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A New Age of Discovery for Aquatic Microeukaryotes

January 26, 2016 - January 29, 2016

New discoveries about the unexpected lifestyles of aquatic microbial eukaryotes (protists) are advancing rapidly through the targeted exploration of cultured isolates and whole communities using molecular sequencing and imaging techniques in concert with evolutionary theory and geochemical analysis. Three major contributions to microeukaryote biology, ecology, and evolution that are catapulting the field forward are the Marine Microbial Eukaryote Transcriptome Sequencing Project (MMETSP), the Tara Oceans Expeditions, and the Malaspina Expedition. Although these three efforts focused on marine organisms, they have provided an unprecedented wealth of new data to the broader protist ecology, evolution, biogeochemistry, and model system research communities. Moreover, these efforts are enabling development of new concepts about the interactions of protists with viruses, bacteria, and archaea.

The goal of the symposium is to increase the impact of the new knowledge generated from these unique datasets and to foster new collaborations among aquatic microbial ecologists, evolutionary biologists, oceanographers, limnologists, cell and molecular biologists, geneticists, and more. The objective is also to address “What questions can we now ask because of the completion of the marine field campaigns and with the arrival of new technologies, methods, and concepts from all corners of the biological sciences?”

Researchers from across multiple areas of microbial eukaryotic study will discuss and debate understudied areas in aquatic protistology, increase permeability across traditional disciplinary boundaries in the biological sciences, and open doors to new collaborations. By the end of the symposium, participants will walk away with broadened horizons about ecology, evolution and cell biology, creative new ideas, and an appreciation of how the latest technologies can be used in their own research and applied to the Tara Oceans, MMETSP, and Malaspina datasets. In addition, those who study long-standing microbial eukaryote model systems will have new visions for how their model organisms are part of whole ecosystems and the consequences thereof for ecosystem function and biogeochemistry.


January 26, 2016
January 29, 2016


Unnamed Organizer


EMBL Heidelberg
Heidelberg, Germany + Google Map