February 25-26, 2020

J. Wayne Reitz Union
University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida

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Sponsorship Opportunities

Extension Scholarships

Dates of Interest

Early Registration
Closes December 9, 2019

Hotel Reservations
Through February 1, 2020


Call for Abstracts

Submissions have closed.

We invite you to participate in the 7th biennial UF Water Institute Symposium. The Symposium will bring together individuals from a broad range of disciplines and organizations to explore water issues from multiple perspectives. The 2020 Symposium will focus on innovative science, technology, cultural, policy, and management solutions to the following complex and pressing water issues:

Harmful algae blooms (HABs) involve proliferation of nuisance photosynthetic organisms (cyanobacteria [blue-greens], dinoflagellates [red tides], and diatoms) in fresh and salt waters. Such blooms negatively impact humans and other organisms. They may reduce light penetration in the water column, cause hypoxic or anoxic conditions when blooms die and decompose, and produce toxins. Factors that promote HABs include excessive nutrient loading (nitrogen and phosphorus) to waterbodies, higher water temperatures from climate warming or industrial discharges, and longer water residence times. Harmful algae blooms appear to be increasing in intensity and frequency world-wide and pose threats to wildlife, livestock, and humans. This theme solicits presentations that explore causes and consequences of HABs, as well as strategies to reduce the probability of their future occurrence.

Potential topic areas:
  • Trends, triggers, ecology and dynamics of HABs
  • Legacy nutrients and their role in HAB formation
  • Roles of altered hydrology and nutrients in promoting HABs in Florida springs
  • Impacts of HABs on freshwater and saltwater fisheries and coastal ecosystems
  • HABs and human health
  • Treatment processes for HAB-impacted drinking water sources
  • Economic impacts of HABs and the costs of prevention strategies
  • Analytical methods, models and technologies to predict, monitor and study HABs
  • Challenges and opportunities to prevent future HABs through communication, collaboration, regulation, and education

Water resources are impacted by many contaminants, including nutrients, pharmaceuticals, agricultural pesticides, poly- and perfluorinated substances (PFAS), microorganisms, and metals. The impacts and sources of these contaminants in waters vary depending on location, surrounding land use and development practices and can have profound effects on water quality, water use, economy, and quality of life. Such contamination may, in turn, impact the economy and development patterns of the watershed. Addressing the sources of these contaminants, their environmental and economic impacts, and how to control the spread of contamination in our environment is a high priority. This theme solicits presentations that examine the contaminants that affect water quality and explore ways to reduce contamination in the environment.

Potential topic areas:
  • Contaminant fate and transport from conventional and advanced onsite wastewater treatment systems
  • Pharmaceutical impacts and controls in groundwater and surface water
  • PFAS – measurement, management, and cleanup approaches
  • Bioavailability of contaminants and impacts on aquatic organisms
  • Microbiological threats to water quality and public health
  • Lead and mercury in aquatic systems and potable water
  • Nutrient impacts and control methods (i.e., growth management, urban and agricultural BMPs)
  • Analytical methods, models and technologies to assess, predict and remove contaminants
  • Economic implications of surface water, ground water, and drinking water pollution, costs of pollution preventions and clean-up, and innovative policy experiments
  • Civic engagement, communication and social justice perspectives associated with water quality assessment, management and decision making

Water scarcity, which occurs when the demand for water by all sectors, including the environment, cannot be satisfied due to constraints on water quantity or quality, is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity. Water is not only the lifeblood of natural ecosystems, but it is essential for agriculture, human consumption, industry, and energy generation. Water scarcity will become more pressing as the world's human population continues to grow, living standards increase, diets change, water needs for ecosystems change, and the effects of climate change intensify. This theme solicits contributions that present current research related to drivers and impacts of water scarcity, and the opportunities to implement new practices, ground-breaking technologies, and innovative policies that can mitigate the impacts of water scarcity on the ecological and economic health of a region. Contributions from all fields of research are welcome on topics ranging from supply, recycling technologies, water management and demand reduction.

Potential topic areas:
  • Societal and economic impacts of water scarcity at global, regional, state and/or local scales
  • Technologies to reduce water use in agriculture, industry, and residences
  • Water quality considerations associated with water recycling for agriculture and domestic uses
  • Beyond groundwater: reclaimed water, stormwater, and other alternative water supply sources
  • Improved agronomic practices and crop selection in areas affected by water stress
  • Planning, management, and policy-making strategies for water scarcity challenges
  • Metrics, methods, models and technologies to assess water supply, water use, environmental water needs, sustainability program goals, and water security
  • Effects of drought, extreme precipitation events, low flows and floods, and climate change on water use, scarcity, and sustainability
  • Collaboration, communication and social justice perspectives associated to water scarcity decision-making

Global atmospheric, climatic and oceanic cycles, including the El Niño Southern Oscillation, North Atlantic Oscillation, and Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation, are important drivers of variations in rainfall patterns, changes in drought and flood cycles, and changes in terrestrial freshwater availability. Over longer time scales, climate change is likely to alter freshwater availability as a consequence of changes in precipitation, temperature, and sea level rise. Water management and decision-making in this changing regime require new scientific information that is regionally specific, evidence-based, and policy-relevant. This theme solicits presentations that include innovative methods for evaluating potential impacts of climate change, climate variability, and sea level rise on human and natural water-dependent systems, as well as policy, management, community engagement, and regulatory programs that may promote the resilience of these systems in a changing environment.

Potential topic areas:
  • Impacts of climate change on water availability, water quality, ecosystem health and consequences for human well-being
  • Impacts of sea level rise on coastal ecosystems, urban flooding, and water supplies
  • Methods for developing future climate scenarios for regional hydrologic applications
  • Use of weekly, seasonal, and inter-annual climate forecasts for improved water planning and management
  • Water management strategies and policies that build resilience in the face of demographic, land-use and climate change, sea level rise, and extreme events
  • Economic and regulatory policy for a changing environment
  • Analytical methods, models and technologies to study, monitor, and predict climate change impacts, extreme events, and sea-level rise
  • Collaboration, communication and public engagement: approaches, challenges and opportunities for addressing climate change

When filling out the online abstract submittal form, you will be asked to identify the relevant topic. All abstracts approved for presentation will be published in the symposium online book of abstracts.


Student Poster Competition

Student poster authors are eligible to compete for “Best Poster” awards based on the quality of the abstract, poster and discussion. Four poster winners will receive prizes of $1,000 each to be used as funding to support future participation at a national conference.


Follow these steps to prepare and submit an abstract:

  1. Use this word template to create a perfectly formatted abstract.
    • Abstracts should not exceed 300 words.
    • Do not include graphs or figures.
    • Please include a brief bio of 50 worlds or less at the end of your abstract (see template).
  2. Indicate your preferred format (oral/poster) but please note that final decisions will be made by the program committee.
  3. Proofread your abstract carefully, and be sure to obtain all applicable institutional approvals prior to submission.
  4. Submit your abstract by October 4, 2019 using the online form linked by the button below. (Do not email your file. Files sent as email attachments will not be reviewed)
  5. Please keep in mind that presenters will be asked to register and pay the symposium fee when their abstract is accepted to confirm their participation. The deadline for presenter registration is December 9, 2019. For symposium registration information, visit the registration page.

Submission Confirmation

After completing the online submission form, a confirmation is instantly emailed to you confirming transmission of the abstract. If you do not receive this email, check your spam folder.

Accepted abstracts will be notified in mid November 2019, informing you the status of your abstract acceptance and presentation format (oral or poster). If accepted, you will be advised of the date, time, format and number of the session in which you are scheduled to speak. A computer projector and Windows 10 laptop with Microsoft PointPoint will be provided for all speaker presentations during the conference.

Abstract Submission Contacts

Jessica Bailey, UF/IFAS OCI, Symposium Coordinator, j.bailey@ufl.edu

Paloma Carton de Grammont, Program Organizer, palomacgl@ufl.edu

UF Water institute

The UF Water Institute brings together talent from throughout the University to address complex water issues through innovative interdisciplinary research, education, and public outreach programs. We envision a Water Institute at UF committed to addressing Florida issues while being recognized for providing solutions, science, and education for national and global water resource problems.

Duke Energy

Duke Energy is one of the largest electric power holding companies in the United States, providing electricity to 7.6 million retail customers in six states. They are transforming their customers’ experience, modernizing the energy grid, generating cleaner energy and expanding natural gas infrastructure to create a smarter energy future for their customers.

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