1. Algal diversity and species delimitation: new tools, new insights

Organizers: Frederik Leliaert [Ghent University]David Mann [Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, UK]

Molecular data are becoming the standard for assessing algal diversity and species boundaries. This symposium provides an overview of new developments in sequencing technologies and DNA based species identification and delimitation, including high-throughput environmental sequencing, DNA barcoding, and multi-locus species delimitation methods. These new approaches are and will continue to change our view of algal species diversity.

Keynote speakers: Christophe Destombe (Station Biologique Roscoff, FR), Pavel Skaloud (Charles University in Prague, CZ), Sebastien Colin (Station Biologique Roscoff, FR)


2. Shedding new light on photosynthesis and its role in global biogeochemistry

Organizers: John Raven [University of Dundee], Elly Spijkerman [University of Potsdam]

Photosynthetic inorganic carbon assimilation is a major process in the global carbon cycle, and algae are responsible for about half of global photosynthesis. In this symposium we welcome contributions describing recent advances in our understanding of molecular, cellular, ecophysiological, ecological and biogeochemical roles of algae in the carbon cycle. We especially welcome contributions shedding insight into changes in photosynthetic behaviour in a changing world.

Keynote speakers: Susanne Wilken (Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing, USA), Timo Mühlaus (University of Kaiserslautern, DE), Brigitte Gontero (Aix Marseille Université, FR)


3. Algal Lipids not just for burning

Organizers: Philippe Soudant [University of Brest, Fr], Michele Stanley [Scottish Marine Institute, Oban, UK]

In the last 7 to 8 years much of the focus on microalgal lipids has been linked to their potential as a source of bioenergy. There has now started to be a shift in attention away from burning lipids to understanding their potential within other sectors. But there are still many unanswered questions as to how microalgae manage their lipid production. This session will include how microalgal lipid composition impacts directly on its end use for example in aquaculture, the need to understand fatty acid, sterols and alkenone synthesis pathways, composition and phylogenetic issues in microalgae; genetic selection or transformation for some specific synthesis pathways or genetic control of lipid synthesis pathways; lipid involvement in microalgae stress responses and the influence of environmental factors (biotic and abiotic) on fatty acid and sterol composition, lipid reserve and quantities (for example alkenones vs TAGs).

Keynote speakers: Johnathan Napier (Rothamsted Research, UK), Rene Wijffels (Wageningen UR, NL)


4. Algae-microbiome interactions : integrative overview from biology to chemistry

Organizers: Soizic Prado [Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Fr], Télesphore Sime-Ngando [Université Blaise Pascal, Fr]

Next Generation Sequencing technologies are increasingly revealing that microbial taxa are probably much more prevalent and diverse than previously thought. In that context, algal microbial diversity, ranging from pathogens to symbionts, is also expanding. Resulting interactions between algae and microbiome are mainly governed by the production of secondary metabolites whose biosynthesis is most likely finely regulated.

Keynote speakers: Laure Guillou (Station Biologique Roscoff, FR), Simon Dittami (Station Biologique Roscoff, FR)


5. Phylogenomics: new approaches to solving old problems in algal evolution

Organizers: John Archibald [Dalhousie University, Ca], Anna Karnkowska [Charles University in Prague, Cz]

This symposium will provide an overview of recent advances in our understanding of the origin and spread of photosynthesis in eukaryotes. As informed by genomics and transcriptomics, topics may include (i) deep evolutionary relationships within and between extant algal groups, (ii) endosymbiotic gene transfer and its impact on algal genome evolution, and (iii) the impact of new algal lineages on plastid gain/loss scenarios.

Keynote speakers: John Stiller (East Carolina University, USA), Miroslav Obornik (Institute of Parasitology, CZ)


6. Symbiodinium as a model organism

Organizers: David Suggett [University of Technology Sydney, AU], Mark Warner [University of Delaware, USA]

Dinoflagellate microalgae in the genus Symbiodinium are important endosymbionts of corals and many other tropical marine invertebrates. Intensive research over the past few decades has highlighted how genetic diversity within this genus is critical to the longer term survival of coral reefs; however, it is only through recent technical and conceptual advances as well as increasing cross-fertilisation between disciplines that are we beginning to understand the functional complexity with which Symbiodinium populations and communities are optimized over ecological and evolutionary time-scales. In this session we would like contributions to explore how such advances are now challenging established paradigms of algal physiology, ecology and taxonomy and thus their potential role in the future of the ecosystems they support such as coral reefs. 

Keynote speakers: Christian Voolstra (King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, SA), Joerg Frommlet (University of Aveiro, PT), Todd LaJeunesse (Penn State University, USA) and Brian Hopkinson (University of Georgia)


7. Molecular Cell Biology

Organizers: Marek Elias [University of Ostrava], Maria Mittag [Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena]

The symposium includes the biogenesis and functions of sub-cellular compartments of algae and their molecular components (e.g. chloroplast, mitochondrium, flagellum, eyespot, contractile vacuole). It covers also cell-related processes and their regulation at the molecular level, including the cell cycle, the circadian clock, photoreceptors and other kind of receptors or developmental processes in uni- and multi-cellular algae.

Keynote speakers: Katerina Bisova (Institute of Microbiology - ASCR, CZ), Tilman Kottke (University of Bielefield, DE), George Witman (University of Massachusetts Medical School, USA)


8. Algal biodiversity and ecosystem function: new scenarios in coastal systems

Organizers: Celia Olabaria [University of Vigo, SP], Fabio Rindi [Università Politecnica Delle Marche, IT], Lars Gamfeldt [Göteborg University, SE]

Biodiversity of coastal systems is now facing dramatic changes on global scale resulting in loss of species, reductions in their distribution range and abundance, and homogenization of Earth's biota, mainly due to human impacts such as habitat loss, pollution, overexploitation of resources and introduction of alien species. There is substantial concern about the long-term consequences that these changes will have on algal biodiversity and its effects on ecosystem processes and functioning, which will affect the provision of ecosystem goods and services, and ultimately human well-being. This symposium will summarize the current understanding of the effects of algal biodiversity changes on ecosystem function and will explore possible scenarios in the structure of future coastal ecosystems.

Keynote speakers: Lars Gamfeldt (Göteborg University, SE), Rosa Viejo (Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, SP)


9. Algae in stressful environments

Organizers: Richard Geider [University of Essex, UK], Angella Wulff [Göteborg University, SE]

Algae are incredible survivors, able to survive and reproduce in harsh environments. Algae are exposed to stressful conditions; in their natural environment as well as due to anthropogenic impact. In this session, we would like to take a broad perspective on stress factors and invite you to share your knowledge about algae living in all kinds of stressful environments, including radiation (low and high), temperature, pH, nutrients, salinity, and more. We encourage the participants to identify their key variables and to share results from both short and long term studies, including adaptation to extreme conditions.

Keynote speakers: Thomas Mock (University of East Anglia, UK), Eva Leu (Alfred Wegener Institute, DE)


10. Global change and algal assemblages: the fate of our seas

Organizers: Nessa O'Connor [Queen's University Belfast], Gwenael Piganau [Observatoire Oceanologique de Banyuls sur mer]

Global climate change is altering the selection regime at an unprecedented pace in ecological communities. Changes in abiotic parameters and altered biotic interactions are likely to have a pronounced impact on the composition of natural communities and in turn, on the functioning of ecosystems. This session will bring together data-driven, experimental and theoretical  approaches to address the effects of rising sea surface temperatures, increasing storminess, ocean acidification, and extreme weather events on planktonic and benthic algal communities.

Keynote speakers Laura Airoldi (Univ. Bologna, IT), Lutz Beck (Max Planck Inst. Evol. Biol, DE; to be confirmed)


11. Genetic engineering in algae: novel molecular tools and novel model species.

Organizers: Jean-Paul Cadoret [Ifremer, Fr], Angela Falciatore [Pierre and Marie Curie University, Fr]

In recent years, novel genomic information combined with rapid progresses in molecular biology and genetics on representative species are profoundly affecting algal research and potential industrial valorization. This symposium will serve as a platform to present the novel tools now available for the study of algal biology, to identify the novel molecular challenges and novel relevant algal model species for molecular investigations as well as biotechnological applications.

Keynote speakers: Saul Purton (University College London, UK), Mark Cock (Station Biologique Roscoff, FR), Peter Kroth (University of Konstanz, DE)


12. Ecology, physiology and taxonomy of freshwater phytoplankton

Organizers: Judita Koreiviene [Nature Research Centre, LT], Ellen Van Donk [Netherlands Institute of Ecology, Nl]

The session focus is on the biotic and abiotic interactions of algae and cyanobacteria in aquatic ecosystems. Specifically, the session will deal with the role of the life cycle and genetic structure of populations in the species’ adaptability to environmental change. The session will include recent developments related to the eco-physiological responses of phytoplankton, including toxic cyanobacteria, to global change. Furthermore, the session will discuss the modern taxonomy of algae and cyanobacteria as well as classification systems based on these organisms’ functional roles and traits in freshwater ecosystems.

Keynote speakers: Karin Rengefors (Lund University, SE), Dedmer Van De Waal (Netherlands Institute of Ecology, NL)


13. Omics and genetic resources towards algal domestication

Organizers: Mark Cock [Station Biologique Roscoff, Fr], Claire Gachon [Scottish Marine Institute, Oban, UK]

The rapid development of marine macroalgal aquaculture is fostering research towards high performance strains. This session will span across the breadth of initiatives aiming to characterise and rationalise the exploitation of macroalgal diversity via the rational breeding programs. It will also highlight the power of innovative high throughput omics approaches towards this aim.

Keynote speakers: Marie-Laure Guillemin (Universidad Austral de Chile, CL), Gwang Hoon Kim (Kongju University, KR), Duan Delin (Instiute of Oceanology, Qingdao, CN ), Nic Blouin (University of Rhode Island, USA)


14. The fate of our marine forests in a changing ocean

Organizers: Francisco Arenas [University of Porto, Pt], Myriam Valero [Station Biologique Roscoff, Fr]

In the coasts of Europe, habitat-forming brown seaweeds like kelps and Fucales often dominate marine habitats, creating highly productive and diverse communities comparable to forests. Environmental changes and human activities seem to threat critically these marine forests resulting in wide populations’ declines and distribution shifts. The symposium aims to bring together people working on large brown seaweeds from different fields (physiology, ecology, genetics and evolution) with empirical, modelling and/or theoretical approaches and looking into diverse questions (stress acclimation and local adaptation, landscape genetics and ecology, distribution forecasting and biogeography, ecosystem impacts…). We plan to examine and discuss from our perspectives how marine forests will respond to the predicted new environmental scenarios and the impacts of these changes on marine ecosystems.

Keynote speakers:  Brezo Martinez (Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, SP), Marine Robuchon (Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, FR), Dan Smale (Marine Biological Association, UK)


15. Algae and Signalling - regulation of processes from cell to globe

Organizers: Georg Pohnert [Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena], Michael Steinke [University of Essex]

This session explores the role and regulation of infochemicals in the intra- and interspecific signalling of algae at cellular to global scales. As known from terrestrial systems we realize that infochemicals also shape a myriad of species interactions in aquatic environments. We will review our existing knowledge in this scientific area and encourage presentations that focus on emerging interdisciplinary research directions.

Keynote speakers: Erik Selander (Göteborg University, SE), Assaf Vardi (Weitzmann Institute, Tel Aviv, IL)


16. Phycomorph - macroalgal morphogenesis and development (special session)

Organizers: Bénédicte Charrier [Station Biologique Roscoff, FR]

Despite the fact that macroalgae were amongst the first multicellular eukaryotes to emerge on earth, almost nothing is known about the molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in their development. PHYCOMORPH, an international academic network comprising research teams dedicated to the identification of the biological events governing the development of macroalgae, contributes in filling the gap between past knowledge - mainly descriptive - and the increasing demand to answer functional issues. The session will feature a number of talks, showcasing the progress made on algal morphogenesis.

Keynote speakers: 

  • Bénédicte Charrier (CNRS Roscoff, France) "Macroalgal development and morphogenesis: deploying a new international initiative to advance knowledge and transfer"
  • Thomas Wichard, (University of Jena, Germany) "Exploring bacteria-induced growth and morphogenesis in the green macroalga order Ulvales (Chlorophyta)."
  • Rafael Robaina (University of Las Palmas, Spain) "Plant hormones and reproduction in red seaweeds: from chemicals to transcriptomics"
  • Dan Chitwood (St. Louis, Missouri, USA) "Comparative analysis of Caulerpa and land plant transcriptomes: implications for Kaplan's organismal theory"
  • Silje Forbord (SINTEF Organisation, Norway) "Successful seaweed aquaculture based on fundamental biological knowledge - what are the main challenges?"