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torsdag 7 februari 2013

Interesting and stimulating symposium on dispersal!

From Jan 30th to Feb 1st 2013, the symposium on "Causes and Consequences on Organism Dispersal" was held at Lund University hosted by BECC and CAnMove. We were honored by a large number of motivated participants (90 people) including 9 international speakers, 8 national speakers and 15 poster presenters. They introduced different approaches to understand, monitor and model the impact of dispersal, of a diverse range of taxa (from microbes to fish and marsupials), in a changing environment.
Some of the participants during the symposium - Group Picture (photo: Inger Ekström)
Discussions and talks highlighted the key role played by dispersal on the biodiversity and distribution of organisms on Earth. Discussions took place formally in the auditorium and continued during two dinners and a quiz on organism dispersal.
Organism dispersal is complex and depends on different parameters. For example, it is shaped by life history (Beth Okamura from Natural History Museum), animal personality (Julien Cote from University Paul Sabatier), and the interaction/competition between dispersers and native species (Wim van deer Putten from Netherland Institute of Ecology). It varies among scales (temporal and geographical scales, Wim Vyverman from Gent University). It also occurs during migration flight in birds Clark Rushing (Smithsonian Institution) and may be influenced in microbes by mass effect and/or species sorting (Eva Lindström from Uppsala University). The dispersal of an organism is often link to the dispersal of smaller attached organisms with important consequences on health (e.g. malaria, Staffan Bensch, Lund University) and community diversity (e.g. propagules dispersed by waterbirds, Andy Green, Doñana Biological Station). A theorical approach to integrate these parameters was presented by Jörgen Ripa (Lund University).
Monitoring dispersal is sometimes tricky and different approaches were discussed related to the size of the organism that disperses and the habitat: the use of airborne sampling (Jakob Löndahl from lund University), environmental DNA (Alice Valentini from Spygen), high polymorphic genetic markers to measure gene flow and population structure (Paul Bentzen from Dalhousie University) and the use of next generation sequencing (Sylvie Tesson from Lund University).
Landscape plays a crucial role on the movement of an organism (Paul Caplat from Lund University), acting as a resistance against free dispersal (Rachael Dudaniec from University of Queensland), and impacting the distribution, the survival and the persistence of populations (Johan Ekroos from Lund University). Zones of conservation and protection of some organisms are nowadays established based on models (Per Jonsson from Gothenburg University). However, one needs to integrate the life cycle, biology, animal personality, and the interactions with the environment and the native species, in order to delimit ‘real’ and ‘reliable’ reserves to save biodiversity.
Audience room during the symposium – Session I (photo: Giuseppe Bianco)

Overall it was a very informative and fun symposium, which brought together different domain of research questions in the area of organism dispersal. We ended the symposium with a world-cafe  - a series of discussions around a cup of coffee.

The organization committee - Sylvie Tesson, Karin Rengefors and Katarina Hedlund - would like to thank all of the participants of the symposium for their active discussions on organism dispersal in a changing environment, and all delegates who helped us during the symposium!

We will now begin to work on Summary and Forum papers in order to share our discussion with the scientific community, including some of the exciting researches we heard about at the symposium and novelties and future issues we judged important to pinpoint. Please keep in touch to discuss and read the upcoming papers…

//Sylvie Tesson

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