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Experts to debate crisis in marine ecosystems in Oman.

Halban: An international research conference on fossil corals and sponges throughout earth's history, from Paleozoic to recent times, is underway at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) in Halban. It will run until February 15. The conference is sponsored by The Research Council (TRC) and Carmeuse limestone company on the one hand, and Belgium, Springer Publishing House and the Geological Society of Oman (GSO) on the other. 60 scientists Around 60 scientists from Belgium, Germany, Poland and France, Italy, United Kingdom, Japan, Russia and Iran are participating. Other nations taking part are Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, China and Australia. The previous conference was held in Belgium. "The 12th International Symposium on Fossil Cnidaria and Porifera will address corals and sponges through time and space, during the reef crisis in earth's history, bio-mineralisation, coral growth, biostrome forming and reef building from a micro-to macro scale. The participants will consider how marine ecosystems are influenced by several triggering mechanisms like global and regional tectonics, increased carbon dioxide concentrations, loss of oxygen in the oceans and carbon dioxide poisoning or rapid global warming. "Their discoveries help us to actively respond in an optimal way to current global concerns including sustainable use of natural resources, biodiversity response to global warming and keeping our planet environmentally sustainable," said Prof. Dr. Michaela Bernecker, head of the Department of Applied Geosciences at GUtech and main organiser of the conference, that is held every four years. "Moreover, it is important to study coral and sponge limestone, since fossil reefs can be potential petroleum reservoirs," said Prof. Bernecker. During several periods in earth's history a variety of different reef-building fauna and flora evolved. The organisms produced carbonate by bio-mineralisation and formed stratographically and geographically extended geo-bodies, which are preserved until today and act as reservoirs due to their special physical properties. As part of the conference, a number of field excursions will offer the researchers opportunities to visit the magnificent geological outcrops such as, the ones in Al Khoud, Jabal Al Akhdar and in the Huqf. "Those excursions will provide unparalleled access to the unique fossil Cnidaria and Porifera limestone locations in the Sultanate for scientific discussion and exchange of ideas" said Prof. Bernecker.

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Publication:Times of Oman (Muscat, Oman)
Geographic Code:4EUBL
Date:Feb 6, 2015
Words:379
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