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Plenary Lectures and Presentations

Sunday, 8 July 2012

17:00 to 18:30, Biwako Hall – Main Theatre

Dr. John Downing, ASLO President
Regent’s Excellence Professor of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology and Chair of the Environmental Science Graduate Program, Iowa State University

Introductory Remarks

Biographical Information: John Downing is president of the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography, a Board member of the Council of Scientific Society Presidents, and a member of the Consortium of Aquatic Science Societies. He is a Regent’s Excellence Professor of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology, and the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at Iowa State University. He is Chair of the Environmental Science Graduate Program. He is also an adjunct professor at Itasca Community College where he is helping create a water quality technology program to provide employment opportunities to students in an economically depressed region. His research interests include limnology, aquatic ecology, terrestrial ecology, microbial ecology, biogeochemistry, population conservation, and whole ecosystem restoration and management. He has advised many policy-makers and citizens groups concerning water quality management, and is a frequent consultant to firms and boards regionally, nationally, and internationally. He was recently awarded ASLO’s Ruth Patrick award for his work in understanding and mitigating eutrophication in agricultural regions. He was formerly a professor at McGill University and the University of Montreal where he was Director of the Laurentian Biological Station.

Nancy B. Grimm
Professor and Senior Sustainability Scientist, Arizona State University; Program Director, Ecosystem Science Program, National Science Foundation; and Senior Scientist, National Climate Assessment, U.S. Global Climate Research Program

Biographical Information: Nancy Grimm is a Professor of Ecology in the School of Life Sciences and Senior Sustainability Scientist at Arizona State University, USA. She is currently on a two-year assignment at the U.S. National Science Foundation, where she is a program director for the Ecosystem Science program, an interdisciplinary program liaison working extensively with the Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability portfolio, and a senior scientist for the National Climate Assessment (on half-time detail to the U.S. Global Climate Research Program). Her research addresses how human-environment interactions and climate variability influence ecosystem processes and services in both riverine and urban ecosystems, collaborating with hydrologists, engineers, geologists, chemists, sociologists, geographers, and anthropologists. She was the founding director of the Central Arizona–Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research program, an interdisciplinary study of the Phoenix urban socio-ecological ecosystem, from 1997-2010. Grimm earned her BA in ecology (1978) from Hampshire College in Massachusetts and M.S. (1980) and Ph.D. (1985) in zoology from Arizona State University, and has held research scientist and faculty positions at the latter institution since 1990. She has been president of the Ecological Society of America and the North American Benthological Society and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Grimm chaired or served on several national and international advisory and editorial boards, is author or co-author of over 140 scientific publications, and is currently a lead author for the National Climate Assessment.

Presentation: Global Environmental Change and the Water Challenges of Cities

This talk will begin at the global scale with the challenges of provisioning clean water for >3 billion urban inhabitants, then will focus down to climate-change challenges for aquatic ecosystems and the services they provide at the continental to regional scale. Dr. Grimm will examine a case study of the water-related challenges in an arid urban environment (Phoenix, Arizona). Water is examined through the lenses of ecosystem services and resilience, examining whether designed/engineered urban aquatic systems can be resilient and adaptable.

Monday, 9 July 2012

11:00 to 12:00, Biwako Hall – Main Theatre

Carolyn Oldham
Winthrop Professor, School of Environmental Systems Engineering, The University of Western Australia

Biographical Information: Carolyn Oldham is Winthrop Professor at the University of Western Australia in the School of Environmental Systems Engineering. She earned a BSc with Honors in Chemistry and a PhD in Environmental Engineering for an investigation into the effects of turbulence on oxygen patchiness in a lake. Since 1994, Carolyn has worked to integrate her cross-disciplinary research interests in transport processes, environmental chemistry and spatial and temporal patchiness. This focus on cross-disciplinary integration, i.e. trans-disciplinary research, has led Carolyn to collaborate with hydrologists, oceanographers, estuarine and groundwater scientists. She has led a diverse range of research projects on arsenic contamination of wetlands, rivers and ground waters, fate and transport of decomposing seagrass wrack in coastal waters, groundwater nitrogen plumes into coastal waters, prediction of contaminant dynamics after mine closure, and acidification dynamics in surface and ground waters. While the context of Carolyn’s research has been, and remains, extremely diverse, she has worked to integrate approaches and frameworks across multiple disciplines and has maintained her core interest in the interactions between transport and biogeochemical transformation processes, with a focus on patchiness and connectivity dynamics at system, local and micro scales.

Carolyn brings the same trans-disciplinary approach to her teaching and in 2010, received a national Australian Learning and Teaching Council Award for an “outstanding and sustained commitment to increasing the diversity of student learning experiences in engineering”. From 2003 – 2008, she served as Associate Dean (Teaching and Learning), and Dean in the Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics at UWA. She remains one of the few women promoted to Professor of Engineering in Australian research intensive universities, she is an active mentor for junior academic women, currently chairs the UWA Leadership Development for Women Planning Group and initiated an Australian study on optimizing the performance of women academics in engineering. Carolyn has also led research projects in a number of developing countries, sits on the Board of Engineers Without Borders Australia, and for the last 6 years has been working in East Timor to build capacity in their Universities to train East Timorese engineers.

Presentation: Scales and Balances: The use of dimensionless numbers to characterize transport, reaction and ecohydraulic connectivity.

Assessing the potential for transfer or export of biogeochemicals or pollutants from aquatic systems is of primary importance under changing land use and climatic conditions. Over the past decade the connectivity/disconnectivity dynamics of aquatic systems and catchments have been related to their potential to export material, however we continue to use multiple definitions of connectivity, and most have focused strongly on physical (hydrologicaly or hydraulic) connectivity. In this presentation we define ecohydraulic connectivity as the ability of matter and organisms to transfer within and between elements of the hydrological cycle while undergoing biogeochemical transformation. The connectivity/disconnectivity dynamic must take into account the opportunity for a given reaction to occur during transport and/or isolation. Using this definition, we propose three distinct regimes: I) which is ecohydraulically connected and diffusion dominated; II) which is ecohydraulically connected and advection dominated and III) which is both hydraulically and ecohydraulically disconnected. Within each regime we propose the use of a new non-dimensional number, NE, to compare exposure timescales with reactions timescales. NE is reaction-specific and allows the estimation of relevant spatial scales over which the reactions of interest are taking place. Case studies provide examples of how NE can be used to gain insight into the biogeochemical processes that are significant under the specified conditions. Finally, we explore the implications of this framework for improved water management, for our understanding of biodiversity, resilience and biogeochemical competitiveness under specified conditions.

George Sugihara
Professor, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego

Biographical Information: George Sugihara is the McQuown Chair and Distinguished Professor of Natural History, at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. He holds degrees from the University of Michigan and Princeton University. He is a theoretical biologist who has worked across a wide variety of fields, including landscape ecology, algebraic topology, algal physiology and paleoecology, neurobiology, atmospheric science, fisheries science, and quantitative finance. He is the inaugural holder of the McQuown Chair in Natural Science at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Most of his early work was motivated exclusively by pure science, and the later work more by pragmatic utility and environmental concerns. Nearly all of it is based on extracting information from observational data (turning data into information). His initial work on fisheries as complex, chaotic systems led to work on financial networks and prediction of chaotic systems. He is one of 18 members of the National Academies Board on Mathematical Sciences and their Applications, and was a Managing Director at Deutsche Bank. He helped found Prediction Company (sold to UBS) and Quantitative Advisors LLC. He has been a consultant to the Bank of England, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and to The Federal Reserve System on questions of international security: systemic risk in the financial sector. Other notable research relates some of his early work on topology and assembly in ecological systems to recent work on social systems and work on generic early warning signs of critical transitions that apply across many apparently different classes of systems.

Presentation: Prediction, Coupling and Causation

Although correlation is neither necessary nor sufficient to establish causation, it remains deeply ingrained in our heuristic thinking. With increasing recognition that nonlinear dynamics are ubiquitous, and that relationships among variables will depend on system state, the use of correlation to infer causation becomes more difficult. Here we examine a criterion that identifies time series variables as causally related if they interact as part of the same dynamic system. Rather than using diet overlap as a proxy for the network of interactions, we directly deduce the operative network of realized dynamic linkages from information embedded in time series. Our approach, based on nonlinear state space reconstruction, addresses Berkeley’s 301-year correlation vs. causation dilemma and identifies basic problems when the current solution, Granger causality, is applied to nonlinear ecosystems. This criterion applies even in highly nonlinear cases and provides a conceptual framework for studying coupling and catastrophic change in nature. As a speaker in SS23: Ecosystem Change and Predictability of Aquatic Ecosystems on Wednesday, 11 July, Dr. Sugihara will discuss further details of the method.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

11:00 to 12:00, Biwako Hall – Main Theatre

Julie LaRoche
Professor for Biological Oceanography, Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences (IFM-GEOMAR) Marine Biogeochemistry, Kiel, Germany

Biographical Information: Julie LaRoche obtained her Ph.D. in biology from Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, Canada. She has worked as a biological oceanographer at Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, New York, USA, for 11 years before moving to Institute for Marine Research in Kiel, Germany. After spending the last 14 years in Germany working in the area of marine biogeochemistry, LaRoche has been awarded a Canada Research Chair tier 1 in marine biogeochemistry and microbial genomics in the Department of Biology at Dalhousie University. There she will continue and expand her work on marine phytoplankton, nitrogen fixation and the nitrogen cycle, combining marine genomics and stable isotope tracer studies.

Presentation: Future Aspects of Research on Marine Dinitrogen Fixation

Although the filamentous N2 fixing Trichodesmium has long been established as an important marine microorganism capable of fixing N2 gas, the last 15 years of research on marine N2 fixation have led to the realization that marine diazotrophs are a highly diverse group of microorganisms. Recent research has also established that the most widely applied method to measure N2 fixation in oceanic waters may have underestimated the true N2 fixation rates by a factor of 2 or more. Taken together the findings call for a standardization of rate measurement methodologies and a revaluation of the role of oceanic N2 fixation in the marine nitrogen cycle on a global scale.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

11:00 to 12:00, Biwako Hall – Main Theatre

Minhan Dai
Cheung Kong Chair Professor of Marine Biogeochemistry and Director, State Key Lab of Marine Environmental Science, Xiamen University, China

Biographical Information: In addition to being a Cheung Kong Chair Professor of Marine Biogeochemistry at Xiamen University, Minham Dai currently serves as the Director of the State Key Laboratory of Marine Environmental Science and is the Dean of the College of the Ocean and Earth Sciences. His research interests include carbon and trace metal biogeochemistry in marginal and estuarine systems, and the geochemistry of radioactive elements in surface and ground water. He has published more than 80 papers in leading international journals and is a leading PI of a “973” program on “carbon cycling in China Seas - budget, controls and ocean acidification”. He has served on many national and international committees. He is currently a member of advisory committee for the Earth Science Division of NSF-China, a SSC member of SOLAS, and the Secretary General of Asia Oceania Geosciences Society (AOGS).

Presentation: Coastal Ocean Carbon Cycling – Current Understanding and Challenges

Coastal ocean carbon cycling is an important component of the Earth’s climate system yet very complex because multiple-scale processes occurred to the coastal ocean where atmosphere, ocean and land interplay, which makes their inclusion in any realistic prognostic climate simulation an immense challenge. While global estimates of coastal air-sea CO2 fluxes have dramatically improved during the past several years as a result of the rapid growing of regional studies on carbon flux measurements, we still lack a mechanistic understanding on why some of the coastal ocean systems act as sinks for atmospheric CO2 while others are sources. The temporal and spatial variability of these CO2 fluxes both at the global and regional scales also present challenges. Adding to that are multiple stressors such as anthropogenic pressures which has likely led to the rapid changes seen in many of the world’s coastal ocean carbon systems. For example, ocean acidification in the coastal ecosystem is not only driven by the perturbation of anthropogenic CO2 but also impacted by coastal eutrophication and likely hypoxia as well.

This presentation will start with our current understanding of carbon fluxes and their controls in the global coastal ocean. We emphasize that physical settings such as the basin/mesoscale circulation including their interactions with open ocean basins in many coastal systems determines the carbon fluxes to a large extent. We will then look at the South China Sea as an example of the variability of coastal carbon fluxes at various temporal and spatial scales, spanning from diurnal changes to decadal changes, and in different physical-biogeochemical domains such as river plumes, upwellings, and meso-scale eddies. Emphasis will be given to the carbon connection between riverine input, its response on the shelf system and exchange with the open ocean interior. Also examined in this presentation are the interactions between carbon cycling and other biogenic elements such as nitrogen and silicate in the coastal ocean. This presentation will end with comments on the potential future changes of coastal ocean carbon biogeochemistry under the influence of both climate change and various anthropogenic effects.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

11:00 to 12:00, Biwako Hall – Main Theatre

Isabel Reche
Department of Ecology, Faculty of Science, University of Granada

Biographical Information: Dr. Isabel Reche is an Associate Professor of Ecology and Associate Scientist of the Instituto del Agua at the University of Granada (Spain). She received her doctor degree from this university in 1995 and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Ecosystems Studies (Millbrook, NY, USA) until 1998. Since then she is at the University of Granada. She has been involved in several projects in remote environments as boreal, and alpine lakes or in the Southern Ocean. Her specific scientific interests are dissolved and particulate organic carbon dynamics in aquatic ecosystems and bacterioplankton activity and structure.

Presentation: Dusty Skies and Pristine Lakes

Desertification and land use changes are promoting an increase of dust in the atmosphere. The Sahara-Sahel region is the main source of atmospheric dust accounting for approx. 50% of the dust production in the Earth surface, but other deserts as Gobi and Takla Makan in Asia are also relevant. African dust is mostly exported toward the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean region mobilizing particles, inorganic and organic nutrients, pollutants, and also microorganisms. Remote lakes are usually unaffected by direct human influence and, consequently, are considered as pristine and reference sites very responsive to environmental changes. However, these remote, alpine lakes are also submitted to dust deposition that influences their pool of mineral nutrients, dissolved organic matter, optical properties, and planktonic assemblages.

We have been studying the effects of dust deposition on lake biogeochemistry and microbial biogeography patterns. At the regional scale, in Sierra Nevada (Spain), atmospheric deposition of particulate matter, calcium, total phosphorus, and chromophoric dissolved organic matter is mainly associated to dryfall and shows seasonal patterns similar to Saharan dust exports. These dust inputs are an important source of phosphorous and organic carbon affecting lake stoichiometry and boosting phytoplankton and bacterioplankton. We have quantified bacterial loadings linked to dust deposition and identified viable long-distance airborne bacteria as immigrants in alpine lakes. At the global scale, we have reported significant latitudinal trends in alpine lakes in dissolved organic matter quantity and quality influenced by dust deposition. Our results suggest the current increase in dust export from land may affect the optical quality of dissolved organic matter in clear, alpine lakes and, consequently, their value as pristine reference sites.

Friday, 13 July 2012

11:00 to 12:30, Biwako Hall – Main Theatre

Nelson G. Hairston, Jr.
Frank H. T. Rhodes Professor of Environmental Science and Associate Chair, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University

Biographical Information: Nelson G. Hairston, Jr. is Frank H. T. Rhodes Professor of Environmental Science at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, USA. He studies ecological and evolutionary responses of freshwater organisms to environmental change. His study systems range from close to home (Cayuga Lake, Onondaga Lake & Oneida Lake, NY) to more distant (Lake Constance, Swiss Alps) and from large (Lake Ontario) to small (laboratory microcosms). Research in his laboratory and with colleagues has shown that populations can adapt evolve over very short time periods to changing environments. Algae adapt genetically to high grazing intensity altering consumer-resource cycles, consumers evolve resistance to elevated cyanobacteria, copepods evolve life histories that protect them from seasonal fish predation, and so on. In addition, he has discovered that the dormant eggs of zooplankton can survive for decades or even centuries in lake sediments and then hatch: a phenomenon that not only influences how organisms and lake ecosystems respond to environmental changes such as nutrient pollution and introductions of non-native fishes, but also provides limnologists with a tool to study adaptive evolution using living animals from a sequence of times in the past. He has been a member of ASLO since 1972. Hairston received his BS degree (1971) in Zoology from the University of Michigan and his Ph.D. (1977) in Zoology from the University of Washington where he studied with renowned limnologist W.T. Edmondson. He served as a faculty member at the University of Rhode Island (1977-1985) and has been on the faculty at Cornell since 1985. He is former Chair of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and is currently Senior Associate Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Cornell University Board of Trustees.

Presentation: Hutchinson’s “Ecological Theater” As Improv: Eco-Evolutionary Responses To Environmental Change

Aquatic life is continually challenged by environmental change. Excellent research has been dedicated to understanding how marine and freshwater organisms respond as the world to which they are adapted is altered by species introductions, pollution, and changing climate. Hutchison’s famous 1965 essays “The Ecological Theater and the Evolutionary Play” framed the idea that adaption matters: the environment defines the available niches to which organisms have evolved as efficient users. Evidence has mounted recently, however, for a more immediate interaction between ecology and evolution in which genetic adaptations of populations change at essentially the same rate as population abundance. Both occur on the time scale of generations. Adaptations can become the basis for further environmental change creating a feedback loop in which adaptation alters environment, which alters selection driving further adaptation, and so on: Hutchinson’s theater and play turn out to be improvisational. I explore evidence for these eco-evolutionary dynamics in aquatic systems, ask under what conditions they are important, and suggest ways to determine how important rapid evolution is for understanding the response of aquatic systems to environmental change.

Tamaki Ura
Professor, Director of Engineering, Underwater Technology Research Center, Institute of Industrial Science, The University of Tokyo

Biographical Information: Tamaki Ura is Director and Professor of Underwater Technology Research Center at the Institute of Industrial Science (IIS) of the University of Tokyo, and Director of the Tokyo University Ocean Alliance, since its establishment in 2007. He is one of the top-leaders of development of Autonomous Underwater Vehicle in the world. He has developed not only Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) but also various related application technologies including navigation methods, a new sensing method using a chemical sensor, precise seafloor mapping methods, a precise seabed positioning system with a resolution of a few centimeters, a new sensing system of the thickness of cobalt-rich crust, etc. Finally, he exemplified using these technologies that AUVs are practicable and valuable tools for deep-sea exploration.

Not only for the academic fields but also for the public, he has been contributing to the Ocean related themes. He was a Commissioned Judge of the High Marine Accidents Inquiry Agency from 1984 to 2008, and he was the chairman of the Ocean Technology Committee of the Society of Naval Architects of Japan from 1998 to 2000 as well. Based on these activities, he has received many awards. Most recently, he has been recognized with the IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society Distinguished Technical Achievement Award (USA) (2010); Nominated as IEEE Fellow, for contributions to autonomous underwater vehicle technologies. (USA) (2007), and the Distinguished Service Award from IEEE Japan Chapter (Japan) (2006).

Presentation: Observation of Deep Seafloors by Autonomous Underwater Vehicles

The AUV (Autonomous Underwater Vehicle) is a dynamically stable platform that can be used for automatic, high-resolution visual and/or acoustic observation of deep seafloors. The following three examples illustrate the advantages of observation using AUVs and give some idea of the scope of applications. The AUV “Tri-Dog 1” has annually visited the tube worm fields in Kagoshima bay since 2006, and has taken pictures of colonies of shallow water (about 100m depth) tube worms (Lamellibrachia satsuma). A mosaic based on these pictures was superimposed on a detailed 3D configuration of the seafloor. The second example is based on dives by the AUV “Tuna-Sand” in July 2010. The AUV performed twelve dives over gas-hydrate fields in Toyama bay and took about 7,000 pictures from an altitude of 2.2 meters above the floor at a depth of 1,000 meters. One of the mosaics shows 3,500 snow crabs (Chionoecetes japonicas) in a 40 meters by 20 meters area. The third example is exploration of the Izena caldron carried out by the AUV “r2D4” in November 2008. The AUV succeeded in taking side scan SONAR (SSS) images, which show several small hydro-thermal mounds and chimneys at the base of the Izena caldron at a depth of 1,600 meters. Based on the SSS images and bathymetry map measured by the interferometry SONAR, JOGMEC (Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation) selected suitable locations to perform drilling in order to survey the amount of mineral deposits at the site.