Whitman College

Panel discussion: Understanding changing marine ecosystems – how do we get the science right?

Rising atmospheric carbon dioxide is both warming and acidifying marine environments, and many marine biologists are working to understand how marine ecosystems are responding and will respond to these changes. Consequently, there is a growing body of robust and reliable scientific understanding of the responses of marine ecosystems to global environmental change. However, recently some prominent claims in this field have been called into question. Currently, a large group of papers claiming that rising levels of CO₂ in ocean water radically and dangerously disrupt fish behavior is under scrutiny, and there are good reasons to believe that work is unreliable. This panel will bring together three marine ecologists with different interests and experience to discuss the importance of reliable science to our understanding of how global environmental change is influencing marine ecosystems.

This event will be in a hybrid format: both in-person (in Brattain Auditorium, Science 100) and online (via Zoom, https://whitman.zoom.us/j/92780374295).

The three marine ecologists are:

  • Dr. Dom Roche

    Marie Skłodowska-Curie Global Fellow hosted jointly by Carleton University (Canada) and the University of Neuchâtel (Switzerland).

    Dr. Roche has co-authored several papers exploring the reliability of the claims that rising CO₂ in the oceans disrupts fish behavior. One of his papers, a particularly transparent, thorough, and robust replication involving multiple coral reef fish species, was published in Nature and has been widely discussed in the media. Dr. Roche is active in the growing science reliability movement, and is on the Board of Directors of SORTEE (Society for Open, Reliable, and Transparent Ecology and Evolutionary Biology).
  • Dr. Cascade Sorte

    Whitman ’99. Associate Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California, Irvine.

    Prof. Sorte is an expert on the effects of global environmental change in marine ecosystems. She has published extensively on the effects of climate change and rising carbon dioxide levels on the structure of marine ecosystems, on the interactions among marine organisms, and on the physiology of marine organisms.
  • Dr. Alexa Fredston

    Postdoctoral researcher in the department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources at Rutgers University.

    Dr. Fredston is a quantitative ecologist with interests in the impacts of climate change on marine biogeography. She is also committed to the principles of open science, including transparent and reproducible workflows and open code, as means of improving the reliability of science in marine ecology and beyond.

Presented by Biology and Environmental Studies, in conjunction with the academic theme Climate Reckonings, Climate Justice.

Tuesday, November 30 at 4:00 pm