symposium Assisted Evolution

a novel tool to overcome the conservation crisis?

In order to address the ongoing biodiversity crisis there is a recent debate whether or not biologists should consider new means of protection and conservation. This symposium aims to discuss the legal, social, ethical and scientific baseline underlying shifting paradigms in conservation and the role of human assistance to enhance organisms' resistance to future changes.


  • 9:00 Welcome and intro by the organizers

Session 1: Shifting paradigms in conservation: social, public and scientific landscape of conservation genetics

Objective: The aim of session 1 is to (i) discuss new approaches for the conservation of natural environments, such as assisted colonization, assisted evolution and synthetic biology and (ii) introduce the current legal, public and scientific framework of novel methods in conservation.

  • 9:15 Phil Seddon, Dunedin, New Zealand
    A history of assisted colonization: IUCN Guidelines and the growing need to consider risky conservation translocation
  • 10:00 Kent H. Redford, Portland, Maine, USA
    The role of Synthetic Biology in conserving the new nature
  • 10:45 Coffee break
  • 11:15 Dirk Petersen, Bremen, Germany
    Coral reef restoration in a changing environment
  • 12:00 Lunch buffet

Session 2: Assisted evolution in corals: Opportunities, applications, challenges, and limitations

Objective: The aim is to introduce how assisted evolution might change our way of restoring natural marine environments. What new tools are available that can improve the selection of environmental stress resistance and be implemented in conservation? What are the promises and perils of such approaches?

  • 13:00 Iliana Baums, State College, Pennsylvania, USA
    Coral conservation genetics in a changing climate
  • 13:45 Madeleine van Oppen, Melbourne/Townsville, Australia
    How assisted evolution and synthetic biology can help address the coral reef crisis
  • 14:30 Coffee break
  • 15:00 James Guest, Newcastle, UK
    Assisting coral reef survival in the face of climate change
  • 15:45 Joint discussion - chairs: Thorsten Reusch & Marlene Wall
  • 17:15 End of symposium


Thursday 7 December, 2017
9:00 - 18:00


Zoological Museum
Hegewischstraße 3
24105 Kiel


Marlene Wall
Thorsten Reusch


Symposium Flyer PDF