10-12 of September, 2015 at Monte Verità, Ascona, Switzerland

An initiative of the SGM-SSM, the Swiss Microbial Ecology meetings are biannual gatherings of the Swiss Microbial Ecology community. The meetings bring together senior scientist and early career researchers working in Switzerland. We focus on giving young researchers in this field an opportunity to present their work, discuss it with colleagues, and to extend their network among the Swiss Microbial Ecologists and beyond. It is a key event to foster contacts between the different groups that are active in this field in Switzerland. Invited speakers, both national and international, provide in-depth looks at cutting edge research projects and bring new ideas and different perspectives to each meeting.

The sixth edition enabled by a generous contribution of SCNAT, SNSF, and ISME took place in September at Monte Verità, Ascona. The total number of attendants of SME 2015 was 81, including 6 invited speakers. We obtained a good gender balance (45.7% female) among participants and a good participation of PhD students (56%). Among the Swiss participants we had representatives of all language regions (D: 47; F: 28; I: 2) and 10 different research institutions. Most participants stayed at the Monte Verità conference hotel which also housed the lecture room and poster hall.

The scientific program consisted of 35 talks (invited and contributed) organized into 5 sessions and 31 posters were presented in two poster sessions. We were able to attract a set of renowned invited speakers: Julia Vorholt, ETH Zürich, Switzerland; Tom Curtis, Newcastle University, UK; Christian Kost, MPI Jena, Germany; Eberhard Morgenroth, ETH Zürich/Eawag, Switzerland; Dani Or, ETH Zürich, Switzerland; Kornelia Smalla, Julius Kühn-Institut Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Crops, Germany; and Roman Stocker, ETH Zürich. A poster prize (sponsored through the ISME ambassador program) was awarded after review of the posters by a panel. The prize for the winning Poster “Pore scale segregation of microbial populations under oxygen and nutrient gradients” by Benedict Borer, O. Ilie, R. Tecon and D. Or was awarded at the conclusion of the conference.
The meeting provided a great look at the vibrant microbial ecology research community in Switzerland, and a great opportunity to meet some leading national and international scientists in a very personal setting. The meeting provided ample opportunity for scientific discussions and social exchange at joint coffee breaks, meals, and drinks.


Impressions from SME 2015: