This is a hybrid event. Please contact the seminar organizer for the Zoom link.
Marine climate change ecology: How trying to predict the future helps us understand the present.
Understanding the consequences of environmental change is a pressing issue in modern ecology. Although many of these changes represent a threat to global biodiversity and ecosystem stability, they also represent an opportunity for ecological understanding. Almost all climate change variables (e.g. temperature, rainfall, salinity, pH, and dissolved oxygen) are known to have non-linear effects on organism performance (e.g. enzyme activity, metabolic scope, and growth rates). Instead of a linear correlation, organism performance tends to be hump-shaped with performance being low under more extreme high and low conditions and a single performance optimum. However, most ecological studies manipulate environmental variables categorically. Additionally, organisms experience a great deal of variation in their abiotic environment with multiple factors varying simultaneously at a range of temporal scales. As scientists we intuitively understand that this variability is likely important, but we do not yet fully understand just how important it may be. Because of the non-linear nature of species responses to environmental variables such as temperature, the performance of an organism under variable condition is unlikely to be the same as its performance at the mean condition, this is known as Jensen’s inequality. In this talk we will discuss multiple case studies outlining the complexities and nuances of predicting ecological responses to environmental change paying particular focus to the important effects of non-linearity, environmental variability, and multi-stressor systems.
About the speaker
Kathryn Anderson comes to Bard after serving as a research associate at Washington State University’s School of Biological Sciences (2018) and Chinese University of Hong Kong’s School of Life Sciences (2019–20). She has additional research experience at the University of Adelaide, in the Southern Seas Ecology Laboratories; University of Houston, Sapelo Island Marine Estuarine Research Reserve; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge; and Oregon State University’s Partnership for the Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans. Her primary research interest lies in understanding how climate change and environmental variability impact individual performance, community composition, and function of intertidal and nearshore subtidal marine ecosystems. Professor Anderson earned her PhD at the University of British Columbia, where her thesis addressed “Algal-herbivore interactions in a high carbon world: direct and indirect effects through individuals, populations, and communities.” Her work has appeared in numerous peer reviewed publications, including Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Scientific Reports, Nature Climate Change, Ecology, Oikos, and the Encyclopedia of Natural Resources: Air. Honors and awards include travel and research awards from the Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution, University of British Columbia, Bamfield Marine Science Centre in British Columbia, and Bowdoin College, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in biology.