Photosynthesis by aquatic organisms (phytoplankton, algae, corals, seagrass) controls aquatic food webs and biogeochemical cycles (including drawdown of CO2 from the atmosphere) and ultimately the global climate. All photosynthetic organisms contain the fluorescent pigment chlorophyll, and hence techniques exploiting this property have become globally adopted as a core means for monitoring aquatic ecosystem health, and more recently by industries needing to optimize algal growth. Global need for more effective ecosystem management in combination with increasing applications for “industrialized algae” have particularly accelerated theoretical and technological capability in chlorophyll fluorescence in recent years. Researchers, managers and industry now have access to a vast array of instrumentation and protocols to examine systems from single cells to entire lakes and oceans.
Our concept of AQUAFLUO (AQUAtic FLUOrescence) was originally introduced in 2005 to overcome major bottlenecks faced by the ever-expanding user communities in robustly, confidently and consistently applying their techniques to fundamental biological questions. Nearly a decade has passed since the original “Chlorophyll fluorescence in Aquatic Sciences Meeting (AQUAFLUO 2007)” was held in the Czech Republic, which resulted in the first book dedicated to our field of research; and, whilst some of these bottlenecks have been “solved” e.g. recognising a generally consistent set of terminologies, we are faced with persistent hurdles (can we ever estimate inorganic carbon uptake using fluorometry?). Furthermore, state-of-the-art conceptual and technological developments, e.g. multispectral/“disposable” fluorometers, alongside emerging industry needs, e.g. algal phenotype screening and pollutant monitoring, has raised a whole new set of challenges in global efforts to adopt best practice.
AQUAFLUO II focus
This meeting provides a timely return of the AQUAFLUO vision: To examine current knowledge of (not only active) fluorescence for aquatic research, from concept to implementation and with a practical emphasis considering current “hot topics” including:
- How can we best parameterize photosynthetic and cellular/ecosystem health?
- Can fluorescence alone provide a platform for algal phenomics (screening algae for industrial applications)?
- Can we begin to unravel the cellular basis of cryptic fluorescence properties (YNO, NPQ)?
- How can genomics and fluorometry platforms best inform on another?
- To what extent can we confidently use fluorescence to measure aquatic productivity that fuels food webs (food security)?
- How reliable are next-generation fluorescence-based productivity algorithms over space and time?
- What conceptual and practical obstacles limit a move to open source, open access and/or “big data” regional/global monitoring platforms?
- Are nuances in fluorescence induction techniques still a potential bottleneck towards reconciling data sets?
- Can state of the art fluorometry technology enhance ecosystem security (ballast water pollution detection, harmful algal bloom monitoring)?
We have adopted and further developed the format of our previous AQUAFLUO meeting to maximize engagement:
- Deliberately focused and targeted meeting of 150 (max.) attendees from across academic research, instrument development and manufacture, engineers, and stakeholders of aquatic management and algal industry sectors;
- A series of blended presentations, discussion forums and practical workshops that tackle key concepts and/or bottlenecks.
- All attendees are expected to contribute through an oral presentation or a poster of the use/application of chlorophyll fluorescence;
- Special focus is on postgraduate scientists and early career researchers, and their connection to industry.
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