Archive for the ‘Conference Updates’ Category

Unprecedented Registration for Adelaide Conference: Space Very Limited

September 22, 2011
Dr. David Schindel

Dr. David Schindel

Registration for the Fourth International Barcode of Life Conference in Adelaide, South Australia (28 November – 3 December 2011) is about to surpass the records for all past conferences.

The 2007 Taipei conference and the 2009 Mexico City conference each attracted about 350 participants.  With more than two months to go before the Adelaide conference, more than 320 people have already registered.

The Local Organizing Committee has indicated that the facilities are limited to about 400 registered participants.  They predict that at the current rate, the conference could be filled as soon as mid-October, forcing them to close registration.

Be sure to register soon to ensure your place in the conference!

The pre-conference training events are also nearly filled.  Organizers report that more than 120 people have registered and a limit of 140 has been set.  These events are designed for newcomers to barcoding and the organizers ask people to register only if they are seeking a first introduction to barcoding techniques.

The early discounted registration is now closed though students and participants from developing countries still have reduced fees for registration.

Agenda and Presenters Selected for Adelaide Conference

September 8, 2011
Dr. David Schindel

Dr. David Schindel

The Program Committee of the Adelaide Barcode Conference has finished the massive job of reviewing 493 abstracts and organizing them into sessions.  This task was completed by members of the Conference Program Committee and about 40 volunteer Session Organizers who will be chairing sessions at the Conference.  The Conference organizers offer them a big THANK YOU for their contributions.

You can see the resulting agenda of sessions that includes links to lists of presentations in each session. Currently, only the title and submitter’s name are listed for each abstract.  The text, names of authors, and the time-slot for each presentation will be added in early October.

Based on this extensive review process, here’s what will be available to you at the Adelaide Conference:

  • Three plenary sessions:  The Program Committee is still in the process of selecting these speakers so some of the submitted abstracts aren’t on the website or in the abstract search portal yet (see below);
  • Four large sessions with 32 plenary talks on barcoding in major taxonomic groups;
  • 15 parallel sessions on taxonomic groups;
  • 16 parallel sessions on thematic topics;
  • More than 160 oral presentations in parallel taxonomic and thematic sessions;
  • An afternoon session for viewing 140 poster presentations; and
  • 90 short ‘lightning’ oral presentations that summarize poster displays.

Those who submitted abstracts for consideration will begin to receive email notifications today, telling them if their abstracts have been accepted for oral and/or poster presentations.

CBOL has constructed an abstract search portal that makes it easy for you to find a specific abstract, determine if it will be presented as a parallel talk, a short ‘lightning talk’ that summarizes a poster presentation, or as a poster. The portal also allows you to browse the abstract titles by session, keyword(s) or type of presentation.

There are two more important tasks left before the agenda is completely finalized:

  • Selection of plenary speakers.  Not all the submitters of abstracts will be getting notifications in the coming days.  About 30 have been nominated by Session Organizers as possible speakers in the large plenary sessions.  The Program Committee will be selecting those speakers in the next week.  Submitters will be notified at that time and their abstracts will be added to the online agenda and abstract search portal.
  • Correction of abstracts.  CBOL is expanding the abstract search portal so that authors can make corrections to their text and the list of co-authors and their institutional affiliations.  Authors must use this portal either to make corrections or to confirm that the current version is correct.  All submitters will receive an email message with instructions when the portal is ready.

The Conference Organizers offer their sincere thanks to all the submitters of abstracts for their interest in the conference and their patience during the review period.

Adelaide Conference Program Committee Hard at Work

August 26, 2011
Dr. David Schindel

Dr. David Schindel

The organizers of the Fourth International Barcode of Life Conference issued calls for abstracts and applications for travel bursaries at the beginning of April 2011 and due to the high number of responses the deadlines were extended into July.  By the time the last submissions arrived through the online system, the response totaled more than double those of previous barcode conferences.  We received:

  • 490 abstracts from 58 countries, and
  • 225 applications for travel bursaries from 38 countries

The focus shifted immediately to the Program Committee which has responsibility for creating the scientific program for the conference and selecting recipients of travel support provided by the conference budget.  The committee recruited about 50 volunteer session organizers that includes:

  • Members of CBOL’s Executive Committee;
  • Members of the Local Organizing Committee in Australia;
  • Leading barcode researchers, especially in Australia;
  • Members of CBOL’s Implementation Board, made up of leaders of CBOL Working Groups, barcoding campaigns, committees, and non-CBOL organizations such as iBOL, BOLD, and GenBank; and
  • Leads and co-Leads of iBOL’s Working Groups.

CBOL created online systems that would make the enormous reviewing job easier for the Program Committee.  A subcommittee immediately started reviewing applications for travel bursaries using the following criteria:

  • Past involvement in barcoding projects through CBOL, iBOL and other projects;
  • Past productivity in generating barcode data and publications;
  • Plans for future involvement in barcoding projects; and
  • The quality of abstracts submitted to the Adelaide Conference.

Fifteen applicants from 15 different countries have been selected for support in a first round of awards. The Program Committee has selected an additional 30 alternates for a waiting list.  Fifteen of these alternates have been recommended to other funding sources that are considering their applications now. The Conference organizers continue to try to raise funds for travel bursaries and we hope to make a second round of travel awards in September.

Reviewing the abstracts is a more complicated task.  Back in the spring, the Program Committee decided that the Conference should include a variety of session formats:

  • A few plenary sessions with presentations of interest to the entire barcoding community;
  • A half-day session with presentations of interest to different taxonomic communities (plants, vertebrates, invertebrates, and microbes, including fungi, protists and microalgae);
  • Many smaller meetings in which specialists could exchange information and plan collaborative activities.  These more technical sessions could focus on smaller taxonomic groups (e.g., fish, birds, insects) or thematic issues (e.g., informatics, environmental barcoding, or lab procedures).

For the past six weeks, session organizers and members of the Program Community have been reviewing abstracts for quality and relevance, and assigning them to the most appropriate session.  At the outset of the process, session organizers were given complete freedom to decide the best use of their sessions.  Some want to include as many oral presentations as possible, while others are assigning more abstracts to poster presentations so their meeting time can be used for discussion and planning.

The process of developing the agenda is almost finished.  A Provisional Agenda will be posted on theConference website around 1 September.  The Program Committee and session organizers hope you’ll find the agenda an exciting and innovative plan and they appreciate your patience as they complete their work.

Plans on Track for Adelaide

July 7, 2011
Dr. David Schindel

Dr. David Schindel

Preparations for the Fourth International Barcode of Life Conference have entered a new phase, breaking records for expressions of interest from potential presenters.  The online submission forms for abstracts and travel bursary applications opened around 1 April and the deadlines were extended several times due to continued interest (see plots of submissions below).  By the time submissions closed, 450 abstracts had been received from 57 countries, far surpassing levels of interest leading up to previous barcode conferences.  (The 2009 Mexico City conference received 255 abstracts from 44 countries.)

The abstract submission form listed 30 topics suggested by the Program Committee for potential sessions.  People who submitted abstracts suggested an additional 19 session topics.  This is one more sign of the exuberant growth of barcoding at the grass-roots level.

What can you expect to see during the Adelaide conference?

  •  Abstracts show that barcoding has become a mainstream tool in taxonomy.  The conference will give specialists in an increasing diversity of taxonomic groups great opportunities for deep discussions with other specialists on their groups;
  • Tremendous progress on barcoding fungi.  The Fungal Working Group is expected to announce formal approval of a standard BARCODE region at the Adelaide conference;
  • Continued growth in the use of next-generation sequencing for environmental samples;
  • Expansion of barcoding activities into new geographic areas and habitat types, ranging from the Himalayas to subterranean zones;
  • Impressive expansion of plant barcoding activity since announcement of the standard barcode regions for land plants at the Mexico City conference in November 2009;
  • Diversification and expansion of barcoding applications in areas such as:
      • Ecological studies;
      • All-taxa biodiversity inventories;
      •  Species conservation;
      •  Environmental quality assessment; and
      • Identification of agricultural pests and disease vectors; and
  • Establishment and growth of new barcoding facilities and national networks.

The conference’s Program Committee and session organizers will now review the abstracts and assign them to conference sessions and poster display areas.  Completion of the review is expected by the end of July.  Submitters of abstracts and travel bursaries will be informed of the results in early August.  Organizers of parallel sessions will have complete freedom to design the kind of sessions they think will be most interesting to the community.  They will decide the mix among:

  • Short oral presentations,
  • Poster presentations,
  • Workshop interactions, and
  • Open discussion.

The two days before the conference (Monday and Tuesday, 29-29 November 2011) will offer newcomers to barcoding the opportunity to attend introductory training sessions.  The first day will be devoted to the BOLD workbench and other informatics platforms.  The second day will offer a short course on lab protocols, organized by CBOL’s Leading Labs Network.

What kind of conference will the Program Committee and session organizers create?  The Program Committee has planned a stimulating mix of formats during the four day conference:

  • Plenary sessions on the first and last days of the conference;
  • A session devoted to visiting poster presentations and exhibit booths;
  • A session for four parallel sessions for general-interest presentations on plants, invertebrates, vertebrates and fungi/microbes;
  • Three sessions with parallel meetings devoted to taxonomic groups and thematic topics; and
  • A half-day of free time to explore Adelaide!  The registration form will offer you a choice of three tour options with exclusive conference pricing. Choose from an aboriginal cultural tour of Adelaide, a visit to the nearby Cleland Wildlife Park, a survey of three of Adelaide’s famed vineyards—or you can use the free time to explore on your own!

Conference Progress, Registration Begins

May 24, 2011
Professor Andy Lowe

Professor Andy Lowe

Work on the conference has been proceeding behind the scenes, and we’re happy to say that the registration page is now live. This means you can register for the conference, including accommodation, and also secure your place on one of the three tours we’ve lined up for the free on Thursday afternoon. Each of these tours shows off a particular aspect of South Australia – indigenous culture, native wildlife, and wine – and we think you might find it hard to decide which one to go for.

We are also developing an exciting science program and now that the field of DNA barcoding is reaching some level of maturation we are realising exciting applications of DNA barcoding to identify species across a range of areas and also using trace environmental  DNA samples and next generation sequencing methods. Some of proposed topics for sessions include: biosecurity, quarantine, environmental impacts, ecosystem services, and control of illegally traded species

Adelaide Conference Deadlines Extended for Abstracts, Travel Bursaries to 15 June 2011

May 20, 2011
Dr. David Schindel

Dr. David Schindel

Interest in the Fourth International Barcode of Life Conference is running very high so the organizers want to be sure that everyone has a chance to participate.  Accordingly, the original 15 May deadline for submission of abstracts has been extended to 15 June.  The deadline for applications for travel bursaries from developing countries has also been extended to 15 June 2011.

Looking back at the International Barcode Conferences that have taken place every two years it’s easy to see how far DNA barcoding has come.

The agenda for the First Barcode of Life Conference (London, February 2005) included 28 invited speakers, all of whom gave their presentations in a single plenary hall. There were no open calls for contributed talks and only a handful of volunteers prepared poster displays. The organizers of the Second Barcode of Life Conference (Taipei, September 2007) invited 39 speakers and received 135 abstracts for poster display. By the time of the  Third Barcode Conference  (Mexico City, November 2009) it was clear that interest in barcoding had grown too large to fit into four days using just a plenary format. More than 250 abstracts were received and reviewed. Plenary sessions were held in the morning; half the speakers gave invited talks and the other half were selected from contributed abstracts. There were seven parallel technical sessions each afternoon and 79 abstracts were presented as posters.

Save the Date-- June 15 deadline for Abstracts and Bursary Applications

Submit Abstracts and Travel Bursary applications by June 15

For the Adelaide conference, the Program Committee decided that all plenary talks would be selected from contributed abstracts.  None of the presentations will be invited talks except for the opening Keynote Address.  By resisting the temptation to invite their favorite presenters, the Program Committee has made this a true ‘bottom-up’ conference.  They’re also challenging the barcoding community to step forward with the exciting, innovative presentations that will make the conference a memorable success.

The parallel technical sessions will also reflect the directions that the community is taking, not the organizers.  The abstract submission form has a list of almost 30 session topics that have been proposed.  If your abstract doesn’t fit into one of these, then propose a new topic!  The organizers are dedicated to making the conference four days of top-quality science and a look into the future of DNA barcoding.

Call for Abstracts: Online Submission Now Open!

April 2, 2011
Dr. David Schindel

Dr. David Schindel

CBOL has posted the call for abstracts for the Fourth International Barcode of Life Conference on the Conference website, along with the outline agenda for the conference week.  The online submission form will be available until the submission deadline at midnight (Washington, DC time) on Sunday, 15 May 2011.

There will be no invited speakers other than the keynote address given by an individual selected by the Local Organizing Committee.  All other speaker and poster display slots will be awarded following review of abstracts submitted through the online submission system.

The conference will have three types of sessions (see agenda outline for the conference week).

  • Plenary sessions will be held in Elder Hall, a grand concert hall with seating for more than 500 people.  Abstracts selected for plenary sessions will be of general interest to a broad cross-section of the barcoding community.  For example, they may be summaries of major projects, looks into the future of barcoding, descriptions of methodological advances, or exciting new applications of barcoding.  All plenary presentations will be videorecorded and posted on the Connect website.
  • A session will be devoted to visiting poster displays and exhibit booths in Bonython Hall, the University of Adelaide’s ceremonial ‘Great Hall’.  Coffee/tea breaks and lunch service will be in Bonython Hall which is right next to Elder Hall, making it easy to spend extra time visiting posters and exhibits.  Poster presentations will be available on the Connect website in pdf format.
  • Parallel sessions will be held simultaneously in Napier Hall which is right next to Elder and Bonython Halls.  Napier Hall has many recently renovated lecture halls with excellent audiovisual systems.

The conference organizers understand that participants will have hard choices to make when deciding among parallel sessions that take place at the same time.  To minimize these conflicts, the organizers have create three categories of sessions that will take place at different times:

  • Four “Taxon-oriented Plenary sessions” (category A on the submission form) will take place in large lecture rooms in Napier Hall.  The sessions will be devoted to plants, invertebrates, vertebrates, and fungi/protists.  The talks selected for these sessions will be of broad interest within each sub-community of taxonomy.  For example, the talks in each session will address standard techniques and large barcoding initiatives for that clade.
  • A larger number of “Taxon-oriented Technical sessions” (category B on the submission form) will be devoted to more specialized talks within a taxonomic sub-community.  For example, these sessions can be devoted to different taxon-oriented barcoding ‘campaigns’ and projects such as FishBOL, All Birds, and TreeBOL.
  • “Thematic Technical sessions” (category C on the submission form) will bring together people interested in barcoding projects that cross taxonomic lines.  For example, presentations on All-Taxon Biodiversity Inventories, biosurveillance/monitoring programs, analytical techniques, social and ethical issues, and barcode education activities will be assigned to thematic sessions.

The Conference Program Committee and volunteer session organizers will be reviewing all abstracts and will organize them into sessions.  Until the abstracts are reviewed, there’s no way to predict how many parallel sessions will be held or what their topics will be (other than the four Taxon-Oriented Plenary sessions).

Session organizers will have a lot of freedom to design their sessions.  We’re not assuming that one size fits all areas of barcoding.  Session organizers may want to have traditional sessions with a series of talks, or they may want to assign more abstracts to the poster session and devote their parallel sessions to discussion and workshop activities.  Some session organizers may prefer short ‘lightning’ talks that highlight the main points of posters to stimulate discussion.

The conference organizers hope to distribute the results of the review of abstracts by 1 July 2011.  The full agenda with speakers and poster presenters should be released by 1 August.

Connect with the Fourth Conference: Blogs

March 15, 2011
Kris Jett

Kris Jett

In my last blog I introduced the Prepare for the Fourth Conference discussion page and encouraged users to get a head-start in coordinating working groups and other get-togethers. Another key tool to cover is the blog system itself.

The Blog option in Connect is actually one of the more versatile tools for reaching out to a wide audience. In addition to adding pictures, hyperlinks, and even videos, you can also share your blog post through e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, and several other social networking sites.  The conference organizers will be using the Blog tool to keep participants informed of status updates and upcoming deadlines, but also to solicit feedback on upcoming conference decisions. Viewers can keep track of conference-related blog posts by searching for the bol4 tag. Any Connect member can add their voice to the mix by using the bol4 tag, so log on and share your thoughts on the upcoming conference!

Connect with the Fourth Conference!

March 5, 2011
Kris Jett

Kris Jett

With key information on registration and abstract submission still in development and the conference more than half a year away, it may seem like there’s little to do to prepare just yet. But it’s never too early to start getting organized, get excited, and get Connected!

I’m Kris—I handle website and community outreach for the Consortium for the Barcode of Life, and I’ll be here to provide helpful tips and tricks on how to utilize Connect, the DNA Barcoding network, to optimize your Fourth Conference experience.  I’d like to start by pointing out the new Prepare for the Fourth Conference category in the Discussions section.

The Fourth Conference will provide a rare opportunity to meet with other barcoders face-to-face, and you don’t have to rely on an official poster section or plenary theme to make sure you meet with others interested in your line of research. Are you eager to discuss the latest developments in medicinal plant barcoding? How about sharing tips and tricks for dealing with ancient DNA from museum and herbarium samples? Or perhaps you want to meet with other barcoders from your region and organize a national campaign? Take the first step in organizing a meet-up, workshop, or planning meeting by creating a discussion. The conference venue and hotels are all within easy walking distance of each other and plenty of coffee shops, restaurants, and other places where small (or even large!) groups can meet—so start now and ensure you make the most of your time in Adelaide!

Planning the Adelaide Barcode Conference

February 17, 2011
Dr. David Schindel

Dr. David Schindel

The CBOL Secretariat Office has now officially started down the long road that will lead to the Fourth International Barcode of Life Conference in Adelaide, South Australia during the week of 26 November to 3 December.

Please keep an eye on the conference website (www.dnabarcodes2011.org) and the Connect network (under Events) for more information.  The conference website is now open and we’ll be updating it constantly as the conference approaches.

CBOL Administrator Stephanie Wezowicz and I spent five days in Adelaide last week, working with the local organizing committee, scouting meeting venues and local attractions, and generally learning our way around Adelaide. Adelaide is a terrific place and the local organizers are revved up to put on a great conference.   Here are my impressions.

Adelaide is an extremely compact, liveable, and fun city.  This will be a big change for those of you who attended the Barcode Conferences in London, Taipei
and Mexico City.  Once you make the 20-minute journey from the airport to the center of the city, you can walk everywhere (unless you want to take the free tram or bus around the downtown area).  In walking around downtown you’ll go from a small business district to the State Parliament, through shopping districts, past the South Australia Museum and the Art Museum, and onto the campus of the University of Adelaide which adjoins the Botanical Garden and the National Wine Center.  The Adelaide Zoo is a five-minute walk from there and everything is less than a 20-minute walk to great restaurants, including Chinatown.

Picturesque surroundings and state-of-the-art technology make the University of Adelaide an excellent venue for conference proceedings.

Australia is rapidly ramping up their barcoding activities.  They have important museums in each state and many of them have been participants in barcoding initiatives like FISH-BOL and TREEBOL.  A team from the University of Guelph has started a campaign to barcode the lepidoptera in the Australian National Insect Collection.  The Atlas of Living Australia will be linking barcode data to their online encyclopedia and discussions for a national network are underway.  The local barcoding community will have a lot to show us when we get there in late November.

We left freezing temperatures in Washington and enjoyed spectacular summer weather for five days.  Late November is a great time to visit according to our local hosts.

CBOL has gathered a lot of your ideas about what you liked and disliked about our past conferences and I think the Adelaide conference responds to your input.  We’re planning a total of six days of activities, including:

  • Two days of pre-conference training events.  These will cover informatics and lab procedures and there will be concurrent sessions for introductory courses and more advanced topics;
  • Four days of conference, including:
    • Three plenary sessions;
    • A session devoted to viewing poster presentations;
    • One session with four concurrent meetings devoted to barcoding plants, invertebrates, vertebrates, and fungi/microbes;
    • Two sessions with concurrent meetings devoted to barcoding taxonomic groups;
    • One session with concurrent meetings devoted to multi-taxon themes (e.g., barcoding pest species, biodiversity monitoring, environmental barcoding); and
    • A HALF-DAY OF FREE TIME TO ENJOY ADELAIDE!

There’s a great wealth of things to see and do in and around Adelaide and the local organizers are developing a menu of things from which we can choose.  There will be downtown tours, excursions to the beach (20 minutes away by bus), trips to nearby vineyards and wildlife parks, and many others.  You’ll find general information about Adelaide and local attractions on the conference website at www.dnabarcodes2011.org and you’ll be able to sign up for activities and hotel accommodations when you register for the conference.

If you’ve never been to Australia or Adelaide, you won’t want to miss this opportunity.  If you have, you’re probably already planning to attend the conference.  See you there!