Workshops will be a major mechanism to achieve the program’s goals. They will facilitate the sharing of recent methodological advances in denitrification measurement and models, stimulate additional measurement and model improvements, enhance coordination of research activities and promote synthesis and integration. They are also important opportunities for young researchers or graduate students to interact with more established investigators in a common setting. In addition, training workshops provide the chance to learn new techniques and approaches “hands-on” as participants are trained during an intensive short course.
Each workshop will have two co-chairs. A call for applications for participation in each workshop will be widely distributed inside and outside the US through scientific society websites, newsletters, and email lists, among others. Participation from diverse institutions will be encouraged including universities, government agencies (e.g., EPA, NOAA, NASA, USDA, USGS), and private business (e.g., consulting firms dealing in wetland construction, instrument developers/manufacturers). New researchers (post-docs, graduate students, undergraduates, individuals who have not previously participated in the RCN) will be strongly encouraged to apply. We will also encourage people who plan to conduct measurements in and assist in training/capacity building in regions of the world where there are few (if any) denitrification measurements. The applications (similar to those used for Gordon Research Conference participation) will be reviewed by the steering committee. Successful applicants will be chosen based on their statement of interest in, anticipated benefit from, and contribution to the workshop, and past research performance, and diversity of institutional association as noted above. At least 30% of participants in each workshop will be from under-represented groups and young researchers. Workshops should be restricted to a maximum number of 15 to 40 persons depending on whether it is primarily a “hands-on” training or information integration workshop.
As with all the Denitrification RCN workshops, we anticipate that one or more papers integrating workshop results will be published in the peer-reviewed literature. In addition there will be a summary of each workshop and of each special session supported by the RCN that will be addressed to a non-specialist audience, and where appropriate, to the management and policy community.
POSSIBLE FUTURE WORKSHOP TOPICS
The following are examples of the types of workshops the PIs envision. They address the major needs in denitrification science outlined in the Overview section of this website: 1) quantification, 2) denitrification rates and controlling factors, and 3) development and use of models to scale-up site specific measurements. These needs were based on our own assessments and discussions with participants at the Woods Hole Denitrification workshop. The steering committee will be asked to review and improve upon these ideas and to determine the chronological order in which workshops are held. The Denitrification RCN will maintain flexibility and openness to additional workshop topics of high priority that may emerge as the program develops.
1. Integrating Denitrification Studies within Ecosystem Projects
Development of quantitative, processed-based knowledge of the relationships between rates of denitrification and controlling factors at scales relevant to ecosystems require that denitrification measurements be made within the context of other biological, chemical and physical processes within the ecosystem. However, too frequently, denitrification studies are conducted in isolation from other ecosystem parameters. This workshop will bring together not only experts in measuring and modeling denitrification, but also scientists from a wide range of disciplines including hydrologists, soil scientists, biogeochemists, and statisticians, among others, who have expertise in integrated ecosystem projects. The participants will be tasked with identifying: the parameters that are required to develop a quantitative, processed-based knowledge of denitrification rates at ecosystem scales; the space and time scales needed for those measurements; and the denitrification method(s) that are most appropriate. “Blueprints” for studies in a range of terrestrial, freshwater and marine systems will be developed. Breakout groups will also discuss new developments in, and additional needs for, new instrumentation and environmental sensors (in situ and remote). Participation from groups with integrated ecosystem projects will be used to develop new partnerships with the denitrification community. This activity will encourage more highly integrated studies of denitrification than have generally been undertaken due to a lack of coordination between denitrification scientists and those studying other ecosystem processes.
2. N2 Production: New Pathways and New Organisms
This workshop will bring together denitrification scientists from the terrestrial, freshwater and marine scientific community to review and synthesize information on the: new biochemical pathways of biological N2 production that have been identified recently (e.g., anammox, aerobic denitrification, N2 production coupled to Mn cycling, others) controlling factors; development of molecular methods to identify the microbial community composition involved in these pathways; applicability of existing methods to quantify these denitrification pathways; and magnitude of N2 production in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems via these pathways.