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


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.
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