schunterOrganizers: Celia Schunter/Timothy Ravasi
Affiliation: KAUST Environmental Epigenetic Program (KEEP), King Abdullah University of Science and Technology
Lead contact: Celia Schunter

Description: Biotic and abiotic changes in the environment could cause a specific set of changes in fish populations. Understanding the processes and mechanisms underlying these changes, from short-term to long-term, are of increasing importance in the light of human impacts and rapidly changing environmental conditions. Advances in molecular techniques such as Next-Generation Sequencing, are allowing us to measure such responses in non-model fish species through changes in DNA sequences, gene expression and epigenetic mechanisms. These techniques provide accurate measures of the responses to thermal oscillations, disease outbreaks, high salinity, increased pH, among other stressors. Molecular approaches allow us to evaluate recovery time, differences in the resilience of a particular species, as well as susceptibility of individuals within a species. Going even further to long-term or trans-generational exposures can help us understand the potential for acclimatization and adaptation. Understanding the adaptive response as well as differences in susceptibility through genomics approaches is key to predict future impacts on fish communities in the face of environmental change. This session will address the contribution of mechanisms of rapid evolution /phenotypic plasticity to the adaptive response of organisms to changing environments. In particular we will focus on those studies based on genomics approaches and how Next-Generation Sequencing is rapidly transforming the field of ecological genomics.

Expected Audience: The session will assemble genetic and molecular studies from a variety of taxa and biological scales on a variety of stressors, from physical to biological. We believe a session like this is important to bring together genomics scientists who are investigating molecular reactions to environmental change and be able to find common mechanisms across stressors, species, regions and ecosystems. However, this is clearly not only interesting for genomics scientists, but physiologists, population and behavioral ecologists as well as applied scientists and managers, as this session can give guidance as to the mechanisms driving vulnerability and resilience in species and can help indicate future impacts on fish species and ecosystems.