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E-workshop on biodiversity based components of marine metabolism and carbon flow

Location: MarBEF forum
Event Type: E-conference
Event Date: 2004-10-18    
End Date: 2004-10-23

Event Description:
One of the major issues linked to the quick loss of biotic diversity is to assess to what extent biodiversity contributes to ecosystem functioning. One key question in this context is to determine how species loss affects ecosystem metabolism and carbon flow. Tackling this question is essential in [view] of promoting environmental policy aiming at protecting biodiversity as a whole and not only targeted/emblematic species.

Linking biodiversity and ecosystem functioning is certainly not an easy task because of the complexity of these two concepts. On the one hand, biodiversity can be assessed at various spatial scales (from the local one to the regional one and/or along gradients), and is still largely not measurable for a large variety of microorganisms, which are often the major actors in some ecosystem processes such as mineralization. On the second hand, ecosystem functioning encompasses a large variety of processes and a complex set of interactions between biological compartments, which should clearly induce non-linear responses. In spite of such a complexity, it is striking to see how: (1) most theoretical approaches postulates simple (but variable!) relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem function, and (2) the experimental assessment of the relationship between diversity and ecosystem function mostly involves the test of simple hypotheses/concepts (e.g., species redundancy).

Most of the investigation regarding the link between biodiversity and ecosystem function have been carried out within terrestrial environments and similar effort in the marine environments have been fewer in spite of: (1) the general belief for a strong link between marine biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, and (2) an emergent biodiversity crisis especially due to the loss of habitats in coastal areas. The study of the relationship between marine biodiversity and ecosystem functioning constitutes the theme 2 of the EC NoE MARBEF. Both data mining and new research projects will be undertaken within this framework. Because of the complexity of the tackled question, it appeared suitable to have a preliminary examination regarding the current state of the art regarding the study of the link between marine diversity and ecosystem functioning. This will be achieved through several dedicated workshops and reviews. The present electronic workshop is part of this process. It is entitled « Biodiversity based components of marine metabolism and carbon flow » and will be split in three parallel sessions:

Topic 1. Current hypotheses and data regarding the relationships between marine biodiversity, ecosystem metabolism and carbon flow
Topic 2. Possible approaches in linking marine biodiversity, ecosystem metabolism and carbon flow
Topic 3. Measuring ecosystem metabolism and carbon flow in marine ecosystems

For each of these sessions, the objectives are: (1) to exchange ideas, and (2) to gather existing information, which will be later synthesised during the above-mentioned workshops/reviews.

In MARBEF, this electronic workshop constitutes a first practical opportunity to exchange scientific ideas regarding the link between marine biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. In this sense, this event is important for our whole community. I would like to invite all of you to join the discussion and wish you a fruitful workshop.

Some practicalities:
The MarBEF forum will be the platform. Everyone has access to read the messages, but only registered users are able to post a message. So everyone who did not yet register to the MarBEF web site can do this by creating an account via this link: You will receive an email with a link on which you have to confirm your activation.

If you encounter problems, please contact our webmaster and forum moderator via

Contact email:

Event programme:
All the three topics will start on Monday 18 October. They will be introduced by Antoine Grémare. The workshop will last until Saterday 23 October.

Collaborators and organisers:
Chairperson: Antoine Grémare
Directeur du Laboratoire d'Océanographie Biologique de Banyuls
BP 44, F66651 Banyuls-sur-Mer Cedex
tel: 33 (0)4 68 88 73 59
fax: 33 (0)4 68 88 73 95

Website url:

Registration form: 

Registration fee: 0 €

Relevant costs that should be taken by MARBEF:  

Possibility for day-care centres (facilities for children): No

MarBEF supported event: Yes

Event within Framework of MARBEF: WP4 - Functionality

Maximum number of participants: 

External participants (non MARBEF) allowed: Yes

Posted by WardAppeltans on 2004-10-07 and approved by Webmaster