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Plenary Speakers

We are excited to be joined by 6 world renowned Freshwater Plenary Speakers for SEFS13. Each will provide further insight and thought provoking assessments and ideas.

Name: 

David Hamilton 

Plenary Title:

Interdisciplinary assessment of investments in freshwater monitoring and restoration.

Bio:

David Hamilton is the Director of the Australian Rivers Institute and Professor of Water Sciences at Griffith University, Queensland, Australia. His PhD was from the University of Otago, carrying out research on New Zealand’s shallow lakes, and he did postdoctoral research at the Centre for Water Research, University of Western Australia, a leading institution in physical limnology, where he developed coupled hydrodynamic and ecological models of lakes. From 2002-17 he was the inaugural chair of lake restoration at the University of Waikato in New Zealand. Hamilton was one of four founding members of the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON).

Abstract:

We are continually seeking better ways for science to inform management of our freshwater systems, particularly under the dual pressures of climate change and land use intensification. Integrated tools are required that link atmospheric forcing to catchment processes and water quality outcomes for receiving waters. These tools need to show how to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of monitoring for change detection and prioritize actions for optimizing investments in catchment restoration. I use opportunities from emerging sensor technology, ecological models and an interactive map to provide examples of monitoring networks that optimise the opportunity for change detection from catchment mitigation actions. I also show how a data-driven catchment investment tool that integrates flood mapping, geospatial and economic data, is used to support decision making on mitigation actions across diverse stakeholder groups with different objectives. Together, these tools show where and when to monitor, and the scale, locations and types of catchment mitigation actions that generate water quality outcomes for receiving waters. They also provide a stronger economic basis to argue for the benefits of freshwater restoration programs.

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Name: 

Martin Kainz

Plenary Title:

Discerning dietary organic matter sources and their ecophysiological fate in aquatic and terrestrial food webs.

Bio:

Together with my colleagues at and around WasserCluster Lunz, Austria, my research focuses on linkages of dietary energy across ecosystems and its fate for aquatic and terrestrial consumers. We explore food web functioning using experimental and field studies and apply biochemical tracers, such as fatty acids and stable isotopes, and recently compound-specific stable isotopes. In particular, our research strives to better understand how climate change affects the dietary provision of essential nutrients conducive for somatic growth, vision, cognition, reproduction, and survival in aquatic consumers of stream, pond, and lake ecosystems.

2002 – PhD, UQAM, Montréal, Canada
2005 – Post-doc, University of Victoria, BC, Canada
2006 – Post-doc, National Water Research Institute, ON, Canada
2007 – Research scientist, Inter-university center for aquatic ecosystem research WasserCluster Lunz, Austria
2023 – Full professor for ecosystem research and -health, Danube University Krems, Austria

Abstract:

I will present upcoming research avenues about dietary energy sources and their physiological implications for aquatic consumers, and will focus on sources of dietary elements and lipids in organisms of various ecosystems. Lipids and some polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) are considered essential for consumers, yet in certain aquatic ecosystems their dietary provision may be too low to meet the consumers’ physiological demand.  It is thus important to understand how consumers within various trophic networks utilize and rework lipids of various dietary sources to meet their physiological requirements. Current research on fatty acids and compound-specific stable isotopes of leaf litter, algae, invertebrates, and in fish (muscle tissues, liver, gonads, brain, eyes) shows that consumers retain dietary energy preferably from autochthonous sources. The combined use of fatty acids and their stable isotopes reveals that fishes convert dietary PUFA to physiologically required fatty acids in their liver and in neural tissues. The supply of dietary energy appears to get steadily reworked within aquatic consumers and in fish organs to satisfy the consumers’ demand. This talk will round up with some perspectives for nutritional aquatic and terrestrial food web ecology in a world that faces unprecedented challenges during ongoing climate change.

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Name: 

Núria Catalán

Plenary Title:

Organic matter processing across inland waters, a gender-biased talk.

Bio:

Núria Catalán’s research focuses on the study of carbon cycling in inland waters. She applies contrasting approaches to the study of organic carbon reactivity, from its molecular composition to its degradation kinetics and from micro to cross-system scales, including understanding its role on ecosystem metabolism and greenhouse gas emissions. Currently, she is a Ramon y Cajal researcher at the IDAEA CSIC in Barcelona, studying the impact of climate change on the biogeochemistry of ecosystems specially affected by those impacts, such as Arctic lakes and streams or the Aral Sea. She also founded and is part of the Gender and Science AIL group since 2014, recognized with the prize ‘Inclusion and diversity in academia’ in 2021 by the AEET (Spain). 

Abstract:

Organic carbon (OC) is exported from terrestrial to freshwater ecosystems where it is degraded and lost as CO2, seemingly, at faster rates than in soils or marine systems. Across freshwaters, variations in OC degradation have been related to compositional changes in OC and anthropogenic disturbances are modifying those lateral OC transfers. Thus, there is an urgent need to constrain, understand and predict the fate of the lateral fluxes. Here, I will give an overview of how my research on OC transformations in freshwaters contributes to that need. I will show how reactivity is linked to the chemical composition of organic matter but also how other indirect controls modulate these transformations. For example, fluctuating hydrological conditions are predicted to redistribute OC decay rates. We will see contrasting examples on that, from changes in OC chemical diversity linked to hydrological connectivity of Arctic lakes to the effect of temporal and permanent drying in lakes across the world. Finally, I will show some examples on how our research field is impacted by gender-bias, and will give an overview of the activities and main results of the Gender&Science AIL group on evaluating the gender gap in limnology. 

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Name: 

Cayelan Carey

Plenary Title:

Advancing our understanding and management of freshwaters with near-term forecasting.

Bio:

Cayelan Carey is a Professor in Freshwater Ecosystem Science and Moore Faculty Fellow at Virginia Tech (USA). As Co-Director of the Ecological Forecasting Project, Carey strives to advance our predictive understanding of freshwaters in a changing world via high-frequency monitoring of lakes and reservoirs; integrating ecosystem data with models; and cultivating collaborative and interdisciplinary teams of scientists, managers, and other community members. She received her Ph.D. from Cornell University and was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Carey was a 2022 Future Fulbright Fellow at the University of Western Australia and was recently chosen to be an Earth Leaders Fellow by the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and Future Earth. 

Abstract:

Water quality in lakes and reservoirs around the globe is increasingly variable due to human activities, preventing managers from using historical baselines to predict tomorrow’s conditions. In response, our team is developing near-term, iterative water quality forecasts in which we predict future water quality conditions with fully-quantified uncertainty. We have created an open-source forecasting system that wirelessly transfers water quality sensor data to the cloud to run ensemble models via automated cyberinfrastructure, delivering daily, real-time forecasts of water quality conditions 1 to 35 days in the future to managers. To date, we have deployed this system in 12 lakes globally, enabling managers to anticipate and preemptively mitigate water quality impairment before it starts. Moreover, we can use forecasting to begin to identify the drivers of freshwater predictability among waterbodies. For example, we observed significant positive relationships between the accuracy of water temperature forecasts and lake characteristics (e.g., water clarity, depth), expanding our understanding on the controls of lake ecosystem functioning. Our team seeks to galvanize the freshwater research community to join the forecasting effort by creating easy-to-use teaching modules that introduce forecasting concepts through the Macrosystems EDDIE program and leading initiatives such as the U.S. National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) Ecological Forecasting Challenge. Together, we aim to lower the barrier to forecasting, engage a broad and diverse community of forecast developers and users, and use forecasts to improve our management of freshwater ecosystems in a changing world.

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Name: 

Dave Tickner

Plenary Title:

Have we bent the curve yet? Or, how a sane approach to freshwater science can help restore global biodiversity.

Bio:

Dave Tickner is Chief Freshwater Adviser at WWF-UK. He advises river and wetland conservation programmes in the UK and internationally, engages governments and companies on water-related issues, and leads research into global freshwater challenges and solutions. Dave trained as a geographer and began his career as a policy adviser in the UK environment ministry. He then completed a PhD in freshwater sciences before directing WWF’s Danube River programme, based in Vienna. He has held various non-executive, advisory and visiting roles in public, private, academic and not-for-profit sectors and has published widely in scientific journals, grey literature and popular media.

Abstract:

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while continually expecting different results. Biodiversity is in freefall worldwide, bringing increasing risks to communities and economies. This is particularly so for freshwater ecosystems, in which biodiversity collapse has been especially dramatic. In response, scientists and conservationists have called for urgent action to “bend the curve” of biodiversity loss. Happily, governments have now agreed the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, which promises exactly that. Unhappily, they have a poor track record of meeting such promises. Should we expect different results this time? If we really want to bend the curve, systemic change is needed as well as global agreements. But what does this mean for freshwater scientists? Does freshwater science need to change to stay sane? In this talk I’ll give a perspective on how scientists can encourage different results for global freshwater biodiversity. Drawing on policy discourse and research, I’ll discuss the balance between empirical, applied and activist approaches to freshwater science. I’ll suggest strategic research priorities to inform freshwater biodiversity restoration efforts. And I’ll discuss how teaching could better equip next generation freshwater scientists to advocate for saner management of our rivers, lakes and wetlands.

 

 

 

 

 

Name: 

James Orr

Plenary Title:

Interactions between anthropogenic stressors in freshwater ecosystems.

Bio:

Dr James Orr is an ecologist who uses theory and experiments to study how anthropogenic stressors impact the diversity, stability and functioning of ecosystems. He completed his PhD, entitled “General mechanisms for non-additivity between multiple stressors at higher temporal and biological scales”, at Trinity College Dublin with Dr. Jeremy Piggott, Dr. Andrew Jackson and Dr. Jean François Arnoldi. He is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher in Dr. Michelle Jackson’s Aquatic Ecology Lab at the University of Oxford where he is studying the temporal dynamics of multiple stressors. 

Abstract:

Global change is comprised of a diverse range of anthropogenic stressors that impact ecosystems in very different ways. In recent years there has been growing attention on the importance of the temporal dynamics of these stressors. For instance, it is still unclear how the order and timing of multiple pulse stressors (e.g., heat waves, harvesting, fires, floods, storms) influence their cumulative effects. We have developed theory that can predict when the timing of multiple pulse stressors is ecologically important. Furthermore, for a given community, we can predict the specific worst-case timing for a set of pulse stressors. We test our theory using numerical experiments first with a simple daphnia-algal model and then with more complex food web models. Finally, we present the initial results of a large-scale pond mesocosm experiment where the timings of pesticide (top-down) and nutrient (bottom-up) pulses were varied. 

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