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The Microbiology Society are proud to be working with the International Society of Testate Amoeba Researchers (ISTAR) to deliver the 9th International Symposium on Testate Amoebae (ISTA9): Recent Advances and Future Research Priorities in Belfast this September.

This meeting will not only bring together researchers working in the wide range of environments where testate amoebae occur (soils, peatlands, lakes, saltmarshes, caves etc) but will aim, via thematic sessions and discussions, to strengthen links within the research community (e.g. between ecologists, palaeoecologists, molecular and functional ecologists) and will provide a platform, via a taxonomic workshop, to integrate the results of recent phylogenetic work with traditional taxonomic approaches.

Since the last meeting there have been many significant research advances (e.g. in phylogenetics, in the field of testate-amoeba inferred climate change) and an increased understanding of the importance of protists in microbial food webs. The meeting will promote discussion on these themes and invited speakers covering these topics will be targeted.   

As with previous meetings, ISTA9 will include a mixture of leading and early career researchers to help stimulate lively discussions and widen participation.

If you have any issues when attempting to register for this event, please contact [email protected]

Confirmed Speakers:

  • Bob Booth (Lehigh University, USA)
  • Stefan Geisen (Netherlands Institute of Ecology, The Netherlands) 
  • Fiona Henriquez (University of the West of Scotland, UK)
  • Daniel Lahr (University of São Paulo, Brazil) 
  • Katarzyna Marcisz (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poland) 
  • Caroline Meyer (Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, France) 
  • Timothy Patterson (Carleton University, Canada) 

Organising committee:

  • Helen Roe (Queen’s University Belfast, UK)
  • Andrew Macumber (Queen’s University Belfast, UK)
  • Graeme Swindles (University of Leeds, UK)
  • Stephen Prentice (Queen's University Belfast, UK)

Abstract submission deadline:
6 July 2018

Decisions on abstracts will be given on - or soon after - 13 July.

Grants deadline:
19 July 2018

Early bird rate ends:
12 August 2018

If you would like to register your interest or have an inquiry, please email [email protected]

Follow us on Twitter @MicrobioSoc

Updates on the 9th International Symposium on Testate Amoebae can be found using the hashtag: #ISTA9

Image: H. Roe & F. Iacoviello.




Lecture View

Tuesday 11 September

Wednesday 12 September

Thursday 13 September

Abstracts & Posters

Abstract submission is now closed.

Decisions on abstracts will be given on - or soon after - 13 July.

Abstracts are welcome under the following topics:

  1. Ecology and Bioindication
  2. Palaeoecology and Palaeoclimatology
  3. Role of testate amoabae in microbial foodwebs and nutrient cycling
  4. Phylogeny and Biogeography
  5. Functional traits, morphometrics and novel analytical approaches
  6. Taxonomic Advances and Future Challenges

Abstracts on other aspects of testate amoeba research or on allied microbial groups are also welcome.

Abstracts must be submitted through the Oxford Abstracts system. Both members and non-members of the Microbiology Society are welcome to submit an abstract. Once submissions are closed, these will be reviewed by the scientific committee members and you will be informed of the outcome directly. By submitting an abstract to this conference, you are indicating to the session organisers your commitment to attend the event.

Abstract guidance

Abstracts should be a maximum of 250 words. The Society has produced a guide to give delegates some tips from the scientific committee on how to write a great abstract, which can be downloaded below:

How to... write a great abstract

Please note that the abstract is the only information the scientific committee use when deciding whether to accept your work for presentation as an offered oral or poster. If accepted, it will also be published in the abstract book for the conference – so think carefully about what needs to be included.


Those who are presenting a poster must ensure the work is presented as below. We cannot accommodate incorrectly formatted posters during the conference.

  • Poster Size: A0 size 841mm(w) x 1189mm(h) – your poster must not exceed these measurements
  • Poster layout can be portrait or landscape orientation
  • Posters will be displayed on poster boards measuring 1219 mm (w) x 1219 mm (h), one to a side
  • Posters can ONLY be fixed by Velcro (provided at conference)
  • Your poster number will be sent one month prior to the conference

What's included in your registration fee?

  • Admission to all scientific sessions
  • Full access to scientific poster sessions
  • Lunch on conference days
  • Tea and coffee breaks
  • A delegate bag and conference material
  • A conference programme guide
  • Access to an online poster abstract book
  • Certificate of attendance (available after the conference)
  • Important networking opportunities
  • A drinks reception and outreach event at the Ulster Museum (Tuesday 11 September)
  • A drinks reception at Belfast City Hall (Wednesday 12 September)
  • One conference dinner at Belfast City Hall (Wednesday 12 September)
  • An end of conference evening at Riddel Hall (Thursday 13 September)

If you have any issues when attempting to register for this event, please contact [email protected]

Registration categories

Early bird rate
Available until 12 August 2018

Full price rate
Non-member £400 £420
Full member (Including honorary and full concessionary)  £275 £295
Student member (Postgraduate & Undergraduate) £175 £195

Registration confirmation

Upon registration you will receive an automated confirmation email. Please contact [email protected] if after 24 hours this has not been received.

Visa applications

If you need a letter of invitation for a visa application, we will be happy to supply this after we have received full payment. To find out if you need a visa to visit the UK, please visit the UK visa and immigration website.

It is the policy of the Microbiology Society not to supply an invitation letter to any delegate without payment.

Please note that all conference delegates are responsible for their own travel and visa arrangements; the Microbiology Society will not take any responsibility for travel or visa problems.

Payment information

All registration fees must be paid in full BEFORE arrival at the conference. Any outstanding registration fees must be paid before admittance will be granted to the conference.


Refunds are not provided, however substitutions of attendees can be made at any time by contacting [email protected]


Belfast is a city rich in culture and history, so whether you’re looking to visit its historic landmarks and attractions or experience new culinary delights, there’s a lot waiting to be discovered.

There are many things to see and do in the city’s Cathedral Quarter, which is packed full of interesting architecture and has a host of fabulous pubs, bars and restaurants.

If you’re planning on extending your stay before or after the meeting, there are plenty of attractions you could visit, such as the multi-award winning Titanic Museum, the Alexandra Graving Dock, the Ulster Museum and the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum. Free tours of Belfast City Hall are also run daily. Hiking trails at Divis Mountain provide a spectacular view of the city.

Learn more about this city and its attractions at

This meeting will take place at Riddel Hall in Belfast.


Riddel Hall
185 Stranmillis Road

Accommodation and Facilities

Student residence accommodation

Stranmillis College accommodation (5 mins walk from Riddel Hall) can be booked and must be paid for in advance via the Microbiology Society website (not through the college). Rooms are limited (40) so please book early to avoid disappointment.

All Stranmillis College bookings must be made by 13 August. Bookings can be made via the Microbiology Society website.

Note: only bookings between 10-13 September can be taken. Some rooms may become available in late August for the night of 14 September - if you would like to be considered for a room for the night of 14 September please email Stephen Prentice on [email protected]

Stranmillis University College 

  • Standard Room incl. breakfast £32 per night
  • En-Suite Room incl. breakfast £37 per night

College Accommodation Website

Wellington Park Hotel

Special rates have also been negotiated for registered delegates at Wellington Park Hotel, which is a short walk to Riddel Hall.

To secure this special rate, bookings must be made by 20 August.

Single £75 Includes breakfast
or twin occupancy
£93 Includes breakfast

If you are interested in twin occupancy but do not know anyone with whom you can share, please contact Helen Roe ([email protected]) who may be able to match you with other delegates in the same position.

To secure your accommodation at the above rates, email [email protected] or call Wellington Park Hotel on tel: +44 28 9038 1111 quoting booking code: MICR090918001

Please note, you will need a credit / debit card to guarantee your booking. Payment is not due until arrival at the hotel. Cancellations can be made up to 24 hours prior to your scheduled arrival.


Other accomodation

Hotels – Queen's Quarter

Hotels – City Centre 

Bed and breakfast 


Please also consider AirBnB – there are still a few rooms/apartments available for the conference week.

Grants and Professional Development

Conference grants

Society Conference Grants will be available to support eligible members wishing to present at this Focused Meeting. Funding is also available for members requiring support for caring costs associated with conference attendance. The closing date for applications is Thursday 19 July 2018.

You can apply for a grant before receiving notification about the outcome of your abstract submission. A conditional grant offer can be made without evidence of abstract acceptance if unavailable at the time of application; however evidence must be provided to claim any grant offered.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

The meeting will be put forward or accreditation and CPD points will be announced online.

Those wishing to claim CPD credits should sign a daily register. Further information can be requested by email at [email protected]

Certificate of attendance

You can request a certificate of attendance following the event by emailing [email protected]

Social Programme

Informal gathering at Cutters Wharf

Monday 10 September

Delegates are invited to attend an informal gathering at Cutters Wharf Bar and Restaurant, which is short walk from Riddel Hall. Join us from 19:00 where buffet food will be provided and a cash bar is available. A great opportunity to meet other delegates and catch up with colleagues ahead of the meeting.

Drinks reception and outreach event at the Ulster Museum

Tuesday 11 September

Included as part of your delegate registration fee

This evening outreach event will raise awareness of the character and importance of peatlands via a varied programme of talks, displays and lively discussions. ISTA9 delegates will be encouraged to interact with stakeholders and members of the public to discuss the importance of peatlands science and peatlands conservation and the insights that can be drawn from palaeoecological studies (including inferences from testate amoebae). The meeting will be held in the Ulster Museum, Ulster’s largest public display facility and natural history museum. The museum is located in the Belfast Botanic Gardens, close to Riddel Hall.

Drinks reception and conference dinner at Belfast City Hall

Wednesday 12 September

Included as part of your delegate registration fee

The conference dinner will take place in Belfast City Hall, one of the city's most iconic buildings. The City Hall staff will host a drinks reception for ISTA9 delegates in the stunning marble rotunda area of the building before the dinner.

End of conference evening at Riddel Hall

Thursday 13 September

Included as part of your delegate registration fee

An evening of traditional Irish music and dancing with the Alastair Scott Ceilidh Band to mark the end of the scientific sessions.

Field trip

Friday 14 September

£25.00pp tickets can be purchased when paying for your attendance at the meeting and includes lunch, site entry fees, tour and a drink at the distillery.

Participants will visit the scenic North Antrim coast, including the following stops:

  • Lowland raised bog sites in the Bann Valley, County Antrim  
  • The Giant’s Causeway UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Bushmills Distillery – the World’s oldest licensed whiskey distillery


Exhibition and Sponsorship

Exhibition and sponsorship opportunities are available for this meeting. For more information, please contact [email protected] or download the exhibition pack. 

Exhibition Pack INSTA9.pdf


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