Origins and Function of the Animal Metaorganism – Boden Research Conference
Sunday 11th March 2018 - Wednesday 14th March 2018
Peppers Blue on Blue Resort, Magnetic Island, Australia
Origins and Function of the Animal Metaorganism
A transdisciplinary workshop investigating the evolutionary success of cnidarian metaorganisms and the conditions that sometimes cause their collapse 11th to 14th March 2018 Peppers Blue on Blue Resort, Magnetic Island, Australia @CoralCOE #COE_symbiosis
Metaorganism workshop Magnetic Island, March 11th 2018. Credit: Steve Robbins
Why here and why now?
Ideas about how the coral association has succeeded over evolutionary time, and what mechanisms underlie coral tolerance to environmental change, have not changed substantially since the 1970’s. Advancing the field requires bringing in expertise from “left field” as novel perspectives can greatly increase the odds of conceptual breakthroughs being made. These new insights will be relevant to understanding coral reefs on a global scale and also to understanding organism‐microbe interactions more broadly. A specific aim is that the scheduled discussion sessions lead to concrete outcomes in the form of perspective manuscripts. The meeting will bring together a critical mass of leading researchers across fields as diverse as palaeontology, physiology, microbiology and bioinformatics who are united by an interest in microbe – animal interactions. Our proposed group transcends disciplinary boundaries in an attempt to cross-fertilise thinking about the evolutionary success of the animal metaorganism and the conditions that sometimes cause collapse of these associations. New approaches, insights and thinking in this area are critical because important ecosystems that rely on animal‐microbe interactions, such as coral reefs, are experiencing increasing levels of stress that threaten their long‐term persistence. We intend that this meeting will provide a broader understanding of the evolutionary forces that have led to the diversity of present day coral metaorganisms. We seek new understanding as to why some coral metaorganisms are more tolerant of environmental change than others, and how flexibility with respect to the associated microbiota might enhance resilience at the metaorganism level.