CIE Seminar Series 2014 – From nutrient release to carbon emissions: resource liberation drives ecosystem change within kelp forests

Sean ConnellSPEAKER: Professor Sean Connell, Marine Biology, School of Earth & Environmental Sciences, The University of Adelaide, South Australia
DATE: Friday, 10th October 2014
LOCATION: Warrnambool Campus, Room C.1.13
TIME: 2:00 pm
Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Melbourne Campus at Burwood, Room T3.05 and Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, Room ka4.207

ABSTRACT: Liberation of resources in the form of nitrogen and carbon is occurring at an unprecedented rate as we feed and fuel the world’s increasing expectations for higher standards of living, population and economic growth.

Whilst there is increasing potential for resources to drive ecosystem change, biologists have been preoccupied with trophic or top-down control (e.g. via fishing and marine parks, ocean pH and warming).

Whilst recognizing the context for strong trophic control, I provide an account by which terrestrial nitrogen and carbon dioxide emissions act as resources that turn ecological subordinates into dominants. The displacement of kelp forests by their competitors is a notable case that may broaden the way we think about ecological change and its management.

BIO: I research the drivers of ecological change and stasis within kelp forests. This work has caused me to work across spatial scales (local to biogeographic), recover lost-baselines and shifted species-distributions (historical ecology), recognize contemporary processes of change and stability (resilience and resistance) through ocean warming and acidification (climate change).

By reconciling controversy among such studies, I sometimes wonder whether we are sufficiently mindful of the importance spatial and temporal context to ecological pattern and process.

For enquiries and appointments with the guest speaker, please email Alecia Bellgrov.