14.2.17 | From February 15 to 17, the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) is hosting a workshop entitled “Plankton biodiversity, dynamic eco-physiology and ecosystem function”, combining both mathematical modelling and observations. The three-day event, organised by the workgroup Systems Ecology, is being held in cooperation with the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), with funding from the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) and ZMT.

The workshop will bring together leading researchers from Japan, USA, and various European countries to outline the state-of-the-art in the field and plan new collaborative studies. Participants will present scientific results concerning communities of photosynthetic microorganisms (algae) and predatory zooplankton.The scientific focus is on the relationships between plankton biodiversity, dynamic eco-physiology, and ecosystem function.

As primary producers, phytoplankton are an integral part of the aquatic food web providing nourishment for tiny zooplankton as well as enormous whales. Through photosynthesis, they effectively take up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it as organic carbon in the deep ocean and on the sea floor, driving the so-called biological carbon pump. Phytoplankton, therefore, play an important role in regulating climate while at the same time they are affected by climate change.