ID: 613 / 86

Category: Symposia

Track: Pending


Abstract: A central goal in biodeterioration research is to develop realistic risk assessment tools to predict and forecast the impact of undesirable changes produced by biological colonisation on cultural assets. Building such tools for the conservation and management of built and rock-hewn heritage depends on addressing multiple interacting drivers of rock biodeterioration, including the composition, structure and function of rock pioneer communities, and two main groups of environmental controls of rock colonisation: those related with the intrinsic properties of the rock, determining its bioreceptivity; and those related with climate. Despite considerable progress in the detection and identification of rock-dwelling organisms in cultural settings worldwide, especially since the development of non-invasive NGS and -omics protocols, the ecological mechanisms of the biological community on rock surfaces as a whole remain obscure. This symposium will focus on the ecological tools currently being developed to address rock biodeterioration issues, in a background of global climate change. Researchers from all fields of knowledge are invited to present their work covering the following topics: Agents and mechanisms of rock biodeterioration in outdoor environments; Community structure and distribution patterns of rock-colonising organisms (from microbes to plants) involved in rock deterioration; Influence of multi-scale environmental drivers on the occurrence and abundance patterns of rock-colonising organisms; Ecology of biofilms on built and rock-hewn cultural heritage; Effects of disturbance, including treatments or application of innovative and non-invasive technologies, on rock-dwelling communities and respective community dynamics; Rock biodeterioration modelling and monitoring systems; Effects of environmental changes, including climate change, on rock biodeterioration dynamics.

Speaker 1: • Name: Heather Viles • Institutional Affiliation: University of Oxford • E-mail: • Tentative Talk Title: Lichens, mosses and the deterioration of rock-hewn cultural heritage: a global analysis

Speaker 2: • Name: Ana Zélia Miller • Institutional Affiliation: IRNAS-CSIC, Sevilla (Spain); Laboratório HERCULES, Universidade de Évora (Portugal) • E-mail: • Tentative Talk Title: Non-invasive NGS and -omics tools for the characterization of ROCK-DWELLING COMMUNITIES in cultural contexts

Speaker 3: • Name: Joana Marques • Institutional Affiliation: BIOPOLIS/CIBIO-InBIO • E-mail: • Tentative Talk Title: Towards a biodeterioration model to predict biological impact on exposed rock surfaces and open-air rock-art

Topics (Up to three): Ecology and Plant Communities

Topic 2: Plant, Animal, and Microbe Interactions

Topic 3: Ecophysiology

Justification: This symposium will focus on the ecological tools currently being developed to address rock biodeterioration issues under global climate change. Speakers include three senior women researchers: Heather Viles, a geographer interested in the biological contributions to geomorphology; Ana Miller, a cultural heritage conservation scientist focussed on geomicrobiology; and Joana Marques, a lichenologist specialized on the ecology of rock biodeterioration. We will bring together senior and early career researchers from within and outside the highly interdisciplinary sector of science dedicated to rock-hewn cultural heritage conservation, to address burning issues for the sector and for natural and cultural heritage conservation more broadly.