Monday, December 18, 2006

Announcement: Thinking Small: Microbial Diversity and Its Role in Conservation - The Center for Biodiversity and Conservation's 12th Annual Symposium

Just thought I would post this here as it seems like it will be a really cool meeting (and I was on the steering commitee.


Thinking Small: Microbial Diversity and Its Role in Conservation
The Center for Biodiversity and Conservation's Twelfth Annual Symposium
American Museum of Natural History
April 26 and 27, 2007

Symposium Theme
Microscopic organisms-including viruses, bacteria, archaea, and single-celled eukaryotic organisms-comprise the vast majority of life on the planet, yet startling little is known about their true diversity and the multitudinous roles that they play in the ecosphere. The knowledge that we do have tends to come from either those organisms that can be cultured in the laboratory (estimated to be <1% of all species) or those that make us or other organisms that are important to us sick. The revolution of using DNA sequences to discover and describe microbial diversity has drastically altered our view of the microbial world and its players, however. Less than two decades ago, using ribosomal RNA gene sequences, Carl Woese and colleagues proposed an entirely new classification of life, that of three domains of organisms-Bacteria, Archaea, and Eukarya-in opposition to the traditional five-kingdom schema. Now, new biochemical processes, including new forms of photosynthesis and even electricity-generating bacteria are being discovered as culture-independent and broader explorations into new habitats are performed. Yet, at the same time that we begin to uncover new hidden potential benefits of microorganisms, the news is also replete with stories of so-called emergent diseases that threaten humans as well as other organisms on the planet.

This symposium will bring together a diverse group of microbiologists and conservation biologists to explore this intersection of two fields that, until now, has not been considered in depth. We hope to address the broad questions of: How much microbial diversity is there on the planet? How does this diversity affect other organisms, both positively and negatively? How should conservation practices take microbial life into account?

Audience: This symposium will bring together scientists from the traditionally disparate fields of microbiology and conservation, including biogeochemists, marine microbiologists, disease ecologists, and microbial systematists. as well as conservation practitioners, wildlife managers, policy makers, educators, students, and interested members of the general public.


CALL FOR POSTERS: The symposium will include a poster session. Details for content guidelines and abstract-submission requirements are available at


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