Special Sessions

The Organizing Committee invites contributions to the following Special Sessions:

Microbial Ecotoxicology using –omics and classical approaches

Conveners: Dr. Anastasia Tsiola; tba

Nowadays, a range of anthropogenic perturbances affects marine and inland-water ecosystems mainly due to the accumulation of pollutants in the water column and sediments. Microbial communities, consisted of viruses up to micro-eukaryotes, are constantly exposed to chemical alterations in the water and sediment characteristics, while they also are capable to tolerate, transform or transfer the pollutants within the trophic webs.

This special session welcomes oral and poster presentations that focus on the broad field of microbial ecotoxicology, i.e. the study of microbial communities under the “stress” of toxic compounds released via human activities. Metals, metal oxides, nanomaterials, micro- and nano- plastics, organic pollutants, hydrocarbons, contaminants of emerging concern, antibiotics, pesticides and other hazardous materials may be the target of the ecotoxicological assay, either as part of a monitoring project or a smaller-scale survey. Both studies in the field (offshore, coastal zone, raptorial zone, lagoons, inland waters, deep and shallow sediments and water-column) and in the laboratory (mono- or poly- culture, micro- or mesocosms, short or long incubation) will be discussed. Ecotoxicity in the level of a single cell, a population or the total community and the responses (e.g. tolerance, adaptation, resilience) studied using –omics technologies ([meta]genomics, [meta]transcriptomics, [meta]proteomics, metabolomics) in combination with classical tools (morphology, abundance, productivity) and further biotechnological applications (e.g. bioremediation) will provide us novel insights into the nature of the changing oceans and the associated consequences in ecosystem sustainability and management.

Science learning outside the classroom: excellence, creativity and recommendations

Conveners: Prof. Phoebe Koundouri; Dr. Tanya Zervoudaki

Since 2010, Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) have been at the forefront of the field of Science in EU Society. The main aspects of RRI are: the joint participation of researchers, industry and civil society in the process of research and innovation, gender equality and the release of the full potential of society, education in Natural Sciences to promote the future needs of society, open access to the results of publicly funded research. Therefore, Responsible Research and Innovation asks for close cooperation between research and society, and one of the first requirements for such a framework is contact between the various stakeholders. The aim is for European citizens to be prepared with the knowledge and skills that come from the process of formal, non-formal and informal learning, to actively participate in an increasingly complex scientific and technological world. With regards to marine sciences, communication and popularization with the wider public is becoming more and more important to raise awareness and understanding among the communities that a healthy ocean is vital for the well-being of generations to come.

Based on the above, as a special session of the Symposium we propose a series of lectures that will:

  • evaluate the current state of non-formal and informal education using examples from marine science and global climate change;
  • identify and present the best practices for learning science outside the classroom through a wide network at European level;
  • identify a step by step procedure for translating scientific questions from teachers & scientists to be used for large audience with the help of scientific mediators;
  • present scientific knowledge as a tool for lifelong learning which is useful and effective for the active participation of citizens;
  • provide recommendations and indicative actions to improve science education outside classrooms, in order to become more responsive to the needs and ambitions of society and reflect its values, assisting to that end, the EU policies.
  • identify how science education can help Europe meet its goals and equip citizens, enterprise and industry in Europe with the skills and competences needed to provide sustainable and competitive solutions to the challenges we face.
  • encourage the need for collaboration between formal, non-formal and informal educational providers, enterprise and civil society should be enhanced to ensure relevant and meaningful engagement of all societal actors with science and increase uptake of science studies and science-based careers to improve employability and competitiveness

Submarine Groundwater Aquifers, a scientific challenge of high socioeconomic impact, technological and scientific advances

Conveners: Dr. Dionysis Patiris; tba

Near- and offshore Submarine Groundwater Aquifers (SGAs) holding considerable amount of fresh or brackish groundwater are regarded as a promising but yet unexplored source of water. For millennia the population of coastal regions uses near shore submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) sources as water resource for drinking, hygiene, agriculture etc. Nowadays, the sustainable use of SGAs emerges as significant contributor in the efforts to mitigate the problem of water scarcity that threatens many Mediterranean coastal regions, islands and countries. During the last decades the scientific community has highlighted the important role of SGD in coastal biogeochemical processes and hydrological cycles, by releasing nutrients, trace elements, gases and pollutants in coastal ecosystems. The session is dedicated to recent technological and scientific advances in exploration, localization, water quality monitoring and quantification of near and offshore SGAs and to the understanding of the socioeconomic impact of SGAs in coastal communities.

Anthropogenic Litter and Plastics Pollution

Conveners: Prof. Konstantinos Topouzelis; Dr. Christina Zeri

Near- and offshore Submarine Groundwater Aquifers (SGAs) holding considerable amount of fresh or brackish groundwater are regarded as a promising but yet unexplored source of water. For millennia the population of coastal regions uses near shore submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) sources as water resource for drinking, hygiene, agriculture etc. Nowadays, the sustainable use of SGAs emerges as significant contributor in the efforts to mitigate the problem of water scarcity that threatens many Mediterranean coastal regions, islands and countries. During the last decades the scientific community has highlighted the important role of SGD in coastal biogeochemical processes and hydrological cycles, by releasing nutrients, trace elements, gases and pollutants in coastal ecosystems. The session is dedicated to recent technological and scientific advances in exploration, localization, water quality monitoring and quantification of near and offshore SGAs and to the understanding of the socioeconomic impact of SGAs in coastal communities.

Vulnerability of freshwater ecosystems to multiple stressors impacts

Conveners: Dr. Ioannis Karaouzas; Dr. Eleni Kalogianni

Freshwater ecosystems, including streams and rivers, are among the most dynamic, complex and diverse aquatic ecosystems, but also among the most threatened ones. They are vulnerable to natural drought and anthropogenic water stress and the combination of extensive water abstraction, river fragmentation, and climate change has dramatically reduced river runoff. Mediterranean freshwater ecosystems in particular, have a remarkable and a unique native fauna, adapted to natural drought events but are also exposed to point and non-point pollution from industrial and agricultural activities. The combined effects of pollution and water stress may produce cumulative impacts on the biota of freshwater ecosystems as they are subjected to a concomitant habitat shrinkage, water quality deterioration and increased competition for limited resources. In this special session, we invite oral and/or poster presentations dealing with multiple stressor effects and their impacts on freshwater ecosystems and on their biodiversity and functioning.