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UNB s annual Hynes Lectures to look at future freshwater ecosystems

Author: Communications

Posted on Oct 28, 2015

Category: UNB Fredericton , UNB Saint John

In a changing climate, rivers and lakes are warming and water flows are more unpredictable. A significant gap in our understanding of climate change is whether, and if so how, freshwater organisms will respond to these changes.  It is unclear whether they will be able to adapt to a changing climate or whether we will witness increasing rates of extinctions. This is the topic of one of this year’s Canadian Rivers Institute H.B.N. Hynes lectures on Thursday, Oct. 29, and Friday, Oct. 30, by Julian Olden from the University of Washington.

“Introduced inadvertently or deliberately, new species continue to invade our lakes and rivers, with generally negative consequences for native fishes and other aquatic life,” said Dr. Olden. 

“Invasive species may outcompete native species and alter natural food webs.  We typically view these invasions as negative and try to reduce the harm they cause, however, this perception has meant very little is understood about how old and new species coexist.” 

In Dr. Olden’s lecture, he will argue that we must decide as a society what future ecosystems will look like, where we should intervene and where we should not.

Dr. Olden, an internationally renowned aquatic scientist from the University of Washington, will address these important questions along with issues near and dear to the hearts of many New Brunswickers. He studies how to sustain river flows required  to support healthy ecosystems, the impacts of dams on rivers, the ecology of fish, amphibians and aquatic invertebrates, impacts of climate change on freshwaters and their biology, how to manage invasive species, and conservation of aquatic systems.

“Despite the many challenges facing freshwater ecosystems, the future holds an equal number of exciting opportunities to ensure environmental sustainability for generations to come,” states Dr. Olden. His research program seeks to advance the science underpinning such opportunities so that more informed management and policy decisions in the realm of climate change adaptation, dam management and invasive species can be achieved.

Michael van den Heuvel, director of the Canadian River Institute, says Dr. Olden is an esteemed international expert on the threats that global changes such as climate change and introduced species present.

"Dr. Olden’s work exemplifies the type of ground breaking research that the Canadian Rivers Institute seeks to pursue in New Brunswick and globally,” said Dr. Van Den Heuvel. "Such research is critical to determine how to best manage the integrity of our valued river ecosystems over the next century".

"We are very honoured to once again have such an internationally-recognized guest for the prestigious Hynes lecture.”

Dr. Olden’s free public talk will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29 in Loring Bailey Hall, Room 146 at UNB Fredericton.  This talk is entitled Invasive species: Staying the course or exonerating crimes to envision a new future?

On both Thursday, Oct. 29, at 11:30 a.m. in Hazen Hall, Room 125, UNB Saint John and Friday, Oct. 30 at 3 p.m. in Loring Bailey Hall, Room 146, at UNB Fredericton. Dr. Olden will give a free science lecture entitled Racing against extinction: Will freshwater fishes keep pace with climate change?

The H.B.N. Hynes Lecture series is an annual event hosted by the Canadian Rivers Institute. It is named for Noel Hynes, professor emeritus at the University of Waterloo and founding father of river ecology. In 2002, Dr. Hynes delivered the inaugural Hynes Lecture. He is the author of one of the earliest studies of river pollution: The Biology of Polluted Waters, published in 1960, which he followed by his classic treatise of how river ecosystems work: The Ecology of Running Waters, published in 1970. Professor Hynes received an honorary doctorate from UNB in 2003.

For more information on Dr. Olden and on the lectures visit the Canadian Rivers Institute website

Media contact:

Donald Baird, Professor and Science Director, Canadian Rivers Institute

UNB Fredericton

(506) 458 7048

(506) 260 5177 (texts only please) 


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