Microbes in their natural setting evolve various survival strategies that dominate their interactions with the surrounding organisms and environment.  On an individualistic level, they employ adaptive tactics that help them maximize their growth in changing environmental conditions. However they also display cooperative or antagonistic traits with neighboring species that influence at a community level.
Illustration: Canva

This session calls for the researchers to exhibit their work on strategies used by microbes to colonize the environment, bet hedge, and manifest various genotypes and phenotypes in the population.

Such strategies are important to consider since they lead to increased fitness and also assist in forming interactive communities like microcolonies and biofilms. It also provides an opportunity to discuss work on microbial applications to the environment in the form of bioremediation and biogeochemical cycles.

Prof. Linda Blackall —​ University of Melbourne, Australia​

Portrait of Linda Blackall Portrait of Linda Blackall Image: Linda Blackall

Director of the Environmental Microbiology Research Centre and Professor of Environmental Microbiology in the School of BioSciences at the University of Melbourne.

She has recently been elected to the Australian Academy of Science and recognised for pioneering work that revealed microbes and their functions in natural and engineered systems. She discovered microbial contributions to practical aspects of water, wastewater and solid-waste treatment, leading to improvements in treatment and energy savings. Blackall's work with host associated microbes has explained animal conditions, including equine and ruminant gut upsets, and she has investigated microbes involved in coral larval settlement and bleaching. She has empowered diverse practitioners in the application of microbial ecology methods to solve real-world problems.

Environment I session
March 30, 9:10–9.55 am CEST

Prof. Sara Hallin —​ Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences​, Sweden

Portrait of Sara Hallin Portrait of Sara Hallin Image: Sara Hallin


Professor and chair in Soil Microbiology at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences since 2012.

Her research area is microbial ecology of bacteria and archaea, especially those involved in nitrogen cycling. Her research spans several environments and systems, including different terrestrial ecosystems such as agricultural and arctic soils, wetlands, aquatic environments and engineered systems. She is internationally known for her work on the ecology and genomics of denitrifying and nitrous oxide reducing microorganisms. Currently, she is continuing her research on nitrogen cycling ecology with the aim to understand relationships between the ecology of microbial communities, the biogeochemical processes they perform and the corresponding ecosystem functions.

Environment II session
March 31, 3:30–4:15 pm CEST