BioSyst.EU 2013 Global systematics! Sign up for the meeting in Vienna Feb 18-22


General Information

NOBIS Austria is honoured to host and organise the 2nd BioSyst.EU meeting from

February 18th  to 22nd,  2013

in Vienna. The conference will take place at the University of Vienna (UZA II building).


Early-bird fee: € 270.- (deadline: 31. 10. 2012)

Students: € 220.- (deadline: 31. 10. 2012)

Late registration: € 350.-

Accompanying persons: € 150.- (includes the social program only)


1. Joint meeting of the European biosystematic societies 2. Scientific enhancement by means of lectures and workshops. According to the concept of NOBIS Austria to represent systematics in the broadest sense we would like to embrace extinct as well as extant micro- and macro-organisms 3. BioSyst.EU: strengthening and extension of the scientific web 4. Global synergetic strategies of BioSyst.EU…. to be developed during the meeting

Registration and Fees

Booking, registration and accommodation will be organised by the congress-service agency of the University of Vienna supporting and assisting the participants. Please see the congress homepage for further details:

Online Registration:


Deadlines 31. 10. 2012 – Deadline for early registration

(including registration for accompanying persons)

31. 10. 2012 – Deadline for abstract submission

Presentations Contributions are limited to two abstracts per participant.

Talks: in English; PowerPoint or compatible on a USB-stick, to be uploaded on the lecture hall PC on the morning before the start of the sessions; Duration: 15 minutes (+ 5 min. discussion) Posters: Portrait format, not exceeding A0 format (1189 × 841 mm)

Abstract submission

Abstracts can be directly submitted via the form on the homepage

Programme February 18th & 21st 2013 – Social events (included in fees)

On Monday 18th the conference will start with an opening ceremony and ice-breaker at the Natural History Museum Vienna.

The conference reception will take place at the town hall of the City of Vienna on Thursday 21st.

February 19th–22nd – Scientific symposia

The conference will take place at the University of Vienna (UZA II building) which can be easily accessed by public transport. Two or three parallel sessions will be organised with professional technical support.

Annual meetings

The organizers are pleased to announce that the annual meetings of the GfBS and NOBIS Austria will be held within the scope of the conference.

Excursions & Sightseeing

Vienna is famous for its museums and culture. Participants will have the opportunity to visit important art exhibitions and may find time for opera, concert or theatre. The botanical and zoological gardens are famous for their architecture and contents. Nearby there are the National Park “Donau Auen”, the Biosphere Reserve “Wienerwald”, and the important Geotainmentpark “Fossilienwelt Weinviertel”, which are worth visiting. These activities will not be included in the conference fee but will be offered by the travel agency. See for more information.

Organising Committee

Mathias Harzhauser | Martin Zuschin | Andreas Kroh Dominique Zimmermann | Helmut Sattmann | Elisabeth Haring Julia Walochnik | Björn Berning

Advisory Board

Livia Wanntorp (SSF) | Bengt Oxelman (SSF) | Juliet Brodie (SA) | Eve Lucas (SA) Eric Smets (Neth) | Gerhard Haszprunar (GfBS) | Michael Ohl (GfBS) | Seraina Klopfstein (SSS) Reto Nyffeler (SSS) | Alessandro Minelli (It) | Patrick Martin (SFS) | Cyrille D’Haese (SFS) Ulrike Aspöck (NOBIS) | Helmut Sattmann (NOBIS)


All requests concerning registration, accommodation and travelling should be addressed to

Gerry Schneider

Event management, University of Vienna, 1010 Vienna, Dr.-Karl-Lueger-Ring 1, phone: +43 1 4277 17526

All correspondence concerning the scientific program of the congress should be sent to the General Secretaries of the Organizing Committee:

PD. Dr. Mathias Harzhauser

Geological-Palaeontological Dep. Natural History Museum Vienna A-1014 Vienna, Burgring 7 Tel: 0043-1-52177-250

Fax: 0043-1-52177-459

Sponsored by:

Prof. Dr. Martin Zuschin

Department of Palaeontology University of Vienna A-1090 Vienna, Althanstraße 14 Tel: 0043-1-4277-53555

Fax: 0043-1-4277-9535


Scheduled Symposia

A wide range of different symposia have been proposed, including specific meetings of the national societies (Symposia 01 to 06). When submitting your abstract(s), please indicate the preferred symposium for your presentation. Keep in mind, however, that the symposium conveners and the organizing committee may need to reassign individual presentations in order to create a balanced and timely programme.

01 – GfBS-Symposium: Small but manifold: Protist diversity Convener: Birgit Gemeinholzer Protist diversity is far from being completely described. Unsuspected diversity is discovered by the application of new techniques. The session is dedicated to investigations presenting new techniques to detect diversity, revealing up to now hidden diversity, and/or new concepts about how to deal with the newly discovered diversity.

02 – Swiss Systematics Society-Symposium: Evolution of parasites and parasitoids Convener: Seraina Klopfstein, Hannes Baur, Jean Mariaux Diversity of parasitic organisms: The majority of species on earth have a parasitic lifestyle. Despite their overwhelming diversity and importance in both ecology and economy, parasitic organisms still only play a minor role in biodiversity research. This symposium will try to shed light on patterns of parasite diversity, focussing on multi-cellular parasites and insect parasitoids, and discuss mechanisms involved in their diversification.

03 – Svenska Systematikföreningen-Symposium: Phylogenetic methods Convener: Bengt Oxelman Studying the evolution of extant and ancient biota belongs to the core questions of biological science. Phylogenetic methods have greatly advanced our knowledge on the interrelation of organisms. This session is devoted to new methods of phylogenetic inference, character evolution and molecular clock studies.

04 – Société Française de Systématique-Symposium: Cryptic species Conveners: Patrick Martin & Cyrille D’Haese The taxonomical issue addressed by cryptic species (two or more distinct species classified as a single one due to morphological similarity) has been recognized nearly 300 years ago. The recent advent of DNA sequencing as a new tool in systematics, especially the growing use of barcoding, and the resulting discovery of an unexpectedly large amount of cryptic diversity have reactivated the interest of biologists in such an issue. This session will try to consider different facets of the topic, from concepts to their impact on biodiversity assessments, conservation, and nomenclature, via questions such as whether cryptic species are more common in particular habitats, taxonomical groups, and what extrinsic or intrinsic factors potentially affect cryptic biodiversity.

05 – The Systematics Association-Symposium: Animal venoms Convener: Ronald A. Jenner Animal venoms have evolved many times independently. Convergently evolved venoms in distantly related taxa, however, can show remarkable compositional similarities. This symposium addresses the question of what factors determine venom composition across a diversity of phylogenetic levels‹from closely related species to distantly related phyla.


06 – NOBIS Austria-Symposium: Estimates of biodiversity in space and time Convener: Martin Zuschin No reliable census of modern life exists and even less information is available for the geological past. Global estimates can be heavily biased by the number and types of regions studied for particular taxa and realistic calculations will therefore need to understand not only the evolutionary but also the spatial aspects of biodiversity. The session is dedicated to advances, new techniques and burning questions in this field.

07 Alpine biodiversity Convener: Andreas Tribsch Alpine habitats offer very different living conditions at different habitats, which result in a rich flora and fauna. Thus, the Alps and other mountain systems, shelter a considerable part of worldwide biodiversity. This session is dedicated to the Alpine and high mountain biodiversity as well as to their faunal and climate history.

08 Biotic responses to climate change Convener: Willem Renema Anthropogenic climate change is reflected in the modern biosphere in numerous aspects. Modulations of the climate system, however, are a common phenomenon throughout Earth’s history. This session will discuss the feed back of modern biota to current change in the climate but will also focus on examples from the geological past.

09 Philosophy of phylogeny Convener: Alessandro Minelli Phylogenetic methods are widely applied in different branches of sciences, yet the basic philosophical backbone of phylogenetic inference is rarely tackled. Evaluation of alternative phylogenetic trees, however, necessitates consideration of the underlying principles. This session is dedicated to the basal rules governing phylogenetic inference, new applications and changing concepts.

10 Evo-devo Convener: Andreas Wanninger & Alessandro Minelli The recent years have seen an explosion of morphological and molecular data on metazoan development, which has resulted in various new hypotheses on the evolutionary origins of animals and their bodyplans. This session will focus on new findings in the field of evolutionary developmental biology (“EvoDevo”). We welcome presentations on metazoan morphogenesis, gene expression, and experimental developmental biology, in particular of non-model system species.

11 Biodiversity-informatics: Data mobilization with GBIF-D Convener: Walter G. Berendsohn; coConvener: Dagmar Triebel The mission of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) is to facilitate free and open access to biodiversity data worldwide via the Internet. As a founding member GBIF Germany (GBIF- D, contributes since 2001 to this largest biodiversity information project worldwide. Main objective is the focused gathering and mobilization of suitable data from Germany’s research community and natural history collections. In addition, available observation data will linked into GBIF. The eight project partners of GBIF-D are organizing data sharing but also develop and provide software tools for


data mobilization. The symposium is dedicated to the entire spectrum of tools and technical solutions developed and used in the GBIF-context such as BioCASe and GeoCASe, Diversity Workbench, the EDIT Platform for Cybertaxonomy, Euro+Med PlantBase, the DNA Bank Network, LIAS, the smartphone-app Anymals+Plants and more.

12 Processes of diversification and speciation Convener: Gerald Schneeweiß Elucidating processes of diversification and speciation is paramount for our understanding of how the tremendous biodiversity observable today has originated and how it may react to threats and challenges imposed by human activities now and in the future. Technological advances with respect to data generation (e.g., next-generation sequencing, sophisticated analytical tools) as well as conceptual advancements (e.g., modes and models of speciation) set an excitingly powerful framework for studying those processes (e.g., hybrid and polyploid speciation, ecological speciation, sexual selection) in and beyond model organisms.

13 Systematics as an integrative science Convener: Eric Smets For many years already systematics not only relies on comparative morphology and anatomy to reach an overall picture of plant evolution. To reconstruct the phylogeny of plants the integration of phylogenetics, evolutionary and developmental genetics, genomics, and morphology and anatomy offers unprecedented opportunities. This symposium aims to illustrate examples of this integrative approach.

14 Plant-animal interactions Convener: Sigrid Liede-Schumann Interactions between plants and animals are at the same time influential factors in ecological communities and powerful evolutionary drivers both on the plant and on the animal side. Herbivory, predation by plants on animals (carnivorous plants), mutualism, dispersal of plant reproductive structures, and, finally, deception of animals by plants constitute important regulators for the success or failure of populations and species. This symposium aims at highlighting some of the newest results in the field to enhance our understanding of the complex regulatory patterns of our biosphere.

15 Evolutionary epigenetics Convener: Ovidiu Paun Elucidating the evolutionary implications of epigenetic signals promises to significantly improve the general understanding of the mechanisms underlying natural phenotypic variation and organismic adaptation strategies. Recent investigations started to integrate epigenetics in population genetics, evolutionary biology and ecology, particularly when studying biotic responses to changing environmental conditions. The reality of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance in a broad variety of organisms currently challenges the gene-centered view that still dominates the evolutionary thinking about variation, heritability, adaptation and evolution. Accordingly, our focus in the study of evolution is shifting from single genes to developmental/regulatory networks and holistic phenotypes.

16 Evolution and systematics of colonial organisms Convener: Andrey Ostrovsky & Björn Berning Colonies of clonal organisms often display various degrees and types of polymorphism among their interconnected modules, occasionally resulting in highly integrated colonies that can be regarded as


super-organisms. The investigation of these complex biological systems may greatly aid our understanding of evolutionary processes, e.g. the origin and maintenance of phenotypic plasticity, evolvability, or stabilising selection. This session will feature studies of colonial organisms that highlight their evolutionary pathways and developmental processes as well as the common and distinctive features in different groups.

17 Nomenclature for the future Convener: Regine Jahn A common concern of today is that numerous organisms are going extinct before they have even been described. Two of the reasons are that there are too few taxonomists, and that the procedures involved in formally naming new species are slow. For some groups of species – if not typical animals or plants – it is often difficult to know which of the current Codes to apply, and different authors take divergent views. Molecular biology and online taxonomic information management systems offer ways to accelerate the recognition and description of new species, and these technologies need to be incorporated into the Codes in order to meet the future needs of the scientific community. There is a need for harmonization of the Codes where possible, and work towards a single BioCode (Draft BioCode 2011) that can apply to all kinds of organisms. The workshop will explore the status quo of the different Codes and formulate requirements for a nomenclature for the future.

19 Hybrid evolution and speciation Convener: Katharina Schulte & Georg Zizka In times of phylogenetic thinking hybrid speciation violates the assumptions of a “tree of life” evolution. It is known for decades that hybridization between plant species is frequent and that many species are of hybrid origin. Recently evidence is accumulating that also animal species are frequently a result of hybrid evolution. This session will cover several aspects of hybrid evolution and speciation using the term “hybrid” in a wide sense. Aspects of lateral gene transfer, homoploid and polyploid speciation, evidence of historical hybridization of lineages and introgression will be covered.

20 Medicine and systematics Convener: Julia Walochnik During the past decades it has become more and more apparent that the diversity of microorganisms, including also most human pathogens, has been severely underestimated. Many bacterial pathogens that have formerly been regarded as a single species have now been split up into numerous species and even genera, and this is almost similarly true also for fungi and parasites. Moreover, clinically important characters, such as virulence or drug resistance, may only be linked to specific sub-species or genotypes, thus genotyping has become a daily routine in diagnostic laboratories. Finally, also modern epidemiology requires rapid and precise differentiation down to the strain level, particularly in the hospital setting. The foundation for all approaches trying to solve these problems is a reliable systematics.

21 Biogeography and systematics Convener: Alexandra Müllner While Systematics seeks understanding which species, or more generally spoken taxa, exist on earth, how the differentiated and how they can be classified, biogeography aims for explaining their distributions. As biogeography (including phylogeography) with all the new methodology available has considerably contributed to our understanding of the “plasticity” of species and the temporal colonization patterns of taxa across their geographical ranges it has contributed a lot to our understanding of the


geographical component of speciation and diversification. This session will discuss new aspects of biosystematics and biogeography.

27 – Detecting errors in phylogenies

Convener: Wolfgang Wägele The amount of data available for phylogenetic analyses is increasing rapidly, especially with the growing number of sequenced genomes. At the same time the complexity of tools required for phylogeny inference is growing, with the result that it is not possible any more to understand which mechanisms of the computational process are responsible for a particular result. The selection of a “correct tree” has often become a matter of personal beliefs, especially when deeper phylogenies are inferred. In this symposium we want to discuss if it is possible to detect parts within single data sets that are more vulnerable for model violations, in which cases we have to expect systematic errors that cannot be cured with “more data”, and how to estimate data quality.

28 – The evolution of asexual plants and animals

Convener: Elvira Hörandl & Stefan Scheu The evolution of asexual eukaryotes provides challenging questions for evolutionary biology. Various reproductive strategies exist in animals and plants, and asexuality is often connected to a considerable short-term evolutionary success. The advantages of mixed systems, and the long-term fate of asexual lineages, however, are still under dispute. The investigation of various case studies in plants and animals and the development of theory will greatly improve our understanding of a core question of evolutionary biology, that is, the predominance of sex in higher eukaryotes.

29 – Molecular approaches to species delimitation

Convener: Jean-François Flot Species delimitation is the most fundamental step in taxonomy as well as a necessary prerequisite for many studies in other research fields. In contrast to morphological features that are often influenced by the environment, DNA sequences provide rich and relatively unbiased information on the genetic relationships between the individuals sequenced. This symposium aims to bring together proponents of the various DNA-based approaches to species delimitation, in order to stimulate discussions and facilitate the emergence of a consensual set of methods.

30 – High throughput species identification in the age of next generation sequencing – progress and challenges Conveners: Katharina Schulte & Claire Micheneau The identification of species based on genetic data is an important downstream application of systematic research constituting a valuable tool for the end users. Next generation sequencing opens up exciting new avenues in biological research, like for example through novel approaches for rapid environmental assessments, and with them the demand for using genetic data to identify species is increasing in an unprecedented way. This symposium will show new developments, report on progress made so far, and outline future challenges. It will highlight that the success of these novel approaches will depend on the engagement of the systematic community.

31 – Research collections in the contexts of preservation issues and scientific use

(14th meeting of the Curator’s group of the GfBS, open to everyone) Conveners: Peter Giere


Research collections typically housed in museums and managed by curators are often the starting point for specimen based studies, especially in a phylogenetic and evolutionary context. Whereas the huge numbers of specimens in a museum collection need constant maintenance to preserve its integrity, researchers using the collection may have opposing interests. Invasive sampling for genetic studies and other methods of research may request access to collections that potentially can counteract preservation needs for the specimens in question. The preservation of rare and valuable specimens may outweigh research interests so that the interests of researchers and curators can be mutually exclusive. This symposium deals with access requests that may be detrimental to the specimens – both from user and museum side – and possible ways of avoiding this potential conflict of interests.


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