Driving the direction of future mixotrophic research
An Ocean Carbon & Biogeochemistry (OCB) Working Group
Aquatic plankton have traditionally been categorized using a false dichotomy of either heterotrophs (strict phagotrophs) or autotrophs (strict phototrophs). It is now accepted that many species fall on a spectrum between these two trophic strategies, and are called mixotrophs. Scientists’ ability to conduct in situ research on mixotrophs has been hindered by the limitations of current methods for detecting them and their activity. The scientific community is primed to make major advances in mixotrophy research, but first must reach a consensus on how to best apply currently available methods, collaboratively define new paths forward for methodological development, and put forth a proposed list of the most pressing mixotrophy research needs.
With funding from the Ocean Carbon and Biogeochemistry (OCB) Project Office, we are forming a working group that, over the next two years, will bring together researchers to identify a clear set of high-priority mixotrophy research needs and identify methodological gaps in achieving these needs. Our working group will consist of scientists who have studied the in situ mixotrophic community using a range of methods, modelers who are interested in incorporating mixotrophs into their models, and scientists who are interested in participating in future mixotroph research. The primary goals are: 1) to synthesize available data on in situ mixotrophic activity/presence and the methods used in peer-reviewed literature, 2) develop guidelines for the best application of current methods, and 3) identify potential new methods for advancing in situ studies.
The first working group meeting was held February 1, you can watch the recording in the video above or on YouTube.
If you would like to participate (official or unofficial) please fill out this form.
Participation overview (more detail here):
An unofficial participant is someone who joins the bi-monthly virtual meetings and contributes to the discussion. Unofficial participants are always welcome and are an important part of the working group by allowing for a wide range of scientists to contribute even if they do not have the time to be an official member. Anyone is free to join the working group as an unofficial participant at any time and attend as many or as few meetings as they choose.
An official participant is expected to actively contribute to all aspects of the working groups activities in some capacity. The number of official participants will also be limited based on the funds available for travel and participation for in person meetings. Someone who agrees to be an official participant in the working group is agreeing to contribute in the following ways:
-Attend a majority of the virtual bi-monthly meetings and participate in the discussion.
-Contribute to the collection and summarizing of data from peer-reviewed literature.
-Contribute to the preparation and writing of ONE of the groups planned manuscripts.
- Attend in-person meetings: Fall 2021 at VIMS for 3 days and Summer 2022 for 2 days at WHOI (before OCB). International participants have the option to participate remotely.
-Contribute to the drafting and finalization of a white paper outlining the working groups priority mixotroph(y) research objectives.
CORRECTION: As a few of you have pointed out, June 14 is the first day of the summer OCB meeting, so we have decided to shift the bi-monthly meeting to July 12 and then start the bi-monthly schedule from there:
April 12, 11:00-12:30pm: Definitions of mixotrophy (virtual meeting)
June TBD: Virtual WG town hall at OCB 2021
July 12, 11:00-12:30pm: Biogeochemistry of mixotrophy (virtual meeting)
September 13, 11:00-12:30pm: virtual meeting (topic TBD)
October 4-6: in person meeting (Gloucester Point, VA)
November TBD, 11:00-12:30pm: virtual meeting (topic TBD)
Note to people who have applied to be an official member: We're in the process of going through self-nominations and assessing funding availability; unfortunately, this may take some time as funding costs will differ depending on whether we hold October's meeting remotely or in person. The organizing committee will be in touch just as soon as possible!