SEB Florence 2018 - Programme

ANIMAL BIOLOGY SESSIONS

Download the full Annual Meeting programme

The following Animal biology sessions will take place at SEB Florence 2018.

Animal and Cell Biology

Stress: From cellular mechanisms to organismal responses and conservation

Animal and Plant Biology

Animal Biology

Biomechanics

Thermobiology

Proximate and ultimate drivers of behaviour

Other Animal Biology sessions

Animal and Cell biology

Stress: From cellular mechanisms to organismal responses and conservation

Pumping ions as a response to stress from aquatic habitat transitions: cellular and molecular mechanisms related to evolutionary changes

Date: 4 July 2018

Who should submit:

Researchers with interest in the following areas: Ion transport, hydromineral regulation, osmoregulation, ecophysiology, acid-base regulation, salinity changes, plasticity, phenotype, evolutionary transitions

Organisers:

Catherine Lorin-Nebel (Montpellier University, France)
Jonathan Wilson (Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada)
Guy Charmantier (Montpellier University, France)
Greg Goss (University of Alberta, Canada)
Pung-Pung  Hwang (Academia Sinica, Taiwan)

Speakers:
  • Yung-Che Tseng (Academia Sinica, Taiwan) - A comprehensive study on acid and ammonium regulations in cephalopods that live in benthic and epipelagic zone
  • Marian Hu (Kiel University, Germany) - New insights from an old model organism: acid-base physiology in the sea urchin larva
  • Carol Eumni Lee (University of Wisconsin, USA) - Rapid Selection on Ion Transporters during Major Habitat Transitions
  • Steffen Madsen (University of Southern Denmark, Denmark) - Challenging the paradigm of intestinal water transport in euryhaline fishes

This session will focus on osmoregulation in aquatic animals as a response to stress from habitat transitions or from settlement in stressful environments such as hypersaline media or fresh water : cellular and molecular mechanisms of hydro-mineral regulation related to ecology and evolution. Migrations of aquatic species between different environments are well known. Invasions of new aquatic habitats with different salinities, e.g. from marine environments to fresh water have been performed by a few animal taxa over evolutionary time and also occur over short periods of time following artificial transport by human activities. Migrating between environments with different salinities or invading them confront the animals with challenges in hydromineral regulation. This session addresses physiological adaptations and acclimation processes that have permitted migrations between or colonisations of habitats with different salinities over different time scales, sometimes resulting in settlement in new habitats. These adaptive strategies will be analysed at different levels of biological organisation from molecules to organisms and populations, in different models, mainly crustaceans and fish.

Related sessions:

The role of the mitochondria in environmental adaptation and disease

Date: 6 July 2018

Who should submit:

Researchers with interest in the following areas: Bioenergetics, Oxidative stress and reactive oxygen species, mitochondrial adaptations, hypoxia tolerance, thermal acclimation, mitochondrial complex, metabolic suppression, energy metabolism

Organisers:

Angela Fago (Aarhus University, Denmark)
Gina Galli (University of Manchester, UK)
Kim Hellgren (University of Manchester, UK)

Speakers:
  • Steve Hand (Louisiana State University, USA) - Mitochondrial function during energy limited states
  • Raquel Moreno Loshuertos (Universidad De Zaragoza, Spain) - Mitochondrial and nuclear DNA matching shapes metabolism and healthy ageing in conplastic mice
  • James Staples (University of Western Ontario, Canada) - Multiple modes of regulating mitochondrial metabolism in a mammalian hibernator
  • Edward Chouchani (Harvard Medical School, USA) - Mechanisms of mitochondrial redox control over health and disease
  • Caroline Williams (University of California Berkeley, USA) - Divergence of mitochondrial function during life history evolution in wing polymorphic crickets

The past decade has witnessed an explosion of research into the role of mitochondria in health and disease. In addition to energy production, we now know that mitochondria play an important role in cellular signalling, reactive oxygen species and controlling cell growth. Due to these diverse roles, dysfunctional mitochondria have been implicated in a broad range of human diseases and tissue injuries. On the other hand, recent work from the comparative community has shown that mitochondrial adaptations contribute to environmental tolerance. Understanding mitochondrial function has thus become a major goal for both experimental and clinical biologists. Our session aims to draw together a diverse group of scientists to identify common mitochondrial pathways involved in environmental adaptation, health and disease. The  session will be of interest to scientists from a broad range of disciplines, including medical doctors, molecular biologists as well as comparative physiologists.

Related sessions:

Advances in non-invasive monitoring of stress in the field and laboratory: applications to conservation

Date: 3 July 2018

Who should submit:

Researchers with interest in the following: Endocrinology, neurobiology, animal behaviour, conservation endocrinology and physiology, conservation, cardiovascular biology

Organisers:

Nic Bury (University of Suffolk, UK)
Tessa Smith (University of Chester, UK)
Lynne Sneddon (University of Liverpool, UK)

Speakers:
  • Dorothy McKeegan (University of Glasgow, UK) - Infrared thermography: a non-invasive tool to measure stress in birds
  • Rupert Palme (University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Austria) - In the wild: How to measure stress in free-ranging animals
  • Steven Cooke (Carleton University, Canada) - Conservation relevance is enhanced by taking the lab to the field 
  • Felix Mark (Alfred Wegener Institute, Germany)
  • Oliver Love (University of Windsor, Canada)

The aim of the session is to bring together experts in non-invasive methods of monitoring stress in animals. This includes those using established and novel techniques to measure stress hormone concentrations in animal faeces, hair, saliva, urine, nails and horn, as well as fish scales or mucus, and tank water. But, the apical measurement of stress is not just an endocrine response, and also includes altered behavioural traits as well as perturbed physiological function such as heart rate and blood pressure and immune function. The physiological traits readily measured in the laboratory as a means of gauging an animal’s welfare, are increasingly being used as measures of stress in the wild.  Thus, the session will hopefully bring together wildlife conservationists as well as more traditional lab based scientists to share techniques to monitor stress in an non-invasive way to better inform on animal welfare and the effects of conservation strategies. 

Relevant sessions:

Animal and Plant biology

Environmental impact on epigenetic memory

Sponsored by: The Plant Journal and Queen Mary University of London - Life Sciences Institute

Date: 5 July 2018

Who should submit:

Researchers with interest in the following areas: Environmental signals, reproduction, environmental adaptation, gene regulatory networks, growth and development, metabolism, biotechnology

Organisers:

Jose Gutierrez-Marcos (University of Warwick, UK)
Vardhman Rakyan (Blizard Institute, UK)

Speakers:
  • Eric Miska (University of Cambridge, UK) - Non-coding RNAs and epigenetic memory in worms
  • Daniel Zilberman (John Innes Centre, UK) - Stable epigenetic inheritance of DNA methylation through pathway integration
  • Anne Ferguson-Smith (University of Cambridge, UK) - Variable silencing of the repeat genome- implications for non-genetic inheritance
  • Anita Ost (Linköping University, Sweden) - Small RNAs transmit big epigenetic message- Intergenerational reprogramming of metabolism
  • Paul Hurd (Queen Mary University of London, UK) - Epigenetic determination of social insect castes

It is now recognised that the activity of enzymes that regulate the structure and configuration of chromatin is influenced by changes in the environment.  Such changes precipitate a cascade of transcriptional changes , which in some cases can persist through mitosis to subsequence cell generations thus constituting a heritable epigenetic change. Moreover, these environment-ditected epigenetic changes can be transmitted to offspring and contribute to adaptive responses, thus potentially influence evolution. This session will discuss how environmental cues direct epigenetic changes, how these changes are inherited and define their significance in adaptation and evolution.

Related sessions and meetings:

Animal biology

Biomechanics

Biomechanics and climate change

Date: 5 July 2018

Who should submit:

Researchers with interest in the following: Biomechanics, conservation physiology, physiological ecology, movement ecology, climate change biology

Organisers:

Paolo Domenici (CNR, Italy)
Frank Seebacher (University of Sydney, Australia) 

Speakers:
  • Mark Denny (Stanford University, USA) - Biomechanics and climate change of intertidal organisms: The importance of small-scale variation
  • Ran Nathan (Hebrew University, Israel) - Movement of plants and animals through the air in a changing world
  • Anthony Herrel (Museum National D’histoire Naturelle, France) - Climate change and dispersal in amphibians
  • Emily Carrington (University of Washington, USA) - Only as strong as the weakest link: ocean warming and acidification compromises the material properties of coastal organisms
  • Lewis Halsey (University of Roehampton, UK) - Climate change effects on locomotion and energetics
  • Brian Helmuth (Northeastern University, USA) - Biomechanics, bumpiness and behaviour: what drives vulnerability of intertidal organisms to climate change?

Anthropogenic climate change represents a dominant selection pressure, and one that is novel to most ecosystems. The effects of climate change therefore have been among the most rapidly growing fields of scientific investigation, which mirrors public and global awareness and concern. As a consequence, physiology is playing an increasingly important role to understand and predict the ecological consequences of the effect of climate change on organismal functions. It is timely now to highlight the importance of biomechanics for climate change responses: the field has much to offer to increase understanding of the effects of climate change, but it has not yet made a concerted effort to address the new problems arising with the Anthropocene. This session will start such a concerted effort. We will bring together researchers to address how climate change may affect organisms through a direct effect on material properties and on the motion of organisms. We will highlight recent developments in solid-state electronics and remote sensing that now allow researchers to measure environmental factors and forces as well as the motions of animals in the field.

Related sessions:

Open Biomechanics

Date: 3,4 and 6 July 2018

Who should submit:

Researchers with interest in any topic related to biomechanics. The presentations cover a broad range of applications.

Organiser:

Rob James (Coventry University, UK)   

The 'open biomechanics session' showcases research in mechanics across a diverse range of topics such as: insect flight, fish swimming, mammalian running, suspension feeding, water transport in plants, material properties, kinematics of bird flocks and muscle mechanics. This session is open to submissions from all topics within biomechanics and is particularly supportive of early career researchers. The session is attended by a large audience from a broad discipline base.  There will also be certificates for the best posters and oral presentations (3 for each category).

Related sessions:

Thermobiology

Cardio - respiratory adaptions to environmental change

Date: 4 and 5 July 2018

Who should submit:

Researchers with interest in the following: Animal respiration, conservation physiology, biomechanics, neurobiology, thermobiology 

Organisers:

Michael Berenbrink (University of Liverpool, UK)
Cinzia Verde (National Research Council, Italy) 

Speakers:
  • Lloyd Peck (NERC British Antarctic Survey, UK) - The even slower pace of life in Antarctica than expected: adaptation or limitation in marine species
  • William Detrich (Northeastern University, USA) - Broad taxonomic phylogenomics of sub- and high-Antarctic notothenioid fishes: Patterns of gene loss and drift affecting blood and the cardiovascular system
  • Glen Tibbits (Simon Fraser University, Canada)
  • Cinzia Verde (National Research Council, Italy) - Structural protein constraints and evolution at low temperature
  • Todd Gillis (University of Guelph, Canada) - Powering a zombie heart: metabolic fuel utilization in excised hagfish hearts during anoxia exposure
  • Gina Galli (University of Manchester, UK) - Cellular mechanisms underlying cardiac anoxia tolerance
  • Michael Berenbrink (University of Liverpool, UK)

Uptake of oxygen at respiratory surfaces, its transport via the circulatory system and metabolism in tissues, as well as the excretion of carbon dioxide, are central themes in physiology and determine the maximal aerobic scope of animals. This session explores how animals cope with the challenges of different respiratory environments, ranging from high altitude to aquatic hypoxia and from elevated carbon dioxide levels in subterranean burrows to tropical swamps and high intensity aquaculture. The session will also explore to what extent animals have been -and will likely be- able to cope with natural or human-induced changes in their respiratory environment, such as changes in atmospheric oxygen, elevated temperatures and ocean acidification. Because of its broad scope there is ample opportunity to compare different physiological systems from water-breathers to air-breathers, and invertebrate insects to vertebrate fish and mammals.

Related sessions:

Mitochondria in changing climates: biosensors and mediators of animal resilience

Date: 3 July 2018

Who should submit:

Researchers with interest in the following: Mitochondrial bioenergetics, ecophysiology, energy metabolism, ageing and conservation biology, animal behaviour, endocrinology, toxicology

Organisers:

Karine Salin (IFREMER, France)
Frank Seebacher (University of Sydney, Australia)

Speakers:
  • Inna Sokolova (University of Rostock, Germany) - Mitochondrial responses and tolerance to environmental stress in animal extremophiles
  • Martin Jastroch (Stockholm University, Sweden) - The pleiotropic role of mitochondrial uncoupling in ecology and evolution
  • Anthony Hickey (The University of Auckland, New Zealand) - Measuring mitochondrial function on the edge of existence
  • Jason Treberg (University of Manitoba, Canada) - The importance of energetic state and temperature in how mitochondria may regulate reactive oxygen species

An important goal of current biological research is to understand adaptations of animals to global change, and their limitations. Many physiological adjustments in response to environmental change are mediated by mitochondrial function. Mitochondria sense and respond to the energy (ATP) need within the cell. Direct effects of climate change on individual organisms or species are likely to depend on mitochondrial ATP production and ROS generation. The session will explore the mechanisms underlying mitochondrial bioenergetics and oxidative stress in the context of mitochondrial adaptation to environmental change. 

Related sessions:

Ocean warming and acidification: what underlying mechanisms can reveal about impacts of multiple stressors

Date: 5 and 6 July 2018

Who should submit:

Researchers with interest in the following: Ocean acidification, temperature stress, acid-base physiology, thermal biology, ecophysiology 

Organisers:

Rachael Heuer (RSMAS, University of Miami, USA)
Alexander Little (RSMAS, University of Miami, USA)

Speakers:
  • Hans-Otto Pörtner (Alfred Wegner Institute, Germany) - Climate change impacts on ocean life: from mechanism to ecosystem
  • Göran Nilsson (University of Oslo, Norway) - Will fishes be small and stupid in the warm and acidified future?
  • Frank Melzner (Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, Germany) - Simulating a year in the future of a coastal keystone predator: towards more realistic experimental designs in climate change biology
  • Erika Eliason (University of California Santa Barbara, USA) - Using intraspecific variability to examine the mechanisms of thermal tolerance

This session addresses the effects of ocean warming and/or acidification on animal physiology and behaviour, with a focus on mechanisms of action. Although ocean acidification and temperature stress occur together, these stressors are fundamentally different, meaning assessment of physiological responses requires expertise from two research realms that have not been typically intertwined. While whole-animal responses are well characterised in a cross section of marine animals, the molecular and physiological pathways underlying these responses are less understood. Experimental biologists are in a unique position to identify underlying physiological mechanisms that may confer tolerance and better predict endpoints subject to selective pressure.

This session will therefore feature researchers studying 1. thermal biology, 2. acid-base physiology, or 3. the interactive effects of temperature and acidification. This work is important because it is increasingly clear that overlaps in underlying molecular and physiological pathways mean stressor interactions may amount to more than the sum of their parts. There is inherent value and the potential for new perspectives as these two groups are brought together using ocean warming and acidification as a model to explore how mechanistic responses to isolated stressors can be used to predict their interactive effects. 

Related sessions:

PROXIMATE AND ULTIMATE DRIVERS OF BEHAVIOUR

The role of individual variation in the behaviour of animal groups

Date: 3 July 2018

Who should submit:

Researchers with interest in the following areas: Ecophysiology, neurobiology, biomechanics

Organisers:

Shaun Killen (University of Glasgow, UK)
Stefano Marras (National Research Council – CNR, Italy)

Speakers:
  • Jens Krause (Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fishery, Germany) - The role of individual variation in decision-making of fish schools
  • Jonathon Pruitt (University of California Santa Barbara, USA) - Keystone individuals in animal societies: some pros and cons
  • Raphael Jeanson (Université Paul Sabatier, France) - Individual variation and group behaviour in social insects
  • Lesley Morrell (University of Hull, UK) - Swimming in a murky world: Individual and group responses to turbidity

Individuals within species show tremendous variation in behaviour as well as physiological traits associated with energy metabolism, endocrine status, and sensory physiology. Over the last decade there has been a surge of interest in the ecological and evolutionary importance of this diversity, but the vast majority of this work has been performed on isolated animals. In reality, however, most animals - from insects to mammals - live within complex social structures. Social influences may override links between physiology and behaviour that exist in solitary animals or generate intraspecific diversity in traits. Overall, relationships between individual and group behaviours will have an important influence on social hierarchies, group migrations, the spatial distribution of phenotypes, and evolutionary trajectories. Without a full understanding of the genetic and mechanistic underpinnings of group behaviours, we cannot predict how animal groups will respond to environmental change. The recent research focus on intraspecific variability has revealed important insights into ecological and behavioural physiology, but now we must extend the paradigm to include the physiology and behaviour of animal groups. This session will bring together researchers in this emerging field to exchange ideas at the frontier of our understanding of individual variation within a social context.

Related Sessions:

Intraspecific variation in responses to stress: Why individuals matter?

Date: 4 and 5 July 2018

Who should submit:

Researchers with interest in the following areas: Animal genetics, physiology, behaviour, neurobiology, endocrinology, ecophysiology

Organisers:

Sarah Dalesman (Aberystwyth University, UK)
Lynne Sneddon (University of Liverpool, UK)
Mark Briffa (Plymouth University, UK)

Speakers:
  • Katherine Sloman (University of the West of Scotland, UK) - The role of parents and conspecifics in shaping behaviour and physiology
  • Sandra Binning (Université de Montréal, Canada) - Individual variation in sickness behaviour across social contexts in a damselfish
  • Svante Winberg (Uppsala University, Sweden) - Shaping behavioural profiles and stress responses - genes and environment acting in concert
  • Øyvind Øverli (Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway) - Tracking trout personality traits: Advantages and disadvantages of a high vs low cortisol response

Stress is any significant condition that elicits physiological, psychological or behavioural modification that is necessary for restoring homeostasis. Stressors can encompass external factors such as social interactions, predation threat or habitat quality, but also includes internal factors such as nutritional status or disease. Intraspecific variation is an area gaining significant interest in explaining why the physiology and behavioural responses of animals differ so greatly within a group. Determining how a species responds to stress requires an understanding of the variation that exists, and will play an important role in determining overall fitness and survival. Intraspecific variability may arise due to selection, either on stress responses or co-varying traits, but the link between whole animal behaviour and physiology is becoming clearer. Additionally experience can play an important role, whether due to transgenerational effects or through individual allostatic mechanisms. This session will explore the factors that influence variation in stress responsiveness, encompassing genes, maternal effects, development, co-varying traits and the role of the environment to determine how these underpin the physiological, psychological and behavioural responses to stress. 

Related sessions:

Generality of the ’pace-of-life syndrome’ concept: is the idea of integrated syndromes supported by experimental data?

Date: 6 July 2018

Who should submit:

Researchers with interest in the following areas: Ecophysiology, behaviour, endocrinology, conservation physiology, neurobiology, thermobiology, evolutionary ecology.

Organisers:

Tommy Norin (University of Glasgow, UK)
Neil Metcalfe (University of Glasgow, UK)
Jenni Prokkola (University of Liverpool, UK)
Anssi Vainikka (University of Eastern Finland, Finland)
Petri Niemela (Lmu-München, Germany) 

Speakers:
  • Denis Réale (Université Du Québec À Montréal, Canada) - The pace-of-life syndrome hypothesis: life-history roots, mixed support, and future directions
  • Anne Bronikowski (Iowa State University, USA) - Empirical evaluation of the pace-of-life syndrome at genetic, physiological, and population levels of organization in the garter snake, Thamnophis elegans
  • Joacim Näslund (Stockholm University, Sweden) - The complex pace-of-life syndrome of trout: state-dependence, behavioural types, and territoriality
  • Kate Laskowski (Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, Germany) - Individual behaviour, foraging specializations and life-history strategies as integrated phenotypes in a wild pike population

Animal life-history is characterised along a slow–fast continuum: “slow” species, populations, or individuals exhibit slow developmental rates, low and delayed reproductive outputs, and long life spans, whereas those on the “fast” track express the opposite traits. This continuum is captured by the 'pace-of-life syndrome' (POLS) concept according to which certain combinations of life-history, behavioural, and physiological traits (i.e. syndromes) may yield higher fitness than others, depending on the environment. The POLS concept is appealing to multiple research disciplines due to its capacity to predict relationships among diverse traits. However, empirical studies provide mixed support for POLS. This session is aimed at examining the generality of the POLS concept. We welcome all submissions (talks and posters) related to the POLS concept but especially encourage studies investigating (1) which combinations of traits are (or are not) consistently linked, (2) if links between traits persist across environmental gradients, stress gradients, or time, and (3) which proximate mechanisms facilitate or constrain trait (co)variation. The aim of the session is to establish an overview of the current state of research on POLS, and help bridge a gap between physiologists and evolutionary, behavioural, and molecular ecologists in order to further understand the importance of POLS. 

Related sessions:

Other Animal Biology Sessions

Open Animal Biology

Date: 4 - 6 July 2018

The open animal biology session comprises talks and posters on all the aspects of animal biology that are not catered to in the specific Animal Section sessions. As such, the session is an important element of the scientific programme, with high-quality presentations on a wide spectrum of subjects. The general session has been very successful in recent years, and will take place over the third day at Florence in 2018. The programme of talks is organised (as far as possible) into the subject areas of the special interest groups of the Animal Section, so delegates can attend back to back presentations within their general area of interest. We particularly encourage presentations by post grads, postdocs and early career scientists.

Who should submit:

Researchers with interest in the following areas: Animal biology