This workshop took place at the National Oceanography Centre, in Southampton, UK from 22-26 July, bringing together 75 researchers from 8 countries. The aim of the BIARRITZ (Bridging International Activity and Related Research Into the Twilight Zone) project is to act as a forum for the growing number of projects investigating the functioning of the ocean’s Twilight Zone (TZ), straddling the depth range from ~100m-1000m.
The workshop was to allow projects at varying stages (from all fieldwork done to still seeking funding) to discuss common issues, to identify major gaps in the field and to identify practical ways in which they can collaborate or assist each other. The NASA EXPORTS program and the WHOI Ocean Twilight Zone project were both well-represented, as well as nine other projects funded by the UK, Australia, Spain, Germany, France and EU. The workshop benefited from encouraging attendance by early career researchers (over a third of attendees), with dedicated funding to support those from outside the big projects, to help ensure momentum in this field is maintained.
The program was designed to give the majority of time to discussion with just 16 invited talks on the four themes of Surface influences on TZ function, New techniques and technologies, Carbon pathways through the TZ, and Controls on remineralization depth. These talks can be found here. Talks were designed to provoke discussion with subsequent breakout groups covering everything from the roles of viruses to fish. Funding to attend the workshop was generously provided by OCB, with the workshop itself funded by NERC (UK) and other travel assistance from SCOR. The workshop was intended as a kick-start to develop stronger international collaborations on TZ research, but practical outcomes are already emerging spanning from new joint papers to a draft plan for sharing data across projects.