Thematic Session 3 - Global Change Ecology

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Thematic Session 3

Global Change Ecology

Tuesday 9 February 2021 | 10:00-12:00 hrs


LINK TO ZOOM MEETING: Will Follow soon.


10:00 – 10:05 Introduction by the session chair - Dr Emily Burdfield Steel (Assistant Professor of Chemical Ecology @ University of Amsterdam)
10:05 – 10:20 KEYNOTE LECTURE | Ecology, Evolution, and Behaviour in a Changing World
Kiyoko Gotanda @ Department of Zoology, Cambridge University, UK & Department of Biology, Université Sherbrooke, Canada

​Humans are dramatically changing the world both directly (e.g. artificial selection or domestication) and indirectly (e.g. cascading effects from urbanization), altering the dynamics of natural selection. Organisms must rapidly adapt and evolve to these different selection pressures if they are to cope, persist, and survive. My research goal is to determine the importance and efficacy of this process of rapid adaptation to human made changes and use this information to reduce the unwanted consequences of human-caused selection changes, as well as to facilitate adaptive responses that could allow continued persistence of populations.
10:20 – 10:30 BiodiverCity: how do insects colonize our fragmented cities with the help of green roofs?
Eva Froukje Drukker @ Biosystematics Group, Wageningen University

Green roofs gain increased popularity in our cities worldwide, resulting in widespread opportunities to enhance insect diversity in cities. Green roofs can form important habitats and stepping stones in the Urban Green Infrastructure. One of the major objectives of my PhD research is to investigate how the degree of isolation of green roofs as well as insect dispersal mode affect the connectivity of insect populations on green roofs. To achieve this goal we study different insects species that vary in dispersal mode (ranging from passive to active dispersal), and their ability to colonize green roofs in the city.
10:30 – 10:40 SPIN-CITY: urbanisation effects on the garden spider, Araneus diadematus
Bram Vanthournout @ Evolution and Optics of Nanostructures group, Ghent University

Cities can be viewed as “living labs” that provide unique opportunities to investigate evolution in real-time. Urban areas can heat up considerably due to the heat island effect. It is expected that this increased temperature prompts an evolutionary colour response with lighter individuals in urban areas that can stay cooler compared to their darker counterparts. We analysed pictures collected by citizen scientists in the SpiderSpotter app and used lab-based approaches (spectrophotometry and thermography) to investigate urbanisation effects on the colour of city and country Garden spiders.
10:40 – 10:50 Utilisation of environmental DNA to track agricultural pests and determine insect biodiversity in The Netherlands
Kim Ferguson @ Laboratory of Genetics, Wageningen University

Environmental DNA (eDNA) is freely available genetic material that is recovered from the environment – e.g. waste water, animal faeces, or surfaces. The methods and techniques are at the point where near real-time results can be generated: Collect bat poop on a Monday, determine the bat's diet by Friday. What remains to be seen if this is 1) beneficial for tracking agricultural pests of concern, 2) useful in determining overall insect biodiversity, and 3) scalable to cover the entirety of The Netherlands as a sort of pest detection network. And furthermore, what else can we do with our eDNA collections?
10:50 – 11:10 Joint coffee / tea break and time to socialise within your breakout room
11:10 – 11:20 Causal inference from observational data in aquatic ecosystems
Konrad Philipp Mielke @ Environmental Science, Radboud University Nijmegen

Most statistical methods based on empirical ecological data are not particularly suited to distinguish between true cause-effect relationships and spurious correlations caused by latent variables. In this talk, we present a newly developed causal discovery algorithm that can be used to infer true cause-effect relationships from empirical observations at different locations of a river network. We further show a causal network of multiple in-stream factors, including physiography, water chemistry, physical habitat quality, and toxic pressure, to explain differences in community integrity of fish and invertebrates at monitoring sites of rivers in the US state of Ohio.
11:20 – 11:30 Upscaling impacts of land use on biodiversity
Hadassa Moreira @ Environmental Science, Radboud University Nijmegen

Land use is one of the key drivers of biodiversity loss globally. Yet, quantifying land-use impacts consistently across different spatial scales remains a challenge. We developed a generally applicable and flexible method to estimate global species loss from site-level monitoring data on species richness responses to land use. With this method, we can estimate cross-scale biodiversity impacts of specific land-use types in specific regions, which can in turn be used to prioritize management and conservation and reduce product footprints.
11:30 – 11:40 Facilitative interactions across tropical coastal habitats in a transforming world
Sara Pino Cobacho @ Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management, Wageningen University

Tropical coastal habitats such as mangrove forests, seagrass meadows and coral reefs form a complex interaction network on which biodiversity, societies, and climate depend. These interactions amplify the combined ecological performance of the individual habitats, thus influencing their productivity and resilience. However, these habitats are in rapid decline due to various anthropogenic and climate-driven environmental pressures. Through a literature review, we have synthetized those biogeochemical interactions affected most by anthropogenic pressures. We also found evidence of potential interactions that have not been explored yet, and that may open up unique research opportunities.
11:40 – 11:55 General discussion and wrap up of the session