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List of Symposia – EPC7
List of Symposia

Olivier De Clerk, Frederik Lelialert

Key-note speakers
Heroen Verbruggen, University of Melbourne, Australia: “Diversification Trends in the Archaeplastida Inferred from Chloroplast Genome Data”

Mick Van Vlierberghe, University of Liège, Liège, Belgium: “Automated Bioinformatics Approaches to Evaluate the Relative Contribution of Endosymbiosis and Kleptoplasty in the Evolution of Complex Red Algae

In a not so distant past, biologists were happy assessing relationships between different organisms using sequences of a single gene. This approach, although fruitful in many cases, did not always succeed to reconstruct phylogenies successfully. A limited amount of phylogenetic signal, reflected in short internal branches, the erosion of phylogenetic signal with time and incomplete lineage sorting are only a few of the many factors that may confound the reconstruction of the correct phylogenetic tree for a set of organisms or sequences. To avoid these and other pitfalls affecting phylogeny reconstruction, biologists have increasingly turned to phylogenomics, the inference of phylogenetic relationships using genome-scale data, to resolve recalcitrant relationships in the tree of life. This symposium gives a stage to the application of phylogenomics in phycology.

Fabrice Not, Francesco Dal Grande

Key-note speakers
Pierre-Marc Delaux, Paul Sabatier University – Toulouse III,  France: “From Water to Land: Evolution of the Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Symbiosis

Symbiotic interactions involving algae are ubiquitous in aquatic systems and are key processes for the ecology and evolution of life on Earth.
This symposium welcomes research that focuses on biotic interactions, from mutualism to parasitism and from deep sea to terrestrial environments. We invite contributions that explore algal symbiosis at all levels of biological organization, from genes to ecosystems, as well as studies on novel analytical developments to investigate photosymbiotic interactions. The overarching goal of the symposium is to stimulate cross-disciplinary dialogue and provide clear directions for future research on algal symbiosis by bridging biogeographic, evolutionary, ecological, physiological, genetic, and applied perspectives.

Pilar Díaz-Tapia, Wiebe Kooistra

Key-note speaker

Shruti Malviya, National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, India: “Unfolding the Global Biodiversity Patterns and Structure of Marine Planktonic Diatom
Communities in the World Ocean

Frederik Leliaert, Meise Botanic Garden, Meise, Belgium: “Patterns and Drivers of Seaweed Biodiversity: Speciation and Dispersal of the Red Algal Genus Portieria and Brown Algal Order Dictyotales


Accurate information about algal diversity and distribution patterns is relevant for a range of downstream applications. Nonetheless, our knowledge of the algal diversity in various ecosystems is usually far from complete. For example, diversity surveys done in LM or by eye cannot assess cryptic, hidden and rare diversity. Taxonomists try to fill the gaps, but progress is restricted because they themselves become an endangered taxon. Metabarcoding can overcome such issues but needs validated reference sequences to translate the metabarcodes into series of species. Therefore, this symposium invites contributions on novel developments in assessing diversity and biogeographic patterning. Topics could include, but are not restricted to, identifying, characterising and delineating species, inferring distribution patterns, tracking and modelling those patterns in space and time, and applying novel technologies to study of biodiversity. We also invite contributions on downstream applications of biodiversity data.

Zoe A. Popper, Antonio Calado

Key-note speakers
Øjvind Moestrup, University of Copenhagen, Denmark: “New Studies on the Warnowiaceae (Dinophyceae), Some of the Most Extraordinary Marine Flagellates Known

Andreas Holzinger, University of Innsbruck, Austria: “Terrestriallization in the Streptophyte Zygnema: Involvement of Cell Wall Components and Transcriptomic Changes

Algae are a vastly diverse assemblage of organisms found in a huge array of habitats. Although the ‘umbrella term’ algae suggests they are related, algal groups are actually scattered among several independent phylogenetic lineages. Algal body structures range from tiny unicells to complex multicellular organisms with specialized tissues composed of different cell types. Algae can be autotrophic or heterotrophic, free-living or involved in symbiotic or parasitic associations. Internal cell structure is similarly diverse and many unusual features, unique to specific algal groups, have been described. Understanding how these structures are assembled inside algal cells, their biochemical composition and function, and the way they are transmitted or re-assembled in the next generation of cells has long been an aim of Algal Cell Biology. Mapping the origin of specific cell structures onto phylogenetic trees is crucial in order to gain a true understanding of evolution in the algal clades.

Wim Vyverman, Susana Coelho

Key-note speakers
Mark Cock, Station Biologique de Roscoff; CNRS-Sorbonne Universitè, France: “Evolution of Life-Cycle-Related Developmental Processes in the Brown Algae”
Miguel Frada, The Hebrew University Eilat, Israel: “Life Cycle Complexities of the Bloom-Forming Coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi

Growth, survival and reproduction strategies determine the life history of all organisms. Micro-and macroalgae present an enormous, but as yet incompletely understood, diversity in types of life cycle and reproductive systems, and in the ways they have optimized life history characteristics to adapt to their environment and the organisms they interact with. In this symposium, we invite contributions covering all aspects of life cycle regulation and life history strategies in algae. These include new insights into the mechanisms underlying life cycle control and how they are affected by the interaction with the environment and other organisms, the role of life history traits in adaptation to novel or changing environments and phylogenetic analyses of life strategy evolution.

Peter Kroth, Angela Wulff

Key-note speakers
Michael Kühl, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Nicole Poulsen, University of Dresden, Germany: “A Sticky Situation: Understanding the Molecular Mechanism of Diatom Underwater Adhesion

The microphytobenthos as well as photoautotrophic biofilms consist of unicellular eukaryotic algae and cyanobacteria together with heterotrophic bacteria and fungi and are located within the upper several millimeters of illuminated sediments or on submersed substrata. The organisms typically are surrounded or living in a layer of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS), consisting of mostly carbohydrates. These highly interesting layers represent a zone of intense microbial and geochemical activity. Contributions on the communities found in the microphytobenthos/biofilms and their respective interactions, but also on functional aspects and the physiology of the inhabitants, are highly welcome.

Inka Bartsch, Christian Wilhelm

Key-note speakers
Francisco Gordillo, University of Malaga, Spain: “Performance of Polar Macroalgae in a Changing Environment: A Seasonal Perspective and Implications for the Future

Heiko Wagner, University of Leipzig, Germany: “Statistic Modeling of Aquatic Primary Production and Water Monitoring.

This symposium is dedicated to contributions dealing with unicellular to highly organised algae living in freshwater, brackish or fully marine habitats from all bio-geographic regions presenting new results on algal responses to warming, acidification, eutrophication and habitat deterioration). The contributions will enable a detailed look on altered perception of environmental signals, consequences for life cycle regulation, physiology, photosynthesis, primary production ultimately leading to changes in productivity and community composition.

Angela Falciatore, Maria Immacolata Ferrante

Key-note speakers
Mariella Ferrante, Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Naples, Italy: “Molecular Mechanisms Regulating Sexual Reproduction and Mating Type Determination in the Diatom Pseudo-nitzschia multistriata
Olivier De Clerk, Ghent University, Belgium: “Ulva, a Model System for Green Seaweedsa

Systems biology has arrived in phycology and revolutionizes the approaches and concepts. Especially the available genomes of model organisms facilitate the creative use of multiple -omics techniques. From simple adaptation to stress responses to most complex developmental questions an alga can now be characterized in full. But even modes of interaction of algae with pathogens or competitors are now accessible. In this session we discuss progress on diverse model organisms but also welcome contributions that report on methodological break-through in algal systems biology.

Nico Salmaso, Christine Maggs

Key-note speaker
Isabelle Domaizon, National Institute of Agricultural Research (INRA), Thonon les Bains, France: “Application of High-Throughput Metabarcoding in Limnology and Paleolimnology to Characterize Changes in Micro-Eukaryotic Diversity Facing Environmental Pressures

Suzanne Fredericq, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, USA: “DNA Metabarcoding Demonstrates the Importance of Rhodoliths for Macroalgal Ecology and Biodiversity in Gulf of Mexico Deep-water Mesophotic Habitats.”

Biodiversity assessment is a fundamental requirement for studying ecological relationships, ecosystem functionality and biogeochemical processes. Advances in algal ecology have been severely hampered by the inefficient taxonomic identification of algal taxa and associated microorganisms. In this context, recent advances in the use of metagenomics and metabarcoding have opened new exciting and rapidly growing fields of research, allowing better identification of the diversity that characterize planktic and periphytic communities, including epiphytic microalgae and bacteria growing on macroalgae. At the same time, changes in functional genes evaluated by full shotgun approaches have the potential to reveal a wide range of relationships between metabolic pathways and environmental conditions mediated by community composition. This session will explore strengths, limits and perspectives in the application of metagenomic tools in the progress of algal ecology.

Claire Gachon, Miguel Frada

Key-note speakers
Einat Segev, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel: “Bacterial Effects on Algal Life, Death and Geology
Catharina Alves de Souza, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, USA “Coexistence of Generalist and Specialist Parasites in the Plankton: Interplay Between Different Infective Strategies and Environmental Constraints”

Single-cell and omics technologies are profoundly revolutionizing the breadth and depth in which the physiological, ecological and evolutionary functions of the algal associated microbes and viruses, i.e. the algal microbiome, can now be apprehended: Microbial cells and viruses can control the morphogenesis of algae, while others are indispensable to algal survival. Some control their degradation, thus directly contributing to biogeochemical cycling. Others can be pathogenic, causing devastating diseases in wild and cultivated algae, the impact of which worsens with the intensification of aquaculture practices and arguably with climate change. Controlling the microbial flora associated with algae is emerging as the biggest biological challenge for their increased usage. Yet we are only starting to understand the fundamental principles underpinning the association of microbial communities in the phycosphere. This session will explore how interdisciplinary tools are being used to address all these questions on viruses, bacteria and protists associated to algae, and will illustrate the rapid progress that is being made in this fast-moving field.

Dagmar Stengel, Freddy Guiheneuf

Key-note speakers

Freddy Guiheneuf, Observatoire Océanologique de Villefranche sur Mer, France: “Recent Advances in Microalgal Biotechnology with an Emphasis on Biofilm Cultivation

Michael Lakatos, University of Applied Science Kaiserslautern, Germany:”Transition From Aquatic To Terrestrial Systems: A Paradigm Change In Algae Biotechnology?”

Recent progress in algal biotechnology has gained significant international attention from across a number of commercial sectors, but is also thought to offer potential solutions to a range of global and societal challenges. Contributions to this symposium will discuss and review the recent advances and current trends in micro- and macroalgal biotechnology; oral and poster presentations are invited on topics in applied phycology ranging from algae as sources of bioactive for high-value applications (food/feed ingredients, pharmaceuticals, biostimulants, cosmeceuticals, biomedical devices) to integrated environmental technologies. Other key topics of interest are: algae as cell factories, algal cell engineering, and recent advances in synthetic biology.

Petra Visser, Stefano Accoroni

Key-note speakers
Stefano Accoroni, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona, Italy: “Role of Environmental Factors on Dynamics and Toxin Production of Benthic Harmful Algal Blooms

Petra M. Visser, Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands “Cyanobacterial Blooms in Lakes: Ecology, Prevention and Control”

Algal blooms are a natural part of the seasonal cycle of photosynthetic organisms in the aquatic ecosystems. However, some blooms can cause harm to humans and other organisms with direct impacts on human health and negative influences on human wellbeing (fisheries, tourism and recreation) and environments. These so called, harmful algal blooms (HABs) are natural phenomena, but can be favoured by anthropogenic pressures in coastal areas and lakes and likely by, global warming. At the beginning of the XXIst century, with expanding human populations, there is an urgent need to prevent and mitigate HABs impacts on human health and wellbeing.
This session is focused on planktonic and benthic HABs (algae and cyanobacteria) specially occurring in aquatic (freshwater, estuarine and marine) ecosystems in Europe and associated to diverse health disorders including food-borne or drinking water poisonings, cutaneous or respiratory irritations. Communications can cover ecology, ecotoxicology, taxonomy, and impacts on human health and resources caused by HABs and how to prevent or mitigate HABs impacts.

Ante Žuljević, Cecilia Totti

Key-note speakers
Michele Giani, Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale, Trieste, Italy: “Long Term Impact of Riverine Discharges and Nutrient Loads in the Northern Adriatic Sea

Adriano Sfriso, Università Ca’ Foscari, Venezia, Italy:  “Macroalgae in The Lagoon of Venice: Long-Term Changes, Alien Taxa and Environmental Impact” 

The northernmost part of the Mediterranean, small comparing to oceans, but the different oceanographic characteristics that influence its biota makes the Adriatic Sea a unique environment: the western coasts under the direct influence of the Po River outflow opposite to the karstic eastern with numerous islands; the shallow nutrient rich northernmost part and the oligotrophic deeper southern basin with the Southern Adriatic Pit; the wide thermal and saline gradient… Such wide-scale differences are reflected in a wide variability both in benthic and planktonic algal communities. The interannual variability of the Po River outflow coupled with the changing loads of nutrients determined the alternation of eutrophic and oligotrophic periods. A number of striking phenomena have characterized the history of the Adriatic Sea, such as harmful algal blooms, hypoxia of bottom layer, large mucilage aggregate formation or benthic toxic dinoflagellate blooms. Plenty of meso and micro-areas possess their own phycological uniqueness: estuaries, islands rich in flora due to upwelling, 150 m deep Laminaria rodriguezii colonies, endemics like Fucus virsoides, ports under human pressure, alien macroalgae expansions or geologically recent escape from the sea such as Pneophyllum cetinaensis. Adriatic biota is now changing faster than ever. Alien species spread, coast is subjected to an intense human and touristic pressure. As a consequence, just in a few decades, the Cystoseira communities, climax of benthic vegetation, disappeared in a number of coastal areas. But what we indeed know about biology of the Adriatic biota? For sure, there are still plenty biological events to be discovered. Adriatic is the area where every phycologist can find its own lifetime occupation. We invite you to present your discovery of the Adriatic!

Domenico D’Alelio, Silvia Angles

Key-note speakers

Juliet Brodie, Natural History Museum, London, U.K.: “The Big Seaweed Search: Science, Lessons and Inspiring the Citizens”

Algae act as invisible engines of our Planet, which is presently under risk. They can also boost a flourishing industry, providing humans with food and other secondary resources. Finally, they play a negative role by exacerbating the environmental conditions of anthropogenically impacted aquatic systems. Owing to the ‘hidden’ centrality of algae in our societies, communication – i.e., translating sectorial knowledge to the general and non-expert public – is a crucial task. Phycologists should intensify efforts to spread algal literacy within public contexts, which are technology-driven, but extremely prone to scientific misconceptions at the same time. This symposium calls for science communication attempts on the algae world that aim at filling crucial knowledge gaps. Both ‘simple’ institutional dissemination and more elaborated outreach projects are welcome; exercises, engaging citizens with the spreading of knowledge and/or participating in topical researches, are highly desirable.

Myriam Valero, Mikael Le Gac

Key-note speakers
Susana Coelho, Station Biologique de Roscoff, CNRS-Sorbonne Universitè, France: “The Evolutionary Dynamics of Brown Algal Sex Chromosomes
Anke Kremp, Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemünde, Germany: “Genetic Diversity, Phenotypic Variation and the Role of Complex Life Cycles in Evolutionary Adaptation of Baltic Phytoplankton Populations

The aim of this symposium is to bring together researchers with interests in genetics and genomics of algae. The symposium will focus on different questions related to the evolution of life cycles and life history traits, evolution of sex, mating systems and reproductive isolation but also on the importance of population structure and adaptation. Experimental, empirical and theoretical approaches are welcome.

Christine Campbell, Maike Lorenz

Key-note speakers
Willie Wilson, Marine Biological Association, Plymouth, UK:” How Can We Make Culture Collections Sustainable?”
Muriel Gugger, Pasteur Culture Collection, Paris, France:”Cyanobacteria From Genomic Perspectives Reveal Unprecedent Chemical Diversity

Research in phylogeny and biodiversity is traditionally linked to type and reference material with related data such as that held in the algal culture collections. Molecular data underpinning this research is exponentially growing with the recent developments of the -omics age. The increasing accessibility of these methods influences almost all phycological disciplines, including research on ecosystems and biogeography as well as for algal biotechnology and microbiome studies. Data, however, often fails to relate to the actual sustainable biological material. Algal culture collections not only provide such references and metadata but add their specific expertise to this and other developing fields such as analytics and preservation methods, biotechnology and Access and Benefit Sharing. We invite contributions related to these and other culture-collection related topics. Abstracts for posters presenting algal culture collections will also be welcome.

Sunčica Bosak, Nikola Koletić

Flash talks

Meet the Editors & Grants and Funding Session

Student Flash Talks
Young scientists (Bachelor/Master/Ph.D. students) attending EPC7 are strongly encouraged to present their algae-related research in a „speed talk“ (max. 2-3 minutes). To make it a fair competition we exclude more experienced postdocs from this event. Sorry!
Registration needed! – to enlist for the „speed talk“ submit a record of a short video (2 minutes max.) where you pitch your idea (in English) and a short description of your presentation. The video does not have to be a professional one as we only want an impression of you and your research! Be creative!
Post the video on YouTube (mark as unlisted) and send us the URL (link) together with a short description of presented research to infoepcseven@biol.pmf.hr before 1. July 2019. The Organizing Committee will select 10 talks from the submissions. The best „speed talk“ will be chosen by the EPC7 delegates attending the event, and will be awarded a prize consisting of cash collected during the EPC7 Auction.

The Special Sessions for Early Career phycologists

The aim of these sessions is to give an opportunity to young scientists, Ph.D. and postdoc students, to interact with the responsible people (top speakers) on two important topics in their current/future scientific career.

1.Meet the Editors

The session will feature the discussion on the Editorial system of most prominent scientific journals in the field of phycology. The aim is to use Editors as a resource for how to successfully publish your research including the do’s and dont’s of submissions, the explanation of the peer review process in different journals, what are the qualities of a good reviewer, and much more.

Top speakers:
Debashish Bhattacharya (Journal of Phycology)
Christine Maggs & Juliet Brodie (European Journal of Phycology)
Frederik Leliaert (Frontiers in Plant Science, Plant Systematics and Evolution)

2. Grants & Funding
The session will include the illustration and explanation of the mechanism of networks that provide funds for short-term research visits e.g. Transnational Access research projects within Assemble Plus and several other funding programs. The Q&A session after short presentations will provide the possibility to interested participants to obtain further information.

Top speakers:
Wiebe Kooistra (ASSEMBLE Plus – Association of European Marine Biological Research Laboratories Expanded)

Jens Nejstgaard & Stela Berger (AQUACOSM – the EU-network connecting freshwater and marine large experimental research infrastructures) 

This is a joint session on European Funding in the area of excellent research, including Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) and the European Research Council (ERC).


Dr. Marie Huysman, Scientific Officer, Life Sciences Unit, European Research Council Executive Agency

Frank Marx, Deputy Head of Unit, Research Executive Agency Unit. A.4. Marie Skłodowska-Curie COFUND, Researchers’ Night and Individual Fellowships: Global


MSCA fellows/ERC grantees who will share their experiences with applying for EU funding:

Prof. Dr. Assaf Vardi, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Dr. Susana Coelho, Station Biologique de Roscoff, France

The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) support excellent researchers at all stages of their careers and from all scientific disciplines through training and mobility opportunities. The presentation provides for an overview of the actions and some hints for successful applications.

The mission of the European Research Council (ERC) is to encourage the highest quality research in Europe through competitive funding and to support investigator-driven frontier research across all fields, on the basis of scientific excellence. This session will highlight the ERC funding schemes by presenting an overview of the different ERC funding opportunities and its requirements, as well as an overview of phycology-related research funded by the ERC.

In addition, the session will feature 2 MSCA and ERC grantees who will share their experience with applying to both schemes and who will explain what difference the grants made for them and their group. A panel discussion with the grantees at the end of the meeting will allow questions from the audience to be addressed.

Mini Workshops

Bernard Lepetit, Jacco Kromkamp


Bernard Lepetit: “Pulse Amplitude Modulated (PAM) Fluorometry: The Measurement Principle, the Parameters, the Relation to Electron Transport Rates and its Use to Study Non-Photochemical Quenching (NPQ)

Jacco Kromkamp: “Application of Fast Repetition Rate Fluorometry (FRRF) in Primary Productivity Studies: a Tutorial

Ondrej Prasil:”The Fluorescence-Based Estimations of Gross and Net Primary Productivity in a Marine Diatom – the Effects of Dynamic Nutrient Stress

Scarlett Trimborn: “Photophysiological Strategies to Iron Limitation and High Light Differ Between Two Antarctic Key Phytoplankton Species

Benjamin Bailleul

Chlorophyll fluorescence measurements, either via the PAM or the FRRF technique, are frequently used to study the physiological state of algae under varying conditions. If correctly applied, these techniques provide a wealth of important information about the photosynthetic activity, as well as the physiological state of the alga, and can potentially be used to derive primary productivity. However, often only the parameter Fv/Fm is used. In order to exploit the full potential of fluorescence based techniques, we will explain the different parameters and how to obtain them technically correct in the first part of the workshop. Potential pitfalls will be highlighted and some examples of specific applications will be provided. In the second part of the workshop, several experts will present their latest research results referring to photosynthesis in general, obtained via fluorescence based as well as other sophisticated techniques. For the third part applications for a 15 min talk (which includes 3 min discussion) covering the topic are very welcome.


Bernard Lepetit (25+5 min)

Pulse amplitude modulated (PAM) fluorometry: The measurement principle, the parameters, the relation to electron transport rates and its use to study Non-Photochemical Quenching (NPQ)

Jacco Kromkamp (25+5 min)

Fast Repetition Rate Fluorometry (FRRF): what does it measure, relationships between optical and functional absorption cross section and can we derive primary production from absolute electron transport rates?

  • Ondrej Prasil (15+5 min): GPP, NPP and assumptions regarding robustness of Ka (which is required to calculate [RCII] and aLHII): how constant is Ka, thus KP/KF in conditions of unbalanced growth
  • Scarlett Trimborn (15+5 min): Photophysiological strategies to iron limitation and high light differ between two Antarctic key phytoplankton species
  • Benjamin Bailleul (15+5 min) Combining fluorescence and Joliot type spectrometry to quantify the redox reactions of the photosynthetic electron transport chain in algae

Four talks à 12 min +3 min discussion. Applications are welcome.

Thomas Mock, Mark Cock

Invited speakers
Uwe John, Alfred-Wegner Institute, Bremerhaven, Germany: “Eco-Evolutionary Drivers Affect Life Cycle Changes and Microevolution of the Emiliania/Gephyrocapsa Species Complex

Gernot Gloeckner, University of Cologne, Germany: “Assembly and Analysis of the Laminaria digitata Genome and Transcriptome

Gareth Pearson, Centre of Marine Sciences (CCMAR), Universidade do Algarve, Portugal: “Leveraging Sequence and Expression Information from De Novo Transcriptomes; Strategies and Case Studies from the Brown Algae

Hwan Su Yoon, Sungkyunkwan University, Korea: “Expansion of Phycobilisome Linker Gene Families in a Mesophilic Red Alga, Porphyrodium purpureum

Sequencing algal genomes has provided a step change in our understanding as to how these globally significant organisms have evolved and adapted to the marine system. Genomes of micro- and macroalgae have been sequenced, and there are many more to come as current algal genomes only represent a minor fraction of extant algal diversity. As many algal lineages have an entangled evolutionary history and therefore complex genomes of sometimes significant size, it is instrumental to use the most appropriate sequencing technology and genome assemblers to resolve the level of ploidy, haplotype heterozygosity and long-range contiguity. Our workshop will address the application of different sequencing technologies in the context of the complexity of algal genomes and transcriptomes from bench to bioinformatics. In addition to introducing the latest sequencing technologies including their applications and challenges, invited speakers will present case studies for the analysis of complex algal genomes and transcriptomes. A podium discussion at the end of the workshop with active participation of the audience will help to address issues of interest concerning genomic datasets from any algae.

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