By David Montagnes and Joel Dacks, ISOP Awards Committee Chair and Treasurer, respectively
Protistology-UK22, the annual Autumn Meeting of Protistology-UK (P-UK, https://www.protistology.org.uk/autumn-meeting2022) was held at the Natural History Museum, London on December 1-2, 2022. The conference theme was under the umbrella of recognising the value of core methodologies and their complement to modern techniques in protist research. This two-day hybrid meeting drew live and on-line participants from across the UK, but also globally. It was generously hosted by the Natural History Museum and supported by both the International Society of Protistology (ISOP) and the Microbiology Society. Specifically, ISOP provided support for the ~15 student travel awards and student subsidies on registration and events.
Day-one had three research contributions but was primarily a celebration – upon his retirement – of John R Dolan’s contributions to protistology, academic, administrative, and public. Talks were given by four of John’s colleagues (Wayne Coats, Richard Snyder, Virginia Edgcomb, David Montagnes), spanning his career from student to sage. John, himself, then presented a spirited talk on history of publications on protists, with a message that we may be in danger of losing our specialist journals. These talks were recorded and are available to view, along with a photo-gallery of the meeting, on the Protistology-UK website, https://www.protistology.org.uk/post/dolanfest.
Day-two saw the presentation of a wide range of studies, delivered as regular 15-minute talks and 5-minute lightning talks; the abstract book is also available on the Protistology-UK website. At the end of the sessions John Dolan and David Montages hosted (FIGURE) a discussion on the appropriateness of traditional and newer methodologies, which summarised by Ross Waller was “a timely reminder of how important it is that the principles and assumptions of any method must be rigorously known and scrutinised, and that the research questions at the heart of any project are the masters, not the methods” (Journal of European Protistology report on the meeting, accepted 12/2022).
In summary, this was an excellent meeting, and a good example of how local meetings can be expanded to embrace international participation. Although presenting and attending online is far from ideal, “it’s the next best thing to being there” (Bell Telephone circa 1965). And the organisers thank those providing financial and operational support and the participants (live and on-line) for their contributions.
Joel Dacks, Alessandra Dupont, Rachel Foster, Fiona Hernriquez, Patrick Hooper, David Montages, Tassos Tsaousis, Sonja Rueckert, Ross Waller, Alan Warren