The conference’s special theme sessions are listed below. Several keynote speakers will set the tone for some of these theme sessions. These will be delivered at a level appropriate for all participants. Contributed papers and posters will follow invited lectures.
If you feel that your talk should be associated with one of these theme sessions, indicate as much on your abstract form.
Effects of environmental variability on the life history strategies and recruitment: global climate change
Invited speaker: Manuel Barangé
Marine ecosystems are more vulnerable to natural fluctuations than previously realized. Climate change and fishing exploitation have been implicated as the cause of abundance fluctuations in marine fish populations worldwide. Changes in the physical environment can impact fish populations through a variety of pathways. To understand the links between recruitment and environmental variability the relationships between the physical and biological parameters affecting the early stages of fishes must be described and understood. We encourage presentations illustrating seasonal and annual variation in ichthyoplankton distribution in relation to environmental conditions and their linkage with recruitment. Research coupling physical and biological models to simulate and to quantify environmental processes affecting early stages will be welcome.
Fronts, eddies and early life histories
Invited speaker: Andrew Bakun
Ecological effect of physical mesoscale structures such as fronts and eddies has long been recognized. Physical and biological coupling in these zones present a high spatio-temporal variability as a result of both the hydrographic complexity of such systems and biological activity of the organisms.
We invite presentations of studies showing the role of fronts and eddies in shaping ichthyoplankton distributions. Those contributions addressing research to understand biological processes that take place in these structures in relation to their prevalence will be of primary interest.
Larval condition, growth and survival
In order to optimize resources utilization both for aquaculture development or to reduce to sustainable levels the exploitation of fishery resources, it is necessary to apply policies based on a deep knowledge of biology and ecology of the species. Environmental conditions are responsible for the high mortality that occur during the early life history stages of fishes through their effect on different organisms of the trophic web and on the larval condition. Topics of special focus will be research into the relation of condition, growth, mortality and physical and biological factors. We encourage contributions that combine measures of growth rates and mortality rates. Field and experimental studies discussing the application of different condition indices, otolith based growth and larval feeding ecology will fit in this session as well as models that couple recent growth rates estimations to temperature.
Relationship between ecosystem features and the diversity of larval fish assemblages
Invited speaker: Jeff Govoni
Evident in the last few decades is an alarming decline in the strength of many fish populations in the world’s oceans. The consequences of this decline have been economic loss to nations along with serious ecological problems. Declining populations have been accompanied by a decrease in species diversity and the destruction of the structure of pelagic communities within ecosystems. Pelagic assemblages of larval fishes reflect the communities of adult fishes that contribute their eggs and larvae. The emphasis of this theme session is to examine and contrast larval fish assemblages from different ecosystems, and to elucidate how the attributes of ecosystems influence the composition and dynamics of larval fish assemblages. Are larval fish assemblages in fluctuating or unpredictable environments simpler than those from more stable environments? What defines an ecosystem with the world’s ocean? The overall goal is to learn whether fish distributions in the different environments are delimited by hydrography, by behavior of fish larvae and adults, or some combination.
Functional morphology, physiology and behaviour
Invited speaker: Howard Browman will speak on "The biology, ecology and ethology of ontogenetic sensitive periods revisited."
Contributors whose presentation(s) touches on descriptive, ecological and/or evolutionary aspects of morphology, physiology or behaviour should submit their work to this session.
Fish development and systematics: new genetic advances and classical views
Ontogenetic data serve to clarify the evolutionary relationships of teleosts but its use is dependent on sound taxonomy, anatomy and descriptions of eggs and larvae. Furthermore, knowledge of early life stages of fishes is fundamental to studies of population maintenance, essential habitat and patterns of biodiversity. In recent years, molecular techniques based on mitochondrial genome analysis have augmented traditional approaches in egg and larval taxonomy, especially for species groups that are morphologically similar. We encourage contributions to this theme session that present new descriptions of development using morphological and/or molecular techniques. The application of this information to problems of systematics is particularly invited. We ask researchers to present papers that combine methodological approaches in taxonomy and phylogeny and promote the integration of these disciplines in studies of early life history of fishes.