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Major microbiology conference set for large AIMS presence

The 12th conference of the International Society for Microbial Ecology is being held in Cairns from 17 to 22 August.

Professor Linda Blackall, who heads the AIMS research program Understanding Marine Microbes and Symbioses, is the chair of the organising committee and will lead a team of 22 AIMS personnel who will be a strong presence at the conference.

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A contingent of 21 AIMS personnel will attend the 11th International Coral Reef Symposium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 7 to 11 July, the world’s largest conference devoted to coral reef science. It is held every four years, sanctioned by the International Society for Reef Studies. AIMS is sponsoring all plenary sessions at ICRS and is also setting up a display.

At the conference, the Award for Best Paper of 2007 appearing in the journal Coral Reefs will go to: J.C. Mieog, M.J.H. van Oppen, N.E. Cantin, W.T. Stam, J.L. Olsen (2007) "Real-time PCR reveals a high incidence of Symbiodinium clade D at low levels in four scleractinian corals across the Great Barrier Reef: implications for symbiont shuffling." Coral Reefs 26:449-457. The lead author, Jos Mieog, is a PhD student supervised by co-author and AIMS principal research scientist Dr Madeleine van Oppen.

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Protected fish stage a comeback

Evidence that protected fish populations can bounce back from the impact of years of heavy fishing has been obtained by a team of marine scientists led by Professor Garry Russ of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook University and Dr Hugh Sweatman of AIMS.

They observed a spectacular recovery in coral trout numbers on unfished reefs following the imposition of a strict no-fishing policy across 33 per cent of the total GBR area in 2004, to form the world’s largest network of no-take reserves. The team has found coral trout numbers rebounded by 31-75 per cent on a majority of reefs which had been closed to fishing for as little as 18 months to two years.

To see the details, go to: www.aims.gov.au/docs/media/news2008/20080624-01.html

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Major new sponge symbiosis project

AIMS is a key collaborator in a new international project that will reveal the microbial diversity in sponge-microbial symbiotic associations. The project will be led by Dr Nicole Webster.

State of the art molecular biological strategies will be used with a group of marine sponges from Davies Reef on the GBR. Sponges are excellent models for the study of marine host-associated bacteria.

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CReefs blogs: science news from the field

In a new science communication initiative for AIMS, we have made use of the services of talented young journalists Claudia Reidy and Susan Graham to bring us on-location reports. They have provided blogs from, respectively, Lizard Island and Ningaloo Reef, the first two Australian CReefs expeditions.

The blogs may be viewed at: www.aims.gov.au/creefs/latest-field-trip.html

Also, Gary Cranitch, a photographer from the Queensland Museum who has worked on both the Lizard Island Ningaloo CReef trips, was awarded the 2008 Professional Science, Environment and Nature Photographer of the Year award by the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) for his Lizard Island images. Gary's images earned 1 Gold award, 1 Silver award, 1 Silver with distinction, and a fourth Silver.

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Number 9 - June 2008    Hit Counter

For more information about the Australian Institute of Marine Science visit www.aims.gov.au