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From living reefs... fossil reefs

Made in Austria?

A Workshop!

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From living reefs...

In 1842, Charles Darwin was astonished by the “vast rings of coral-rock, often many leagues in diameter”, the coral reefs, built by “apparently insignificant creatures”, the corals. Not much later, still in the 19th century, these iconic ecosystems were already surveyed by oceanographic expeditions directed by the Austrian Academy of Sciences, such as the Red Sea “Pola” expedition of 1895-1898, which resulted in vast collections that are still exhibited to the public at the Natural History Museum in Vienna. With the invention of SCUBA diving and the popularization of underwater survey lead by Hans and Lotte Hass in the 20th century, coral reefs’ universal beauty and incredible biodiversity was brought to the eyes of the general public.

Anchor 2 fossil reefs

Surprisingly, reefs are just beneath us, forming vast tracts of Austrian mountain slopes, built throughout millions of years of accretion, based on corals, rudists or oysters. These have been the objects of study by Austrian scientists for many years. Moreover, scientists based in Austria have established collaborative networks throughout the world, allowing them to promptly visit many living reefs in different oceans, and to active contribute to their study and conservation. 

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Made in Austria?

Even though Austria is a land-locked country, reef science made in Austria has spanned a wide-range of research fields, from geology and paleontology, to behavioural biology and microbial ecology, with surprising output importance and impact considering the relatively small group of scientists doing reef science in (or based in) Austria. Still, there are neither strong multidisciplinary links between these scientists, nor long-lasting research or study programs, nor permanent collaborations established between Austrian institutions that study reefs. 

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A Workshop!

In order to pick up on this geological, biological and historical legacy, it is time for all entities, researchers and students involved with reef science to gather, establish synergies and discuss new perspectives on the role of this scientific community. Therefore we propose a workshop for all of you who are interested in living or fossil reefs, to come together, discuss each other’s findings, socialize and create new bonds and synergies, intended to bring new light on reef science made in Austria, and ultimate to contribute to reef conservation. The scientific session of the workshop will take place at the Natural History Museum Vienna on 28 October 2015, and a social event will follow on 29 October at the "Haus des Meeres - Aqua Terra Zoo", in Vienna.

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