Marine Biodiversity Networking Friday

Bio-GO-SHIP: Expanding biological ocean observations for plankton ecosystem science and monitoring to the global scale

On December 9th, 2022, 1-2 PM UTC we will have the Marine Biodiversity Networking Friday on Bio-GO-SHIP: Expanding biological ocean observations for plankton ecosystem science and monitoring to the global scale

Global-scale Ocean observing programs such as JGOFS, WOCE, and GO-SHIP have been operational since the late 1970s and have provided invaluable insights into changes in ocean heat content, oxygen loss, ventilation, and penetration of anthropogenic carbon. However, there has been no such global-scale monitoring of the upper ocean plankton community and metabolism, which are fundamental in driving important biogeochemical cycles.

  • Bio-GO-SHIP aims to establish consistent global observations of plankton communities and their biogeochemical role in upper ocean processes with the following objectives:
  • Use established sensors and mature technologies that can be deployed operationally and provide robust, high-quality data.
  • Leverage concurrent physical and chemical observations.
  • Build large datasets to track and quantify climate change impacts on the upper ocean ecosystem and metabolism.
  • Provide a platform for testing and deploying new observing technologies and sensors.

This seminar will demonstrate how such a global biological observing project can advance our understanding of marine biodiversity. Plankton biodiversity is important for marine ecosystems, but possible controls are subject to much debate. We observed a clear global gradient with increasing diversity towards high latitudes. We did not find support for the species-energy, productivity, or dispersal hypotheses. Instead, surface nutrient depletion and selection for the small cell-sized lineage like Prochlorococcus and Pelagibacter explained much of the global trend in biodiversity. However, selection for small picoplankton lineages was superimposed on a diverse bacterial community with a mostly stable diversity. In addition to these broader diversity patterns, we also see the intra-specific selection for functional genes reflecting the nutritional environment. Thus, we can use variation in genome content as a ‘biosensor’ for nutrient stress type and severity in the ocean. Finally, we will present some preliminary results from the recent GO-SHIP P02 line where we deployed a combination of ’omics sampling, continuous flow cytometry, and optical sensors to understand the role of biological diversity in the regulation of primary production. We are also using samples collected on P02 to optimize standard operating procedures for processing omics samples for the next decade of Bio-GO-SHIP.

Programme (UTC):

  • 1:00 PM – Welcome remarks, Maria Grigoratou (Science Officer, Mercator Ocean International, EU Office, G7 FSOI Coordination Centre)
  • 1:05 PM – Luke Thompson (Associate Research Professor at Northern Gulf Institute, Mississippi State University / AOML / NOAA)
  • 1:25 PM – Sophie Clayton (Assistant Professor of Oceanography, Old Dominion University)
  • 1:45 PM – Q&A, moderated by Maria Grigoratou
  • 2:00 AM – Closing

Relevant Link:

This is an Ocean Decade Event.

Ocean Decade logo


Luke Thompson

Luke Thompson

Bio-GO-SHIP: Expanding biological ocean observations for plankton ecosystems science and monitoring to the global scale

Luke Thompson is an Associate Research Professor at the Northern Gulf Institute (NGI) at Mississippi State University and NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) in Miami. Luke received his bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and his PhD from MIT, both in biology. His current research focuses on marine systems, from microbes to fish to mammals, using ‘omics methods, especially DNA sequencing. His lab is developing methods to facilitate high-throughput environmental DNA sample processing and data analysis and applying them to monitoring and conservation efforts in the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Great Lakes..

Sophie Clayton

Sophie Clayton

Bio-GO-SHIP: Expanding biological ocean observations for plankton ecosystems science and monitoring to the global scale

Sophie Clayton is an Assistant Professor of Oceanography at Old Dominion University. Sophie received her bachelor’s degree in Ocean Sciences from Bangor University in the UK, followed by a PhD in Physical Oceanography from the MIT/WHOI Joint Program in the USA. Her research focuses on observing and understanding fine-scale variability in phytoplankton populations, their interaction with physical features, and how they ultimately influence large-scale ecological and biogeochemical patterns and processes. Her lab is developing methods to improve the automated identification of phytoplankton from high throughput imaging instruments, as well as studies analyzing large environmental and ecological data sets to better understand physical-biological interactions in regions such as the Mid-Atlantic Bight, the California Current and the Kuroshio Extension.


Maria Grigoratou

Maria is a biological oceanographer with expertise in zooplankton ecology. She has combined field, lab, and modelling approaches to deliver a mechanistic understanding of ecosystem dynamics in a changing environment. As a science officer at the G7 FSOI Coordination Center and EU4OceanObs, Maria is working with the scientific community (e.g., GOOS BioEco panel, MBON, Ocean Decade programs, EU HORIZON projects) to identify observing and modelling priorities for the G7 action on Augmented Marine Life Observing and Forecasting Capacity..

We will continue with the Networking Fridays during the next months. More information about future sessions as well as presentations and videos from previous sessions can be found here. Please do not forget to subscribe to our YouTube Channel.  Twitter Hashtag: #netfridays. Expect some very exciting mornings, afternoons or evenings, depending on where you are…

If you need any additional information please send an email to Jose Luiz Moutinho.

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