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The ongoing need for rates: can physiology and omics come together to co-design the measurements needed to understand complex ocean biogeochemistry?


Strzepek, RF and Nunn, BL and Bach, LT and Berges, JA and Young, EB and Boyd, PW, The ongoing need for rates: can physiology and omics come together to co-design the measurements needed to understand complex ocean biogeochemistry?, Journal of Plankton Research, 44, (4) pp. 485-495. ISSN 0142-7873 (2022) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

2022. The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License, (, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

DOI: doi:10.1093/plankt/fbac026


The necessity to understand the influence of global ocean change on biota has exposed wide-ranging gaps in our knowledge of the fundamental principles that underpin marine life. Concurrently, physiological research has stagnated, in part driven by the advent and rapid evolution of molecular biological techniques, such that they now influence all lines of enquiry in biological oceanography. This dominance has led to an implicit assumption that physiology is outmoded, and advocacy that ecological and biogeochemical models can be directly informed by omics. However, the main modeling currencies are biological rates and biogeochemical fluxes. Here, we ask: how do we translate the wealth of information on physiological potential from omics-based studies to quantifiable physiological rates and, ultimately, to biogeochemical fluxes? Based on the trajectory of the state-of-the-art in biomedical sciences, along with case-studies from ocean sciences, we conclude that it is unlikely that omics can provide such rates in the coming decade. Thus, while physiological rates will continue to be central to providing projections of global change biology, we must revisit the metrics we rely upon. We advocate for the co-design of a new generation of rate measurements that better link the benefits of omics and physiology.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:physiology, omics, co-design, marine biogeochemistry, ocean change
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Biological oceanography
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences
UTAS Author:Strzepek, RF (Dr Robert Strzepek)
UTAS Author:Bach, LT (Dr Lennart Bach)
UTAS Author:Boyd, PW (Professor Philip Boyd)
ID Code:150896
Year Published:2022
Web of Science® Times Cited:3
Deposited By:Australian Antarctic Program Partnership
Deposited On:2022-07-04
Last Modified:2022-11-09
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