EuroMarine Working group PlankBioS

The EuroMarine Working Group “PlankBioS: Present and future plankton biogeography and the link between community structure, marine ecosystem functioning and ecosystem service provision” will gather interdisciplinary European expertise in plankton research to assess the present and future role of plankton community composition and diversity for marine ecosystems function and ecosystem services. Our aim is to bring together modelers, experimentalists and theoretical ecologists in order to maximize synergies between the partners in their quest to address the following key issues in modern plankton research:

PlankBioS will embrace five main objectives:

  • to consolidate the European community of plankton researchers, in order to generate a holistic picture of plankton biogeography and marine ecosystem function
  • to foster future collaborative work and develop a joint international proposal for a suitable call at either the European or international level
  • to strengthen data sharing efforts between the partners in order to generate publicly available merged data bases on all aspects of plankton biogeography as a community service
  • to publish a community paper that exposes the methodological developments and data requirements necessary to understand the link between ecosystem structure and ecosystem functioning
  • to publish the first “best practice” protocol for the development, validation and interpretation of niche modeling and associated software packages for marine planktonic ecosystems as a community service for data providers and experimental plankton ecologists

PlankBioS is the follow-up of the Euromarine Foresight workshop PlankDiv “Impact of climate change on the distribution of plankton functional and phylogenetic diversity” that took place in Villefranche-sur-Mer in March 2016. This highly successful workshop led to the development of a review paper on current plankton research (Chust et al. (2017) Frontiers in Marine Sciences). PlankBioS plans to build on the synergies developed between team members of PlankDiv: The community paper will set international standards in terms of new metrics to measure the link between functional and taxonomic diversity and ecosystem function and urgently needed quality standards for statistical model development and validation. The published “best practice” protocol for niche modeling in planktonic ecosystems will be freely available for the international research community, and can be applied to a multitude of new exciting data sets on plankton community structure in the World’s Oceans.

The scientific work on the link between marine ecosystem structure and function will inform the next IPCC assessment, and, potentially, the IPCC Special Report on the Impacts of Global Warming of 1.5°C above Pre-industrial Levels and related Greenhouse Gas Emission Pathways as invited by the UNFCCC decision in Paris. Since changes in plankton biogeography are likely to lead to substantial socio-economic impacts in terms of fisheries revenues, “PlankBioS” research will be relevant for policy makers and stakeholders.

During the workshop in June 2017 at the AZTI in San Sebastian, one working group will be dedicated to the conception of the community paper the methodological developments and data requirements necessary to understand the link between ecosystem structure and ecosystem functioning, while a second working group will focus on the development of  a best practice protocol for niche modeling in plankton ecosystems.

Key words: Plankton, biogeography, ecosystem functioning, species distribution modeling, ecological niche modeling, functional traits, phylogeny, biodiversity, functional diversity, community structure, ecosystem services, climate change

Relevant links:

PlankDiv – EuroMarine Foresight Workshop

EuroMarine Network