Message from the Co-Chairs

With about 2,000 abstracts received, the ASLO 2005 Summer Meeting in Santiago de Compostela will be the largest meeting in the society’s history, exceeding by about 50 percent (50%) the average size of ASLO meetings, as well as the pioneer meeting in Europe (Copenhagen 2000). In addition to this impressive number of participants, the contingent that will gather in Santiago de Compostela represents a much broader representation of the world community in Aquatic Sciences, with participants from 50 countries (Table 1), compared to the 20 represented in most ASLO meetings. Concerns that the scheduling of two meetings, a winter meeting in Salt lake City (USA) and a summer one in Santiago de Compostela, would deter from participation in either one proved unsupported, as the Salt Lake City meeting gathered 1,200 participants.

Photo by Carlos M. DuarteWe believe that the enthusiastic response to the Santiago ASLO 2005 Summer Meeting in terms of number of participants, as well as in their worldwide distribution, provides a clear message for the demand of high-quality aquatic sciences meetings, which ASLO excels on, outside as well as inside North America. Moreover, a record high of 1057 new members registered on the wake of the ASLO 2005 meetings, and the retention of these new, largely international, members in the society poses a challenge to ASLO, requiring the provision of services, such as meetings, to these members. The usual number of members is approximately 100-200 per year. The ASLO Board and the society’s President are, fortunately, well aware of these challenges (cf. L&O Bulletin 14: 3-4, 2005).

While all involved are delighted with the massive attendance expected to the event, it has certainly posed a challenge to the Planning Committee and the Business Office, as our expectations, based on previous meetings, were set at about 50 percent (50 %) lower participation than realized. The Business Office and Planning Committee made all possible efforts to expand the space and time available for parallel oral presentations, increasing the number of oral slots possible by about eighty percent (80 %). Even this number could not accommodate the great demand for oral slots, so that, with the advice of the session co-chairs, about twenty-five percent (25 %) of the presentations were transferred to posters. We thank participants who suggested oral but were assigned to poster presentations for their good spirit and understanding, which we planned to correspond to by highlighting the poster session.

To this end, we created three poster sessions (one per day), with the posters being replaced each day, thereby holding, at any one poster session, the minimum possible number of posters (about 240). The poster session has been given prime time by following the plenary lectures and developing over two hours before the start of the parallel sessions. Provided the number of participants, the number of posters, and the time available to examine the posters, we calculate that the average attention to posters will be about 1,000 participant-minutes (e.g. 100 participants spending 10 min. each at any one poster) at the poster session itself (the posters will be exhibited for a full day). This will allow for ample interactions, as all visitors to a poster will have the opportunities to pose questions or gather additional information from the author. A similar calculation indicates that, on average, about 150 participants will attend each oral presentation, but the limited time for question periods (5 min. at most) implies that only 3 to 4 of them will have the opportunity to interact (pose questions) with each speaker during the time allotted. Clearly, these calculations indicate that posters offer far greater opportunities to meet and interact with participants than oral sessions do.

We then made all possible efforts to arrange oral sessions in the most logical manner possible, provided the large number (12) of concurrent sessions. Our aim was to create clusters of thematically-related sessions so as to avoid that oral presentations of similar topics would compete for participants’ attention at any one time, and that participants would have to run from room to room to follow the thread of their thematic interest during the sessions. Each of these clusters will have a dedicated room where the sessions composing the cluster will be run along the entire week. The cluster concept will also be used in grouping the posters, so that thematically linked posters will be clustered in space in the exhibition hall.

The Planning Committee has proposed 12 session clusters, which encompass all of the abstracts submitted:

  • Microbial Biodiversity and Ecology
  • Functional Role of Biodiversity
  • Ocean Processes
  • Continental and Coastal Processes
  • Biogeochemistry
  • Global and Climate Change
  • Applied Ecosystem Research
  • Metabolism and Stoichiometry
  • Perspectives and Frontiers
  • Concepts, Theories, and Approaches
  • Plankton: Communities and Life History
  • Planktonic processes

At the same time, the number of plenary talks has greatly increased compared to previous ASLO meetings, from 3 plenary talks to 7 plenary talks, including exciting scientific presentations by the ASLO President, and the 2005 ASLO Awards recipients (cf. L&O Bulletin 14:15-17, 2005). All in all, the program contained in this volume depicts the broadest possible conception of aquatic sciences and the excellence and frontier traits of the research that are the trademarks of ASLO. We believe that each of you will find many stimulating abstracts, and that your attendance to this meeting will positively impact on your own research and the development of interactions and partnerships within the aquatic sciences research community.

We wish you a safe trip to Santiago de Compostela and an enjoyable meeting.

Carlos M. Duarte and Emilio Fernández
ASLO 2005 Summer Meeting Co-Chairs, on behalf of the Planning Committee

Table 1.
The breakdown by country of the registered participants submitting an abstract to the ASLO 2005 Summer Meeting in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

Country Count   Country Count
USA 529   Slovenia 8
Spain 293   Croatia 7
Germany 160   China 6
France 143   Czech Repub 4
United Kingdom 133   Estonia 4
Canada 110   New Zealand 4
Sweden 86   Argentina 3
Netherlands 70   Monaco 3
Denmark 51   Nigeria 3
Japan 51   Colombia 2
Portugal 49   New Caledon 2
Norway 48   Nicaragua 2
Australia 35   Russia 2
Italy 32   South Africa 2
Finland 31   Venezuela 2
Belgium 27   Bulgaria 1
Switzerland 25   Guam 1
Austria 23   Iceland 1
Brazil 21   Latvia 1
Israel 19   Malta 1
Mexico 15   Philippines 1
Greece 14   Senegal 1
Poland 9   Taiwan ROC 1
Republic Of Korea 9   Ukraine 1
Chile 8   Uruguay 1

*The numbers listed for each country are pre-registration numbers as of 1 February 2005.

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