Report of the Working Group on Phytoplankton Ecology (WGPE) [16–18 March 2005 Oldenburg, Germany]
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The Working Group on Phytoplankton Ecology (WGPE) met in Oldenburg, Germany, from 16 to 18 March 2005. Six scientists from different countries participated. WGPE started its annual meeting with a long discussion about the group activities in relation to the ICES Action Plan. The discussion on this matter started already in 2004 but no specific priorities were given at that time. WGPE has prepared two tables that summarize the group’s points of view about future activities in the frame of the Action Plan. Lack of time hindered a more detailed presentation, and it was agreed that a set of guidelines should be prepared for next year’s meeting after consulting with other working groups. An assesment of the application of remote sensing and numerical modelling for phytoplankton dynamics studies had started. The first step in this work was to review the state of the art situation with examples. Although WGPE recognized that these techniques have seen significant improvement, still they are of only a semi-quantitative character and further work is needed before they can be applied without restriction. However, the examples showed confirmed the value of these techniques. They are quite useful to provide information and resolve issues where full quantitative data are not completely necessary. WGPE has for a long time being been concerned about the possible impacts of climate change on phytoplankton dynamics. The prevailing view that emerged from the discussion was that this problem is very difficult to resolve without long-term data series. The continuous decline of this kind of data is a threat to properly assessing climate change impact, and WGPE expressed its concern about replacing real data with, i.e., models, when dealing with this question. WGPE agreed on starting a series of presentations at next year’s meeting with examples from different regions and ecosystems where long-term observation programs are still being carried out. Contributions to the Annual Phytoplankton Summary were presented by four countries. Although WGPE has prepared a standard reporting form there is still the problem of the variability in the reporting countries. Unfortunately only countries attending the meeting reported. Countries like Sweden and The Netherlands that have previously presented detailed reports did not attend this year’s meeting. WGPE will contact all its members once again and ask them to present their contributions for the 2006 meeting, wh either they attend it or not. The first draft of the ICES phytoplankton list was presented. WGPE reccomends to name it the ICES Phytoplankton Name List in order to avoid conflicts with taxonomists.The list, containing more than 1300 species names, will be further completed during the intersessional period by adding corrected names already submitted as well as new names from other not yet delivered lists. WGPE found that the time is still not ripe to hold a Workshop on new methods for measuring Primary Production. This is due to the fact that the newest techniques are still i.in a developing phase, a phase that had taken longer time than previously expected. At the same time WGPE agreed on at if there is the need of a Primary Production database at ICES this should only include data from standarized methods as the one proposed several years ago by WGPE. WGPE recommends, after revision, the publication of the documents describing the ICES incubator. WGPE regrets that no contribution was prepared for the May 2005 REGNS meeting. However, a new effort will be carried out during the intersessional period to comply with this ICES request. WGPE will meet again from 29–31 March 2006 at Brorfelde, Denmark.
Contributor: Francisco Rey
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