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Plenary Lectures and Presentations

Monday, 14 February 2011

10:30 to 12:00, Ballroom A - PRCC

Dr. Deborah A. Bronk

ASLO President, Department of Physical Science, Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences, The College of William and Mary

Presentation: ASLO’s Future - Opportunities and Challenges

ASLO President Debbie Bronk will provide opening remarks for the conference.

Biographical Information: Deborah Bronk is a professor in the Department of Physical Sciences at the College of William & Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS). She received her undergraduate degree in biology and marine science at the University of Miami and her doctorate at the University of Maryland. Prior to her move to VIMS she was a post-doctoral scholar at the University of California, Santa Cruz and an associate professor at the University of Georgia. Her research program is all about nitrogen! Her research group has addressed a broad range of basic questions of nitrogen uptake and regeneration and applied questions including coastal eutrophication and wastewater issues. She has participated in or led over fifty research cruises to environments spanning the salinity spectrum. Debbie currently serves as the treasurer of the Council of Scientific Society Presidents and is a member of the U.S. National Committee for the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, the U. S. Carbon Cycle Science Plan Working Group, and the Ocean Time-Series Advisory Committee. She is the recipient of the Lindeman Award and the Dean’s Prize for the Advancement of Women in Science.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

10:30 to 12:00, Ballroom A - PRCC

Dr. Carla E. Cáceres

University of Illinois, Department of Animal Biology, Urbana, IL

Presentation: The Lake as a Microcosm for the Study of Disease

More than 120 years ago, Stephen A. Forbes recognized the utility of lakes for studying the complexity of interactions that are the hallmark of modern community ecology. Although parasites have not always been a central focus of community ecologists, recent research has revealed the roles they play in community dynamics. It has also become clear that the spread of disease through a host population often depends on other members of the food web besides the host and parasite species in question. Furthermore, some physical aspects of the environment seem to enhance the spread of disease whereas others inhibit it. We have been using freshwater zooplankton as a case study to understand the connection between habitat, community structure and disease spread. We see a pronounced relationship between the basin shapes of lakes and fungal (Metschnikowia bicuspidata) disease in the zooplankton grazer Daphnia dentifera. Multiple mechanisms can explain why Daphnia in some lakes are sicker, but we can eliminate some hypotheses and find support for others involving food-web players. Furthermore, we identify physical mechanisms that enhance the transport of fungal spores and increase the likelihood of epidemics in lakes with particular basin shapes. These results, coupled with examples from other systems demonstrate that habitat structure, through its effects on food-web composition and physical processes, can shape wildlife disease.

Biographical Information: Dr. Carla E. Cáceres is the director of the Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology Program at the University of Illinois Urbana. She also is an associate professor in the Department of Animal Biology. She received her BS in biology from the University of Michigan and earned her PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Cornell University. Carla received ASLO’s R. L. Lindeman Award for the outstanding paper written by a young aquatic scientist in 1999. Other honors and recognitions include the National Academies Education Fellow in the Life Sciences (2009-2010), Campus award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (2009), Lynn M. Martin Award for Distinguished Women Teachers (2009), Helen Corley Petit Scholar (2006-2007), Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) (2003), and the James A. Hagan Teaching Fellow, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Illinois (2002-2003).

Wednesday, 15 February 2011

10:30 to 12:00, Ballroom A – PRCC

Dr. Nancy N. Rabalais

Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, Chauvin, LA

Presentation: Oilmageddon, Dead Zones and Vanishing Land

The BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill was an engineering, economic and socio-ecological failure that brought the attention of the world to the northern Gulf of Mexico. The immediate response was astonishment, followed by horror, anger, denial, action, perseverance and recovery. The oil gusher (not a leak, not a spill, not an incident) was an immediate environmental insult, and as yet unknown short- and long-term impact. Attention was focused on how the oil spill was affecting oceanic ecosystems, coastal habitats, coastal communities, and the health and resilience of plankton, blue fin tuna, and spill workers, not to forget the local and global economy. Attention was also drawn to the fragile and already-damaged condition of the northern Gulf of Mexico. The image of dots on a map of oilfield drilling and production platforms, including many in deep water, and the pipelines that connect them to shore is a spider-web denser off Louisiana than elsewhere. The inshore maze of pipeline canals, access canals, and navigation channels dices up the fragile deltaic landscape. The engineered Mississippi River is no longer the winding, sediment-laden “Big Muddy” that formed the deltaic plain and current bird-foot delta over the last seven thousand years. The Mississippi and its tributaries, floodplains and watersheds are no longer efficient at handling the magnitude of nutrients loaded onto it by human beings and their activities, and a world-class “dead zone” forms in the Gulf every spring and summer. Yet, we are now challenged with a Presidential Executive Order that calls for an integration of Federal efforts with those of local stakeholders to initiate and pursue complex, large-scale restoration projects. We face many opportunities and many challenges.

Biographical Information: Nancy Rabalais is the executive director and a professor at the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON). Her research interests include the dynamics of hypoxic environments, interactions of large rivers with the coastal ocean, estuarine and coastal eutrophication, benthic ecology, and science policy. She currently serves on a National Research Council committee, the Council for the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System, the Board of Trustees for the Consortium on Ocean Leadership, the National Sea Grant Advisory Board, and Board of Directors for the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System. Nancy is an American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow, an Aldo Leopold Leadership Program Fellow, and a National Associate of the National Academies of Science, in addition to earning several research awards. She earned her Ph.D. in zoology from The University of Texas at Austin in 1983.

Thursday, 16 February 2011

10:30 to 12:00, Ballroom A – PRCC

Dr. Christopher L. Sabine

NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, Seattle, WA

Presentation: Ocean Uptake of Atmospheric CO2 and its Impact on Marine Ecosystems

Currently the average concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is approaching 390 parts per million (ppm); a 39% increase over preindustrial levels. Half of that increase has occurred in the last 30 years. By mid-century, the average atmospheric CO2 concentration could easily reach double the preindustrial concentration of 280 ppm. The ocean currently absorbs between one-third and one-fourth of the CO2 emitted to the atmosphere from human activities, but the fraction of anthropogenic emissions taken up by the ocean appears to be decreasing with time. As this CO2 dissolves in seawater it forms carbonic acid resulting in what is commonly referred to as ocean acidification. A range of field and laboratory studies suggest that impacts of acidification on some major marine calcifiers may already be detectable and will likely increase in the future. Increasing acidity and related changes in seawater chemistry can also affect reproduction, behaviour, and general physiological functions of some marine organisms such as oysters, sea urchins, squid and some fish. Both the changing ocean CO2 uptake efficiency and potential changes in marine ecosystems suggest that the oceans are undergoing significant changes due to rising CO2. As the world begins to address the issue of global climate change we need to recognize that temperature and sea level rise are not the only concerns, but that the rising CO2 is having a direct impact on the environment and its ecosystem services.

Biographical Information: Christopher L. Sabine received his PhD. in chemical oceanography from the University of Hawaii in 1992. He is currently a supervisory oceanographer at NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle, WA. He also holds an affiliate faculty position in the University of Washington School of Oceanography and is a senior fellow at the UW/NOAA Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Oceans (JISAO). Chris’ research focuses on understanding the global carbon cycle and the role of the ocean in absorbing CO2 released from human activity. In particular he studies air-sea exchange of CO2, basin-scale distributions of both natural and anthropogenic carbon, multiple tracer relationships, carbonate and organic matter within the open ocean and in coastal environments and ocean acidification. He is a scientific advisor for national ocean carbon programs within the U.S. and internationally within the United Nations. He has won several awards including the U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Medal Award for pioneering research leading to the discovery of increased acidification in the world’s oceans and NOAA Research Employee of the Year.

Friday, 17 February 2011

10:30 to 12:00, Ballroom A – PRCC

Dr. Marcia McNutt

Director, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA

Presentation: How Science Made a Difference in Ending the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Biographical Information: Dr. Marcia McNutt is responsible for leading the nation’s largest water, earth, biological science and civilian mapping agency in its mission to provide the scientific data that enable decision makers to create sound policies for a changing world. She previously served as president and chief executive officer of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), in Moss Landing, California. Marcia has participated in 15 major oceanographic expeditions and served as chief scientist on more than half of those voyages. She has published 90 peer-reviewed scientific articles. Her research has ranged from studies of ocean island volcanism in French Polynesia to continental break-up in the Western United States to uplift of the Tibet Plateau. Marcia is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She was awarded the American Geophysical Union’s Macelwane Medal in 1988 for research accomplishments by a young scientist and the Maurice Ewing Medal in 2007 for her significant contributions to deep-sea exploration. Marcia received a bachelor’s degree in physics from Colorado College and a doctorate in earth sciences from Scripps Institution of Oceanography.