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Themes and Sub-themes

Oral presentations and posters are invited that reflect the following aims of the annual symposium:

·  To provide a forum for the presentation of current marine biological research

·     To encourage a wider interest in Marine Biology and an awareness of the need for the proper management of European seas and coasts among politicians, managers, industrialists, environmental planners, and the general public

The Theme for this year is 'Challenges to Marine Ecosystems' but POSTERS will be accepted outside of the main theme and can be submitted under the heading 'OPEN'. Poster presenters from the 'OPEN' session will not be eligible to submit a paper for the published proceedings

THEME: Challenges to Marine Ecosystems

The world’s marine ecosystems face multiple challenges, some natural, but many resulting from humankind’s activities. Global climate change, driven by influences of energy usage and industrial practices, is a reality now accepted by most of the world’s scientists, media and political establishments. Warming seas and rising sea levels are regarded as threats, while visionaries consider deep ocean carbon disposal as a technological opportunity. Exploitation of the seas continues apace, with repeated concerns over the impact of over-fishing, plus reservations about the environmental effects of marine aquaculture. We need to understand how resilient organisms and ecosystems are to these challenges, while responding by protecting biologically-meaningful areas of the oceans. The subthemes of the 41st European Marine Biology Symposium address all of these matters.

SUBTHEMES

Genetics and resilience of marine organisms

Keynote Speaker

Professor Gary Carvalho (School of Biological Sciences, University of Wales, Bangor UK) http://biology.bangor.ac.uk/people/staff/012031

Recent data show that major genetic shifts in wild populations can occur over short time scales in relation to natural and anthropogenic changes in the environment.  In generating a predictive framework for biological response in the marine environment, it is increasingly necessary to consider the extent to which such change may impact population persistence and distribution.  The recent rapid progress in genetic studies of marine organisms, from individual to species level, using an ever-increasing number of higher precision molecular markers and associated analytical tools, provides new opportunities to address such issues.  Many investigations have hitherto, however, focused on analysis of spatial relationships, with scant reference to adaptive or temporal variation in genetic structure.  Moreover, most studies make limited reference to underlying mechanisms driving observed patterns or the ecological significance of changes in genetic diversity.  This sub-theme will aim at presentations that seek to integrate genetic results, both within and among species, with research areas such as impacts of climate change (e.g. the genetic consequences of rapid environmental change), population, demographic and evolutionary biology (e.g. consequences of fluctuations in population size, population connectivity), response to commercial fishing (e.g. stock depletion and recovery), and adaptive variation (both at the single gene or quantitative genetic levels).

Marine protected areas

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Bill Ballantine (Retired from Leigh Marine Laboratory, University of Auckland, New Zealand, but still an activist) http://www.marine-reserves.org.nz/

Marine conservation policy has frequently relied on designating reserves or protected areas. Choice of reserve, however, has often been due to historical, aesthetic or practical factors that, while potentially important, may not effectively relate to the objective of conserving marine biodiversity. Recent studies have emphasized how the existing ad hoc system of marine reserves is an inefficient use of resources that is unlikely to meet conservation objectives. This has challenged scientists to look at the whole process of designation and monitoring of marine protected areas to best fulfil conservation needs. This subtheme will address some of the current progress being made in this vitally important area of marine conservation.

Global climate change and marine ecosystems

Keynote Speaker

Professor Carlo Heip (The Netherlands Institute of Ecology, The Netherlands) http://www.nioo.knaw.nl/ppages/cheip/

The world's oceans cover approximately 70% of the Earths surface and have a significant influence on global heat transport, and consequently weather patterns. Humans derive a wide variety of goods and services from marine ecosystems including the provision of food, recreation, and transport. Predicted greenhouse gas emissions suggest that global climate will change significantly during the 21st century.
This subtheme will explore the challenges faced by coastal and marine ecosystems, which are already affected by human development, land use changes, environmental pollution and over-harvesting of natural resources.

Sustainable fisheries and aquaculture

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Tony J. Pitcher (The University of British Columbia, Canada) http://www.fisheries.ubc.ca/members/tpitcher/

Sustainable development has been defined (Bruntland Report, 1987) as "an approach to progress that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs". The global farming of fish and shellfish has expanded considerably in recent decades, whereas the catch of wild fish has reached a plateau or declined. Aquaculture has the potential to reduce the impact on wild fisheries by offering farmed products for consumption or restocking and ranching. The environmental advantages and disadvantages of both farming and hunter-gathering are finely balanced. This subtheme will address some of the issues by taking a balanced look at the strengths and weaknesses of the two practices.

 

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