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Emerging Issues Seminars

Beginning with the summer meeting in 2010, the ASLO board of directors initiated funding for Emerging Issues Seminars that will further encourage dialog among scientists who wish to develop emerging, cutting-edge, controversial issues and/or topics that integrate knowledge across communities. In accordance with this, ASLO is sponsoring up to four (4) two-day meetings that are connected to a special session being held during the 2011 Aquatic Sciences Meeting in San Juan. These Emerging Issues Seminars will take place either before or after the Aquatic Sciences Meeting. Following each seminar, organizers will submit a review paper to an ASLO journal. Additionally, within one month of the meeting, they will submit a report with a summary of the outcome to the L&O Bulletin along with a table of contents of the written products stemming from the seminar.

Following are the four Emerging Issue Seminars that will take place in conjunction with the ASLO 2011 Aquatic Sciences Meeting:

Emerging Issues Seminar I: Role of Aquatic Networks in the Boreal Carbon Cycle

Associated Session: S46: The Role of Inland Waters in the Carbon Cycle of the Boreal Forest Biome

Seminar Description: There is increasing awareness and recognition of the global importance of inland waters as integrators of landscape and climate features, processors of carbon (C) in the landscape, sinks and sources of atmospheric C, and in the delivery of C to oceans. These roles are especially profound in boreal regions characterized by high aquatic surface coverage, complex interconnected hydrological networks, and local areas of organic permafrost susceptible to thaw. This workshop will be linked with the special session S46: The Role of Inland Waters in the Carbon Cycle of the Boreal Forest Biome, which seeks to explore current research on boreal aquatic biogeochemistry and place it in the context of the regional C balances. Assessing the importance of aquatic biogeochemistry in the boreal C cycle involves interpreting information from a multitude of diverse inland waters, scaling this in space and time, and quantifying its regional importance. All of these steps represent major challenges. Recent evidence also suggests that boreal aquatic networks may exhibit overall patterns in C processing that cannot be derived from any of their individual components. A second major topic of the workshop will address the biogeochemical properties of aquatic networks that emerge at different scales of integration, and which cannot be derived from its individual components.

Organizers: Robert Striegl, U.S. Geological Survey, rstriegl@usgs.gov; Paul del Giorgio, University of Quebec at Montreal, del_giorgio.paul@uqam.ca; Janne Karlsson, Umea University, jan.karlsson@emg.umu.se; Lars Tranvik, Uppsala University, lars.tranvik@ebc.uu.se; Yves Prairie, University of Quebec at Montreal, prairie.yves@uqam.ca

Emerging Issues Seminar II: Microbial Carbon Pump in the Ocean

Associated Session: S55: Microbial Carbon Pump: A Multidisciplinary Focus on Origins, Cycling and Storage of DOM in the Ocean

Seminar Description: Marine dissolved organic carbon (DOC), being equivalent in quantity to the total inventory of atmospheric carbon dioxide, is an important compartment in global carbon cycling and climate changes. The majority of DOC in the ocean is recalcitrant, with an average age of ~5000 years, constituting a sequestration of carbon in the ocean. However, the mechanisms controlling the generation and removal of the recalcitrant DOC (RDOC) are largely unknown. In order to address this issue, joint efforts from several disciplines are needed. Toward this goal, a SCOR working group (WG134) has been set up recently. The WG134 members, from 12 countries, have been working and interacting over the past 18 months, and a conceptual framework termed the “microbial carbon pump(MCP)” has been established. A Perspective paper on the MCP was published in Nature Reviews (NRM, 2010:8:593-599) as a featured article. The MCP is also reported by Science as a News Focus article (Science (328):1476-1477, 2010) where the MCP is described as the “invisible hand behind a vast carbon reservoir”. At this juncture, multi-disciplinary scientists need to exchange ideas on the proposed and unknown mechanisms related to RDOC production and consumption, particularly in terms of the recalcitrancy of the RDOC in the presence of microbes under diverse biotic and abiotic conditions. This ASLO emerging issue seminar provides a great opportunity for this purpose. Based on the presentations during S55, and in-depth discussion at the seminar, organizers will seek to identify the key parameters involved in RDOC dynamics, and to design feasible experiments to put the ideas into practice.

Organizers: Nianzhi Jiao, Xiamen University, China, jiao@xmu.edu.cn; Gerhard Kattner, Alfred Wegener Institute, Germany, Gerhard.Kattner@awi.de; Farooq Azam, University of California San Diego, USA, fazam@ucsd.edu; Steven Wilhelm, University of Tennessee, USA, wilhelm@utk.edu

Emerging Issues Seminar III: Integrating Terrestrial and Aquatic P Science

Associated Session: S06: From Green Pastures to Green Waters: Integrating Soil and Aquatic Approaches to Phosphorus Biogeochemistry Science

Seminar Description: Managing nonpoint source phosphorus (P) is still a difficult challenge for decision-makers. One source of difficulty is that soil and aquatic scientists studying P loadings and cycling use disparate terminology, and their research programs often have dissimilar objectives. Furthermore, terrestrial and aquatic scientists rarely attend the same meetings to discuss their research; thus a cohesive message for decision-makers has never been developed. Nonpoint source P enrichment is most common in developed countries experiencing animal agriculture intensification, and there is an increasing sentiment that agriculture bears the cost of implementing expensive control measures. However, regulatory decisions are usually based on water quality measurements, and the link between soil P management and downstream in-situ water quality criteria is difficult to quantify. Improvements in P-related water quality will only be achieved when scientists studying both terrestrial and aquatic P movement and cycling integrate their research efforts.

Organizers: Barbara Cade-Menun, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Barbara.Cade-Menun@agr.gc.ca; Thad Scott, University of Arkansas; jts004@uark.edu; George Bullerjahn, Bowling Green State University, bullerj@bgsu.edu

Emerging Issues Seminar IV: Implications of Increased Carbon Supply and Artificial Habitat for the Global Expansion of Jellyfish Blooms

Associated Session: S44: The Relevance of Jellyfish Blooms in the Changing Global Oceans

Seminar Description: Jellyfish blooms occur in many coastal regions and are thought to be increasing in magnitude and extent worldwide. The causes for these blooms are unclear, but likely include eutrophication, over-harvesting of fish, climate change, and translocations. Recently, scientists have hypothesized that jellyfish blooms may be caused by coastal development increasing preferable artificial habitat for benthic polyps. However, in order for there to be an increase in jellyfish in areas where competitive pressures have not diminished, there must also be an increase in carbon bioavailability to fuel the additional jellyfish biomass. There are many ways in which C-supply can increase (e.g. shifting baselines, increased primary production and weaker pelagic-benthic coupling), but no study has explored the relationship between increased substrate availability and food supply as a collective cause behind possible increases in jellyfish. Recently, the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) was formed to examine the current paradigm and assess impacts of a global expansion of jellyfish, and establish new paradigms by building on concepts/hypotheses formulated by the wider scientific community. Organizers propose to test the effects of coastal and harbor development and shifts in food webs as a means of examining local and regional expansions in jellyfish.

Organizers: Andrew Sweetman, Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), Norway, asw@niva.no; Kylie Pitt; Griffith University, Australia, k.pitt@griffith.edu.au; Robert Condon, Dauphin Island Sea Laboratory, USA, rcondon@disl.org