55 EMBS topic description

Main stressors and their impact on ecosystem health

High anthropogenic activity and extreme natural events in marine and coastal systems induce disturbances to ecosystem processes and influence comfort zones of organisms. Regimes of environmental stresses remain exceedingly complex, interactions among different factors can exert both a strengthening and weakening effect on manifestations of a single determinant. Although a diversity of environmental factors may manifest at any time and place, only one or a few of them tend to be dominant. Recent evidence of the impact of environmental and human-induced stressors on various ecosystem processes and the resident organisms will be a core theme discussed in this session.

Marine molecular ecology – new tools and new findings

Recent technological developments in molecular tools, such as: microarrays, new DNA markers, omics tools, high-throughput sequencing, and bioinformatics (and high-tech microscopy), provide new research opportunities for studying the functions and evolution of marine and estuarine organisms. Advancement in analytical and data processing methods contribute to the development of novel evolutionary and ecological hypotheses. This session will explore new tools and new findings that address molecular mechanisms of natural processes in the marine environment, including interactions and the diversity of natural populations.

Diversity and physiology of marine organisms. Is there still anything to discover?

Marine organisms have adapted to different habitats and distinctive environmental conditions in the marine environment, resulting in a great variety of their structures, physiological traits and behaviour. Adaptation and/or acclimation potential of marine organisms has been a subject of extensive field and experimental studies, which described many generic mechanisms of the biological tolerance and resistance. Investigations of semi-isolated populations, which are exposed to locally-specific environmental factors still unravel new functions and life strategies which enable the organisms to survive and reproduce under variable conditions. Discoveries of unrecognised and lesser-known traits of the diversity and physiology of marine organisms, at the varying levels of biological organisation, will be captured in this session.

Marine living resources – environmental significance

Marine and coastal systems serve essential ecological functions, provide coastal protection and are critical sources of food, tourism and economic development. The continuing human population growth and accelerated concentrations in coastal zones, industrial-scale aquaculture and fisheries all imply intensive exploitation of biological resource, with a potentially adverse impact on natural systems, including populations and habitats. Sustainable use and careful management of living resources become a crucial issue of scientific research and maritime policy. The significance of living marine resources, their current state and extent of use to marine environments, will be a subject of debate during this session.

General Session

All other aspects of marine biology and ecology.