Working Group reports / SILnews 28

Working Group reports / SILnews 28

Plankton Ecology Group (PEG): New president and secretary

A new president and secretary for the Plankton Ecology Group (PEG) were elected at the XXVII Congress of the SIL held in Dublin in August 1998. The new president, Dr. Ellen van Donk, and secretary, Dr. Ramesh D. Gulati, both work at the Centre of Limnology, Netherlands Institute of Ecology (Nieuwersluis, The Netherlands). They succeeded Dr. Petter Larsson and Dr. Nicole Lair who, respectively, held these positions since 1989.

PEG, which is among the oldest working groups of SIL, was set up in 1974 in the aftermath of the International Biological Programme (IBP). The final goal of the Production in Freshwaters (PF) Committee of the IBP was to estimate biological production at different trophic levels of aquatic ecosystems in different geographical regions of the world and to compare and draw generalizations from the data collected. Although one may question if measuring production was the most interesting approach to limnological research, it gave participants a common research focus and a possibility to cooperate and to compare their methods and results with others. Those involved in measuring secondary production know that, for reasonably accurate production estimates, one needs information on different aspects of the biology, food and feeding and physiology of organisms. Data thus generated allowed us to get a deeper insight into life history aspects and relationships among organisms, as well as facilitate construction of models, including those than can be used for predictive purposes. After the IBP was terminated, many of us felt the need to continue to cooperate and extend it to more informal contacts for exchange of information. Problems with IBP, however, were lack of common training, differences in methodological approach, as well as lack of coordinated research activities. Some of these issues formed the basis of discussions at the first PEG meeting that was held in Oslo, Norway (Bottrell et al. 1976). During the last ten years this paper was cited more than 300 times in scientific papers (ISI-database), indicating the need for methodological and cooperative work.

Since its inception in 1974, 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. In some cases, we were successful in producing critical reviews of the state-of-the-art based on the central issues at these meetings. Some of these were published (Sommer et al. 1986; Larsson and Dodson 1993) and the spin off led to many individual papers. The collective and individual approaches have together not only contributed to our knoweledge of the factors governing production processes, but also gave us a deeper insight into functioning of lake ecosystems.

PEG is a very informal scientific organization, without a formal membership. It is a family of scientists whose primary interests are to both exchange ideas and information and encourage an integrated approach to science of plankton ecology. We now have some 200 researchers on our mailing list. Please contact the PEG secretariat if you want to be included on the list, have suggestions for future meetings or want to be kept informed about our future activities.

NIOO/Centre of Limnology
Rijksstraatweg 6
3631 AC Nieuwersluis
The Netherlands
Tel. ++31.294.23 93 53 (Ellen Van Donk)
Tel. ++31.294.23 93 50 (Ramesh Gulati)
Fax ++31.294.23 22 24


Bottrell, H. H., A. Duncan, Z. M. Gliwicz, E. Grygierek, A. Herzig, A. Hillbricht-Ilkowska, H. Kurasawa, P. Larsson and T. Weglenska (1976). A review of some problems in zooplankton production studies. Norw. J. Zool. 24: 319-456.

Larsson, P. and S. Dodson (1993). Invited Review Chemical communication in planktonic animals. Arch. Hydrobiol. 129: 129-155.

Sommer, U., Z. M. Gliwicz, W. Lampert and A. Duncan (1986). The PEG*-model of seasonal succession of planktonic events in fresh waters. Arch. Hydrobiol. 106: 433-471.
Petter Larsson
University of Bergen