This small conference brought together approximately 150 international scientists to talk about larval fish growth, survival, maternal effects, dispersal, systematics to name just a few. It was held in special honor of Edward Houde, who over his long career has inspired generations of marine scientists.
While Chris was presenting last years data about growth consequences of high CO2 exposure across life stages in our model species, the Atlantic Silverside, Hannes participated in the Early Career workshop and gave a talk about how to approach the writing of a scientific manuscript (PDF).
On 12 May 2016, the Department of Marine Science hosted it’s 11th Biennial Feng Graduate Research Colloquium, during which graduate students of the department traditionally present findings of their thesis research and/or give a preview of their future plans.
This year, Chris presented the results of last years study on long-term changes in growth distributions in Atlantic silversides exposed to high CO2 conditions, whereas Jake presented a poster outlining his thesis research on long-term environmental and biological data collected by Project Oceanology.
On 15 March, Hannes gave a lecture at Mitchell College in New London, talking about the combined effects of ocean warming, acidification, and hypoxia on marine organisms. The entire lecture is publicly available at Limnology & Oceanography e-lectures.
“It was such a pleasure to have you present to the class today; your lecture was excellent – engaging with just the right amount and level of information. I’m glad that you intend to continue to provide outreach/education to the community on this topic.”
On 26 February 2016, H. Baumann was invited to give a seminar at the Biological & Environmental Sciences Colloquium Series at the University of Rhode Island, featuring the recently published e-lecture on “Combined effects of ocean acidification, warming, and deoxygenation on marine organisms”
His host, David Bengston has been a renowned fisheries and aquaculture biologist for the past 40 years.
A suite of parallel anthropogenic changes affects contemporary marine ecosystems. Excessive carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution results in warmer, more acidic oceans with lower dissolved oxygen (DO) levels, meanwhile the emission of reactive nitrogen/phosphorus results in eutrophication, excessive microbial degradation and thus metabolic hypoxia and acidification. Despite decades of empirical research how each individual stressor of the ‘climate-change syndrome’ (i.e., temperature, CO2, DO) affects the fitness of marine organisms, we still know little about the combined effects of these stressors. This lecture gives an overview over the nascent field of multi-stressor approaches evaluating the climate sensitivity of marine organisms across taxa. In most studied cases, combined effects of these stressors exceeded those observed individually. Effects of combined warming, acidification, and deoxygenation have mostly been additive (no stressor interaction) or synergistically negative (stressor interaction). The occurrence and strength of synergistic stressor interactions in some species, life history stages, and traits comprises a vexing challenge but hints at potentially greater sensitivities of organisms to marine climate change than previously recognized. This lecture is intended for post-secondary students, providing them with illustrated examples from the most resent literature, while aiding in communicating the urgent need for empirical data from multi-stressor approaches.
Sustainable Ocean Development Symposium: A Perspective from Former, Current and Future Kiel Marine Scientists | September 28-30, 2015, New York City
H. Baumann gives invited lecture “Combined effects of ocean acidification and its co- stressors on marine organisms” at Columbia University
“I had no idea that ‘Graphical recording’ was a thing.
But Tracey Berglund, an artist currently living in NYC achieved with a whiteboard an a bunch of colored markers, what I wouldn’t have thought possible: a visually entertaining and remarkably accurate depiction of the main points of my talk, which highlighted the multistressor reality of climate change and the need for according experimental approaches.”
39th Annual Larval Fish Conference, Vienna (Austria) 16 July 2015; American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting, Portland (OR), 19 August 2015
H. Baumann presented the Master thesis work of Elizabeth Depasquale about individual and concurrent effects of low pH and low oxygen conditions on larval forage fish species at two international conferences. The talk highlighted the novel findings of the study, i.e.: (1) that sensitivities to combined stressors are species- and trait-specific, (2), that larval fish overall seem to be less tolerant of low oxygen than low pH condition, but that (3) the combined effects can be additive and even synergistic; hence suggesting that focussing only on hypoxia in urbanized, eutrophied coastal waters may considerably underestimate the negative effects on larval fish. Even though hypoxia and acidification are almost always coupled conditions in marine environments, the empirical database on such multistressor experiments is still very small and thus precludes robust conclusions and generalizations across taxa or ecosystems.
“Plastic and evolutionary responses to ocean acidification: navigating the difficult terrain between unfounded pessimism, optimism, and impossible tasks”
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 11 June 2015
Experiments on contemporary marine organisms have demonstrated many negative responses to elevated CO2 levels, i.e., conditions that could occur in the average open ocean within the next 300 years. This has led to the recognition of ocean acidification (OA) as a key anthropogenic stressor and to concerns about detrimental changes to marine ecosystems on which humans depend. While assessing species sensitivities to OA has been the necessary first step, the gradual nature of these shifts further demands that we assess how transgenerational plasticity and evolutionary adaptation to OA will likely affect the overall vulnerability of species and ecosystems. Our predictive ability of these adaptive processes is still in its infancy.
The overview talk first looked at currently employed approaches to study adaptation, from relatively well-documented in vitro evolution to OA in single cell organisms to necessarily more inferential techniques (e.g., evolutionary potential, standing genetic variation, molecular techniques) in longer-lived metazoans where multi-generational experiments are largely unfeasible. Secondly, the talk touched on the likely role of transgenerational plasticity in mitigating adverse OA effects over shorter time-scales in some species and whether this could perhaps compromise their ability to genetically adapt. The final objective was to pose a number of largely unresolved questions (e.g., selection differentials? Evolutionary trade-offs?) and highlight a few, perhaps underutilized approaches (e.g., studying spatial gradients as analogies to temporal change) that might improve understanding of evolution and plasticity to OA.
The motto of the 24th Annual Citizen Summit, organized by Save the Sound was ‘Coming back from the brink’. Speakers highlighted the tremendous amount of work towards reducing the eutrophication problem of Long Island Sound, but also the challenges ahead. Baumann highlighted that in addition to traditional concerns of hypoxia as a negative consequence of eutrophication, acidification is a co-occurring stressor. The combination of these two stressors needs to be better understood and tested, because in ecology the effects of two co-occurring stressors may not simply be the sum of each stressor acting alone. Sometimes … 1 + 1 > 2. Other panelists were Dr. Jamie Vaudrey (UConn) and Lisa Suatoni (NRDC) moderated by Dr. Johan (Joop) Varekamp (Wesleyan University and Chairman of the Board, Connecticut Fund for the Environment).