Prof. Han Taejun
Campus President, Ghent University Global Campus, Korea
[Session 2-6] Tidal-Flat Diatoms: A Path to Blue-Carbon based Carbon Neutrality and Bioeconomy
Tidal flats, one of the most extensive coastal ecosystems, occupy at least 127,921 km2 globally and play important provisional, regulatory, cultural and supportive roles. Diatoms are major contributors to tidal flat biomass production, accounting for 20% of global primary productivity and 40% of annual marine biomass production. Although these single-celled microalgae remain a relatively untapped and unexplored source of biomass, they have recently received attention for their potential as sources of bioactive compounds and fine chemicals for industrial applications. We propose that diatoms could be exploited further to address current global challenges related to climate change. To this end, more knowledge is needed about how to maintain the biodiversity and functions of tidal flat ecosystems. Moreover, to facilitate a more robust bio-economy, the diversity among diatoms should be assessed and preserved via biological monitoring. My talk outlines the technical pipeline necessary to monitor diatom communities in tidal flats, utilize diatoms to monitor the health of the tidal flat ecosystem and exploit diatom biomass as a biological pump to sequester CO2.
This year marks the 120th anniversary of the signing of the treaty between Belgium and Korea. Ghent University founded in 1817 opened a global campus in Songdo, Incheon, Korea in 2014 with the support of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and Incheon city. Our school offers programs in molecular bioengineering, environmental and food engineering and conducts active research. In the future, through joint collaboration between UGent and Ghent University Global Campus, we will take the lead in innovative research and development, not only in human health (including plant and data science), food, the environment but also in bio-related industrial materials from marine resources and climate change countermeasures including carbon neutrality using Korean and European tidal flats and pipelines for a blue bio-based economy.