Day 1 :
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Keynote: Arctic marine ecosystems in a rapidly changing environment: The importance of connections to lower-latitude systems
Time : 10:35-11:05
Arny L Blanchard is a Benthic Ecologist and Biostatistician with the Institute of Marine Science, University of Alaska Fairbanks and is involved in marine studies throughout Alaska’s waters from Prince William Sound to the Beaufort Sea. His research is focused on the spatial and temporal changes of marine communities and assessment of human disturbance in the environment. He currently manages the Port Valdez Environmental Studies Program and the benthic component of the Chukchi Sea Environmental Studies Program in northeastern Chukchi Sea and contributes to the Alaska Monitoring and Assessment Program.
Connections of arctic ecosystems with lower latitudes provides both challenges for ecosystem change as well as sources of resiliency. Recent and large climatic and oceanographic changes in the Arctic such as the declining summer sea ice extent have driven shifts in timing of ecosystem processes, loss of habitat for marine mammals and other ice associated fauna, and opened the Arctic for greater anthropogenic use. Interannual variability in oceanographic characteristics has been strong in recent years, resulting in major shifts of pelagic fauna spatially and temporally while warming of waters may allow movement northward of fishes as well. Given the current climatic trajectories, continuing change can be expected. Yet at the same time, the linkages of the Arctic with lower latitude ecosystems increases resiliencies through advection northward of nutrients, carbon, and invertebrate fauna serving as prey resources for critical mammalian resources. Thus, understanding connections among ecosystems and sources of resiliencies will provide greater insights into management of arctic resources and enable better predictions of long term change.
Grand Valley State University
Keynote: Climate Change: Memory in corals allows faster adaptation to global warming and changing environmental conditions
Time : 11:20-11:50
Kevin B Strychar is an Associate Professor at the Annis Water Resources Institute – Grand Valley State University located in Muskegon, Michigan, USA. He has conducted research on coral reefs and marine ecosystems for ~13 years in the Caribbean and Great Barrier Reef, Australia. He has 34 publications and 83 conference presentations and serves as an adjunct professor at Michigan State University. He has also served as an Asst. Professor at Texas A&M University; Killam PostDoctoral Fellow, Dalhousie University (Canada); and Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Connecticut. He is an Assoc. Editor for International Journal of Biology, the journal Water, and the International Journal of Water and Wastewater Treatment. His Ph.D. is in Biology, with an emphasis in Marine Conservation.
In this review, we discuss the effects that climate change is having on corals, their phagocytic-like cell responses to dysfunctional cells and/or disease, and the mechanisms they potentially use to adapt to changing environmental conditions. A number of hypotheses are explored including whether a coral holobiont is more or less susceptible to stress than other coral types, why infection seems less prevalent in some coral vs. others, and whether memory is part of their evolutionary design allowing for better immunological specificity and mechanisms for adaptive protective immunity. For example, the immune system ‘complement’ in vertebrates was assumed to be confined to a deuterostome lineage. However, such a complement also occurs in lower invertebrates like corals and is used to recognize “self” vs. “not-self” and different clades of zooxanthellae. Similarly, Cnidarians also display allorecognition/xenorecognition. To take this one step further, corals seem to possess a functional blocking mechanism for dinoflagellates vs. pathogens – and the differences between these two sets of taxa may hold the key to better understanding the foundation of immune systems in corals and other invertebrates. This has far reaching evolutionary consequences because it potentially provides evidence for the existence of immunological specificity and memory in invertebrates, which may also have human health implications.
University of Rostock
Time : 11:50-12:20
Hendrik Schubert after completing his PhD in Plant Physiology in 1990 and Postdoctoral studies at the University of Amsterdam, he became appointed Professor for Plant Ecology at the University of Greifswald in 1998. Since 2002, he holds the Chair of Ecology at the University of Rostock and also served as Director of the institute, Dean of the faculty and President of BMB as well as LTER-D and is Senator of the University since 5 years. He published some books, more than 100 papers in reputed journals and is Editor-in-Chief of RMB.
Environmental gradients are ubiquitous features of all aquatic ecosystems. Recently discovered paradoxical maximum of planktonic protistan species in the salinity gradient of the Baltic Sea revealed an inverse trend of species number/salinity relation if compared with previously accepted species-minimum model for macrozoobenthos. In the presentation long-term data on organisms of different size classes and ecological groups are reviewed to show that eukaryotic and prokaryotic microbes in plankton demonstrate maximum species richness in the challenging zone of critical salinity 5-8 where the large-bodied bottom dwellers (macrozoobenthos, macroalgae and aquatic higher plants) experience dramatic salinity stress which leads to impoverished diversity. Basing on this, a new conceptual model to explain why diversity of small, fast-developing, rapidly evolving unicellular plankton organisms’ benefits from relative vacancy of brackish-water ecological niches and impaired competitiveness therein are presented. Hutchinson’s Ecological Niche Concept, species-area relationships and the Intermediate Disturbance Hypothesis are considered as a theoretical framework for understanding extinctions, speciation and variations in the evolution rates of different aquatic species in ecosystems with the pronounced salinity gradient. The work presented is one of the results of a still ongoing bilateral German-Russian cooperation on ecology and ecophysiology of brackish habitats “USElab”.