Coast to Coast Seminar Series: "How will Marine Ecosystems Adapt to a Future Ocean that will be Warmer, More Stratified, More Acidic and Less Oxygenated?"

Tuesday, November 16, 2010
11:30 - 12:30

Dr. Ken Denman
DFO Institute of Ocean Sciences, and EC Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis, University of Victoria


Primarily from burning fossil fuels, humans are adding increasing amounts of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. More than a third of this new carbon dioxide ends up in the ocean, and more than 90% of the additional heat from the greenhouse effect is entering the oceans. As a result the oceans are becoming warmer and more stratified, which reduces the mixing of nutrients from below up into the surface ocean and of oxygen from the surface layer down into the subsurface ocean. In addition the extra carbon dioxide is causing the oceans to become more acidic. Can we predict how whole marine ecosystems will adapt, when we do not yet know how much capacity individual species have to adapt to these expected changes to their environment. I will outline a modelling framework to explore the capacity of species to adapt to a changing environment based on existing 'phenotypic' diversity and potential 'plasticity'.

About the Speaker

Ken Denman is a Senior Scientist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), since 2000 working at the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis of Environment Canada, located at the University of Victoria where he is an Adjunct Professor. His research involves the interactions between marine ecosystems, biogeochemical cycles and climate change. His current research interests centre on forecasting the responses of marine ecosystems to the acidification of the oceans and to other aspects of climate change including possible geoengineering measures. He was Coordinating Lead Author of Chapter 7 of the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) WG1 AR4 titled "Couplings between changes in the climate system and biogeochemistry"; and Coordinating Lead Author of Chapter 10 in the Second Assessment Report (1995) of IPCC WG1, titled "Marine biotic responses to environmental change and feedbacks to climate". The IPCC shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore for its work on climate change. Ken Denman is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and has received the President