Dr Gabrielle Zammit, a Resident Academic at the Department of Biology, was invited, earlier this November, to deliver the opening lecture at the fourth edition of the European Conference on the Biodeterioration of Stone Monuments (ECBSM-2020).
The conference was organised by the Cergy Paris Université, in collaboration with the Universita’ degli Studi di Milano and the Universita’ di Roma Tor Vergata.
Dr Zammit’s lecture entitled ‘The role of contemporary biologists in heritage conservation’, involved a discussion of the fast evolution of new methodologies in this interdisciplinary science throughout her experience over the past fifteen years, as well as future challenges and prospects. She was subsequently invited to Chair a conference session entitled ‘Ecology of Microorganisms colonising Stone Monuments’, during which colleagues from all over the world provided a better understanding of the microbial biodiversity and interaction with archaeological surfaces.
During October, Dr Zammit also presented at another congress, Limnología 2020 ‘Limnology in a changing world’, organised by the Iberian Association of Limnology (AIL) and the Iberoamerican Associations of Limnology. This conference represented the XX Congress of the Iberian Association of Limnology (AIL-2020) and the III Iberoamerican Congress of Limnology (CIL-2020). The research, entitled ‘Monitoring the response of Maltese microalgae to climate variability’, was co-authored by Kristina Fenech, a postgraduate student reading for a Master of Science in Cross-Disciplinary Science at the University of Malta. The study described the unique biological and chemical response of various cyanobacterial and microalgal strains and considerations on how Maltese microbes are equipped to deal with stresses of temperature, ultraviolet and carbon dioxide resulting from global climate change.
Both conferences were held remotely in view of the ongoing pandemic and provided a unique opportunity for European scientists to connect with colleagues from China, Mexico, the US, India and Pakistan, amongst others.
These research studies were conducted at the Microbiology Lab and the Laboratory of Applied Phycology and were supported by the Chemistry Department, the Allied Research Unit and the Centre for Molecular Medicine and Biobanking of the University of Malta.