Report from the 3rd Annual Meeting of the Central and Eastern Europe Branch of SETAC Europe
Dragan Jevtić, Jagiellonian University
The 3rd SETAC Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) branch meeting was held 17-19 September 2012 at Jagiellonian University Third Campus in Kraków, Poland. Entitled "Ecotoxicology Revisited," the meeting was aimed at exploring fresh perspectives on problems in ecotoxicology and environmental chemistry, with a special emphasis on issues common to CEE countries.
In terms of participation, the meeting managed to achieve its pre-defined goals of attracting delegates from many different countries and encouraging young scientists to take part. About 100 participants came to Kraków from 18 countries. The geographical coverage was definitely wide; even participants from Japan were present! The meeting was dominated by young scientists; 65% of participants were PhD students! Many attendees were not SETAC members prior to the conference and (hopefully) for them it was a good starting point for joining the SETAC world family.
Photo by Piotr Zygmunt
At the opening ceremony the delegates were welcomed by Małgorzata Kruczek, the dean of the Faculty of Biology and Earth Sciences and Maria Niklińska, the director of the Institute of Environmental Sciences of the Jagiellonian University. They were followed by the president of the CEE branch, Jakub Hofman from Masaryk University (Brno, Czech Republic), who officially opened the meeting.
Presentations started rolling right after the opening ceremony. The first day of the meeting was dedicated to aquatic ecosystems, covering water and sediment toxicity, mixture effects, bioavailability and novel bioactive compounds. In between the sessions—actually in between the lunch and one of the coffee breaks, to be precise—Michael Depledge from the University of Exeter gave a first keynote talk, entitled “Ecotoxicological Enlightenment,” presenting the participants with an overview of key milestones in the development of ecotoxicological sciences.
Aquatic ecosystem sessions were followed by a roundtable discussion “Central and Eastern Europe Facing the Knowledge Society,” initiating discussions among different generations of researchers on the challenges of transforming scientific traditions in CEE countries, still facing the transition of their economies and societies. Common problems were identified, cooperation possibilities outlined and future roles and aims of SETAC Europe’s CEE branch discussed.
The first day wrapped up with the poster session. Having all posters displayed throughout the meeting, participants were given an opportunity to take their time with the posters on display and to have a relaxed and stress-free chat with their authors.
The second day was dedicated to soil ecosystems, with a range of presentations on the effects of pesticides, metals and radionuclides, followed by microbial community structure and diversity in polluted soil ecosystems and all that spiced up with some toxicokinetics. In between the sessions the second keynote talk was delivered. Kees van Gestel from the Free University in Amsterdam presented his view on “New Challenges in Soil Ecotoxicology.” The day ended with all attendees gathering for the second and last poster social.
The last day of the meeting was oriented towards ecological risk assessment, with presentations covering (potential) application of different methods for ecotoxicity testing, as well as different modelling approaches - toxicokinetic models and individual-based and matrix population models. The keynote speaker for the day was Leo Posthuma from the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, presenting “Ecosystem Reality Checks: Our Common Mindset for Solution-Focused Environmental Risk Assessments.”
The farewell reception was a great opportunity to wrap up the meeting, have participants spend a bit more time together and taste the Jagiellonian University wine! Prior to all the goodbyes, participants were reminded about the next SETAC CEE Annual Meeting: September 2013 in Brno, Czech Republic.
We would like to thank the conference sponsors: Faculty of Biology and Earth Sciences, Meranco, Tigret, Genomed, Bio-Rad and Equimed. The meeting was organized by SETAC CEE and the Institute of Environmental Sciences of the Jagiellonian University. To find out more about this meeting or view the conference proceedings, please check out our website at www.eko.uj.edu.pl/setac-cee2012/.
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