GGBN Conference 2018
Biological diversity, or biodiversity, is broadly defined as the variety of life on Earth. Almost two million species have now been identified worldwide, but the actual number of species is estimated to be between 10 and 30 million. This vast amount of biodiversity is an essential provider of ecosystem goods and services. However, despite the important role biodiversity plays in our lives, it is currently experiencing severe genetic erosion due to our unsustainable activities. The exponential loss of genetic diversity throughout the world has led to initiatives to conserve biodiversity inside (in situ) and outside (ex situ) their natural habitats. Particularly the latter is an important strategy, since very often original habitats are also under threat.
Formed in October 2011, the Global Genome Biodiversity Network (GGBN) is an international network of 68 institutions that share an interest in long-term preservation of genomic samples representing the diversity of non-human life on Earth. GGBN provides a platform for biodiversity repositories from across the world to collaborate, ensuring quality standards for DNA and tissue collections, standards for genomic samples, improving best practices for the preservation and use of such collections, and harmonizing the exchange of material in accordance with national and international legislation and conventions. The preservation of the genomic diversity of the Tree of Life is a monumental and interdisciplinary task, grander than any one institution can manage alone. GGBN meets this challenge through a worldwide network of biodiversity repositories.
With its third international conference “GGBN 2018” taking place in Vienna from May 22nd to 25th, GGBN along with the accompanying organizing institutions will focus on topics related to the exploration of the wealth of diversity that is currently stored in biodiversity biobanks worldwide. Surrounding the main theme of “The International Day for Biological Diversity” proclaimed by the United Nations, sessions will cover agricultural, forest and environmental biodiversity and their characterization by state-of-the-art genomic, phenomic and molecular tools. This characterization process is a substantial part of any long-term strategy to ensure the preservation of biodiversity and thereby to secure the foundation for subsistence of mankind.
In addition, a session open to the public (in German) is dedicated to familiarize the Austrian public with the current issues and challenges Austrian biodiversity is facing. With this session we intend to educate a wider public and to increase the awareness of the importance of biodiversity in each person’s daily life. This will be finalized by a panel discussion in which different stakeholders will discuss the value and future of Austria’s biodiversity. Additionally diverse social events like guided tours through Zoo Schönbrunn, the oldest zoo in the world, or through Vienna’s Museum of Natural History, or the city center will be offered. The conference dinner will be held at Town Hall.
The GGBN international conference will be of interest for different stakeholders ranging from academia to industry and the public sector. We hope that you will join this international event to discuss the most recent findings on biodiversity conservation, analysis and function. We look forward to welcoming you in Vienna from May 22nd to 25th, 2018.