Ecology of Soil Micro-organisms: Conference Report

The team in Prague
The team in Prague
  • Jade O’Leary

During the first week of December four of the Cardiff Fungal Ecology group ventured to Prague, Czech Republic, to attend the second “Ecology of Soil Microorganisms” conference. The meeting set out to address questions regarding individual microbes, and microbial communities as well as their interactions with the environment and other soil biota by linking modern molecular “omics” methods with biochemical and soil chemical based approaches, and the exploration of soil fauna and plant ecology.

Sarah Johnston, Jade O’Leary and Marta Misiak, as well as one of our “fungi friends” Anna Rawlings (Swansea University) each presented posters on their PhD projects. Lynne gave an extremely well received talk on foraging cord-forming fungi.

Highlights of the meeting included Edith Hammer’s (Lund University) talk on mycorrhizas and their role in belowground carbon fluxes, and Jen Wiltshire’s (La Trobe University) presentation addressing microbial community dynamics in the rhizosphere of a heavy-metal hyper accumulator. It was fascinating to hear Johannes Rousk (Lund University) predict future microbial community composition and function using trait based community approaches. Perhaps the most unusual series of talks however, included Jeremy Austin’s (The University of Adelaide) “crime scene scenario”: microbial forensics and its application in identifying criminals.

It was a very busy science filled week – although not busy enough to stop us visiting the Prague Christmas markets of course