SEB Gothenburg 2017 Session Report: Is it time for a fish physiome initiative?

01 Oct 2017 - By: Dr Gina Galli

SEB Gothenburg 2017 Session Report: Is it time for a fish physiome initiative?

Organised by: Dr Michael Berenbrink (University of Liverpool, UK) & Dr Gina Galli (University of Manchester, UK)

The effects of the environment on fish physiology are complex, involving everything from genes to the environment itself. However, quantitative studies on the effects of climate change on fish physiology have been largely limited to the whole organism and isolated organ. Taking inspiration from the human "Physiome Project", this session explored the possibility of integrating knowledge from different components of the fish cardiorespiratory oxygen transport cascade into robust and reliable computer models that could better predict the effects of climate change; a so-called "Fish Physiome Project".  The morning session, which included an inspiring talk from one of the founders of the Human Physiome Project (Prof. Peter Hunter), highlighted the predictive power of multiscale systems biology and showcased studies where the approach has been successfully applied in fish physiology.  In particular, Prof. Paolo Domenici gave a fascinating talk that outlined an ingenious model that predicts fish habitat selection.  

The afternoon session kicked off with Prof. Tony Farrell's tour de force presentation which explored the rules that govern the oxygen cascade and the importance of establishing firm definitions when considering the development of a fish physiome project. The talks that followed updated the status quo on the effects of the environment on the fish cardiorespiratory system at numerous levels of biological organisation.  It became clear that temperature and oxygen availability are potent stressors that affect all aspects of the cardiorespiratory system and often trigger organ remodelling. As Dr Michael Berenbrink summarised in the final talk, the challenge is to integrate these studies with mathematical models to provide a more holistic approach to predicting the effects of climate change. The session ended with a group discussion on how to proceed and the challenges ahead, but we were all very much in favour of initiating a Fish Physiome Project.


Author: Dr Gina Galli
Category: Events