Welcome to Plants from Sea to Sky. Our conference is hosted by the Department of Botany at the University of British Columbia (UBC) Vancouver, and is a joint meeting of two professional societies: The Canadian Society of Plant Biologists (CSPB) and the Canadian Society for Horticultural Science (CSHS).
The theme Plants from Sea to Sky reflects our location as well as the scientific content. The UBC Point Grey campus is on traditional and unceded territory of the Musqueam people, at the edge of the Salish Sea. Directly north, where the Coastal Mountains rise from the ocean, is the Sea-to-Sky corridor, which stretches along Howe Sound towards Squamish, Whistler and beyond. Matching this dramatic geographical transition, our research presentations will focus on organisms ranging from seaweeds to trees, and include diverse model systems, such as microalgae, crop plants, and wild species.
I am delighted to welcome as co-chair Karen Tanino, the President of the Canadian Society for Horticultural Science (CSHS). The fusion of CSPB and CSHS for this occasion enriches our scientific programs and will stimulate opportunities for new friendships and collaborations. Nine CSHS invited speakers (Simone Castellarin, Kate Congreves, Bourlaye Fofana, Valerie Gravel, Lee Kalcsits, Andrew McElrone, Praveen Saxena, Raju Soolanayakanahally and Helen Tai) are keynote speakers in the concurrent sessions. CSHS’s workshop on July 4, Linking to BC Horticulture, will be a forum to promote dialogue between industry and scientists, and the post-conference “farm tour”, will highlight the importance of Horticulture in lower mainland British Columbia. Both of these events have been coordinated by local organizing committee member Simone Castellarin.
Headlining our conference are nine internationally recognized plant scientists who will be presenting the plenary lectures. They include Elliot Meyerowitz from Caltech, Siobhan Braybrook from the Sainsbury Laboratories, Cambridge UK, Cara Haney from UBC, CD Nelson Award winner Sophia Stone from Dalhousie, Sabeeha Merchant from UCLA, Mathew Bracken from UC Irvine, Yves Desjardins from Laval University, Harry Klee from the University of Florida and Andrew Groover from UC Davis and the USDA. I am very grateful to each of these speakers for accepting the invitation to attend our meeting.
In addition to the plenary lectures, we will feature 120 poster presentations and 100 short seminars. The poster sessions will be held right after the morning plenary talks on Wednesday and Thursday and clustered thematically. The 16 concurrent seminar sessions will be divided into 4 groups on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons. We are offering live streaming of the plenary seminars and video recording of the concurrent sessions. This will enable delegates to view some of the seminars that they were unable to attend in real time. This year’s CSPB Education Forum takes on the issue of Cannabis in the Classroom. Dr Mathias Schuetz from Kwantlen Polytechnic University will discuss the challenges of developing education programs aimed at cannabis cultivation for this emerging multi-billion dollar industry.
Plants from Sea to Sky honours the career and contributions of Professor Carl Douglas, whose death in a mountain climbing accident one year ago shocked and saddened our research community. Carl was a former president of CSPB, long-standing member of the CSPB executive, and won the 2016 Gifford Award in Tree Physiology. To commemorate his many scientific accomplishments, we are holding a special symposium on the morning of Friday July 7.
Several workshops including CSHS’s Linking to BC Horticulture will complement our scientific program. Many thanks to Shrikaar Kambhampathi, the CSPB student/postdoctoral representative for organizing two career workshops, Road to Success in an academic world on Tuesday afternoon and Fork in the road: A guide to your post-PhD career on Wednesday at noon. In addition, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council will be hosting a grant-funding workshop on Thursday at noon.
Organizing the scientific program and coordinating the events of this meeting has been a huge team effort. I am very grateful to have had the advice of my co-chair Karen Tanino, continual input from members of the local organizing committee, and support from the CSPB and CSHS executives. I am thankful to the many colleagues who have stepped up to chair sessions or to serve as judges for the student poster and seminar presentation awards. Numerous essential tasks have been carried out by staff members of the UBC Department of Botany, and for this I acknowledge the generous support of the Department Head Sean Graham. I am especially grateful for the expert assistance and hard work of Isabel Ferens (Botany Admin Support), our IT support crew Sean Shang and John Ng, and our amazing crew of student and post-doctoral volunteers.
I extend huge thanks to our many academic and corporate sponsors. Their financial and in-kind support are essential for supporting our invited speakers, keeping our registrations costs low and, in particular, for funding student and post-doctoral travel bursaries. Our industry sponsors offer services and instruments essential to our research and publishing, so please visit their display booths and webpages.
I thank all of you for attending Plants from Sea to Sky. Your ideas, enthusiasm and energy are essential for the meeting’s success. I hope that your days here will be inspiring and enjoyable.
Geoffrey Wasteneys (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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