The overarching aim of this project is to propose methods to determine contributions of mixoplankton to primary and secondary productions. MixONET thus comprises an international collaborative multidisciplinary team of experts in ecophysiology & molecular biology of mixoplankton, field sampling & monitoring technology, biological & physical oceanography.
Traditional and contemporary methods in Biological Oceanography assume a false plant/animal dichotomy. This dichotomy has been the bedrock of marine science, operationally separating organisms into phototrophic or phagotrophic compartments. We now know that most protist plankton at the base of the oceanic food-web can photosynthesise (plant-like-photo-autotrophy) and ingest food (animal-like-phago-heterotrophy) thus contributing to both primary and secondary production. While recent conceptual and quantitative models have been adapted to accommodate this synergistic merging of dichotomies, sampling and monitoring methods have not done so. Thus, a significant knowledge gap remains about the very foundation of the ocean food-web. The objectives and terms of references of MixONET will make a solid contribution to addressing priorities of the United Nations Ocean Decade.