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  • The size class distribution web service allows to visualize the distribution of phytoplankton in different size classes selected on the basis of logarithmic values of biovolume or carbon content. The service works on datasets structured according to the Phytoplankton Data Template that can be selected by the GUI or uploaded by the researchers. The input file is in CSV format with some mandatory fields (density, biovolume or cell carbon content). Before selecting or uploading the input file, users have to specify some parameters (e.g., the trait to be used for the ranked distribution, the logarithm base, the spatial and temporal levels for the clusterization of data). The web service provides as output a zip file containing a summary table in csv format and one or more bar plots according to the selected clusters.

  • The phytoplankton traits thesaurus (PhytoTraits) is a reference work which properly describes concepts, represented by terms, widely used in phytoplankton functional ecology, focusing on morpho-functional traits. It contains approximately 120 terms and related semantic properties, decided and established under the agreement of a scientific expert community. PhytoTraits, providing harmonized concepts with associated unique and persistent identifiers (URI, Uniform Resource Identifier), has the potential to significantly reduce the barriers to data discovery, integration, and exchange.

  • The Atlas of phytoplankton is a guide for the identification of marine and freshwater species. It includes pictures, synonyms, morphological, morphometric and ecological characteristics 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.).

  • The Atlas of Shapes includes an illustrative scheme of the shapes subdivided in “Simple Shapes” and “Complex Shapes”. Clicking on a specific shape, users are able to see: the code and the name of the shape, the shape view (e.g., lateral, frontal, etc.) with the corresponding linear dimensions, the biovolume and surface area computational models with all the formulae associated. Clicking again on a specific shape, users will be redirected to all taxa present in the Atlas of Phytoplankton that are characterized by the selected shape. Atlas of shapes and Atlas of phytoplankton are integrated and can be easily joint switching from taxonomic identification to morphological characterization of phytoplankton.

  • The size density relationships web service calculates and describes the relationships between size (total biovolume and total carbon content) and density for any given combination of spatial, temporal and taxonomic level of observations. The service works on datasets structured according to the Phytoplankton Data Template that can be selected by the GUI or uploaded by the researchers. The input file is in CSV format with some mandatory fields (density, biovolume or cell carbon content). Before selecting or uploading the input file, users have to specify some parameters (e.g., the trait to be used for the size distribution, the taxonomic level for the size distribution and the spatial and temporal levels for the clusterization of data). The web service provides as output a zip file containing two summary tables in csv format and a scatter plot.

  • Human activities in riverine water bodies can cause loading of nutrients and other pollutants in receiving systems e.g. reservoirs, affecting species interactions, population dynamics and ecosystem functioning. The present study aimed to investigate the influence of anthropogenic alteration on an artificial water body, i.e. the Shahid Rajaee reservoir (Mazandaran province, Northern Iran). The reservoir is subject to high anthropogenic nutrient loads from the Shirinroud and Sefidroud rivers, the effect of which needs to be evaluated considering the strategic importance of the reservoir as a source of water for the human population. A field sampling campaign was carried out at seven stations (one in each of the two river mouths and five in the reservoir itself) each month from April to July 2016. The study entailed sampling of benthic macroinvertebrate fauna at the river mouths and plankton communities at the reservoir stations. In addition to macroinvertebrate and plankton collections, physicochemical and nutrient variables were measured at all stations. Substantial loading of organic matter, mainly from the Shirinroud river, was detected throughout the sampling period, with a detrimental effect on both benthic and plankton communities. The decline in plankton diversity was particularly noticeable at stations close to the river mouths during June and July, with a bloom of Cyanobacteria and Dinoflagellates and strong dominance of larger zooplankton taxa, i.e. Cladocera. Our results suggest that river water quality, affected by human activities, alters the planktonic communities in Rajaee reservoir. Our assessment indicates that measures on both the Shirinroud river and the reservoir are required in order to mitigate and prevent even stronger eutrophication of the reservoir ecosystem.

  • The Traits Computation web service provides a user-friendly Graphical User Interface (GUI) that allow researchers to run a workflow wrapped into R code for the computation of morphological and demographic traits, such as biovolume, surface area, surface-volume ratio, density, cell carbon content, density, carbon content and total biovolume. The service works on datasets structured according to the Phytoplankton Data Template that can be selected by the GUI or uploaded by the researchers. The input file is in CSV format with some mandatory fields according to the calculation type. Before selecting or uploading the input file, users have to specify some parameters (e.g., the calculation type, and the traits to be computed). The web service provides as output a file in .csv format, including all input data and the new calculated traits.

  • The LifeWatch Italy national node has realised the Phytoplankton Virtual Research Environment (Phyto VRE) for supporting researchers to address basic and applied studies on phytoplankton ecology at a level of resolution going from individual cells to whole assemblages. The Phyto VRE enables researchers to: - produce harmonised data on taxonomy and morphological traits by using the Atlas of Phytoplankton, Atlas of Shapes and Phytoplankton Traits Thesaurus; - access, download, and select LifeWatch Italy datasets (published through the LifeWatch Italy Data Portal and distributed by the LifeWatch ERIC Metadata Catalogue) or upload their own datasets structured according to the Phyto template based on the LifeWatch Italy Data Schema in order to execute the services included in the VRE; - faciliatate the computation of morphological and demographic traits (such as hidden dimension, biovolume, surface area, surface-volume ratio, cell carbon content, etc.) and investigate their distribution patterns at different levels of data aggregation (i.e. spatial, temporal, taxonomic) by means of services which automate a set of operations written in the R language.