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SedaDNA Meeting Potsdam: Shedding light on current developments in Paleo Ecological Genomics

Potsdam, Germany
Workshop report
Contact person
Kathleen Stoof-Leichsenring
E-Mail address
Working groups

This meeting is being co-organized with the PAGES PaleoEcoGen working group, in Potsdam, 2023.


Date: 6-9 June 2023
Location: Potsdam, Germany 
Venue: Alfred-Wegener-Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI)


Sedimentary ancient DNA (sedaDNA) is an established proxy used to investigate the past biodiversity over decadal to millennial timescales, which enables reconstruction of community and eco-functional changes revolutionizing paleoecology research.

The recent developments in DNA sequencing techniques, the improvement of DNA reference databases, optimization of bioinformatic tools, recent harmonization of sedaDNA data with other proxy data and the implementation of new statistical methodologies, like multivariate and ecological network analysis, have opened up a broad spectrum of applications in case studies addressing various paleoecological research questions.

The 4-day meeting will contain: a sedaDNA symposium part with oral and poster contributions, compact hands-on workshops for Early Career Researchers on the topics metabarcoding and metagenomics, a PAGES PaleoEcoGen WG writing workshop and a Past Arctic networks workshop.


The Meeting will contain three parts:

1) a Symposium part with oral and poster contributions;
2) a Workshop with hands on lectures (focusing on ECR needs); and
3) a PaleoEcoGen WG writing workshop. 


Symposium (06-07 June)

The symposium part will include invited keynote talks and poster sessions. Every participant (except for invited speakers, they can bring an additional poster) should bring a poster, which will be exhibited for the entire symposium. We will have poster sessions including a 1-minute lightning talk to attract people to come to your posters. 

Confirmed keynote talks will be given by:

Alsos, Inger - The Arctic University Museum of Norway, Norway
Armbrecht, Linda - University of Tasmania, Australia
Barouillet, Cecilia - French National Institute for Agriculture, Food, and Environment (INRAE), France
Capo, Eric-  Instituto de Ciencias del Mar, Spain
Coissac, Eric - Université Grenoble Alpes, France
Creer, Simon -  Bangor University, UK
Heintzman, Pete - The Arctic University Museum of Norway, Norway
Herzschuh, Ulrike -  Alfred-Wegener-Institute, Germany
John, Uwe - Alfred-Wegener-Institute, Germany
Kaufmann, Darrel - Northern Arizona University, USA
Monchamp, Marie-Eve - McGill University, Canada
Murchie, Taylor - Mac Master University, Canada
Pedersen, Mikkel - University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Popovic, Gordana -  University of New South Wales, Australia
Stoof-Leichsenring, Kathleen - Alfred-Wegener-Institute, Germany
Taranu, Zofia - Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), Canada
Williams, Jack -  University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
Fellows Yates, James - Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Germany & Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology, Germany

Hands-on workshops for ECRs (08 June):
1) on metabarcoding; and
2) on metagenomics

The workshops are fitted to ECRs and students, and will impart the current data analysis pipelines of metabarcoding (Obitools) and metagenomics approaches (including shotgun data analysis and capture methods).
The hands-on workshops will be held one after another and each workshop will last approx. 3 hours. 

Scientific workshops: PAGES PaleoEcoGen WG and Past Arctic Networks (hybrid, 08 - 09 June)

The scientific workshops will run in parallel and allow online participation. All on-site participants are free to choose which workshop they would like to participate in.

The PAGES PaleoEcoGen workshop will be a writing workshop on the topic: “Evaluating past critical transitions with sedDNA time series” and parts of the workshop will be restricted and others are open to everyone interested. The Past Arctic networks workshop aims to assemble scientists from Arctic research, environmental DNA and network analytics. The interdisciplinary combination of the subjects intend to explore the potential of ecological network analytics using sedimentary ancient DNA data across glacial and interglacial times. 

SedaDNA Symposium & workshop

The SedaDNA Meeting Potsdam aims to gather people from the sedaDNA community and paleoecologists with contributions covering terrestrial, freshwater and marine applications of sedaDNA in paleoecology, including methodological renewals, bioinformatic pipelines and data management. Further, we aim to provide a platform for Early Career Researchers (ECR) to present their research and gain further knowledge about sedaDNA methodologies, bioinformatic pipelines and multivariate statistics by offering hands-on workshops.

PaleoEcoGen workshop

The WG PaleoEcoGen and the SedaDNA Meeting Potsdam will advance the objectives of the working group which are:

  1. To help build and strengthen the international networks of ancient environmental/sedimentary DNA scientists;

  2. Enable discussions about new methodologies, bioinformatics protocols and sampling strategies; and 

  3. To draft a collaborative publication focused on the  development of synthetic analyses of critical transitions from sedaDNA time series to inform conservation and the development of future scenarios of biodiversity change. 


Registration is now open. The deadline for registration is 5 May. 

> Register here

Further information

Further information will be communicated via the PaleoEcoGen mailing list and the Seda DNA website.

Local organizing committee

Ulrike Herzschuh 
Kathleen Stoof-Leichsenring 
Liv Heinecke 

> Access the first circular 

SedDNA meeting Potsdam