Report on ISO17 in Rome 2013

17th International Symposium on Ostracoda “Back to the future” University of Roma 3, Rome (Italy) 22nd-26th July, 2013

The International Symposium on Ostracoda (ISO) is a meeting that features research on both living and fossil Ostracoda. It takes place every four years, each time in a different location. The 17th Symposium took place in Rome (Italy) and was hosted by the University of Roma 3. It was also an opportunity to celebrate 50 years from the first ISO meeting, which took place at the Zoological Station in Naples (Italy) in 1963. For this reason, the motto of ISO17th was “Back to the future” further developed in “Evolution of concepts and methods in ostracodology during the last 50 years”.


The Symposium was organised in five scientific sessions, each introduced by invited lectures. The scientific sessions included: “Evolution and extinction of Ostracoda” (20 presentations), “New and advanced approaches in the study of Ostracoda” (14 presentations), “Ostracoda in palaeoceanographic reconstructions during the Cenozoic” (10 presentations), “Ostracoda in the past and present worlds” (52 presentations), “Ostracoda as proxies for environmental monitoring and palaeoenvironmental reconstruction” (24 presentations). During the 3 workshops, more specific topics were addressed such as “Cyprideis- a multi-tool of ostracodology” (6 presentations), “Ostracods in environmental archaeology” (9 presentations), “Neogene brackish and freshwater ostracods in the Paratethys” (7 presentations).

The 132 participants did not spend all their time listening to 72 oral presentations, reading carefully the 72 posters or discussing scientific topics! There were plenty of opportunities to chat with colleagues and friends from 29 different countries, especially during the icebreaker and the farewell parties, the lunches and coffee breaks. And notwithstanding the July heat, also the mid-symposium field trip led by Elsa Gliozzi and Ilaria Mazzini was enjoyable. Imagine what the usual visitors of the Appia Antica Regional Park were thinking of this heterogeneous group of people sampling ponds, streams, channels, Roman ruins and springs in search of ostracods. A meeting in Italy could not be complete without a gorgeous social dinner in a unique setting. The conveners enjoyed the delicious roman cuisine dining “al fresco” looking at the Mausoleum of Cecilia Metella along the Ancient Appian Way.

The IRGO meeting closed the last day of the Symposium. The future of IRGO was discussed and a new steering committee was elected. Moreover, the winners of the Young Researchers Sylvester Bradley Awards and of the SF*IRGO poster Award were announced: Yuanyuan Hong (University of Hong Kong) was awarded for the best oral presentation (sponsored by TMS); Josep Antoni Aguilar-Alberola (University of Valencia) was awarded for the best poster presentation (sponsored by IRGO); Ilaria Mazzini (University of Roma 3) and Jessica Fischer (LMU-Munich) shared the SF*IRGO Poster Award. Finally, the venue for the next ISO was decided: ISO18 will be held in the USA.

Gianguido Salvi and Nevio Pugliese led the post-symposium field trip to the Trieste area, in the northeast part of Italy. The participants took shed from the heat in the Grotta Gigante sampling ostracods in karstik pools, visited the Reserve of the Cona Island at the Isonzo River mouth and the ancient Latin colony of Aquileia. The participants also visited the Marine Reserve of Miramare where they could snorkel in one of the most pristine areas of the Adriatic Sea.

ISO17 was a big success! This meeting represents an irreplaceable forum for the communication between specialists who focus on fossils with those who work on living ostracods. The importance of this communication is constantly increasing in the midst of pending climate change and acceleration of biodiversity loss.

The abstract volume was published by the “Naturalista Siciliano”. The proceedings of the Symposium are scheduled for 2015 within Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. A special issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science on “Ostracods and environmental archaeology” is scheduled as well for 2015. Micropress offered to all the participants to ISO17 free online access to the Ellis and Messina Catalogue of Ostracoda.

Ilaria Mazzini, Rome

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