Christos attends 2nd European Congress on Photosynthesis Research

2nd European Congress on Photosynthesis Research

After the success of the first edition, the European Congress for Photosynthesis Research came back in 2024. From June the 25th to the 28th 2024, experts in the field of natural and artificial photosynthesis gathered in the historic city of Padova (Italy), the cradle of the scientific method developed by Galileo, for an exciting second edition of this scientific event.

The conference started on the 24th of June with the ePS Young Session, tailored for PhD candidates and early-career postdocs. This session fostered an informal and interactive setting, encouraging discussions and idea exchanges among young participants from diverse institutes.

The main conference started with the opening talks in the impressive Aula Magna, the most impressive room of Palazzo Bo, where the great Galileo gave his lectures. The conference continued with numerous sessions on structure, acclimation and evolution of the photosynthetic apparatus, photosynthesis in microbes like algae and cyanobacteria, and new perspectives and technologies of photosynthesis like artificial photosynthesis. The attendees had the opportunity to enjoy a serene evening filled with delectable Italian cuisine and fine wine at the conference’s gala dinner. The conference was a huge success, and the participation exceeded the organizers’ expectations.

Dr. Christos Chondrogiannis presented his research on the presence of CAM activity in the ancient group of cycads. He proposed two species as potential candidates for facultative CAM activity. This project carried out in collaboration with Trinity College Botanic Gardens and National Botanic Gardens in Dublin, generated a lot of interest and led to in-depth discussions about the significance of the findings and the prospects of the project. The conference also provided an opportunity to establish future collaborations and rekindle friendships from previous conferences.

by Dr. Christos Chondrogiannis

Plant-Climate Interaction Lab at the iCRAG SUMMIT 2024

iCRAG Summit 2024

On June 25th and 26th, 2024, the iCRAG annual summit was held at the Hodson Bay Hotel in Athlone. Researchers from multiple universities and institutions across Ireland attended, focusing on Geoscience research. Prof. Jennifer McElwain and Dr. Sate Ahmad from the Plant-Climate Interactions Lab, Botany Department, were among the attendees.

The summit featured updates on recent research in Earth System Change, Earth Science and Society, and Earth Resources. The iCRAG Census results were presented, highlighting areas for improvement in equity, diversity, and inclusion. This was followed by training on Education and Public Engagement (EPE) and innovation, covering intellectual property and patents. Dr. Ahmad presented preliminary results on estimating transpiration and evapotranspiration from upflow willow-based treatment systems during a poster session.

Day 2 began with a morning dip in Lough Ree, followed by breakout sessions within and across different research areas. Prof. McElwain, leading the Earth System Change challenge, moderated the discussion around how to best get insights into Ireland’s future climate by analyzing its past climate through the Cenozoic era, using paleoproxies and climate archives. The summit brought together scientists from various disciplines to collaborate towards a better future.

by Dr. Sate Ahmad

Fossil-hunting expedition across France

Fossil-hunting expedition across France

Over the past week (June 21st-28th), the two postgraduate members of the TERRAFORM team, Catarina Barbosa and Antonietta Knetge, travelled to Poitiers, France for fieldwork. Alongside Dr Bernard Gomez and his postgraduate student, Axel Montigny from the University Claude Bernard Lyon 1, they visited multiple Mesozoic exposures to collect leaf macrofossils and plant debris. The first quarry visited was in Persac, an Albian-Cenomanian (~ 100.5 ma) paleokarst locality with angiosperm leaves and various fauna such as bivalves, bony fish, crocodyliforms, dinosaurs, pterosaurs, and mammals. The group then travelled to the Île d’Oléron to excavate an early Tithonian locality (~149.2 ma), abundant in fossilised conifer wood. The subsequent localities visited offered excellent examples of different types of plant fossil preservation ranging from petrified, and silicified, to plant cuticles preserved in clay. Many of these sites were situated in the La Rochelle/Rochefort area, including the unique Île Madame, only accessible at low tide. The images below show the group on their last night of fieldwork as well as Eucalyptus-like angiosperm leaves from Puy-Puy (Albian-Cenomanian, ~ 100.5 ma) and the fossilised wood from Île d’Oléron. 

by Antonietta Knetge