British Phycological Society Meetings

The meetings of the British Phycological Society are held annually at various venues in Britain and Ireland.

Please note that after much debate, we have decided to return to having the BPS annual meeting in January, though in the 2nd week of January and not immediately following New Year as before.

BPS 66th Annual Meeting - Southend, Essex

Monday 8th to Thursday 11th January 2018 - Radisson Park Inn, Southend

The programme (see below or here for a PDF) for the 66th BPS Annual Meeting in Southend, Essex is now taking shape. With arrivals from afternoon on Monday, 8th January and departures after lunchtime on Thursday 11th January, a full programme is planned.

Arrivals of Monday 8th January, with registration and poster set up.

Monday evening: Workshop on the BPS Algal Recording Scheme. Organiser: Prof. Martin Wilkinson, Heriot-Watt University. Over the years BPS members have recorded many species distributions in the British Isles. Why have we bothered? What has it and can it tell us? The Society now has a website to tackle both seaweed and freshwater algal recording in a modern, efficient way - and this session will demonstrate how to use this website. We will also briefly look at what the results may tell us and experts will be on hand to advise and encourage those of you who find identification daunting or think that it is not for you.

Monday evening: Organiser: Paul Cherry, Student BPS Council Representative. All student members are invited to an informal meet-and-greet event on Monday 8th January (location TBC). We hope this student session will provide an opportunity for introductions, discussion, and a social space, upon arrival to the conference.

Tuesday 9th to Thursday 11th January.

There will be three special sessions (see below), and general phycology sessions (all with options for offered oral and poster presentations), presentations from PhD students for the annually awarded BPS Manton Prize, the Presidential Address from the current BPS President, Dr. Gill Malin (University of East Anglia), the BPS AGM and Annual Dinner.

Special sessions:

1. Applied freshwater research. Chair: Dr Rupert Perkins (Cardiff University / DCWW (Welsh Water)).
This session will focus on freshwater algal research driven by stakeholder engagement. Water supply resilience, and the impacts of increasing algal blooms due to climate change, are one of the major challenges affecting society, yet awareness by academia of what the water supply industry needs to prevent algal associated water supply incidents is often lacking. Conversely, awareness within industry of what academia can offer regarding an understanding of algae, their productivity, ecology and physiology, and how this information can support evidence based management is also often lacking. This session will combine presentations by both sectors on current and predicted needs as well as current industry driven research, with the aim of inspiring collaborative research on algal ecology, physiology and management.
Invited speaker 1. Dr Phillippa Pearson, Catchments Manager at DCWW. Title to be confirmed.
Invited speaker 2. Prof. Penny Johns, University of Bristol, title "Catchment drivers of nutrient enrichment: the need for holistic science to underpin effective management and policy".

2. Mapping, conserving and sustainably exploiting seaweed genetic resources in blue biotechnology. Chair: Dr Claire Gachon (Scottish Association for Marine Science, Oban).
Seaweed cultivation is growing rapidly in the UK and across the world. Tying back with the founding mission of the British Phycological Society to record the UK seaweed diversity, this timely session brings an international and interdisciplinary perspective to the challenges and potential benefits associated with the cultivation and biotechnological exploitation of seaweeds. The topics covered will include genetic resources, seaweed genomics, biobanking and taxonomy, conservation, as well as opportunities for socio-economic development.
Invited speaker 1. Dr Elizabeth Cottier-Cook, Scottish Association for Marine Science. Title to be confirmed.
Invited speaker 2. Dr Mark Cock, Station Biologique de Roscoff. Title to be confirmed.

3. Third Microphytobenthic Biofilm Symposium. Chairs: Prof. Graham Underwood, Dr Claire Passarelli (University of Essex)
Following successful meetings in Amsterdam (2003) and La Rochelle (2011), this meeting will bring together researchers from Europe and beyond to discuss the advance in research on microphytobenthic biofilms in tidal flats. This meeting will provide an opportunity for professionals and students to be updated on state-of-the art research on these important coastal systems, to continue or initiate collaborations in Europe and define the main research priorities in this field for the next few years. The Symposium will be held over 2 days, with invited lectures from Prof. Peter Kroth, University of Konstanz, and Dr Joanne Oakes, Southern Cross University, New South Wales, Australia. The invited speakers provide a cutting edge perspective on bacteria-algal interactions, including species-species interactions, chemical ecology and isotope tracing approaches to resolving carbon and nitrogen cycles in biofilms from tropical, temperate and high latitude systems, that are revolutionising our understanding of these microbial processes. Topics being covered include microbial physiology, ecology, diversity, microbial interactions, and their relationship to ecosystem functioning.
Invited speaker 1. Prof. Peter Kroth, U. of Konstanz, Germany. "Bacterial - diatom interactions in freshwater biofilms".
Invited speaker 2. Dr Joanne Oakes, Southern Cross University, Queensland, Australia. "Processing and fate of carbon and nitrogen in phototrophic biofilms from tropical, temperate and high latitude environments".

Registration and other details

Registration will open soon, with submission of abstracts for oral and poster presentations. Please check the BPS website for updates.

Registration fee: £90 for BPS members, £110 for non-members of BPS.
A late registration surcharge will apply. Registration allows for submission of abstracts, and includes abstract booklet, lunch on Tues, Weds, Thursday, and tea/coffee breaks Tuesday to Thursday, Taylor and Francis sponsored evening reception on Tuesday 9th.

The BPS Annual Dinner will take place on Thursday 10th January. Cost approximately £30 per head. Three course dinner and entertainment/dancing.

Financial support for student members of BPS will be possible, see here for more information.


We have negotiated excellent value for money rates for Bed and Breakfast in the Hotel with room options also available Thursday night if delegates wish to stay another day.

Single occupancy £50 per person per night, including breakfast.
Double or twin occupancy rooms, £60 per room per night, including breakfast (so £30 per person). £10 sea view supplement per room. Please note: Accommodation will be booked by delegates directly with the Park Inn Hotel. Details how to do this will be provided through the registration process.


Southend, Essex, has an airport (mainly Easyjet, Flybe) with Europe links (Amsterdam, Paris, Rennes, Caen, Faro, Barcelona, etc), plus easy access to London (to connect to Stansted, London City, Heathrow, etc).

Two train lines run from London Liverpool Street to Southend Victoria, and from London Fenchurch Street to Southend Central.

Southend is on the north bank of the Thames Estuary. The Thames shore contains mudflats and muddy sandflats, sand and seagrass beds, plus all the traditional seaside activities and the longest pleasure pier in the world (1.34 miles (2.16 km) long).

We hope to see many of you in January 2018 in Essex (one of the sunniest and driest counties of England)!

Graham J C. Underwood, Claire Passarelli,

Joint BPS / Quekett Microscopical Society field meeting

Windermere, 15-17 September 2017.

A joint meeting of the Quekett Microscopical Society and the British Phycological Society will take place in Windermere and Far Sawrey, Cumbria on the weekend of 15-17 September. The meeting will combine field visits, laboratory time and talks. We plan to focus our attention on desmid-rich “Important Plant Areas” (IPAs) in the Lake District, but will be watching out for interesting specimens from all algal groups. Experts will be on hand to identify your specimens and Quekett members have a fund of knowledge and experience of all matters microscopical, so this is a great opportunity to learn about freshwater algae and microscopy in an informal setting.

The weekend costs £70 including lunches and one evening meal but excluding accommodation. Some suggestions for accommodation are included in the circular and more are listed in the FBA’s accommodation list. Places are limited to just 20 people, so early sign-up is recommended. Partners are welcome and can be accommodated at evening activities. Students who are eligible will be able to apply for support from the BPS.

More information (PDF).

Past meetings - The 2017 Winter Meeting

Our last meeting, the 65th Meeting of the British Phycological Society 11th to 13th January 2017, was a great success. It was hosted by Andrew Davies and the Ocean Sciences coordinating team at Bangor University. You can find further information at

Student Prizes and Awards

The Irène Manton (1904-1988, right) Prize is awarded at the Winter Meeting each year for the best student presentation. There is also a Student Poster Competition. The criteria for these awards are laid out in a downloadable PDF available by clicking on the link below.