The Marine Biodiversity Observation Network Plankton Workshops: Plankton Ecosystem Function, Biodiversity, and Forecasting—Research Requirements and Applications

Grigoratou, M, Montes, E, Richardson, AJ, Everett, JD, Acevedo-Trejos, E, Anderson, C, Chen, B, Guy-Haim, T, Hinners, J, Lindemann, C, Garcia, TM, Moller, KO, Monteiro, FM, Neeley, AR, O'Brien, TD, Palacz, AP, Poulton, AJ, Prowe, AEF, Rodríguez-Santiago, AE, Rousseaux, CS, Runge, J, Saad, JF, Santi, I, Stern, R, Soccodato, A, Våge, S, Vogt, M, Zervoudaki, S and Muller-Karger, FE 2022 The Marine Biodiversity Observation Network Plankton Workshops: Plankton Ecosystem Function, Biodiversity, and Forecasting—Research Requirements and Applications. Limnology and Oceanography Bulletin, 31 (1). 22-26.

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Plankton is a massive and phylogenetically diverse group of thousands of prokaryotes, protists (unicellular eukaryotic organisms), and metazoans (multicellular eukaryotic organisms; Fig. 1). Plankton functional diversity is at the core of various ecological processes, including productivity, carbon cycling and sequestration, nutrient cycling (Falkowski 2012), interspecies interactions, and food web dynamics and structure (D'Alelio et al. 2016). Through these functions, plankton play a critical role in the health of the coastal and open ocean and provide essential ecosystem services. Yet, at present, our understanding of plankton dynamics is insufficient to project how climate change and other human-driven impacts affect the functional diversity of plankton. That limits our ability to predict how critical ecosystem services will change in the future and develop strategies to adapt to these changes. The Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON;, last accessed date: 22 Dec 2021), with the support of the Modelling Different Components of Marine Plankton Biodiversity team (MODIV;, last accessed date: 22 Dec 2021), organized four virtual workshops (first in November 2020, second and third in October 2021, and fourth in November 2021) titled: “Plankton ecosystem functions, biodiversity, and forecasting—research requirements and applications” (, last accessed date: 22 Dec 2021). The first workshop held in November 2020 was an initiative of the US-MBON and MODIV teams to bring together members of the ocean sciences community involved in plankton observing and modeling to meet, build rapport, and exchange expertise. The following workshops were organized to accommodate time differences: one for South, Central, and North America in October 2021; one for Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and India in October 2021; and one for East Asia and Oceania in November 2021. Each workshop was held for two consecutive days, and participation was limited to 20–25 participants per workshop to enable interactive discussions. In total, 80 participants from 26 countries attended at least one of the workshops (Fig. 2). A detailed list of participants can be found in the workshops' website (, last accessed date: 22 Dec 2021). The United States of America and Australia were the countries with the most participants, followed by Canada, Germany, China, the United Kingdom, and Argentina. The objectives of the workshops were to: (1) identify requirements with respect to the definition of essential ocean variables (EOVs) and associated measurements, as well as compile the data needed to address critical knowledge gaps related to the role of plankton biodiversity functions to provide ecosystem services; (2) discuss ways to better link empirical observations to theoretical concepts of plankton biodiversity and ecosystem dynamics; and (3) suggest methods to better communicate the value of plankton to peers and non-scientific audiences.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Additional Keywords: Workshop, Plankton, Ecosystem Function, Biodiversity, Forecasting, Meeting Highlights
Subjects: Biology
Earth Observation - Remote Sensing
Ecology and Environment
Marine Sciences
Divisions: Marine Biological Association of the UK > Ocean Biology
Depositing User: Tamar Atkinson
Date made live: 14 Mar 2022 11:09
Last Modified: 09 Feb 2024 15:49

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