Phytoplankton

Virtual Research Environment

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The Phyto VRE

Phytoplankton plays an important role in aquatic ecosystems because it accounts for most of global primary production and affects the biogeochemical processes, trophic dynamics and biodiversity architecture.

The Phytoplankton Virtual Research Environment (Phyto VRE) is a working environment supporting researchers in phytoplankton data computation and analyses.

It provides services in order to facilitate the identification of the species, the calculation of demographic and morphological traits and to execute phytoplankton traits analyses. 

To run the web services included in the VRE users can upload their own data files, structured according to the Phytoplankton Data Template, or can select demo data files provided by LifeWatch Italy. The aim is to produce harmonized data and perform comparative analyses.

Cucumeridinium coeruleum (Dogiel) F.Gómez et al.

The available services are:
  • Atlas of Phytoplankton: a guide for the identification of marine and freshwater species. It includes pictures, synonyms, morphological, morphometrical and ecological characters and geographical distribution of the taxa. It also provides formulas to calculate the biovolume and surface area based on linear dimensions according to the organism view (e.g., lateral, frontal, etc.).
  • Atlas of Shapes: a catalogue of geometrical models for calculating biovolume and surface area of phytoplankton taxa. It includes illustrative schemes of simple and complex shapes.
  • Phytoplankton Traits Thesaurus: a compilation of standardized definitions and semantic properties of approximately 120 morpho-functional and demographic traits (i.e., abundance, cell carbon content, etc.).
  • Traits Computation: a web service to calculate phytoplankton traits such as biovolume, surface area, surface/volume ratio, density, cell carbon content, total biovolume, total carbon content.
  • Size Class Distribution: a web service to visualize the distribution of individuals in different size classes selected on the basis of logarithmic values of biovolume or carbon content.
  • Size Density Relationships: a web service to calculate and describe the relationships between size (total biovolume and total carbon content) and abundance.