This project will provide support for graduate students, postdoctoral researchers and early career investigators to attend the Eighth International Symposium on Inorganic Carbon Acquisition by Aquatic Photosynthetic Organisms. This meeting, better known by its acronym, CCM8, will take place on the Loyola University campus in New Orleans, Louisiana from May 27 - June 1, 2013. The interdisciplinary topic of this meeting is the study of how various algae, aquatic plants and photosynthetic bacteria acquire CO2 for photosynthesis using carbon concentrating mechanisms (CCMs). Speakers will address topics ranging from how algae will respond to global climate changes to how CCM components might be used to improve photosynthesis in crop plants. Funds will be used to defray costs for meeting attendance. Women and underrepresented groups will be especially encouraged to apply for this assistance. The goal of this funding is to make it easier for young scientists to attend the meeting and to encourage young researchers to continue working in the exciting, growing field of carbon concentrating mechanisms.
From May 27-June 1, 75 scientists from around the world met on the Loyola University New Orleans campus to attend the Eighth International Symposium on Inorganic Carbon Utilization by Aquatic Photosynthetic Organisms. This meeting, informally known as CCM8, is where all aspects of algal CO2 concentrating mechanisms (CCMs) are discussed. Almost 50% of the photosynthesis that occurs on our planet is carried out by microscopic aquatic photosynthetic organisms. These organisms include cyanobacteria, chlorophytes (green algae) and diatoms and they live in freshwater as well as the ocean. All of these organisms actively acquire and accumulate CO2 to enhance photosynthesis making the CCM one of the most important metabolic pathways in the biosphere. Many of the scientists in attendance study the molecular biology of CCMs, discovering what proteins make up the CCM and how they are regulated. Other researchers presented on more applied aspects of the CCM. These studies included how CCMs can be used to increase algal growth for biofuel production and whether components of the CCM might be introduced into terrestrial plants to increase crop productivity. In addition, a number of talks covered the ecology of organisms possessing CCMs and how they might respond to increasing CO2 and decreasing ocean pH. The breadth of topics presented at CCM8 proved very useful for all of the attendees. A total of 48 talks and 24 posters were presented at CCM8. The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded money to help graduate students and postdoctoral (early career) scientists attend the meeting. With the help of this award, registration was completely waived for 22 individuals. In addition, eight of the student on-campus housing costs were also waived. Of the 22 students and postdoctoral researchers supported by the award, nine were women and two were African-American. These students came from ten different universities from around the country. They were able to present their results and discuss their work with experts from around the world providing an invaluable career development experience. Six presented talks during the symposium and eight others participated in poster sessions. The award from NSF allowed a number of students to attend the meeting that would not otherwise have the financial means to register. The NSF award ensured the success of this meeting.