2016 Hynes Lecturer: Dr. Emma Johnston
Dr. Emma JohnstonDr. Johnston is head of the Applied Marine and Estuarine Ecology Lab at the University of New South Wales and a rising star in the field of harbour and estuarine ecology. She might be best known to the public as a co-presenter of the Foxtel/BBC television series Coast Australia.
She is an expert in how humans impact harbours, coasts and estuarine habitats and has an exciting program that both expands our understanding of these systems and provides recommendations for harbour management. Her laboratory is the Sydney Harbour, one of the busiest ports in the southern hemisphere.
The Coastal Squeeze: Problems and potential for our nearshore marine biodiversity
Coastal marine ecosystems are both highly diverse and highly productive. Humans rely on these ecosystems for a range of services such as food, recreational amenity, waste disposal and tourism. Coastal ecosystems are also the most intense areas of industrial and urban development today. Increasing trade by sea and advanced technologies for resource extraction are converging with a strong trend towards coastal population growth to place intense pressure on these environments. Human activities have introduced an array of stressors that may affect both the diversity and functioning of marine ecosystems and, in some extreme cases, cause ecosystem collapse. Our growing use of the coast is therefore a crucial issue, not only in terms of contested space, but also in terms of cumulative threats posing serious problems for ecosystem integrity. Key to the future sustainable development of the coast is the development of accurate and efficient diagnostic tools for assessing ecosystem ‘health’ and novel eco-engineering designs for coastal constructions. Professor Johnston will outline ways in which the latest research is helping to provide solutions to the coastal squeeze.
Mary H. Oland Theatre, New Brunswick Museum, Market Square, Saint John - Thursday, October 6 between 7 - 8 pm
Multistressor interactions and bio-functional monitoring tools for estuaries
Estuaries are among the most highly disturbed of all aquatic environments due to their proximity to urban, agricultural and industrial activity. Aquatic communities are exposed to multiple stressors and it is vital that the ecological consequences are identified and distinguished using a range of observational and manipulative techniques. I will present our research, combining the disciplines of ecology and ecotoxicology, to identify drivers of marine invasion success, the plasticity of environmental niche space, stressor interactions and contaminant impacts on ecosystem functioning. In addition, I will detail how molecular approaches (targeted gene and meta-transcriptomics) are enhancing our capacity to observe biodiversity, community connectivity and ecological change. Molecular approaches are now sufficiently advanced to provide, not only equivalent information to that collected using traditional morphological approaches, but an order of magnitude bigger, better, and faster data.
146 Bailey Hall, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton - Wednesday, October 5 between 3 - 4 pm
125 Hazen Hall, University of New Brunswick, Saint John - Thursday, October 6 between 11:30am - 12:30 pm