SEB Conference 2021

Animal Biology Sessions

The following Animal biology sessions will take place at SEB annual Conference 2021.

Unfortunately, there are inaccuracies due to an update but we are working to rectify all discrepancies.

Animal Biology

PHYSIOLOGICAL AND BEHAVIOURAL MONITORING

Ecoimmunology

Environmental Fluctuation 

Other Animal Biology sessions 

SCIENCE ACROSS BOUNDARIES 

ANIMAL, CELL & PLANT BIOLOGY 

ANIMAL & CELL BIOLOGY  

ANIMAL & OED  


Animal Biology

PHYSIOLOGICAL AND BEHAVIOURAL MONITORING

Automated animal tracking in behavioural studies

Organisers:

Stefano Marras
Shaun Killen 

Animal behaviour is rich and complex, spanning from mating, foraging, fighting, and migrating. In its early days, this research area was investigated by classical field and laboratory studies involving visual inspection and hand-written documentation.

Now, these techniques have evolved considerably and technological advances have replaced manual work by employing sophisticated computational approaches to: (i) generate accurate quantitative understanding of animal behaviours, and (ii) decrease the time and cost of collecting large amounts of data.

This session will highlight findings that have been revealed by novel means of tracking animal movements from video in the lab and field, and discuss challenges involved in high-resolution and/or multi-agent tracking and new tools to analyze large dataset generated by the computational approaches.

Talks will show how high-resolution tracking is being used to provide novel insights into behavioural studies across a range of taxa.

Speakers:
Related sessions:

Putting animal biology in ecological context with advances in animal tracking and bio-logging


Putting animal biology in ecological context with advances in animal tracking and bio-logging

Organisers:

Barbara Koeck
Shaun Killen

While experimental and laboratory studies under controlled conditions contribute important mechanistic information underlying animal-environment interactions, they often lack ecological realism and are limited in spatial and temporal scale.

Recent advances in animal-borne devices, such as transmitters and sensors, allow monitoring animal movements, their physiological status, and environments at spatial and temporal scales that have previously not been possible.

These technologies are providing unprecedented insights but also present significant challenges with handling and analyzing vast amounts of data.

This session will explore key findings that have been made possible with recent technological advances in data loggers and transmitters and discuss potential solutions to current limitations.

Speakers:
  • David Grémillet (CNRS - CEBC - La Rochelle University, France) - Big data approaches to the spatial ecology and conservation of marine megafauna

  • Christen H. Fleming (University of Maryland - College Park, USA and Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, USA) - Getting a handle on location error 

Related sessions:

Automated animal tracking in behavioural studies
Aquatic ectotherms in fluctuating environments - the Ins and Outs of the Ups and Downs: Respiration and Osmoregulation in fluctuating environments
Physiological and ecological responses to temperature fluctuation
The physiology behind phenotypic plasticity in rapidly changing environments
Ecoimmunology in a changing world: challenges and progress


Field Physiology: Beyond biotelemetry, new and old technologies, and the ins and outs of monitoring physiological responses of organisms in remote locations                                  

conservation-physiology-logo

Organisers:

Jodie Rummer
Steven Cooke
Lucy Hawkes
Craig Franklin

Ecological and conservation physiology aims to understand the mechanisms underpinning how an organism responds to changes in its environment so that ecological relationships and interactions can be elucidated and, in some cases, tipping points and thresholds can be identified to further conservation outcomes.

Laboratory research is critical for determining and organism's responses and their capacity for acclimation to various stressors under controlled conditions. And, in the laboratory, usually technology and equipment are less-limiting and conditions can be much more easily controlled than in situ – the organism’s natural habitat. However, sometimes a mechanism cannot be fully understood without appropriate field measurements.

Furthermore, many organisms, because of size, life history, demeanour, etc., preclude laboratory studies, thus necessitating measurements in the field. Moving into the future, robust modelling will require a thorough understanding as to how organisms respond BOTH under controlled laboratory conditions and in situ. Biotelemetry represents one of the most well-understood tools for field physiology, but technology is evolving quickly, and we also must go beyond biotelemetry, beyond documenting where an organism goes, in designing our studies. Advances in hand-held, point-of-care devices, biologging (i.e., wearables), and other mobile, field-ready equipment are making this possible.

Moreover, scientists are working much more readily with engineers and software developers to build what they need in terms of sampling as well as the capacity to record at high resolutions for long periods of time so that the tools can help ask and answer the relevant questions based on their hypothesis.

We aim to attract a range of scientists studying terrestrial to aquatic taxa, from large sharks and whales to giraffes, all the way down to tiny insects, and we are excited to learn how scientists are incorporating the latest technology or designing it themselves to support their studies.

Speakers:
  • Andrea Fuller  (Wits University, South Africa) - Nutritional & thermal physiology of African terrestrial animals
  • Michael Sheriff  (University of Massachusetts, USA) - Stress physiology, terrestrial mammals, transgenerational impacts


Ecoimmunology

Parasites, disease and host immunity: Towards a mechanistic understanding of infection-induced phenotypes

Organisers:

 Lauren Nadler
Sandra A. Binning

Session parasite

Wild animals are home to a range of pathogens, which can stimulate a host’s immune system and dramatically influence behavior, physiology and performance. Yet, the role of parasites in driving observed phenotypes remains poorly understood. The time is ripe for experimental biologists to investigate the neurological, immunological, endocrinological and physiological mechanisms underlying the many weird and wonderful ways that parasites and infectious diseases modulate host phenotype. This session encourages participants to think about the role played by parasites in their own study systems and to consider the broad-scale implications of infection-induced phenotypes on community dynamics. 

Speakers:
  • Martin Kavaliers (University of Western Ontario, Canada) - Neurobiology of Pathogen Avoidance in Rodents
  • Martin Reichard (The Czech Academy of Sciences, Czechia) - Reciprocal parasitism between bitterling fish and freshwater mussels
  • Patricia C. Lopes (Chapman University, United States) - Feeling sick: When, why and how
  • Joanna Miest (University of Greenwich, England) - Environmental influences on the teleost immune system and its effect on survival, physiology, and behaviour
Related sessions:

Ecoimmunology in a changing world: challenges and progress


Ecoimmunology in a changing world: challenges and progress

Organisers:

Rebecca Cramp
Michel Ohmer

ECOIMMUNOLOGY IN A CHANGING WORLD

Ecoimmunology is a rapidly developing field that explores how the environment shapes immune function and how changes in this relationship can influence host-pathogen relationships and disease outcomes. Host immune function is a key fitness determinant because it underlies the capacity of animals to resist or tolerate potential infections. Importantly, immune function can be suppressed or stimulated by exposure to rapidly changing environmental drivers like temperature, pollutants and solar radiation. Thus, hosts may experience trade-offs as a result of altered investment in immune function under environmental stress.  This session will examine the environmental factors underpinning disease emergence, host immune function, and host-pathogen interactions in animal communities.

Speakers:
Related sessions:

Putting animal biology in ecological context with advances in animal tracking and bio-logging


Environmental Fluctuation
 

Aquatic ectotherms in fluctuating environments - the Ins and Outs of the Ups and Downs: Respiration and Osmoregulation in fluctuating environments

Organisers:

Patricia A. Wright
Jonathan Wilson

Aquatic eco

Aquatic ectotherms are intimately linked to their environment. Daily and seasonal variation in water conditions (eg. Oxygen, salinity) often have dramatic impacts on behaviour and physiology of freshwater and marine organisms.

Two critical systems, respitation and osmoregulation, are routinely impacted by variation in the aquatic environment. The “osmo-respiratory compromise” describes the complex interactions between the two systems.

We propose to gather a group of early career scientists (Blewett, Turko, Fehsenfeld, Mandie) with other later career scientists to explore respiration and osmoregulation in aquatic invertebrates and vertebrates living under diurnal or seasonal environmental fluctuations in various habitats (eg. Tide pools, coral reefs, mangroves).
Speakers:
Related sessions:

Putting animal biology in ecological context with advances in animal tracking and bio-logging
Metabolism, ion and pH homeostasis in aquatic invertebrates: Towards a mechanistic understanding underlying life in changing and extreme environments.


Physiological and ecological responses to temperature fluctuation

Organisers:

Katie Marshall
Anne Todgham

Speakers:
  • Suzie Currie (Acadia University, Canada)

  • Brian Helmuth (Northeastern University, United States)

  • Johannes  Overgaard (Aarhus University, Denmark) - When the stress piles up! A simple mathematical approach to integrate duration and intensity of thermal stress during natural thermal fluctuations

Related sessions:

Putting animal biology in ecological context with advances in animal tracking and bio-logging
Metabolism, ion and pH homeostasis in aquatic invertebrates: Towards a mechanistic understanding underlying life in changing and extreme environments.


Neurotransmitters, hormones and pheromones: controlling and signalling physiological and behavioural responses to environmental change

Organisers:

M. Danielle McDonald
Pedro Miguel Guerreiro
Kath Sloman

This session brings together the relevance of animal neuroendocrine systems and chemical communication in the physiological and behavioural responses to natural and social environments.

Animals have the ability to respond physiologically or behaviourally to their surroundings via chemical messengers that have functions ranging from communication between cells to between whole organisms, and can travel distances from nanometers to kilometers to interact with their given receptor and elicit their response. 

Environmental and social cues are crucial for triggering such responses and it is clear that neurotransmitters, paracrine factors and hormones regulate the physiology of adaptation to environmental change. However, it is uncertain how changing environments and mismatched cues may impact the chronology and rhythms of endocrine systems and the information conveyed by external chemical messengers that signal social status, sexual readiness or alarm.  

The goal of this session is to focus on the broad topic of neural, endocrine and external communication, their role in physiology and behaviour and their potential sensitivity to environmental change.

Speakers:
  • Dr. Katarina Medger (University of Kentucky, USA) - Stress at a small scale: Non-invasive monitoring of glucocorticoids in African small mammals

  • Dr. Bob Wong (Monash University Australia) - Sex on steroids: Widespread endocrine disruptor impairs mechanisms of sexual selection in fish

  • Dr. Sarah Dalesman (Aberystwyth University, Wales) - Intraspecific variability in the response to predation threat: linking physiology, cognition and behavior

  • Dr. Katie Gilmour (University of Ottawa, Canada) - Physiological and behavioural responses to the social environment in fishes

  • Dr. Heather Watts (Washington State University, USA) – Environmental cues and endocrine mechanisms in avian facultative migration

  • Dr. Ryan Earley (University of Alabama, USA)  - title to be confirmed.
Relatad sessions:

Do environmental contaminants alter energy balance, how can we find out and how much does it matter?



Cocktails or mocktails? Synergistic and antagonistic effects in mixed stress scenario's

Organiser:

Gudrun De Boeck

        Cocktails or mocktails beach with text

In the natural environment, multiple interactions exist between abiotic and biotic factors, and stressful interactions have increased during the Anthropocene. In this session, we will deepen our knowledge on how different stressors, both from natural an anthropogenic origin, interrelate in mixed stress scenarios. Combining different stressors can lead to additive, synergistic or even antagonistic effects, and it is crucial to understand these relationships in order to reach scientifically based risk assessments.

Speakers:
  • Dr. Liesbeth Weijs (Griffith University, Australia) - Toxicological research in protected marine megafauna - knowledge gaps, challenges, and (data) science

  • Dr. Anne Crémazy (University of New Brunswick, Canada) - ‘Effects of metal mixtures on metal uptake and toxicity in the great pond snail Lymnaea stagnalis.

  • Dr. Essie Rodgers (University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand) - Double trouble: Understanding the interactive effects of warming temperatures and eutrophication in fishes.

  • Dr. Jan Hendriks (Radboud University,The Netherlands) - Assessing impact of multiple substances on multiple species from the temperate to Arctic zone.

  • Dr. Veerle Jaspers (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway) - Effects of pollutant cocktails in birds: experimental and field approaches along a North-South gradient

Related sessions:

Metabolism, ion and pH homeostasis in aquatic invertebrates: Towards a mechanistic understanding underlying life in changing and extreme environments.


Osmotic and acid/base regulation at thermal extremes

Organisers:

Mads Kuhlmann Andersen
Christian Damsgaard

SEB.graphical.abstract.Mads.Christian.final.5_page-0001

Temperature is perhaps the most important abiotic factor influencing animals' physiology, including pronounced effects on ion-, water- and acid/base-homeostasis. Still, many ectotherms thrive in the most thermally challenging environments, from cold polar regions to scorching deserts. Likewise, some endotherms undergo large body temperature fluctuations during daily torpor and seasonal hibernation that require similar homeostatic responses.

This session focuses on the physiological mechanisms that support living at and surviving temperature extremes with a focus on the interactions between ion-, water- and acid/base balance. This session seeks to synthesize universal constraints and physiological responses to extreme temperatures across vertebrate and invertebrate species.
Speakers:
  • Dr Heath A. MacMillan (Carleton University, Canada) - Toward physiological failure networks: The causes and consequences ionoregulatory collapse in the cold
  • Dr Bill Milsom (The University of British Columbia, Canada) - pH regulation in mammalian hibernators: does it contribute to metabolic suppression?
  • Dr Lynn Hartzler (Wright State University, USA) - Acid-base-regulation in ectothermic vertebrates in response to changing temperatures
  • Dr Shireen-A. Davies ( University of Glasgow, UK) - Diuretic neuropeptides – not just for osmoregulation
Related sessions:
Metabolism, ion and pH homeostasis in aquatic invertebrates: Towards a mechanistic understanding underlying life in changing and extreme environments.

Metabolism, ion and pH homeostasis in aquatic invertebrates: Towards a mechanistic understanding underlying life in changing and extreme environments.

Organisers:

Marian Y. Hu
Dirk Weihrauch
Yung-Che Tseng

Metabolism, ion and pH homeostasis in aquatic invertebrates

This session aims at connecting ion-transport physiology and energy metabolism of aquatic invertebrates in an environmental context. The interaction of these physiological processes are a fundamental aspect for the adaptation of life in rapidly changing and extreme environments. Together with knowledge from vertebrates this session focusses on aquatic invertebrates to generate a holistic picture of unifying physiological responses to environmental change in the animal kingdom.

In particular, this session will promote important aspects including:
1. Mechanisms and energetics of pH regulation and excretion
2. Novel transporters controlling intra and extracellular homeostasis
3. Identification of mechanisms underlying life in extreme habitats.

Connecting membrane transport physiology and energy metabolism under environmental fluctuations will help to generate hypothesis-driven research in the field of climate change biology

Speakers:
Related sessions:

The physiology behind phenotypic plasticity in rapidly changing environments

Organisers:

Tamzin Blewett
Tommy Norin 

 Session picture_TN_TB

Phenotypic plasticity represents the capacity an organism has to change its phenotype (its expression of a given trait or characteristic) in response to a change in its environment, without a change in genotype. Phenotypic plasticity is often thought of as the first “line of defence” against a novel environmental change, allowing the animal to cope with and adapt to the new condition. However, the degree of plasticity varies among individuals and among species, indicating that the mechanisms underlying plasticity vary and/or that plasticity in one or more traits is either costly in of itself or a trade off with plasticity in other key traits. Exploring why and how physiological plasticity varies – and how it relates to plasticity in other traits such as behaviour – is the primary aim of this session.

Embracing the overarching theme of ‘environmental fluctuation’, we encourage submissions from researchers working with species that naturally experience rapid fluctuations in environmental physicochemical parameters (e.g. temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, anthropogenic influences) or physiological state (e.g. binge feeders), such as animals living in intertidal zones, downstream of effluent inputs, or in environments with scarce nutrient resources. These species are among the most fascinating for the experimental biologist, as they must display significant physiological plasticity and/or behavioural adaptations in order to survive, grow, and reproduce. Consequently, the mechanisms by which they achieve homeostasis in light of these challenges can be studied for insight  

Speakers:
  • Prof. Trish Schulte (University of British Columbia, Canada) - Mechanisms of plasticity in tolerance to abiotic stressors in fish
  •  Dr. Clare Stawski (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway) - Physiological and behavioural plasticity of Australian marsupials in a changing environment
  • Prof. Tobias Wang (Aarhus University, Denmark)  - Phenotypic flexibility of digestive and cardiovascular function to intermittent feeding bouts in snakes and other vertebrates
  • Dr. Andrew Turko (McMaster University, Canada) - Feedback among phenotypically plastic behavioural, physiological, and morphological traits in amphibious fish moving between water and land 
Related sessions:

Putting animal biology in ecological context with advances in animal tracking and bio-logging
Do environmental contaminants alter energy balance, how can we find out and how much does it matter?


Fish growth and environmental effects 

Organisers:

Jenni Prokkola
Eirik Åsheim

A18 session_image_fishgrowth

Anthropogenic influences, including global heating and over-fishing, pose substantial threats to wild fish populations. Building reliable predictive models for changes in wild populations requires a mechanistic understanding on how the environment asserts its effects at an individual level, particularly via growth rate – a central life-history trait. Various factors in the environment can strongly affect growth rate, and decreasing growth of individuals may lead to dramatic changes in reproductive output and population dynamics.

The aim of the session is to bridge gaps and discuss advances in research on fish growth rate variation in changing environments from theoretical to experimental approaches and from organismal to cellular levels. We welcome abstracts for poster and oral presentations from diverse fields including comparative physiology, theoretical biology,  endocrinology and aquaculture science.

Speakers:

Other Animal biology sessions

Open Animal Biology

Organiser:

Jack Thomson

The Open Animal Biology session covers the whole breadth of animal biology, and therefore will contain those talks and poster presentations which don’t fit into the specific Animal Biology sessions. As much as possible presentations will be organised together with similar subject groups/themes, each set of talks acting like its own small session. This is therefore an interesting and important part of the scientific programme, with high quality presentations from across the animal biological spectrum.

Related sessions:

Animal biology sessions


Open Biomechanics

Organiser:

Nicolai Konow



SCIENCE ACROSS BOUNDARIES
 

ANIMAL, CELL & PLANT BIOLOGY 

Technology Enabled Approaches to Ecophsyiology 

Organisers:

Oliver Tills (University of Plymouth)
Manuela Truebano (University of Plymouth)
Anne Plessis (University of Plymouth)

This session is focussed on the application of both established and emerging technology enabled approaches to understanding ecophysiology.

This session is inclusive of global approaches such as molecular-omics and phenomics through to more focussed technology enabled approaches to research targeted on a particular aspect of ecophysiology.

A key unifying principle of the session is in utilising the large datasets produced by technology enabled approaches to understanding key physiological mechanisms and the intention is that this will encompass a broad range of taxa. Research using large datasets present unique challenges relating to big data, analytical approaches and study design.

Our session will draw on the breadth of experience and research interests within the society and bring together researchers using large datasets, from molecular to organismal, across all sections of the society.

Speakers:
Related sessions:

Do environmental contaminants alter energy balance, how can we find out and how much does it matter?

ANIMAL & CELL BIOLOGY 

Episodic hypoxia: species with exceptional tolerance and how to study them

Organisers:

Frank van Breukelen
Allyson Hindle

Related sessions:

Cell biology sessions
Sciences across boundaries biology sessions


Do environmental contaminants alter energy balance, how can we find out and how much does it matter?

Organiser:

Kimberley Bennett

Do environmental contaminants alter energy balance

The ability to manage energy balance appropriately in a fluctuating environment is fundamental for survival. Increasing evidence suggests anthropogenic contaminants can compromise the ability of orgamisms to regulate their energy balance, with potential negative consequences for population trajectories and biodiversity.  Many anthropogenic chemicals have established roles as toxins, and endocrine disruptors of reproductive and thyroid axes. More recent data implicate many such compounds as lipid disruptors. By altering adipogenesis, fat deposition, lipid profiles, adipose tissue function and hormone sensitivity, environmental contaminants may fundamentally alter energy requirements, storage and use.  Such effects may be subtle or challenging to identify in wildlife and therefore require novel experimental approaches. This session will explore evidence that environmental pollution impacts on energy balance regulation from the molecular to the organismal level across a range of taxa and habitats. It will identify common pathways, highlight challenges and showcase novel experimental approaches to investigate such effects in wildlife that simultaneously experience additional stressors in a fluctuating environment. 

Speakers:
Related sessions:

Neurotransmitters to pheromones: the response of physiological and behavioural signals to environmental change
The physiology behind phenotypic plasticity in rapidly changing environments
Technology Enabled Approaches to Ecophsyiology 


The physiology behind phenotypic plasticity in rapidly changing environments

Organisers:

Tamzin Blewett
Tommy Norin 

 Session picture_TN_TB

Phenotypic plasticity represents the capacity an organism has to change its phenotype (its expression of a given trait or characteristic) in response to a change in its environment, without a change in genotype. Phenotypic plasticity is often thought of as the first “line of defence” against a novel environmental change, allowing the animal to cope with and adapt to the new condition. However, the degree of plasticity varies among individuals and among species, indicating that the mechanisms underlying plasticity vary and/or that plasticity in one or more traits is either costly in of itself or a trade off with plasticity in other key traits. Exploring why and how physiological plasticity varies – and how it relates to plasticity in other traits such as behaviour – is the primary aim of this session.

Embracing the overarching theme of ‘environmental fluctuation’, we encourage submissions from researchers working with species that naturally experience rapid fluctuations in environmental physicochemical parameters (e.g. temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, anthropogenic influences) or physiological state (e.g. binge feeders), such as animals living in intertidal zones, downstream of effluent inputs, or in environments with scarce nutrient resources. These species are among the most fascinating for the experimental biologist, as they must display significant physiological plasticity and/or behavioural adaptations in order to survive, grow, and reproduce. Consequently, the mechanisms by which they achieve homeostasis in light of these challenges can be studied for insight  

Speakers:
  • Prof. Trish Schulte (University of British Columbia, Canada) - Mechanisms of plasticity in tolerance to abiotic stressors in fish
  • Dr. Clare Stawski (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway) - Physiological and behavioural plasticity of Australian marsupials in a changing environment
  • Prof. Tobias Wang (Aarhus University, Denmark)  - Phenotypic flexibility of digestive and cardiovascular function to intermittent feeding bouts in snakes and other vertebrates
  • Dr. Andrew Turko (McMaster University, Canada) - Feedback among phenotypically plastic behavioural, physiological, and morphological traits in amphibious fish moving between water and land 
Related sessions:

Putting animal biology in ecological context with advances in animal tracking and bio-logging
Do environmental contaminants alter energy balance, how can we find out and how much does it matter?


ANIMAL & OED
 

Open electronics in experimental biology 

Organisers:

Michael Oellermann
Richelle Tanner


Open electronics

Arduino, Raspberry PI and many other open source microcontroller and electronical devices have sparked a revolution in electronical development. Initially designed to appeal to electronic hobbyists, such devices have now formed a global community of "Makers" and inventors with accelerating use in industries and professional research. Novel and innovative research requires customised experiments, but it is often hampered by the lack of readily available equipment or sufficient funding. This research need can be addressed with open electronics devices and electronical DIY skills, which provide very flexible low-cost solutions in the lab and field that can be easily maintained and shared among labs, researchers and students. They can further automatise time-consuming tasks in the lab, improve repeatibility of experiments and lead to novel and creative applications.   The session, "Open Electronics in Experimental Biology", aims to bring together researchers and students from different disciplines to exchange innovative self-assembled electronical solutions and to inspire peers to implement DIY applications into their own research.

Speakers:
  • Hannah Wilson (Utah State University, United States) 
  • Jenny Molloy (Shuttleworth Foundation Research Fellow, Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology,  University of Cambridge, UK)
  • Tobias Wenzel (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Chile)
  • Rui Seabra (CIBIO-InBIO, Universidade do Porto, Portugal)
  • Jolle Jolles (Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior, Germany)
Related sessions:

SEB+ biology sessions
Sciences across boundaries biology sessions