Plenary Speakers

Special Presentation

Carlos DuarteCarlos Duarte

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology

Biographical Information:  Carlos Duarte is a world-wide leader in multiple branches of biological oceanography and marine ecology. He established himself very early in his career as the world-wide leading authority on the ecology of seagrass meadows. He published on all aspects of seagrass ecology, from population biology to genetics, from depth and geographical distribution patterns to their role in biogeochemical cycles, and from conservation strategies to their sensitivity towards climate change. Prof. Duarte is probably the most versatile aquatic ecologist of his generation: he works from the tropics to polar ecosystems, from macrophytes to microbes, from coastal systems to open ocean gyres using all type of approaches. Many of his synthesis papers have set the stage for the field; e.g. his work initiated the discussion on the heterotrophic nature of oligotrophic systems and identified the role of hypoxia thresholds for marine biodiversity. His research is characterized by independence, creativity, serendipity and interdisciplinary linking, as well as the capacity to organize and collaborate with large interdisciplinary teams. Prof. Duarte's research is also characterized by versatility addressing marine ecosystems from the tropics to polar ecosystems, from macrophytes to microbes, and from coastal systems to open ocean gyres using a broad range of approaches.

Plenary Sessions

Plenary sessions will be an important part of each day’s schedule, emphasizing the meeting theme - Aquatic Sciences for a Sustainable Future: Nurturing Cooperation.

William CheungWilliam Cheung

The University of British Columbia

Plenary Presentation: Future of seafood resources and the role of cooperation

Biographical Information: William Cheung is a Professor and Canada Research Chair in Ocean Sustainability and Global Change at the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, The University of British Columbia. He is the principal investigator of the Changing Ocean Research Unit. His current research focuses on using scenarios and models to understand and project the responses and risks of marine coupled human-natural systems to global change, thereby to explore solution options to meet challenges of sustainable ocean management under climate change. His works cut across multiple disciplines, from oceanography to ecology, economics and social sciences, and range from local to global scales. Dr. Chung actively involves in international and regional initiatives that bridge science and policy. For instance, he has served as Coordinating Lead Author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report for the Ocean and Cryosphere in Changing Climate, and as a Lead Author of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Global Assessment. 9).

Lora E. FlemingLora E. Fleming

European Centre for Environment and Human Health (University of Exeter Medical School)

Plenary Presentation: Linking the health of the oceans and humans

Biographical Information:  Professor Lora E. Fleming is a physician and epidemiologist with expertise in the environment and human health; she is based at the European Centre for Environment and Human Health [].  Professor Fleming is involved with research, training and policy activities in the new transdisciplinary area within Planetary Health of Ocean and Human Health. She has received the Ocean and Human Awards from the Edouard Delcroix Foundation (2014) and the IOC Bruun Award (2015). Prof Fleming is leading the H2020 funded Projects, BlueHealth ( to explore the connections between blue environments and human health; and Seas, Oceans and Public Health in Europe (SOPHIE) ( to establish a network and create a strategic research agenda for Ocean and Human Health in Europe and beyond.

Catherine LovelockCatherine Lovelock

The University of Queensland

Plenary Presentation:  Restoration efforts in addressing global challenges in aquatic ecosystems

Biographical Information:  Catherine is Professor in the School of Biological Sciences at The University of Queensland. Her research focuses on climate change and its impacts on coastal plant communities as well as the role of coastal wetlands in adaptation and climate change mitigation or Blue Carbon. She is a member of the International Scientific Blue Carbon Working Group of The Blue Carbon Initiative. She leads projects in Australia and internationally focused on climate change adaptation, carbon sequestration and restoration of mangroves. She was lead author for the Wetlands chapter for the 2019 refinement of the IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories.

Katharina Pahnke

University of Oldenburg

Plenary Presentation:  Trace metals as agents and tracers in the ocean and climate system

Biographical information: Katharina is professor for marine isotope geochemistry at the University of Oldenburg, Germany. Her research focuses on the input, transport and biogeochemical cycling of trace elements and metal isotopes in the ocean as well as their role as tracers of past ocean conditions and changes. She and her group are particularly interested in rare earth elements and radiogenic isotopes, that act as fingerprints of trace element source regions and transport pathways both in the modern and the past ocean and offer insight into the role of the ocean in Earth’s climate system.

Yves PrairieYves Prairie

Université du Québec à Montréal

Plenary Presentation:  Carbon dynamics in lakes and rivers

Yves Prairie is an aquatic biogeochemist that has focused over the past two decades on various aspects of carbon biogeochemistry in lakes and reservoirs, at local and global scales. His most recent work revolved around biogenic GHGs in various types of aquatic ecosystems and is particularly interested in the interplay between biological, chemical and physical processes in regulating the dynamics of these gases. He is professor of aquatic ecology at Université du Québec à Montréal and currently holds a UNESCO chair in Global Environmental Change.

Bernhard Lehner and Jef Huisman

Plenary Presentation:  Remote sensing and large-scale detection

Dr. Lehner, McGill University, will present the freshwater aspect of this topic, while Dr. Zolli, Global Impact initiatives at Planet, will be addressing the marine component of the subject.

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