International Symposium on Cryosphere and Biosphere

Event Type:
Conferences and Workshops
14 March 2018 to 19 March 2018
Kyoto Prefectural University, Kyoto, Japan

The International Glaciological Society will hold an International Symposium on ‘Cryosphere and Biosphere’ in 2018. The symposium will be held at the heart of Kyoto, former imperial capital of Japan.


The cryosphere is now acknowledged as a unique biome that, in spite of the cold and harsh conditions, is inhabited by a diverse range of micro- and macroorganisms. Since the organisms play important roles in the cycling of carbon, nutrients and other elements within and around the cryosphere, these processes have received significant research attention from biogeochemists and microbiologists. However, the presence
and activity of microorganisms within the cryosphere also demands attention from glaciologists with interests in the physical and chemical properties of snow or ice. This is because melting and the crystallization of snow and ice are enhanced or even induced by the presence and activity of organisms. For example, supraglacial microbes can darken and increase melting on glaciers and ice sheets, while some species of bacteria can act as ice nucleators. Their influence upon the chemistry of ice and ice crystal interstices also has relevance to the interpretation of ice cores. However, biological processes on, within and under the ice are still insufficiently understood for us to incorporate their direct and indirect effects into current models of the Earth system. Furthermore, most organisms in the cryosphere are physiologically adapted to low temperatures and an improved understanding of these mechanisms has great potential for application to agriculture, food science, medical and material engineering. This symposium will therefore provide an opportunity for glaciologists and biologists to meet and discuss the various phenomena associated with life in the cold. The goals of this symposium are: (1) to provide a forum for presenting the current knowledge of life and ecosystems in the cryosphere; (2) to discuss the important gaps in our understanding of interactions between biological activity and
physical/chemical phenomena in the cryosphere, from molecular to system level; and (3) to encourage participants to form a new scientific community, discussing the state and direction of glacial biology or bio-glaciology.


We welcome all submissions for presentation under the broad topics of glaciology in the biosphere and/or biology in the cryosphere. The key focus areas are:

  1. Microbes and biogeochemistry in glaciers and ice sheets
  2. The role of sea ice, icebergs and glacier calving fronts in marine ecosystems
  3. Permafrost and terrestrial biota
  4. Interaction between snow cover and forest
  5. Cryosphere ecosystems and climate change
  6. Biological ice nucleation
  7. Biomarkers and biogeochemistry in ice cores and frozen ground
  8. Physiology of cold adaptation and applications of biogenic material to low temperature technology
  9. Emerging areas of cryosphere/biosphere research

Online abstract submission for the International Symposium on 'Cryosphere and Biosphere' is now open.

Abstract submission deadline: midnight on 21 November 2017 GMT.

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