Speaker: Christopher Hepburn
University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
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Ongoing global climate changes, e.g. ocean acidification (OA) and ocean warming (OW) in addition to local changes such as coastal eutrophication are predicted to affect both autotrophic and heterotrophic marine life. Macroalgae play an important ecological role in temperate and polar rocky inshore environments as they provide a three-dimensional habitat, offering refuge and food for thousands of fish and invertebrates species. However, underwater kelp forests around the world have declined considerably (38%) in the past 50 years due to local stressors such as overexploitation but also to global stressors such as OW. In some regions, e.g., Tasmania, Southern Australia, kelp populations have declined by 90%, causing severe impacts in marine ecosystems. In Chile, this trend has been less pronounced likely due to its oceanographic conditions (e.g., upwelling and ENSO events). In this context, result interesting to evaluate how kelp forests across different regions are responding to multiple divers, as some populations might be more tolerant to these climate changes than others. This information will be of great importance for management and conservation of natural populations under a climate change scenario. In this workshop, we would like to (1) point out the status of kelp forests across different regions of the southern and northern hemispheres, (2) discuss about their physiological, ecological and molecular strategies to adapt or acclimate to a changing ocean, and (3) discuss new practices (i.e., restoration) to mitigate the negative impacts of global stressors.