16th IAP Conference - Italy. August 2011

02nd November 2011
The 16th IAP (International Association of Phytoplankton Taxonomy and Ecology) conference was held at the Institute Agragio Di San Michele all'Adige in San Michele all'Adige (Trento) in the Italian Alps - some of the most stunning scenery I have ever scene! Unfortunately the district was experiencing a heat wave for most of the week I was there and for those who know me well will appreciate the irony! The temperatures each day sat around 37 degrees dropping to 30 degrees at night. The Institute was not air conditioned as they seldom have such extreme heat so we all suffered trying to think intelligent thoughts under such conditions. I walked each morning up the mountain behind the Institute to capture the mountains as they received the first light of the day - truly stunning. We had an excursion mid week higher up into the alps and visited Lake Tovel - an alpine lake which was amazing! The Lake was famous for turning bright red in years gone by and was attributed (mythically!) to be the blood of dead soldiers who died in a very bloody battle that occurred on the edge of the lake. The red colour was in fact due to summer blooms of a dinoflagellate called Glenodinium sanguineum (an algae) that occurred regularly - hence our visit to the lake!
Overall the conference, despite the heat, was a stimulating and inspiring experience for me as I head towards the completion of my studies! I enjoyed meeting many of the gurus of the algae world and appreciated their guidance and encouragement.