Dr. Manuel Maldonado. Center for Advanced Studies of Blanes (CEAB), Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Blanes, Spain. Dr. Maldonado is a Senior CSIC scientist with a major interest on Marine Benthic Ecology and processes of Benthic-Pelagic Coupling. Among his various research lines, he is deeply involved with the quantification of silicon fluxes through sponge communities, aiming to improve the current understanding of how these organisms impact on the marine silicon cycle at the local, regional and global scales.

SCIENTIFIC COMMITTEE (alphabetical order)

Prof. Philip Barker. Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK. Professor Barker is Deputy Director of Lancaster Environment Centre, one of Europe's largest interdisciplinary centres of environmental research. He was one of the founding members of IBiS, hosted the first meeting and has continued as a convenor of subsequent IBiS activities. His research on silica has focussed on the exploration of stable isotopes in freshwater diatoms. Initial work concerned oxygen isotopes applied to palaeoclimate questions, then silicon isotopes and most recently carbon and nitrogen isotopes from frustule proteins. He has also published on Quaternary-scale changes in the silica cycle. The majority of his work has been on tropical systems especially in Africa.

Prof. Daniel Conley. Faculty of Science. Lund University. Research by Prof. Conley is focused on the biogeochemical cycles of nutrients, especially Si, and the linkages between land and aquatic ecosystems. Massive amount of amorphous silica accumulates on land in soils from deposition of plant phytoliths and in marshes delaying the export of weathering products from the landscape to aquatic ecosystems. He is interested in long-term trends driven by climate and nutrients and how ecosystems respond to changes in the drivers. Prof. Conley uses paleoecological techniques and analysis of long term monitoring data to help manage aquatic ecosystems. Recently, his research has focused on thresholds in aquatic ecosystems where ecosystems undergo a regime shift to an alternative state.

Dr. Kate Hendry. University of Bristol, Bristol, UK. Dr. Hendry is a Royal Society University Research Fellow in the School of Earth Sciences, Bristol, and a member of the Bristol Isotope Group. Her research focuses on the application of isotope geochemistry to understanding the marine silicon cycle in the high latitudes, from biomineralisation in silicifiers, notably stable isotope systems (e.g. Si, O, Zn, Ge) in deep-sea sponges, to modern silicon cycling in seawater and palaeoceanography. She is a director of Antarctic Science Ltd, a representative of the UK National Committee of Antarctic Research, and a committee member of the Geochemistry Group of the Geological Society of London.

Prof. Melanie Leng. University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK. Professor Leng is the Stable Isotope Facility manager within the NERC Isotope Geosciences Facilities, a Science Director at the British Geological Survey, and Professor of Isotope Geosciences at the University of Nottingham. She leads environmental research within the Stable Isotope Facility, which is a national centre of excellence in isotope research and specialises in environmental studies. Leng developed the diatom oxygen and silicon analytical system at BGS and has been involved with the development of cleaning protocols for a number of years. Leng co-convenes IBiS (the Isotopes in Biogenic Silica working group) and was one of the founding members of the IBiS community.

Dr. Aude Leynaert. European Institute for Marine Studies, Université de Bretagne Occidentale, Brest, France. Dr. Leynaert is interested on silicon from both ecological and biogeochemical perspectives. She investigates the biogeochemical cycle of silica in coastal ecosystem and in open oceans, with a focus on the role of diatoms in carbon export to higher trophic levels and towards the deep ocean (biological pump of CO2). Dr. Leynaert seeks to quantify the level of silica production (mainly based on the use of the radioactive isotope 32Si), and to understand the mechanisms that control diatoms growth in the sea. More recently, she has become interested on the study of benthic and epontic diatoms in coastal and polar zones to better understand their role in the carbon and silicon cycles, and their coupling / decoupling with phytoplankton and the pelagic compartment.

Dr. Katsuhiko Shimizu. Organization for Regional Industrial Academic Cooperation. Tottori University, Tottori, Japan. Dr. Shimizu, as a biochemist and molecular biologist, focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms controlling silicon biomineralization in sponges for the development of novel, environmentally benign routes for manufacturing silicon based inorganic-organic composite materials. He is a pioneer in identification of a protein, silicatein, occluded in silica structure of the demosponge Tethya aurantium and discovering the protein as a catalyst for hydrolysis of silicon alcoxides and polymerization of silica or organosilicon molecules. Recently, he reached another milestone: identication of a protein named glassin in biosilica of the hexactinellid sponge Euplectella, and demonstration that the protein acceralates silica polymerization. In addition, his discovery of the fluoroscent silica tracer contributes to a wide range of marine biologists and marine ecologists for labeling silica-producing organisms.

Dr. Eric Struyf. University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium. He has made significant contributions to the understanding that biological and ecosystem processes can control terrestrial Si fluxes. He was the first showing the importance of wetlands as biological Si filters. He was also a pioneer in initiating studies on the effect of human land use changes on terrestrial Si dynamics, especially deforestation and cultivation of the landscape. He presented an entirely novel conceptual model for the changing dynamics of Si biogeochemistry after cultivation of the landscape. In recent years, the team of Dr. Struyf has made significant advances in the methodology for biogenic Si analysis, especially focused on separating biogenic Si from other reactive Si phases. Eric Struyf has authored multiple review papers on different aspects of the terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem Si cycling.

Prof. Paul Tréguer. European Institute for Marine Studies, Université de Bretagne Occidentale, Brest, France. Prof. Tréguer is the founder of European Institute for Marine Studies. Three major discoveries and papers with sustained scientific impact paved his marine silica roadmap. A world premiere for the use of the radio-isotope ß-emitter 32Si for the measurement of the production of biogenic silica (Tréguer et al., Limnol. & Oceanogr., 1991), which made easier and more accurate the measurement of the production of biogenic silica by diatoms. A re-estimate of the silica budget and fluxes published in Science by Tréguer et al. 1995. This silica budget, with its exploration of reservoirs, processes, sources, and sinks in the silica cycle, has provided context and information fundamental to study of the silica cycle to many scientists. In 2013, co-working with Christina De La Rocha, he revisited the world ocean silica cycle in the modern ocean to discuss the steady state hypothesis (Tréguer & De La Rocha, Ann. Rev. Mar. Sci., 2013).



Marta García-Puig (CEAB-CSIC). Ph.D. student under supervision of Dr. Maldonado. She is researching on population dynamics of the gorgonian Ellisella paraplexauroides, with emphasis in isotopic calibrations to determine growth rates and age.

María López-Acosta (CEAB-CSIC). Ph.D. student under supervision of Dr. Maldonado. She is investigating Si fluxes through sponge communities, with emphasis on the most ill-known steps.

Cèlia Sitjà (CEAB-CSIC). Ph.D. student under supervision of Dr. Maldonado. She is investigating biodiversity and biogeography of the deep-water sponge fauna at the connection between the Atlantic Ocean (Ibero-Moroccan Gulf) and the Western Mediterranean (Alboran Sea).



- Ramon Coma (CEAB-CSIC). CSIC Staff Technician.

- Xavier Roijals (CEAB-CSIC). CSIC Staff Technician.