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WP 4: Organization of workshops and conferences

 

 

 

Objectives
  • Transfer and exchange of knowledge among experts (in the fields of genomics transcriptomics, functional genomics, metagenomics, bioinformatics and biodiversity informatics) and participants
  • Promotion of HCMR as a genomics and biodiversity platform in eastern Mediterranean.
  • Development of IMBG and the associated scientific research community of Crete as a world hotspot for phylogenomics applied to biological conservation, microbial diversity, epidemiology and invasive species.

 

Description of work

Three workshops (Task 4.1, 4.2., 4.3) and one conference (Task 4.4) will be organized, related to the research activities that will be promoted with the infrastructure and expertise obtained through the current proposal. All material of organized workshops and the conference will be accessible through the project website. In addition a special issue of the conference is planned to be published.

Attempt will be made to secure participation of JGI personnel in the Workshops and/or the Conference of WP 4 (on expenses from other sources), while it will be sought that at least one of the IMBG members will pay a short training visit at the USA, again supported by other sources. During the workshops the facilities, including the new infrastructure of IMBG, will be presented, and co-operation with other institutions will be promoted. Main goal of all workshops will be to support the implementation of operational approaches for permanent real time monitoring and interpreting changes in biodiversity. The workshops and the conference will be held in Crete, which has a modern conference hall (seating capacity 150) and state-of-the-art audio-visual facilities. In the workshops stake holders will be invited, including  prefectures, mayors, the General Secretary and regional administrative bodies etc.

 

The outcome of the workshops, will be advertised and materialized through the LifeWatch (www.lifewatch.eu) of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI), to which IMBG is coordinator for Greece, through the HelBioNet project of the preparatory phase. The Greek government has been engaged through the General Secretary of Research and Technology to support the LifeWatch. These tools will also be promoted regionally with the support of the Region of Crete, who supports IMBGs role as Biodiversity observatory. Finally the results will be promoted at the international level by the European Marine Biological Resources Centre (EMBRC-http://www.embrc.eu/) of the ESFRI infrastructure, where IMBG represents Eastern Mediterranean.

 

The estimated cost for each workshop is 15,000 €. About 30 people are expected to participate in each of them. The conference will be held in a hotel conference hall in Heraklion, Crete, and the cost is estimated at 29,000 €, which includes five invited speakers and services for about 150 participants.

 

Tasks

Task 4.1: Workshop “New DNA technologies and informatics tools for studying marine biodiversity and adaptation" (1st year)

DNA sequencing and genotyping technologies are advancing very fast, with the development of novel methodologies and machinery and the utilization of new types of molecular markers (e.g. SNPs), giving insights into genomes rapidly, thus changing both the scale and the mode of genetic analysis. This offers a unique opportunity to get better insights into marine genetic biodiversity and to study adaptive genetic variation and developmental and molecular physiology mechanisms that allow organisms to adapt to new environments (e.g. climatic changes, invasions, new pathogens). This workshop will focus on the presentation of:

  • a) new DNA sequencing and genotyping techniques
  • b) new bioinformatics tools for analyzing whole genomes, for molecular marker discovery, gene discovery and annotation and
  • c) new approaches for studying genetic biodiversity and adaptation.
     

The workshop targets mainly PhD students and post-docs, but also researchers interested in high-throughput DNA analysis methods. Basic knowledge in informatics will be required.
Through this workshop IMBG facilities will be promoted and possibly new collaborations will be established. In addition, IMBG personnel will also have the opportunity to be trained in new DNA analysis methods as researchers of top ranked institutes will be invited to give lectures in the workshop.

 

Task 4.2: Workshop “Analyses of Marine Microbial Genomes and Applications” (2nd year)

The main objectives of this workshop is to understand the main concepts and tools for microbial genomics, to provide a comprehensive overview of marine microbial genomes sequenced worldwide and to establish new competencies and abilities that will boost microbial genome studies in Eastern Mediterranean. Emphasis will be also given in the biotechnological and other applications of discovered microbes and their products, such as bioremediation (with a particular interest for oil and pesticides in Crete), energy production, CO2 sequestration, protection of monuments. IMBG is the genomics platform and active member of the Hellenic Association of Microbial Ecology, Mikrobiokosmos (http://www.mikrobiokosmos.org/en/), who unites all the active research community in the field of microbial ecology and genomics. The workshops will invite key players in order to have knowledge diffused in the totality of the Greek community.

The workshop refers mainly PhD students, post-docs and researchers involved in microbial ecology. This  workshop will be organized in close collaboration with Mikrobiokosmos and researchers of the Association will be invited to give lectures.

Through this workshop IMBG facilities will be promoted, as well as its aim to become the genome platform within the Mikrobiokosmos will be strengthened.

 

Task 4.3: Workshop “Modern taxonomy as a cyberscience” (3rd year)

This workshop will embrace recent and innovative approaches used in genetics and in conventional taxonomy in an integrative way. The attendees will be trained on methods incorporating information deriving by both disciplines through a variety of tools and particularly considering 3D morphological data, databases and ontologies dedicated to morphology. This is a hot field in biodiversity informatics since the two disciplines (genetics and taxonomy) have so far evolved under different frameworks and therefore, have been targeted at different hypothesis testing directions.

The workshop is targeted mainly to PhD students, post-docs and researchers, who aim to get a first introduction of biodiversity informatics. Basic knowledge in informatics will be required.
Through this workshop IMBG will be able to strengthen its research direction towards biodiversity informatics and to train also IMBG personnel. In addition, new collaborations are expected to be established.

 

Task 4.4. Conference “Mediterranean marine biodiversity in view of climate change and the invasion of alien species” (3rd year)

IMBG was the co-organizer of the 1st Panhellenic meeting for the invasion of alien species in the Mediterranean, which was held on 5-6 November 2007 in the premises of HCMR, Crete. The proposed conference will be a follow up of this meeting on a broader scale and at a higher level. It will be organized in the 3rd year of the project, prominent international scientists will be invited as keynote speakers and numerous participants are expected to present their research in various aspects of biodiversity research. The progress made at IMBG, also as a result of the support of the EU through the current project will be presented. There will be a one day session on GIS and remote sensing methods for assessment and monitoring of physical parameters in Eastern Mediterranean in collaboration with high profile experts of other Institutes of HCMR (IO, IMBR), as well as of the Technical University of Crete in Chania.

The conference addresses students, as well as researchers working in the field of biodiversity either on
molecular level, physiological or phenotypic (taxonomy) level. It aims to bring together researchers from different fields in order to promote the multidisciplinary and integrated research regarding the response of biodiversity to the climatic change.

It is expected that new ideas for projects, as well as collaborations will be established.