to review the convergence of chemistry, biochemistry, physiology, biogeochemistry and genomics to better understand silicification processes and the role of silicifiers in marine ecosystems, and to organise an open dialogue between top-level senior scientists and early-stage researchers. This will offer senior scientists opportunities to discuss their ideas and early stage researchers a unique opportunity to improve their research skills. This event will allow for the creation of a global vision of these themes, strengthening the interdisciplinary nature of the International Silica group and building a niche to prepare new research proposals for national and European research agencies. 

Silicamics 2015 participants

This is the first time that researchers working on silica, silicification and silicifiers with different approaches and disciplines gathered to better understand and model silicification and silicifiers. The workshop allowed 65 participants from 8 different countries to create a summary of future focus, tools, knowledge and questions on biogeochemical processes, silicification and silicifying organisms. This expanded the understanding of current knowledge in the field and will assist in solving practical research problems. It created professional connections, linking the fields of bioinformatics, biological, physiological and biogeochemistry. A student working group prepared a summary of the conference covering the major themes, synthesizing the current knowledge and pointing to gaps and issues that remain unresolved which could be the basis for future projects.

Following the general discussion and post-conference exchanges, two initiatives were launched: a review paper "Diatoms, other silicifiers, and the biological pump of carbon at World Ocean scale", and a special issue gathering articles on more specialized topics under the general theme "A silica living world". These 7 articles were submitted in September 2016. A web page is under construction to promote exchanges between participants and to inform about publications or call for projects and students fellowships. These activities will allow for the continuation of the convergent multidisciplinary effort and collaboration. A forthcoming edition of the SILICAMICS conference is scheduled in 2017.


(December 2017) The article "Influence of diatom diversity on the ocean biological carbon pump", acknowledging EuroMarine and the SILICAMICS conference was published in Nature Geoscience.


(February 2019) A special issue of Frontiers titled "Biogeochemistry and Genomics of Silicification and Silicifiers" was released, containing 13 articles, the latest of which was accepted for publication on 01 February 2019.