Theme sessions

Download the program (updated to June 20) here: ITRS11_Programme

There will be four thematic sessions exploring how temperate reef ecosystems are responding to environmental change, from local anthropogenic impacts to global change effects, at any levels of biological organization.


1.Mechanisms, models, predictions (Plenary speaker: MW Denny)

In recent years, studies in physiology, ecomechanics, genomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics, and energy-budget modeling have advanced rapidly. We now have the capability to combine these fields to make mechanistic predictions concerning the interaction of individual organisms with their environment and with each other, predictions that will contribute to our understanding of how nearshore and intertidal populations and communities work, and how these communities will respond to climate change. This session welcomes papers that explore the potential interactions among these subjects and how they can inform each other to augment our ability to make mechanistic predictions.

2. Environmental change and species interactions (Plenary speaker: SD Connell)

Environmental change is perpetual across most scales of time and forms a persistent theme in ecology. Our research into anticipating ecological responses to local anthropogenic stress and global change has reached an unprecedented volume. A focus has been the interplay between species and the environment. Whilst species interactions are under strong abiotic control, they can also modify abiotic conditions at local scales. This session welcomes contributions on the interplay between species interactions and environmental change at any scales, to explain ongoing trends and fluctuations in rocky coastal assemblages.

3. The interface between ecology and environmental management (Plenary Speaker: MG Chapman)

Does management work with ecological scientists to solve pressing environmental problems? In the coming decades, temperate reefs, along with many other marine habitats, are going to be assailed by increasing environmental problems associated with growth of human populations and climatic change. Research is essential to understanding what might be the most important ecological issues and how they may be dealt with. This includes research on how environmental pressures and ecological responses can be measured and understood in a diverse system containing many, often cryptic, species and complex habitats and how such impacts may be ameliorated and the affected habitats rehabilitated. On the other hand, many environmental managers and stake-holders are at the forefront of making decisions to minimize or halt such problems. The links between these decisions and relevant research, including ecological research underpinning managerial decisions and research into the results of management and the decisions themselves, are not always clear. Contributions to this theme will include considerations of the scale and scope of such problems, methods for investigating impacts and their amelioration, goals for improved care of habitats and better ways to integrate the science and relevant policy and management. Studies of environmental impacts themselves will only be considered if they illustrate interactions between research and management.

4. Biological invasions (Plenary speaker: JJ Stachowicz)

Species invasions present novel challenges for native species and ecosystems, and understanding the determinants of the success, failure and impact of invasions has received significant attention. However, invasions can also be viewed as unintended experiments that present novel opportunities for increasing our understanding of the assembly, structure and functioning of natural systems. This session welcomes contributions that explore any aspect of invasion biology, and/or consider how invasions can be used to inform our understanding of basic ecological, evolutionary and biogeographical processes.