click on picture to enter
Providing specialist training
A key product of MarBEF will be a new generation of professional marine ecosystem
scientists for Europe. MarBEF's research programme has identified a set of high priority
topics as requiring support at the postgraduate level, being:
We will also assess the demand for further training courses and we will issue a call for
proposals for other highly specialist training, in order to assess supply. These proposals will
be considered by the Steering Committee and a management group responsible for training
under our Spreading of Excellence programme.
- Postdoctoral fellowships
We will create five postdoctoral fellowships which will last for the full duration of MarBEF.
One will be allocated to integration activities within each of the scientific research themes, and
two will work in the overall integrated activities programme (one of these being dedicated to
data and information management).
- Doctoral studentships
In the second phase of MarBEF a series of responsive work package proposals will be
considered and prioritised for their scientific excellence and relevance to the MarBEF
programme. We envisage that the main resources provided by MarBEF towards the
successful projects will be the expertise and facilities of the network plus PhD studentships.
The work of all doctoral students will be supervised by an international panel, and each
student will carry out research at a minimum of two different MarBEF institutions based in
different countries. The total number of PhD studentships will be determined by the quality
and requirements of the successful responsive proposals.
- Training of technicians
There is an urgent and increasing need for cross training of technicians in novel methods, in
standardised sampling procedures and in experimental protocols. This is especially important
for MarBEF given the large scale coverage of our proposed research. We will hold standardisation workshops for technicians and researchers as part of the Strategic Research Programmes.
MarBEF will offer a small suite of existing courses of immediate use to the network's objectives to
cover the increasing demand for taxonomic work because of the high scientific and political profile of
biodiversity issues, and the recognised shortage of expertise (Taxonomic Impediment). These will serve
also as pilot courses and, together with a list of existing courses, will serve as examples to elicit
demands for similar or other training topics and formats from participants, the NoE members and the
wider marine community to develop the long-term training strategy for the NoE.
Description of work
Task 1: Specialist training
The following specialist training courses will be organised in the first year:
- Phytoplankton Taxonomy [highly successful existing course on marine phytoplankton taxonomy and
systematics] coordinated by SZAD, Naples, Italy, in collaboration with AWI
- Copepod biology and systematics [Highly successful existing one week course on marine copepods]
coordinated by NHM, London, UK and held at the University of Bizerta in Tunisia, in collaboration with
the World Association of Copepodologists.
- Phylogeny and taxonomy of microorganisms [ARB course using a 16S and 23 S rRNA database] coordinated
by MPI for Marine Microbiology, Bremen, Germany in collaboration with the Technical
University in Munich.
Molecular phylogeny provides a stable framework to address the diversity of organisms. The
understanding of the basic principles of sequence alignment and phylogenetic tree reconstruction is
therefore essential. Within the workshops we start with an introduction to the theory of phylogenetic tree
reconstruction and probe design followed by an 'hands-on' experience on phylogenetic treeing using
the freely available software package ARB.
- Flow cytometry and marine environmental research [methods based course] coordinated by SZAD,
Task 2: Develop long term strategy for training of specialists
During this period we will also develop our long-term training strategy which assesses demand for
further training. We will produce a list of existing courses, assess future demand, identify new training
topics and formats through a structured questionnaire on the website. Then we will match this demand
with proposals from MarBEF members.