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

XV. International Palynological Congress (IPC) XI. International Organisation of Palaeobotany Conference (IOPC)

Terraform researchers take part in IPC/IOPC Conference in Prague, Czechia

The emerging field of trait-based paleoecology suffers from the siloing of its practitioners along multiple dimensions including the availability of infrastructure and materials, and structure-specific focus. To promote the development of a more cohesive and collaborative ‘paleo-trait’ network Will Matthaeus and Jenny McElwain led a workshop on behalf of the ERC-TERRAFORM project at IPC/IOPC 2024. Following the recent publication by McElwain et al. (2024, New Phytologist, Tansley Reviews), 28 scientists from around the world and across career stages participated in a collaborative evaluation of the potential for utilizing plant functional traits in the fossil record. Attendees gave positive feedback and new collaborations were established in the discussions that followed.

Members of the TERRAFORM project participated in IPC/IOPC field trips. One trip was made to the Pecínov, a quarry in the late Cretaceous Bohemian Basin, circa 50 km west of Prague. The locality offers a transgressional set of sedimentary bodies that allow clear identification of the paleo-coastal area, moving inland through a salt marsh, swamp, and finally into a freshwater braided river. The Cenomanian flora from Pecínov has been extensively described, with an assemblage consisting of gymnosperm and angiosperm taxa. A PhD student from our team was able to collect plant macrofossil material from this locality for future research and was eager to recount her pleasant experience, meeting senior paleobotanists in the field and listening to their epic (and very-niche) plant-fossil tales of yore. 

TERRAFORM’s two PhD students, Antonietta Knetge and Catarina Barbosa, presented their first major conference talk at IPC/IOPC in a session focused on the biotic crises of the Mesozoic.  Stepping up the plate immediately after lunch, Catarina refused to let conference attendees take a nap by showing them a cool graph and talking about it a bunch. Her talk on paleoecology and turnover in the T/J boundary of East Greenland featured carefully developed visualizations of community composition through time at South  Tancrediakløft. Antonietta then took to the stage to deliver a rousing presentation on diversity and taphonomy, using rarefaction curves to compare that same locality and Astartekløft, historically one of the most important sites for the Greenland T/J.  Both talks garnered interest, lots of questions, and collaboration requests. A great success!