By Gloria Massamba N’Siala
Thanks to the QCBS Excellence Award and the financial support provided by the Marie-Skłodowska Curie Action fellowship program of the European Union, I had the opportunity to fly to Gothenburg, Sweden, and participate in the annual Conference of the Society for Experimental Biology (3-6 July, 2017). The annual SEB meeting is an international reference point for plenty of experimental animal, cell and plant biologists, and provides an active and stimulating environment for the cross-fertilization of ideas. If you are interested in having a mechanistic understanding of ecological processes, especially from a physiological and molecular perspective, this is the place for you. The variety of topics and approaches is impressive: ecotoxicology, osmoregulation and acid-base balance, biomechanics, paleogenomics were only some of the sessions given.
The Gothia Tower in Gothenburg, Sweden, venue of the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Society for Experimental Biology.
‘Climate change and aquatic life: effects of multiple drivers, from molecules to populations’ was the session where I had the great opportunity to present the results of a study that I and my colleagues from the Laboratoire de Physiologie Éco-Évolutive marine and the Laboratoire de Biologie Animale Intégrative at the University of Rimouski recently published. The study investigated the physiological and life-history challenges that a marine species may face along a multigenerational exposure to ocean warming and ocean acidification. In particular, using a cosmopolitan marine polychaete, Ophryotrocha labronica, as a model species, we showed that the negative effects observed in the first generation of exposure were fully recovered after 2-3 generations, as many other transgenerational studies have shown. However, if the individuals were exposed for additional 4 generations, their performances declined because of a decrease in fecundity and body size coupled with an increase in reactive oxygen species. We thus observed two different, contrasting results depending on the time scale of exposure chosen. As agreed by other researchers participating at the conference, the investment in longer-term investigations is of particular importance if we want to assess with a better reliability species future responses to global change.
Species of Ophryotrocha, the genus of marine worm that we studied.
The feedback received after my presentation and the sharing of ideas with other colleagues have been particularly important for a better understanding of the cellular mechanisms underpinning the ecological responses I am investigating at the individual level. The possibility to build a bridge between physiology and ecology is one of the reasons for my interest in attending the SEB meeting. Finally, this forum provided exciting networking opportunities that will contribute positively to the development of my career.
A rose garden in a city park in Gothenburg.
I am extremely grateful to the QCBS for the financial support provided. Without it, I would not have had the possibility to attend the conference.