[Presentation] H. Baumann talks at the 3rd Ocean Acidification PI Meeting in Woods Hole, MA

“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.
Plastic & evolutionary responses to ocean acidification
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 talk is publicly accessible on Prezi

[Science Panel] 24th Annual Long Island Sound Citizens Summit

“Combined effects of low oxygen and low pH on coastal marine organisms”

Save the Sound 24th Annual Citizen Summit

April 9th 2015. H. Baumann shared insights from experimental work on the combined effects of low oxygen and low pH on coastal fish and shellfish as part of a science panel discussion during the 24th Annual Citizen Summit organized by ‘Save the Sound’
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).

Web: 24th Annual Long Island Sound Citizens Summit

[Campus Talk] H. Baumann talks at Avery Point Global Cafe

“Nets versus Nature: Have we indadvertedly made our fish smaller?”

Avery Point Global Cafe

April 9th 2015. H. Baumann contributed to Avery Point’s Global Cafe Series “The Omnivore at Sea” by talking about the topic of fisheries-induced evolution.
When hearing and talking about sustainable seafood, issues such as overfishing, fishing-related habitat destruction (e.g., trawls tearing through bottom habitat, dynamite fishing) or changes to the architecture of marine ecosystems (‘fishing down the foodweb’) often come to mind. Baumann talked about another potential effect of heavy decade-long commercial fishing, which is less clear but perhaps even more insidious. Nature’s age-old rule of survival in the ocean, i.e., that faster growing fish have better chances of survival, is suddenly reversed when size-selective fishing becomes the dominant agent of mortality. Because in fishing, a faster growing fish will just be susceptible sooner to get caught by the meshes of a fishing trawl. We instinctively know that life on earth has adjusted before to changing selection pressures, and there’s little reason to suspect that this case might be different. Commercial fishing may trigger fisheries-induced evolution, and this may mean smaller, earlier maturing fish and less total biomass for centuries to come. The brief talk will summarize the problem as we know it, explore alternative explanations and look at examples, which show that the issue is also inextricably linked to all the other natural and man-made changes (warming, food web) that affect fish stocks. A cautionary approach that considers evolutionary processes within the framework of sustainable fisheries is surely warranted.

[Talk] 5th International Otolith Symposium

Combining otolith microstructure + microchemistry: What can we learn about juvenile Pacific Bluefin Tuna migration?

Baumann et al. Otolith Symposium
H.Baumann presented findings about juvenile tuna otolith microstructure & -chemistry
From 19 – 24 October 2014, H. Baumann participated in the 5th International Otolith Symposium (Mallorca, Spain), a focused gathering of researchers worldwide analyzing calcified structures of fishes (otoliths = ear bones, scales, spines fin rays), mollusks and corals to infer age in days or years, isotopic or trace elemental composition, or to review the quality control measures in place in various production aging labs.
Dr. Baumann presented a study that combined daily ring analyses (=microstructure) in juvenile tuna otoliths with trace elemental analysis, showing that the otoliths likely record the entry of these fish into the California Current Ecosystem after their transpacific migration as juveniles.

[Talk] “Restore America’s Estuaries” Conference

“Combined effects of low pH and low O2 on coastal organisms”

Baumann et al. talked about combined effects of acidification and hypoxia on coastal marine organisms
Baumann et al. talked about combined effects of acidification and hypoxia on coastal marine organisms
H.Baumann was invited to be one of four panel speakers during a session called “Acidifying our Estuaries – Global Problems, local effects” chaired by Dr. Denise Breitburg (SERC) during the “7th National Summit on Coastal and Estuarine Restoration” in Washington D.C. (1-5 November 2014, Gaylord Hotel & Convention Center). The talk covered recent results from work on early larval silversides and bivalves, showing that the combined negative effects of acidification and hypoxia need to be better understood and can at times be greater than additive (i.e., synergistic).In biology, sometimes 1 + 1 is greater than 2.

[Seminar] Status and challenges of ocean acidification research

“Ocean Acidification Research 2.0: Moving beyond the average open ocean”

Ocean acidification research – exponential growth

H. Baumann gave an overview of the status and challenges ahead of ocean acidification research (Public Prezi)

  • Storrs, CT (UConn, 4/15/14),
  • Hamburg/Germany (IHF, 6/6/14),
  • Kiel/Germany (Geomar, 6/12/14),
  • Avery Point, CT (UConn MDS, 9/19/14),
  • Edgewater, MD (SERC, 10/3/14),
  • Sandy Hook, NJ (NOAA, 10/9/14).