Visit at the 8th Meeting on Plant Litter Processing in Freshwaters

Jochen Zubrod provides his impressions on his visit at the 8th Meeting on Plant Litter Processing in Freshwaters (PLPF8) at the University of the Basque Country in Bilbao, Spain.

A few weeks ago, I travelled to my first-ever scientific meeting whose primary focus was not on ecotoxicology to give a talk about a paper we recently presented here on the blog. PLPF meetings focus on detrital dynamics and the functions these drive in freshwater ecosystems (more information about the meeting series is available on this website). This fits pretty well with one of our main research topics in Landau, where we most often assess what happens with these systems and processes when chemical stress acts on them (see some reading suggestions at the bottom of this post).

Scenic view over the Nervión River (photo by J. Zubrod)

Arriving in Bilbao, the Spanish weather lived up to its reputation: During the meeting, we had up to 37°C. Luckily, the dress code at PLPF8 turned out to be pretty relaxed and shorts were the rule rather than the exception 🙂 Bilbao presented itself as a very nice meeting location with a lot of small cafés and bars around the meeting centre and even more of these in the city centre.

Me presenting some of our work on fungicide effects on leaf litter breakdown (photo by M. Bundschuh)

But back to the meeting: After arrival on Sunday evening, a welcome mixer took place with loads of nice Spanish wine and snacks, giving participants the opportunity to get to know each other in a very relaxed atmosphere. As I already knew from the meeting program, the list of participants was pretty impressive: Among the roughly 80 attendees, there was quite a number of big names in the field from Europe but also the US. From Monday through Wednesday, each day one of these big names (Eric Chauvet, Verónica Ferreira, and Scott Tiegs) gave a lecture-like presentation about their recent and not-so-recent work, followed by platform presentations by the remaining participants. A nice feature of PLPF8 was that the relatively small number of participants made it possible that all presentations took place in the same session room and one was able to follow all of them. On Monday and Tuesday evenings those interested met for discussion session-like workshops on stats- and management-related issues. On Wednesday evening, the meeting was closed with a fantastic dinner providing us with further loads of the nice Spanish wine and delicacies.

All in all, PLPF8 has been a great meeting: In a very relaxed setting, I was able to meet a lot of interesting people and came back to Landau with a whole lot of new ideas for future research.

Thanks to all the organizers for a perfect meeting! Hope to see you all at PLPF9 in Braga, Portugal!

Reading suggestions:

Population-level fungicide effects assessed in the Laboratory Stream Microcosm Facility

I spy with my little eye

Two sides of a leaf