CORDIS - EU research results

Bringing the paradigm for marine pelagic production into the 21st century: incorporating mixotrophy into mainstream marine research

Project description

New tools for marine resource management

Outdated management tools of our oceans, seas and coasts are failing to grasp the complexities of our marine ecosystems. The following revelation has emerged: phytoplankton and microzooplankton engage in a mesmerising dance of ‘mixotrophy’. Within a single cell, they seamlessly blend plant-like photosynthesis with animal-like consumer activity, shattering the simplistic divide of the past. The EU-funded MixITiN project tackles the critical problem of outdated management tools for our oceans, seas and coasts. Current approaches rely on a simplistic division between phytoplankton and microzooplankton, overlooking the complex reality of marine ecosystems. MixITiN will train a group of early-stage researchers from diverse fields, enhancing their capabilities and improving the stewardship of our precious marine environments.


The conceptual basis upon which management tools for our oceans, seas and coasts have operated are out-of-date. MixITiN will train an innovative team of early stage researchers (ESRs) to develop and deploy new methodologies for researching, monitoring and managing our marine environment according to the recently revised paradigm for marine pelagic production. Current management tools and policies operate within a paradigm that builds on a simple division functioning at the base of the food chain leading to fisheries, between ”plant-like” phytoplankton and their main consumers, the microzooplankton. Applicants of the research programme MixITiN have shown that this plant-animal paradigm represents at the least a gross simplification, if not a falsehood. The revised paradigm recognises that most phytoplankton and half the microzooplankton combine plant-like photosynthesis with animal-like consumer activity within the one cell. This form of nutrition, “mixotrophy”, supports the growth of organisms important for food chains and biogeochemical cycles removing atmospheric CO2; they are also causative agents of harmful algal blooms. In consequence of this revised paradigm, laboratory and field research approaches, management policies and allied computer modelling tools, are arguably no longer fit for purpose. MixITiN brings together European world-class research and training centres from 9 different countries, with skillsets from molecular biology, physiology and computer modelling, to marine and coastal zone management, public and media engagement. MixITiN will train ESRs in multinational and multidisciplinary centres of excellence, with intersectoral engagement enabling them to gain employment in various sectors such as consultancy, government, academic, or allied industries. The synergy of training approaches provided to the ESRs will raise their capabilities and progress science beyond the current state-of-the-art to enable improved management of marine resources.


Net EU contribution
€ 296 061,87
CF24 0DE Cardiff
United Kingdom

See on map

Wales East Wales Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 296 061,87

Participants (8)

Partners (5)