Guest blog from the 15th Scientific Conference of the Section Phycology

At the end of Feburary, our German collegue Balsam Al Janabi attended the 15th Scientific Conference of the Section Phycology, organized by the German Botanical Society. We persuaded her to tell us about it as a Guest Blogger.

The 15th Phycology seminar took place in the beautiful marine museum of Stralsund from 23rd until the 26th of february 2014. Members from the Phycology Section of the German Botanical Society and other researchers presented a huge variety of phycology research. Organized by the University of Rostock, Prof. Dr. Ulf Karsten lead us through 59 oral presentations and 2 poster sessions, so that about 100 scientists had the change to know the research of almost all phycological disciplines and to establish contacts. English presentations were held from Bachelor-, Master-, PhD-students and Professors from Austria, Ireland, Greece, Netherlands, Mongolia as well as all over Germany, especially Kiel, Rostock, Cologne and Constance.

Phycological presentations
Eleven structured sessions, brought the audience through different principle topics with special secctions of Polar and high Alpine Phycology, the Bioacid project and a presentations in memorium to Prof. Dr. Dieter Mollenhauer (who passed away May 2013) and in honor to his contributions to his activities to promote phycology in Germany.

The antarctic research session included fascinating sessions showing the kelp system in the Antarctic seaweed system with regard to global change revealing biomass and biodiversity changes up to ecotypic differentiation. Stecher, winner of the best talk award, brought the audience below the ice of the Arctic and the DNA- and RNA of sea ice algal communities. Besides future research, also insights into the past were discovered by means of Paleolimnological studies: radiocarbon-dated sediment revealed informations about diatoms, pollen and geochemical proxies up to the Neolithic period. Analysis of biodiversity was another focus of the seminar, as for instance the diversity of the rain forest in equador. Physiological aspects, as the light regulation in diatoms explained the role of aureochromes and cryptochromes by gene silencing methods. Other approaches from terrestrial habitats revealed transcriptomic analysis as in Klebsormidium crenulatum with regard to the physiological performance under desiccation stress. Investigations about microphytes were often interesting in this seminar, as during the applied phycology session, showing the usage of algae for biogas production. The variety of disciplines was also shown by a presentation about the BIOMEX project illustrating not only the laboratory analysis of space conditions for cyanobacteria, algae and even mosses, but also the planned analysis in the international space station (ISS).

Seaweed research
The Bioacid session focused on the climate change scenaria from mesocosm experiments in the Kiel Benthocosms, a near-natural scenario analyzing a seewead community as including an experiment on the interaction of environmental stress and genetic diversity of Fucus vesiculosus. Also bacterial communities of the biofilm between the present and future scenario are compared. Fucus vesiculosus was also analyzed for their seasonality of defense as a response to the seasonal variation of micro- and macrofouling pressure. Furthermore, the gen expression under herbivore grazing was demonstrated for Fucus vesiculosus. Also other physiological aspects of brown macroalgae (Phaeophyceae) showed the iodine to salinity response in Laminaria digitata and mechanisms of photoacclimation of the giant kelp Macrocystis pyrifera revealed the relation of antioxidants with the depth at which algae appear. The role of two bacteria for morphogenesis was presented for the green algae Ulva mutabilis.

Networking and Award Ceremonies

Future network was supported by talks about the GBIF database for algae and protists as well as by insights in the SAG culture collection. During the award ceremony of best poster, Algological study and E.G. Pringsheim-Prize, the winner of the ‘Hans-Adolf von Stosch Medal’ was Prof. Dr. Michael Melkonian for his great contributions in Protistology and Phycology. He shared his experiences of decades of phycological investigations as well as appreciated cooperations.
Personally I appreciate the participation of the phycology seminar, especially due to the mixture and the connection not only of disciplines, but also of specialists and opportunities as a PhD student having the chance to discuss my methods and results with during a nice coffee brake.
//Balsam Al Janabi

Have you attended any seaweed events or do you work with seaweed and would like to tell us about it?
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