Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Biosciences Seminar Speaker 28 November 2019

Biosciences Seminar Series - Autumn 2019
28 November 2019 - 1pm - Zoology Museum

Unanticipated roles of consumers in mediating the functioning of marine ecosystems

Prof Matthew Bracken

(University of California, Irvine)

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Our Biosciences Seminar Series continues for the 2019 autumn term with a talk by Professor Matthew Bracken from the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California, Irvine. Matthew is Professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biodiversity and leads the Marine Biodiversity Lab. Research in his lab broadly investigates linkages between marine communities and ecosystems, using a large variety of interdisciplinary approaches. Current specific questions of interest include evaluating the causes and consequences of biodiversity change and quantifying the relative importance of consumers’ top-down and bottom-up effects on the growth and diversity of primary producers.

Humans are altering the diversity of life on Earth and consequently altering how biological systems function. Large, mobile species – consumers – are at greatest risk of extinction, prompting the question: What are the consequences of the loss of consumers for the functioning of marine ecosystems. Whereas most work evaluating consumer impacts focuses on consumption, Prof. Bracken will present and discuss other functions that consumers provide in marine systems, including their roles in recycling nutrients and enhancing recruitment of algae. He will specifically address the roles of consumers in enhancing algal growth, describe experimental designs for partitioning consumptive and non-consumptive effects of grazers, discuss the importance of community composition, and describe insights gained from conducting these experiments in the field. Typical perspectives on interactions between grazers and algae focus on consumption by the herbivores, but herbivores can also benefit primary producers, and these positive effects can outweigh the negative effects.   

Hope to see many of you - everyone most welcome to attend!

For the list of forthcoming seminars see here

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