On Friday June 9th 2023, the AQUACOSM-plus Early Career Researcher (ECR) network core group organized a 1.5 hour workshop at the 2023 ASLO meeting in Palma de Mallorca. The goal of this workshop was to connect ECRs performing or interested in performing mesocosm based research both within and outside the AQUACOSM-plus network with each other and to foster ECR led coordinated mesocosm research. We provided an overview of the AQUACOSM-plus network, focusing particularly on work package 3.2 which is aimed at training a new generation of mesocosm based researchers. We highlighted the activities and achievements of the AQUACOSM-plus network, which include four online events, a quarterly newsletter, and the facilitation of ECR-led coordinated experiments. Attendees were encouraged to join the ECR network, with QR codes provided to allow easy registration to our mailing list and newsletter.
Twenty five ECRs unaffiliated with the AQUACOSM-plus network attended this workshop and engaged in discussion with us on how to coordinate and continue large-scale mesocosm research after the completion of AQUACOSM-plus. Workshop attendees also provided valuable feedback on how mesocosm community resources such as mesocosm.org and the AQUACOSM-plus ECR network can be utilized to connect ECRs with each other and to promote collaborative research projects, especially with ECRs working across different aquatic systems. Some attendees discussed future collaboration possibilities with each other on ongoing projects.
Finally, we highlighted how the Transnational Access program allows early career researchers the opportunity to join mesocosm experiments planned at different facilities within AQUACOSM-plus or to propose experiments that can run in tandem with planned experiments. We emphasized that this was the last year of the transnational access program and advertised calls which were currently open for transnational access. Through this workshop, we were able to connect with many ECRs conducting mesocosm-based research outside of the AQUACOSM-plus network and greatly expand our user base. We would like to thank all of the attendees for their participation and look forward to meeting them at future events. If you are interested in joining this network, please use this QR code to join our mailing list and newsletter!