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                          [Last update: 01-01-2021]

 Date  News

05.10.2020

Barbara Węglarska passed away

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I am very sorry to inform you that Professor Barbara Węglarska passed away last Friday night (02.10.2020), in a hospital in Kraków, at the age of 98.

She has been suffering from kidney malfunction for many months, which entailed frequent and exhausting dialyses. Last Wednesday her condition has suddenly worsen and she was rushed to a hospital where sepsis was diagnosed. Unfortunately, given her advanced age and multiple other afflictions, the treatment was unsuccessful. She has been given morphine to ease her pain and she passed away in peace.

Barbara Węglarska in her apartment in Kraków, in 2003.

Barbara was born in a village near Kraków on the 20.02.1922. She survived through the horrors of the World War II and communism, including the extremely difficult times of Stalinism when scientific discoveries, such as DNA structure, were considered ‘imperialist’ and were banned at Polish universities, and it took a lot of effort and skills to get hold of scientific literature from the West. Nevertheless, Barbara was an internationally recognised tardigradologists who worked mainly on tardigrade morphology and ultrastructure, but she also published important papers on embryology, physiology as well as faunistics and taxonomy. Altogether, she published around fifty research articles. Her first tardigrade papers were published in the 1950’ (including a publication in Nature) and her last article was published in 2006. Apart from tardigrades, she also worked on scale insects (Coccidae). Barbara started studying and working at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków soon after the WWII has ended. She obtained her MSc degree in 1951, her PhD in 1960, her DSc in 1968 and she earned her Professorship in 1984. She retired in 1992, but she kept on doing her research into the first decade of the present century. Although her sight was very limited in the last years and she could no longer read, she was always eager to hear about the latest developments in tardigrade research.

In recognition of her achievements, she was awarded high Polish medals, such as the Golden Cross of Merit or Order of Polonia Restituta. She was also recognised by the international community of tardigradologists who have named two genera (heterotardigrade Barbaria and eutardigrade Weglarskobius) and five species (heterotardigrades Bryodelphax weglarskae and Claxtonia barbarae, and eutardigrades Isohypsibius barbarae, Bertolanius weglarskae and Minibiotus weglarskae) in her honour.

Barbara Węglarska in her apartment in Kraków, in 2018.

Many of you were hoping to see her at the 15th International Symposium on Tardigrada which is planned to be held next year. I can tell you that Barbara was looking forward to see you too. In order to honour her, both the Symposium and Symposium Proceedings will be dedicated to her memory. Barbara was a member of the Honorary Committee of the upcoming Symposium, but most importantly she was the sole organiser of the 2nd International Symposium on Tardigrada that took place in Kraków in 1977. It was an immense effort to organise an international event behind the Iron Curtain. For example, Barbara had to provide the authorities not only with the names of participants, but also with some of their personal details such as the birth dates and names of parents as all westerners were considered potential spies by the communist government. Wanting to avoid bothering her guests, Barbara made up the dates and other details. Fortunately, the authorities haven't found out about her hustle, otherwise she would had been in serious trouble.

Barbara was a great person, always keen to help and make you laugh with her sharp wit and dark sense of humour. She was a fighter and compromise was not one of her favourite words.

She will be missed.

***

For the last several years, Barbara had a ringback melody in her mobile phone, which was the cover of “Supergirl” by Anna Naklab (originally performed by Reamonn). Whenever you called her, you could hear these lines, which now will always ring in my head whenever I think of her:

And then she'd say,
"It's alright
I got home late last night
But I'm a supergirl
And supergirls just fly"
And supergirls don't cry.

Łukasz Michalczyk

If you would like to pass on your condolences to her family and her colleagues at the Institute of Zoology and Biomedical Research of the Jagiellonian University, please send them to my email address (LM@tardigrada.net).

01.10.2020

XV International Symposium on Tardigrada - the First Announcement!

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

As announced three years ago in Copenhagen, the 15th International Symposium on Tardigrada is planned to be held in Kraków, Poland, from the 23rd to the 27th of August 2021, and as of today (October 2020), this date remains valid.

However, since the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly altered the lives of people in 2020 throughout the world, we must take into consideration that travel and gathering restrictions may extend into 2021 and it may not be possible to hold the Symposium as originally planned. If this is indeed the case, we could postpone the Symposium to 2022, move the meeting to an online platform in 2021 or organise a hybrid meeting in 2021 (a small gathering in Kraków transmitted online).

The Organising Committee has agreed that if the pandemic is still untamed in early Spring 2021, it would be better to postpone the Symposium to 2022 than to move it to the virtual dimension partially or in full. We decided that this will be the best solution since with the current technology virtual meetings are far from what real gatherings can provide. This is especially important in terms of social interactions, including informal conversations that often take place in parallel to the conference programme and which are an indispensable arena for exchanging thoughts and ideas.

Thus, depending on the dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic in Spring 2021, we will either confirm that the Symposium will take place in 2021 as originally planned or we will inform that the conference will be postponed to 2022. This will be communicated in the second announcement which is planned to be published in early Spring 2021.

A dedicated website with detailed information on the Symposium is planned to be launched in the Spring 2021 and in the meantime all Symposium announcements will be communicated via the Tardigrade Newsletter Mailing List and they will also be published in the 'News' section of the Tardigrada Newsletter.

The Symposium Proceedings are planned to be published in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society.

We are also happy to present the official logo of the 15th International Symposium on Tardigrada:



The explanation of the idea behind the logo is available in the section of the Tardigrada Newsletter dedicated to the Symposium.

We will be very much grateful for spreading this announcement to your friends and colleagues.

We look forward to seeing you all in Kraków!

On behalf of the Organising Committee,
Chair of XV International Symposium on Tardigrada,
Łukasz Michalczyk

04.05.2020

Funded PhD Opportunity in UK

The University of Plymouth is proud to announce a new funded PhD opportunity. Applications are invited for a three-year PhD studentship, starting on 01 October 2020.

Extremophiles in a Changing World: the Mechanistic Bases of Stress Resistance in Rotifers and Tardigrades

Director of Studies: Dr
Chiara Boschetti (chiara.boschetti@plymouth.ac.uk)
2nd Supervisor: Dr
Jon Ellis (jonathan.s.ellis@plymouth.ac.uk)
3rd Supervisor: Prof
Simon Rundle (S.Rundle@plymouth.ac.uk)

The closing date for applications is noon on Friday 29 May 2020.

Further details are available at https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/student-life/your-studies/research-degrees/postgraduate-research-studentships/extremophiles-in-a-changing-world-the-mechanistic-bases-of-stress-resistance-in-rotifers-and-tardigrades

Sent in by Chiara Boschetti

20.04.2020

A fully funded 4-year PhD studentship and a 3-year full time PostDoc position in tardigrade evolution at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków (Poland) in the team of Dr. Łukasz Michalczyk are now available

Detailed information on the project, university, our team and the application procedure for the PhD studentship is available at http://tardigrada.edu.pl/PhD.htm

Detailed information on the project, university, our team and the application procedure for the postdoctoral position is available at http://tardigrada.edu.pl/PostDoc.htm

Deadline for applications: 20.05.2020.

Please forward this ad to your colleagues and students.

Thank you in advance,

Łukasz Michalczyk

16.03.2020

XIV Symposium Proceedings published

We are very happy to inform you that the issue of the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society containing selected papers presented at 14th International Symposium on Tardigrada has been published today.

The papers can be downloaded from the journal's website.

Łukasz Michalczyk

10.02.2020

Marine tardigrade map

A new, improved and up-to-date map of marine tardigrade species is now available at:

https://paul-bartels.shinyapps.io/marine-tardigrades

Sent in by Paul Bartels

15.01.2020

Anhydrobiosis – cheating death and telling the tale

Scientific meeting of the Royal Society, 30-31 March 2020, in Chicheley, England

Theo Murphy international scientific meeting organised by Professor
Roy Quinlan and Professor Takekazu Kunieda.

Anhydrobiosis was first described by
Van Leeuwenhoek in 1702. Both plants and animals have anhydrobiotic responses and understanding the mechanisms that support such an extreme stress response will prove invaluable for future food security and for new therapeutics to treat for example proteinopathy-based diseases. Interdisciplinary scientists at the plant-animal interface will scope the application of anhydrobiotic mechanisms in future technologies.

The schedule of talks and speaker biographies is available below. Speaker abstracts will be available closer to the meeting date. Recorded audio of the presentations will be available on this page after the meeting has taken place.

Poster session - deadline extended to Monday 20 January 2020:

If you would like to apply to present a poster, please submit your title, your abstract (no more than 200 words and in third person), author list, name of the proposed presenter and authors' institutions to the Scientific Programmes team no later than Monday 20 January 2020. Please include the text ‘Anhydrobiosis: poster abstract' in the subject heading. Please note that places are limited and are selected at the scientific organisers' discretion. Poster abstracts will only be considered if the proposed presenter is registered to attend the meeting. Poster presenters will be selected to give flash talks on the first day of the meeting.

This is a residential conference which allows for increased discussion and networking:

- Free to attend
- Advance registration essential
- Catering and accommodation available to purchase during registration

Enquiries: scientific.meetings@royalsociety.org

Sent in by Roy Quinlan and Takekazu Kunieda

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Last update: 01-01-2021
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