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The international conferences on modern and fossil dinoflagellates, held every 3–5 years, are an essential forum for all researchers of dinoflagellates. They bring together all aspects of this important group of protists, whether living or preserved as fossils. Dinoflagellates are an important component of the plankton, both as autotrophs and heterotrophs, but also include representatives that inhabit the cells of other organisms (including other dinoflagellates) as endosymbionts or parasites. The conferences were initiated in 1978 as a Penrose Conference of the Geological Society of America and have continued ever since. The latest conference, Dino 9, continues the tradition of bringing phycologists working as biologists, geneticists, ecologists and public health scientists together with palynologists working within the disciplines of earth science, geography and biology. The paramount impact of this series of conferences is the interdisciplinary cross-fertilization of ideas between these two otherwise disparate groups, and the spreading of their acquired specialist knowledge from one to the other. This series of conferences is set to extend into the future and to continue its important role of integrating and furthering the study of dinoflagellates and their cysts.

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