15th DSBS Travel Award Report – Yang Li



by Yang, Yi

Department of Ocean Science, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

I was so happy and feel honored to have attended the 15th Deep-Sea Biology Symposium 2018, which was held from 9-14 September 2018 in Monterey, California, United States. This is the latest of deep-sea biology symposiums organized by the Deep-Sea Biology Society and which takes place every three years. The current symposium had around 400 attendants, 172 oral presentations (42 by students), 59 lightning talks, and 195 posters (44 by students) presented by participants from at least 34 countries.


I gave a poster presentation and a lighting talk (POSTER 79 on the Abstract Book) on the 11th September; the topic of my poster presentation was about genomic comparison of symbionts in deep-sea tubeworms looking at functional similarities and differences in symbiotic relationships with the host. It was presented in the special section of “Chemosynthetic Ecosystems”, which is exactly the field that I am currently working on. During my presentation, I shared my results and progress with other top researchers in the field, and in the process I received a lot of comments and ideas on how I could further develop my PhD work.

My lighting presentation focused on the importance of the dominant regulatory pathways in the tubeworm symbionts and comparisons from different tubeworm symbionts, and demonstrated the utility of meta-genome and meta-transcriptome sequencing in unveiling the relationship between deep-sea invertebrate hosts and their uncultured symbionts. This is the first time I gave a lightning talk in an international symposium and during my presentation, many experts were interested in my topic and gave me some very good suggestions, such as focusing on some symbiont and host activity highly expressed genes or seeing if there are large amount of highly expressed genes regarding coadaptation and so on. During the lightning talk session, I got to see the results of many other people too; what struck me was the work from PhD student Maeva Perez. Her topic was about a CRISPR focus on Ridgeia piscesae endosymbiont population structure, where she detected different haplotypes in different parts of one trophosome in a single individual using maker genes. That was very inspiring! After the symposium, we had a more extensive discussion via email, after which she sent me the marker genes list she used in her project. This was a pleasant communication exchange that will help me develop my work, and which comes to show how important it is to be able to attend conferences and meetings as a scientist.


Overall, attending this international deep-sea symposium, kept me up-to-date with the latest developments in ocean sciences as well as enhanced my abilities in giving presentations and knowing how to share my research results with others. The comments given by those experts impressed me very much and they will indeed help me improve my work in the future.


Everything was so nice in Monterey! During the symposium, we were given the opportunity to visit the Monterey Aquarium, where we saw many interesting marine creatures! After the symposium, we visited the Golden Bridge in San Francisco and then went back to Hong Kong. What a great symposium and what a wonderful journey! I want to thank the Deep-Sea Biology Society and Frontiers of Marine Science for giving me the opportunity to attend the conference I am already looking forward to the 16th Deep-Sea Biology Symposium in Japan in 2021.

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