Phylogeography and conservation genomics
Chairs: Alessio Iannucci (University of Florence), Andrea Chiocchio (Tuscia University)
Invited speaker: Angelica Crottini, Research Center in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources, University of Porto, Portugal
Knowledge of contemporary population structure and an understanding of paleoecological factors involved in shaping population demographic history are central to the study of evolutionary biology and in turn can provide important insights for the conservation of threatened species. Single-and multilocus molecular assays have been efficiently employed in a multitude of phylogeographic and conservation genetic studies. More recently, next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies and advances in bioinformatic tools enabled these fields to benefit from a genome-wide perspective. This comprehensive description of the patterns of genetic variation among species and individuals opens to a more accurate reconstruction of the demographic and evolutionary history of populations, improving the information of conservation actions. This symposium aims to collate contributions focusing on state-of-the-art application of genomic tools to phylogeographic and conservation biology studies.
An evolutionary approach to biology and ecology of behaviour
Chairs: Donato Grasso (University of Naples), Danilo Russo (University of Naples Federico II)
Invited speaker: Dina Dechmann (Max Planck Institute – to be confirmed)
This symposium will focus on the biology of behaviour and the ecological constraints shaping ethological adaptations. Both proximate and ultimate explanations of behavioural traits will be considered with particular attention to social, spatial, sexual, personality and cognitive aspects all in the light of evolutionary processes. Consequences of extant and emerging environmental crises on behavioural aspects will be also considered, taking also into account their implications in conservation biology.
The wild side of population genomics
Chairs: Francesca Raffini (Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn), Roberto Biello (University of Florence - University of Ferrara)
Invited speaker: Joana Isabel Meier, Wellcome Sanger Institute, UK
Analysing complete genomes has become increasingly feasible, even in non-model organisms, thanks to the “omics” revolution. These advances are enabling key insights into the evolutionary dynamics of wild populations and species from an unprecedented perspective and level of detail. This symposium invites contributions focusing on methodological, theoretical, and empirical developments that improve our understanding of the causes and consequences of genetic variation in natural populations. We aim to bring together researchers working on experimental or technological applications to survey changes in genetic and phenotypic composition in the field, particularly in challenging species. Furthermore, we welcome contributions that highlight analytical or computational tools, such as machine learning, that can detect signatures of evolution in genomes and address the complexities associated with such high-dimensional data. Moreover, we encourage studies that explore the interplay of factors like stochasticity, gene flow, selection, chromosomal rearrangements, and the genetic architecture of trait variation in the evolution of populations. This includes investigations into local adaptation and speciation in the context of natural evolutionary experiments.
Modern systematics: improving the way biodiversity is captured, explored and understood
Chairs: Carmelo Fruciano (Institute for Marine Biological Resources and Biotechnology , National Research Council), Andrea Luchetti (University of Bologna)
Invited speaker: Daniele Silvestro, Department of Biology, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
Biological systematics is the foundation of biodiversity and evolutionary studies. Systematics is important not only for our understanding of evolutionary processes and to describe the diversity of Life, but also for management of the environment and its biodiversity. The last few decades have witnessed a growing importance of integrated approaches which involve the use of morphology, as well as molecular tools, more recently using omics-based techniques. This integrative approach greatly boosted research in systematics, also providing the opportunity to deeper insights on the evolution of morphological characters and their utility for taxa description. The recent development of omic disciplines and their use in systematics studies are offering further opportunities but, at the same time, coming with new challenges. This symposium – accepting empirical, methodological, and theoretical contributions – aims to capture and to further catalyse this ongoing shift. We particularly welcome contributions using two or more data types (e.g., morphological, genomic, transcriptomic, ecological data) either in parallel (e.g., integrative taxonomy) or using one to support the other (e.g., studies of trait evolution, research ascertaining the utility of morphological character using molecular data). Ultimately, this symposium aims to offer updated views of systematics and to encourage a constructive discussion among experts.
Development and evolution: an ecological perspective
Chairs: Maria Ina Arnone (Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn), Salvatore D'Aniello (Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn), Gabriele Andreatta (University of Wien)
Invited speaker (EMBO KEYNOTE LECTURE): Kristin Tessmar-Raible, MFPL/Centre for Molecular Biology, University of Vienna, Austria; Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Germany; Carl-von-Ossietzky University, Germany
Evo-devo originated to unravel the molecular mechanisms underlying the evolution of phenotypic diversity, combining the strengths of Evolutionary and Developmental biology. The very same diversity is currently threatened by environmental changes and anthropogenic impact, including global warming, ocean acidification, endocrine disruption and light pollution. A new collaboration among disciplines, taking advantage of the Evo-Devo lessons, can help to better understand not only how biodiversity is generated, but also how it can respond to environmental perturbations, and potentially be preserved. The symposium is dedicated at bringing together contributions from disciplines ranging from developmental and reproductive biology to sensory biology and chronobiology tackling fundamental questions through evolutionary and ecological lenses.
Species adaptive response against climate changes
Chairs: Gabriele Procaccini (Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn)
Invited speaker: Lazaro Marin Guirao, IEO-CSIC, Murcia, Spagna
Living systems and species face unprecedented challenges in the Anthropocene. Their functioning is not only disrupted by local drivers, but also increasingly by global change drivers such as rising temperatures, extreme climatic events, invasive species, marine heatwaves and ocean acidification. Understanding their resilience is essential, yet challenges persist. Notably, uncertainty remains about the capacity of these systems to respond to changing environmental conditions, which relates to the amplitude of individual and population’ reaction norm. This session aims to address the challenges posed by the effects of global change and by multiple stressors on natural systems, unravelling the complex interactions between global change, resilience and functioning of natural systems, and by phenotypic and genetic plasticity of individuals, populations and species in response to multiple stressors. Studies looking at different levels of organismal response, from genes to phenotype, are mostly welcome.
Participants who want to present studies on topics that do not fall within the themed symposia are also welcome (please, select the option “other” in the abstract submission form).