Monday, November 20, 2017

ChallenGen last meeting

by Maria Casso

The 17th November, in Barcelona, we had the (most probably) last meeting of the ChallenGen Project. Anna and Héctor talked about DNA libraries preparation for GBS-like methods. At the end of the meeting we put in common all the publications, conferences and other outputs the group published thanks to the ChallenGen Project. You can check out our publications here.

We will have news soon about the next project!

Monday, June 26, 2017

ChallenGen at the 2017 mid-year meeting of The Crustacean Society (TCS)

by Enrique Macpherson

Enrique Macpherson, Marta Pascual and Ferran Palero were members of the Organising Committee of the 2017 mid-year meeting of The Crustacean Society (TCS), of which EM was also the chair.

The meeting was organized by the Spanish Research Council (CSIC) and University of Barcelona (UB) and took place in Cosmocaixa, Barcelona, Spain, from 19th to 22nd June 2017. A total of 211 scientists from 34 countries attended the meeting. This symposium, with already some decades of existence, has given particular emphasis to the areas historically covered by the TCS meetings (ecology, fisheries, larvae, taxonomy, among many others topics). The meeting also included the “11th Colloquium Crustacea Decapoda Mediterranea” and the “5th Crustacean Larval Conference”.

The congress has been organized with parallel oral sessions and poster exhibitions, and included several invited plenary lectures made by world renowned crustacean researchers. Members of ChallenGen contributed with two oral presentations and ten posters (see Publications and Outreach: Conferences).

Thursday, May 18, 2017

ChallenGen at the Pint of Science festival in Blanes

by Xavier Turon

The Pint of Science festival aims to deliver interesting talks on the latest science research in an accessible format to the public – mainly across bars and pubs (preferably with a pint of beer in hands). It is an International festival being held annually over three days at the same time in hundreds of cities across the world. Blanes, the host city of the CEAB, has participated for the first time in this year’s Pint of Science festival. The scientists of the CEAB gave nine talks three evenings (15-17 May 2017).

Xavier Turon participated in the first day of the festival, presenting the opening talk at a nice bar (Casal la Cooperativa) on the topic: Biodiversity 2.0: genetics and computers to study the living organisms. Needless to say, his talk capitalized on results obtained during the ChallenGen project, particularly those related to biodiversity assessment via metabarcoding.

It was an enjoyable and challenging experience to try to explain in lay terms some complex analysis we do in our research. The audience was very interested and asked many questions after the talk.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

ChallenGen at the meeting "Developing new genetic tools for bioassessment of aquatic ecosystems in Europe"

by Xavier Turon

ChallenGen was present at the meeting on metabarcoding held in Essen (Germany) in March 7th-9th 2017. This was the kick-off conference of the European Union COST action DNAqua-Net.

This project aims at integrating a group of researchers across disciplines with the task to identify gold-standard genomic tools and novel eco-genomic indices and metrics for routine application for biodiversity assessments and biomonitoring of European water bodies. It also envisages training and dissemination activities. The objectives of ChallenGen are fully compatible with the goals of DNAqua-Net and we wanted to be counted in and contribute.

Xavier Turon is one of the Spanish members of DNAqua-Net and attended this conference, where ca. 200 researchers gathered together to present results, discuss hot topics, and delineate the way forward for achieving a wide acceptance by management bodies of genetic methods for biodiversity assessment in the European context.

Xavier presented the communication "Under the canopy: community-wide effects of invasive algae in marine protected areas revealed by metabarcoding", by Xavier Turon, Owen Wangensteen, Emma Cebrian and Creu Palacín. In this contribution the main results concerning the effects of three invasive algae (Caulerpa cylindracea and Lophocladia lallemandii in Cabrera, and Asparagopsis armata in the Atlantic) on the benthic communities were exposed. We have also drafted and sent a manuscript for publication with these results. This contribution is also a result of the collaboration between ChallenGen and the National Park projects Metabarpark and Corclim.

A heatmap representation of the samples of communities with and without Asparagopsis armata from Cíes Islands, separated by invasion status (green: non-invaded, red: invaded) and fraction (blue: macrobenthos; turquoise: meiobenthos).