PhD candidate Christine Madliger and her supervisor, biology professor Oliver P. Love, organized the symposium Physiology in changing landscapes: an integrative perspective for conservation biology, to challenge biological scientists to try new techniques when researching how organisms are responding to changes in the environment.
The one-day symposium, held in Florida as part of January’s 2015 Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) conference, focused on conservation physiology. Rather than the long-term and labour-intensive work of monitoring populations to determine trends, the field offers the measurement of physical attributes such as hormones, nutrition and immune function.
“By measuring physiology you can more quickly see what links organisms to their environment,” says Madliger. “This can give you an idea of what is happening well in advance of actual population decline—you can pick up disturbances easier, like the canary in the coal mine.”
She had the opportunity to handpick symposium speakers from those biologists who have influenced her academic career.
“I really enjoyed it,” she says. “People from all over North America came together to benefit from sharing research and I got to meet people who are doing great science.”
Dr. Love, Canada Research Chair in Integrative Ecology, says it was a successful conference and it is easy to be proud of Madliger’s accomplishments, “especially her ability to bring together such an impressive group of conservation scientists at the forefront of solving pressing conservation issues.”
All the symposium presenters have the opportunity to submit papers to Integrative and Comparative Biology. A larger review paper generated from a symposium roundtable discussion will be published in the journal, Conservation Physiology.