Plankton Ecology Group (PEG)

Plankton Ecology Group (PEG)

The SIL Plankton Ecology Working Group (PEG) is among the oldest and most active working groups of SIL. The PEG was founded in 1974. After meetings in the framework of the IBP (International Biological Program) were ended, many of its plankton members continued on a more informal basis to cooperate and exchange information. It was around 1977 that PEG became SIL affiliated. The PEG is an informal but committed scientific group and whose primary aims are to further plankton ecology research, by facilitating exchange of ideas and information and encouraging an integrated approach to science of plankton ecology.

Since its inception, PEG has arranged more than 20 meetings, which included both symposia and workshops, leading to initiation of cooperative studies. These meetings are generally thematic in nature and have the objective to both discuss and prepare critical review papers emerging out of these deliberations. The group has published several papers that are highly cited.

Overview of meetings and other output

The first meeting in Oslo 1974 and subsequent elaborations during meetings in Edinburgh, London, and Warsaw resulted in the paper:

Bottrel et al. 1976. A review of some problems in zooplankton production studies. Norwegian Journal of Zoology 24: 419-456.

Cited 883 times according to Web of Science.

Following meetings led to other seminal publications:

Sommer et al. 1986. The PEG-model of seasonal succession of planktonic events in fresh waters. Archiv fur Hydrobiologie 106: 433-471.

Cited 952 times according to Web of Science.

Larsson & Dodson 1993. Chemical communication in planktonic animals. Archiv fur Hydrobiologie 129: 129-155.

Cited 198 times according to Web of Science

Gulati & DeMott 1997. The role of food quality for zooplankton: remarks on the state-of-the-art, perspectives and priorities. Freshwater Biology 38: 753-768.

Cited 166 times according to Web of Science

During the PEG symposium “Predictability of plankton communities in an unpredictable world” (held on 7 – 9 April 2010 in Amsterdam under the auspices of the Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences), the idea and discussions started for an update of the 25 year old PEG model (Sommer et al. 1986). The resulting paper has appeared recently:

Sommer et al. 2012. Beyond the Plankton Ecology Group (PEG) model: Mechanisms driving plankton succession. Annual Review of Ecology Evolution and Systematics 43: 429-448.

Proceedings from the same meeting have been published in Freshwater Biology 58: 455-623 (Special Issue: Plankton Dynamics in a Fast Changing World), including a review on “Plankton dynamics under different climatic conditions in space and time” (De Senerpont Domis et al. 2013. Freshwater Biology 58: 463–482).

The PEG held a meeting in Mexico City (Mexico) from 12 to 18 February, 2012 (see SILNews 60 for detailed report). In total, 125 scientists and students from nine countries participated. The meeting showed that in these days of fast scientific progress in diverging disciplines, umbrella meetings such as those of the WG PEG are extremely important in integrating different aspects of plankton ecology. The proceedings of the PEG meeting have been published in a special issue to Inland Waters (Volume 4, Issue 3, July 2014).

In 2015, a PEG meeting was held in Guangzhou, China, hosted by Prof. Dr. Boping Han (Jinan University, China). PEG 2015 focused on a topic drawing wide attention: Chicken or Egg- Unraveling the role of plankton diversity in bloom dynamics. Phytoplankton blooms are on the rise worldwide nowadays, especially in developing countries, adding urgency to the need to understand how blooms form. In this five-day meeting, we brought together a broad spectrum of plankton ecologists to discuss the role and change of plankton diversity in bloom dynamics. In this interactive meeting, the discussions centred around five main topics ranging from ecological theory to management:

1. How to define a bloom?
2. Grazers and blooms
3. Bloom dynamics across different climatic zones
4. Plankton diversity and community organization in blooms
5. Monitoring, modeling, early warning and management of blooms