Yasumoto Lifetime Achievement Award

Prof. Karen Steidinger

In recognition of her noteworthy scientific contributions to harmful algal research and management, coupled with her contributions to young scientists’ development and service to professional societies, including the International Society for the Study of Harmful Algae (ISSHA), Dr. Karen A. Steidinger was awarded the Society’s highest honour, the Yasumoto Lifetime Achievement Award. Her contributions to phycology and oceanography span four decades. Dr. Steidinger's research concerning the systematics, ecology, and oceanography of the Florida red-tide dinoflagellate, Karenia brevis (Davis) G. Hansen et Moestrup (formally, Gymnodinium breve Davis) is legendary for its insights and impact. Indeed, her published work provides the historical framework and inspiration for much of the advanced work done during the last decade on the ecology and health effects of K. brevis. This impact to the HAB field can be traced from the first red tide conference (Boston, 1975) when Dr. Steidinger put forth the concept of sequential bloom phases for red tides - initiation, growth, maintenance (plateau), and transport. Within this seminal presentation, she discussed the life cycle and emphasized the importance of physical/chemical forcing (particularly that of salinity) for constraining the dispersion of harmful algal blooms, particularly Florida red tides. This recognition that blooms possess multiple, sequential phases, during which distinct forcing phenomena predominate, serves as the basis for our understanding of the roles that nutrient requirements and environmental forcing have in red tide development. Karen’s work with Linda Walker documented the full life cycle of a toxic dinoflagellate for the first time (specifically, gamete formation within the vegetative cell to meiosis and production of the chain of four vegetative cells in Alexandrium monilatum). Subsequent to these early efforts more than 85 publications, including book chapters, chronicle Karen’s research efforts. Dr. Steidinger’s intellectual curiosity and tireless involvement with academic colleagues, federal/state agency programs and scientific societies have led to her international prominence. Scientists cognizant of her scientific achievements and those fortunate enough to work with her hold her in the highest esteem. In 2000, Prof. O Moestrup’s laboratory honoured her by 'renaming' the genus of several Gymnodinium taxa (including G. breve), Karenia. In 2001, the Wildlife Foundation of Florida honored Dr. Steidinger with the Louise Ireland Humphrey Award and in 2003, she was bestowed a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Phycological Society of America. That award recognizes phycologists who have demonstrated sustained scholarly contributions to and impact on the field of phycology over their careers. At a time when the International Society for the Study of Harmful Algae needed a President, they reached out to Dr. Steidinger. She also hosted the 10th International Conference on Harmful Algae (2002) in St. Petersburg (Florida, USA). Dr. Steidinger retired in July 2003, but continues to work with the staff of Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute and many other colleagues with the same kindness, respect and understanding that have been her hallmark. She currently is a Harmful Algae Specialist at the Florida Institute of Oceanography, University of South Florida where she works on special projects such as the taxonomy of Pyrodinium and benthic, phagotrophic dinoflagellates, teaches dinoflagellate systematics within various workshops, assists scientists in the identification of dinoflagellates, serves as a steering committee member for workshops, prepares and reviews manuscripts, and facilitates the Harmful Algal Bloom Task Force-Public Health Technical Panel. She also continues her research on the life cycle of Karenia brevis. For a complete list of Karen’s publication see Tester, P.A. and D.F. Millie. 2008. Dedication to Dr. Karen A. Steidinger. Continental Shelf Research 28-3-10. By Patricia Tester

Young Scientist Award to Rosa Figueroa

Rosa Figueroa with wood-carving of G. catenatum

Rosa Isabel FIGUEROA was given the ISSHA Young Scientist Award for her contribution to advance knowledge on the life history of dinoflagellates. Rosa's thesis (2001-2005) was on “The significance of sexuality and cyst formation in the life-cycle of four marine dinoflagellate species”. Disentangling the different routes of the sexual cycle of Gymnodinium catenatum, a species with a very complex life history, tested her from the very beginning. Nevertheless, working in a field with many knowledge gaps encouraged and challenged her scientific skills. Her three publications on this species reveal the limited knowledge we still have of microalgal life strategies and evolution. Many more studies followed on the life cycles of Lingulodinium polyedrum, Gymnodinum nolleri, Alexandrium catenella, A. minutum, A. tamutum, A. taylori, A. peruvianum, Kryptoperidinium foliaceum....The common question posed in these studies was if transitions in the life cycle are reversible and if so, what factors control them. It was demonstrated that depending on nutrient availability, the sexual phases would either undergo encystment or would divide and return to the vegetative phase. This is a very important fact that opens new possibilities for processes and routes that each species modulates according to its strategic ecology. Rosa was enthralled by the fascinating world of dinoflagellates. She has made a substantial contribution to our knowledge of the behaviour of these microorganisms during her early career. Rosa’s personality radiates tranquility and determination. These features have enabled her to use meticulous technique, and are combined with an eager but well organized mind, always in search of innovations and challenges. The results are visible. She has not limited herself to the characteristics of microalgal sexual cycles, but has also explored genetics and innovative experimental designs. In search of new worlds and new challenges, Rosa moved from the Instituto Español de Oceanografía (IEO) in Vigo, her home town, to the Instituto de Ciencias del Mar (CSIC) in Barcelona, and later on to Lund University,Sweden, where she works now.

By Isabel Bravo and Esther Garcés

Maureen Keller Awards

Congratulations to Shi Hong, Iris Baula, Laura Escalera, and Veronica Lundgrenfor receiving student presentation awards at the 13th International Conference on Harmful Algae in Hong Kong. Below are each awardee's photo and biography.

Shi Hong

Shi Hong was awarded the Maureen Keller Best Student Oral Presentation for her talk on "Isolation and Identification of mazEF Gene from Microcystis Aeruginosa PCC 7820". Co-authoring with her was her adviser Dr. Zhang Jun. Shi Hong holds a Master’s Degree in Science from the School of Life Sciences, Xiamen University. She is currently working towards her Ph.D. Degree at the Third Institute of Oceanography, State Oceanic Administration. Her research focuses on the outbreak and control mechanisms for harmful algae, especially Microcystis aeruginosa, from a molecular biology perspective. Outside of work, Shi Hong takes great pleasure in concerts and travelling. She also enjoys spending time with her family and friends. Looking back, Shi Hong was ecstatic to have attended the ISSHA Conference where she made a lot of good friends. She looks forward to advancing her research in the harmful algal bloom field.

Iris Baula

Iris U. Baula received the Maureen Keller Honorable Mention for Students Oral Presentation for her communication on "Modern dinoflagellate cysts from a mariculture area in Pangasinan, Northwestern Philippines". Co-authors with her were advisers Dr. Rhodora Azanza and Dr. Yasuwo Fukuyo. Iris graduated cum laude in BS Biology from the University of Manila and gladly skipped medical school to work as a research associate at the Marine Science Institute in the University of the Philippines (UP). Her fascination with microscopy must have led her to the stewardship of Prof. Rhodora Azanza who pioneered harmful microalgae research in the Philippines. She initially worked on the physiology of Noctiluca scintillans and monitored bay areas in the Philippines that were prone to HABs. She was also involved in projects that trained local government units in monitoring harmful microalgae. She is in the final stages of her thesis on dinoflagellate cysts to complete her MSc in Marine Science in UP. To keep sane, she takes breaks from the laboratory and goes SCUBA diving (another passion she later discovered in her research career), camping, hiking and traveling.

Laura Escalera

Laura Escalera received the Maureen Keller Best Student Poster award for her work “Cyanobacterial endosymbionts in the benthic dinophysioid dinoflagellate Sinophysis canaliculata?” (Laura Escalera, Sadaaki Yoshimatsu, Kiyotaka Takishita, Kanae Koike and Kazuhiko Koike). Laura studied marine biology at the University of Santiago de Compostela (Galicia, Spain). Currently she is about to finish her thesis, at the Instituto Español de Oceanografía in Vigo under the supervision of Beatriz Reguera. Laura’s research keeps her in contact with phytoplankton community biology, presently with a special focus on the biology and ecology of species of the genus Dinophysis. Her interest in electronic microscopy led her to obtain training in different techniques, and to visit IPIMAR (Portugal) and more recently the University of Hiroshima (Japan), where she carried out, with Dr Koike and colleagues, the work for which she received this award at the XIII ICHA Conference.

Veronica Lundgren

Veronica Lundgren was given the Maureen Keller Honorable Mention for Students Poster Presentation for her work on “Grazer induced defense in Phaeocystis globosa: influence of different nutrient conditions”. This work was conducted together with her main supervisor, Prof. Edna Granéli, at the Marine Science Centre of Kalmar University, Sweden. Veronica is currently undergoing her second year as a Ph.D. candidate, with her research focusing on chemically mediated interactions between zoo- and phytoplankton. Veronica obtained an MSc in Marine Biology at Lund University – Campus (Helsingborg) before joining the research team led by Prof. Granéli in Kalmar. Her plan for the future, after finishing her Ph.D. studies, is to do a post doc and hopefully continue her work within the intriguing research field of zoo- and phytoplankton interactions. When not working in the lab, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, playing floorball and painting.