Annual Meetings

The British Phycological Society has held an annual meeting within Britain and Ireland for many years, usually in the first weeks of January.

Our next meeting is being held in Plymouth within the beautiful setting of South West England (between 6-9th January 2020). There will be an evening registration and reception at the MBA on the 6 Jan 2020. The steering committee is Clare Widdicombe, Mike Allen, Mahasweta Saha from PML, Colin Brownlee, Clare Ostle, Dan Smale, Gerald Boalch from the MBA and Murray Brown, Lina Rasmusson and Jason Hall-Spencer from Plymouth University. Gregory Beaugrand has agreed to give a keynote: “Responses of phytoplankton to climate in the North Atlantic Ocean: past, present and future”.

Student Travel Awards are available to support student attendees, application deadlines 1 Sept 2019 and 1 Nov 2019.

During the meeting, the organisers will offer oral and poster presentations for both general and special sessions. A number of oral slots are reserved in advance to guarantee students the opportunity to present their research, and to compee for the £250 Irène Manton (1904-1988) Prize. There will also be a £150 prize for the best student poster.

The Guidelines and Assessment Criteria for the presentation and poster prizes can be viewed here.

Conference website now live

Conference website

Special Sessions

Special session one – Hidden forests: the structure and function of macrophyte-dominated habitats and communities under natural variability and anthropogenic stress 

Convenors: Drs Dan Smale and Heidi Burdett

Outline: Aquatic macrophytes (e.g. kelps, seagrasses, maerl, stoneworts, etc) often function as foundation species by providing extensive biogenic habitat that underpins high primary and secondary productivity and modulates environmental conditions. Macrophyte-dominated habitats are of significant ecological and socioeconomic value, yet the distribution and integrity of these systems is increasingly affected by a range of concurrent stressors, including physical disturbance, decreased water quality and climate change. This symposium will explore recent advances in our understanding of macrophyte-dominated habitats and communities, incorporating fundamental biology, ecological patterns and processes, biogeochemistry and management and conservation. By sharing knowledge gained from diverse habitat-types and across biological scales, we aim to improve our collective understanding of the value and resilience of these critical habitats. We invite submissions from those working on habitat-forming macrophytes in both freshwater and marine ecosystems.

Special session two – Algal interactions across the tree of life – from the open ocean to industrial applications

Convenors: Dr Joe Taylor and Dr Michael Cunliffe

Outline: Contemporary molecular tools have revolutionised our understanding of aquatic biodiversity, with many previously un-described interactions involving algae identified. New symbionts, parasites and pathogens of micro- and macro-algae are being frequently discovered. This symposium will explore the range of biotic interactions (symbiosis, commensalism, pathogenicity and parasitism) within and between algal systems, including interactions that are essential in maintaining biodiversity and healthy ecosystems. We will bring together micro- and macro-algae researchers with an emphasis on interdisciplinary exchange. Some focus will be given to how ‘omics (metabarcoding, meta/genomics, meta/transcriptomics, meta/proteomics), cell biology and advanced microscopy can be combined to explore algal interactions across the tree of life, including, with fungi, protists, bacteria and viruses. Focus will also be given to how these interactions can be utilised, or mitigated against, in applied systems, such macroalgal farming for food and biomass, microalgal production and the control of harmful or nuisance algal blooms. The symposium welcomes submissions from researchers studying biotic interactions in all algal systems from the individual cell to algal microbiomes, up to whole ecosystems and community ecology.

Special Session three – Impact of climate change on marine and freshwater algae

Convenors: Mahasweta Saha, Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML, UK) Dedmer van de Waal, Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW, Netherlands)

Marine and freshwater macrophytes, microalgae and cyanobacteria are dominant primary producers in aquatic systems worldwide. These ecosystem engineers provide a suite of ecologically valuable services, form the base of food webs, and play a key function in the global carbon cycle. However, rapid climate change is a major threat to Earth’s biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Ongoing global change is expected to increase pCO2 and temperature whilst decreasing pH and oxygen levels. Moreover, climate change is increasing the occurrence and intensity of extreme events causing species extinction and range shifts, which can also have economic impacts. Along with overfishing and deoxygenation at local scales, algal pathogens and parasites can substantially increase with ocean warming. Warming, together with elevated pCO2, thought to enhance the frequency, magnitude and duration of harmful algal blooms in coastal marine and freshwater ecosystems. In this session we invite contributions from marine and freshwater biologists and ecologists to bring diverse expertise and new perspectives to the impact of climate change on algae. We encourage submissions from laboratory, field, and mesocosm studies that offer new insights into the functioning of benthic and pelagic ecosystems at the genetic, population, community and ecosystem scale under biotic and abiotic stressors. Multi-stressor studies on ecosystem function are encouraged as well as papers that offer insights into potential for adaptation and resilience.

Invited Keynote: Gregory Beugrand “Responses of phytoplankton to climate in the North Atlantic Ocean: past, present and future”

Special Session four – The use of algae as biomonitors in freshwater and marine systems 

(Abstract to follow)