ParAqua Conference 

ParAqua Conference 

“Applications for zoosporic parasites in aquatic systems” 

From the 15th to 17th of April, 2024, the first ParAqua Conference was held in Dubrovnik, Croatia, organised by our Action Science Communication Coordinator Ana Gavrilović. The event took place at the Student Center. The Conferenece started on April, 15th in the afternoon, after the MC-Network Meeting.  Thirty participants were attending on-site, while twenty followed the program online, via Zoom.

Student Center Dubrovnik where the meeting and conference were held

The first day started with a warm welcome from our Action chair, Serena Rasconi, and local organizing committee, Ana Gavrilović, Jurica Jug-Dujaković, Tena Radočaj, Laura Garzoli, and Oliver Barić. After welcome words, we had a pleasure of hearing the first keynote talk given by Rade Garić from the Institute for Marine and Coastal Research from Dubrovnik entitled “Investigations of plankton dynamics in the open South Adriatic in the last decades“.

The start of first day’s meeting

After Rade’s talk, the technical visit to the Institute located in St. John’s Fortress in the historical centre of Dubrovnik was organized. Rade Garić showed us the Institute for Marine and Coastal Research facilities and  their impressive zooplankton collection, as well as a beautiful aquarium owned by Institute. 

Rade Garić showing us the Institute for Marine and Coastal Research facilities; The zooplankton collection room; Aquarium in Dubrovnik; A camera friendly cuttlefish

After the visit to the University facilities, we had a guided tour of the city, where we enjoyed learning about Dubrovnik’s rich history.

Group photo in front of fort Lovrijenac

Networking continued in the evening during the organised dinner in a traditional restaurant in the Old City.

Gabriel and Veronica in the middle of a heated debate with Antonio and Cristina; Cheers!

On the second day, the ParAqua conference started. It started with a keynote presentation by Claire Gachon entitled „The physiology and ecoanthropology of algal pathogens in a rapidly changing world“. Afterwards, we had 25 lectures divided into three sessions: „Algal production“, „Algal parasites“, and „Companies and SMEs contribution to ParAqua“.

In the evening we met up in a restaurant where we continued discussing and sharing a few laughs (and beers).

On the third day, the ParAqua conference continued with a keynote presentation by Luisa Gouveia entitled “Scale-up, Biorefineries and Sustainability of Microalgae Production”. We had nine more presentations divided into two sessions: „Challenges in algal production“ and „Overview off different parasites“. In the afternoon, we had a workshop on Gender Equality Plan and World Cafe activity organized by Bas Ibelings and Wejdene Gongi, where we were discussing very important and sensitive subjects.

Slawek is outnumbered in a gender equality discussion; When Laura speaks about gender equality everyone listens

Trying Antonio’s microalgae snacks after a long day of lectures

At the end of the third day, Serena Rasconi, Ana Gavrilović, and the rest of the local organizing committee concluded our ParAqua MC-Network Meeting and Conference, and thanked all those who attended both on-site and online.

Serena Rasconi and Ana Gavrilović give a closing statement along with the rest of local organizing committee

After three very eventful days spent in a beautiful city with hardworking and friendly peple, those of us that remained in Dubrovnik met up in the evening in a Mexican restaurant and enjoyed a nice final dinner together.

Group photo from the last dinner in Dubrovnik

Collection of pictures from the Meeting. Produced by Elena Panariello supported by a VM Grant

Video of the visit to Dubrovnik Aquarium produced by Elena Panariello supported by a VM Grant

O. Barić


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