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“A cross-scale approach to understanding global change in the oceans”

Dr. Brian Cheng
Assistant Professor, UMass Amherst
Department of Environmental Conservation

One of the most central challenges in biology is the problem of relating phenomena across scales. A cross-scale approach is needed to understand complex issues, such as the ecological and evolutionary response of marine taxa to global change. Here, I define cross-scale as an approach that bridges across spatial and temporal scales, necessarily integrating traditionally disparate fields such as oceanography, atmospheric science, organismal physiology, and ecology. In this talk, I will give three brief vignettes highlighting my cross-scale approach to understanding the effects of global change in the oceans.

First, I will discuss the consequences of climate driven extreme events (see figure of atmospheric rivers) and their role in driving a mass mortality of wild oysters in California, a species of restoration and conservation focus. Second, I will briefly touch on our efforts to understand biogeographic variation in species interaction strength within seagrass systems, a purported mechanism underlying the latitudinal diversity gradient. Third, I will discuss our current work to understand environmental drivers of local adaptation using empirical ecophysiological and data synthesis approaches, which can inform species ecological and evolutionary responses to ocean warming.

Pizza will be served.

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