Summary of the ASLO Emerging Issues Workshop and SCOR WG134 second meeting
From February 17th – 20th, over 35 experts, young scientists and students from over 12 different countries joined together for the ASLO Emerging Issues workshop and SCOR WG134 second meeting in
Group photo of the participants of the workshop
Focusing on the theme of “Microbial Carbon Pump: A multidisciplinary focus on origins, cycling and storage of DOM in the ocean”, the special session 55 of ASLO aquatic science meeting was convened by Gerhard Kattner (Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Germany), Nianzhi Jiao (State Key Lab for Marine Environmental Science, Xiamen University, China), Farooq Azam (Scripps Institution of Oceanography, USA) and Steven Wilhelm (University of Tennessee, USA) and joined by about 40 scientists from 12 countries, including China, USA, UK, Germany, France, Canada, Spain, Austria , Czech Republic, Brazil, Japan and India.
The special session was divided into multiple sessions where poster and oral presentations commenced. There were 13 different posters representing related research on microbiology, oceanography and the microbial carbon pump. The oral presentations started from Nianzhi Jiao about the MCP– A mechanism for long-term carbon storage in the ocean. Prof. Jiao showed a movie with commentary to explain the scientific issues about MCP. The movie was created as a response to ASLO's movie festival on Feb. 13th. Plenary lectures were given during the whole day. There were 21 presentations by multiple experts including WG134 members as well as Farooq Azam, Ronald Benner, Gerhard Herndl, Gerhard Katter, Álvarez-Salgado Xosé Antón, Markus Weinbauer, Chen-Tung Arthur Chen, Michal Koblizek, and Nagappa Ramaiah.
ASLO meeting SS55 in Puerto Rico conference center
The reception dinner of the Emerging Issues Workshop was orchestrated in the evening of 18th February in the
Toast at the reception
The ASLO Emerging Issues Workshop included five sessions. The meeting program included discussion on the practice of the MCP, anticipated program/projects to develop and potential MCP joint cruises West Pacific Warm Pool, Bering Sea,
The main issues were discussed by the oceanographers, biologists and chemists during the meeting. Compared with the biological pump, MCP plays a more important role in carbon’s sequestration rather than carbon’s fixation. Membrane potential could be a useful parameter to track the RDOC. Some RDOM could be bio-available but the concentration is too low for organisms to use. The molecular weight in the range of 200-600Da has a positive relationship with depth. The concept of RDOC was initially defined by the biologists and chemists. “Reactivity is important”. Even though it’s hard to put one label on the term, something clear is that: chemists define SLDOC by the removing rate; the term used by microbiologist in incubation experiment, depends on how long the DOC can last for. We can also refer to some phytoplankton bloom data in the past, the “black carbon”, the RDOC/DOC produced from the hydrothermal vent. We can even develop different approaches to measure the unknown RDOC based on the two time-serie stations since differences among RDOC compounds were found in HOT & BAT. Besides, it has been found that in the ocean, there’s carbon-rich external molecular. So the chemical structure origins of organic matters from plants and phytoplankton are very important connection to the molecular characterization of RDOC in the ocean. The importance of MCP is the transformation of DOC by microbes. So it’s important to figure out how much carbon is processed by microbes per year.
ASLO Emerging Issues Workshop on MCP
As outputs of the workshop, the WG members are planning a booklet on the MCP, to be published by the Science /AAAS Business Office in May 2011, which includes 10 published Science papers covering the topics of microbial control of oceanic carbon flux, production of RDOC by bacteria, chemical characteristics of DOC, community genomics of microbial assemblages, and radiocarbon ages of organic compounds; and 10 new articles by the WG134 members addressing the following aspects of the MCP: biological carbon sequestration and carbon fixation; effects of bacterial activity on DOC composition; recognition of functional bacterial groups as energy and carbon sources; bacterial respiration of DOC under changing environmental conditions; viral lysis mediated redistribution of DOC; linking DOC export from the euphotic zone to microbial community structure; molecular characterization of DOC and constraints for prokaryotic utilization; spectroscopic characterization of DOC; application of GeoChips in monitoring carbon cycling and mechanistic modeling of DOC degradation. In addition, a special section on the MCP in Applied and Environmental Microbiology will be published in mid 2011, and a review paper in Limnology and Oceanography addressing the origins of RDOC, DOC fractions and their reactivity, and analytical characterization of RDOC will be completed later this year.
Open discussions were held afterwards. Participants discussed the future international research programme. Based on the increased accumulation of CO2 and induced global climate change, and the ineffectiveness and criticism of proposed small scale global engineering strategies, it is very important to propose/submit our MCP project to the global change research programme such as IGBP and IMBER. The MCP global geoengineering proposal will be submitted to IGBP/IMBER after the meeting.
From this meeting, many experts felt more positive in their international co operations within SCOR WG134 and profited from this. The next WG134 workshop addressing microbial transformation of DOC will be held in Germany at the same time as the ISME conference in Copenhagen in 2012.