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The meeting will have presentations across five broad themes that span the breadth of coralline algal research, from fundamental concepts to real-world applications, with consideration for past, present-day and future outlooks.

All student presentations will be considered for the Student Presentation Prize – kindly sponsored by Aquatic Conservation / Wiley.

We will also be hosting a Special Issue in the journal Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems. This will be open to all, not just meeting delegates. More details about the Special Issue can be found here.

Theme 1. Ecology & physiology

Theme co-chairs: Drs Sophie McCoy (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA) and Erwann Legrand (Institute of Marine Research, Norway)

Coralline algae are important foundation species in shallow ecosystems globally. These benthic primary producers provide major ecological functions – such as coral reefs stabilization and carbon storage over geological timescales – and support a remarkable diversity of species. However, coralline algae are impacted by a rising number of anthropogenic pressures, including global (e.g., ocean acidification and rising sea temperature) and local changes (e.g., extraction, pollution, dredging for fisheries and aquaculture). In this theme, we encourage submissions that provide new insights in to the ecology and physiology of coralline algae, and explore the response of coralline algal species and their associated communities to global and local anthropogenic pressures.

Theme 2. Geology, palaeontology & biogeochemistry

Theme co-chairs: Dr Federica Ragazzola (Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Ischia Marine Center, Italy) and Prof. Julio Aguirre (University of Granada, Spain)

The aim of this theme is to bring together scientists who are interested in:

– Palaeoceanography from biological and biogeochemical recorders of environmental conditions and the development of proxies
– Biomineralization processes, including the evolution of biomineralization
– Coralline algal bed morphology and biogenic potential
– Paleoclimatologic, paleoecologic, and paleoenvironmental relevance of coralline algae and their associated habitats
– The geological/stratigraphic significance of coralline algal habitats
– Coralline algal beds through time

Theme 3. Taxonomy, speciation & phylogenetics

Theme co-chairs: Drs Viviana Peña (University of Coruña, Spain) and Cornelia Simon-Nutbrown (Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, UK)

Over hundreds of millions of years, coralline algae have undergone episodes of extinctions and evolutionary radiations that have shaped their current diversity. Moreover, the evolutionary success of coralline algae is reflected in their global distribution and their status as ecosystem engineers, biodiversity hotspots and essential components of the coastal marine system. It is not possible to conserve that which we do not know and thus the first step to effective conservation management is a better understanding of species diversity, taxonomy and phylogenetics. As such, coralline algal diversity and phylogeny have been a key part of coralline algal research. In recent years, new approaches have been utilised to build on traditional taxonomic methods, and efforts have been made to integrate this primary knowledge into other fields of coralline algal research.  This theme aims to shed light on the latest issues in this field. 

Theme 4. Conservation & management

Theme co-chairs: Dr Lina Rasmusson (University of Gothenburg, Sweden) and Prof. John Baxter (Chief Editor, Aquatic Conservation and Honorary Professor, University of St Andrews, UK)

Contributions are invited that deal with a range of issues relevant to the conservation and management of coralline algae. Relevant topics could include:

– Undertaking practical management of coralline algae habitats and species
– Restoration and regeneration of habitats
– Implementation of new or enhanced monitoring programmes
– Development of site protection measures
– Assessment of ecological or conservation status
– Provision of ecosystem services such as nursery areas for other species or blue carbon
– Development of MPA networks
– Implications of climate change on conservation actions

Theme 5. Emerging frontiers

Theme co-chairs: Dr Tessa Page (University of Southampton, UK) and Prof. Nick Kamenos (Umeå University, Sweden)

Coralline algae provide critical ecosystem services from polar to tropical regions, yet, despite their ecological importance our understanding of their past and present physiological processes, ecology, taxonomy/systematics and biogeochemistry is restricted. Research using non-traditional approaches on coralline algae is far behind that of other taxa, limiting our ability to determine their responses in a changing world at an organism-habitat level. In this session, we invite speakers to present their research on innovative and emerging applications and technologies used to further our understanding of coralline algae in the past, present, and future.