[MARMAM] SMM Biennial Workshop: How Modern Marine Mammals Evolved—Revelations from the Confluence of Genetics and Climate Change

Susan Crockford sjcrock at shaw.ca
Thu Jul 14 07:32:59 PDT 2011

An afternoon workshop on How Modern Marine Mammals Evolved—Revelations from the Confluence of Genetics and Climate Change on Saturday November 26th, 2011 in Tampa, Florida, prior to the Society for Marine Mammalogy 19th Biennial Conference. 

Cost US$26.00 per person (to cover cost of coffee, snacks & equipment rental), payable in advance via US/Canadian cheque or Visa/Mastercard. Aim to register by Oct. 15th (deadline for advanced registration and accepted presenters) but if space is available, we can accommodate late-comers until Nov. 15th or so. For details on agenda and payment & to express interest/receive workshop updates, contact Susan Crockford (sjcrock at shaw.ca).
Registration is at  http://www.marinemammalscience.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=591&Itemid=336&workshop=24

A full description of the workshop is below, contact organizers (above) for detailed agenda available shortly.

How Modern Marine Mammals Evolved—Revelations from the Confluence of Genetics and Climate Change 
Date and Time: Saturday November 26, 2011   1-5 PM

How, when, and where did the modern assemblages of marine mammals come to be? Bringing together representatives from diverse disciplines and focusing on profound correlations between the studies, we begin to achieve a greater understanding of the timing and drivers of the radiation and speciation of marine mammals. For example: taking the coarse genetic timing of the emergence of the three right whale species (that is, the relative distance and order of emergence of the different forms), then using the known fossil evidence to establish presence in the different ocean basins, one overlays the Pleistocene climate oscillations and geophysical conditions to identify when and where the archaic forms of right whales moved into different ocean basins and began evolving into distinct forms. 

This approach is both timely and relevant: extreme climate changes in the Pleistocene and Holocene presented immense challenges to marine mammals around the world, yet defined the modern species assemblage. These challenges not only fundamentally changed the distribution of many marine mammal species, but also initiated the emergence of new species and geographical variations. Understanding how the cumulative effects of climatic and ecological changes during the Pleistocene climate fluctuations impacted marine mammal genera will help us better understand modern challenges and place those challenges in an adaptive, evolutionary context.
This session will appeal to all researchers studying species diversity, radiation, and distribution from differing viewpoints including genetics, morphology, behavior, and paleontology, as well as those whose interests focus on habitat change, climate change, and/or evolution in general. We have put together a diverse panel representing recent and new studies regarding origins, speciation, diversity, radiation, and paleozoogeography of the right whale, bowhead whale, killer whale (orca), oceanic dolphins in general, Antarctic seals, Arctic ringed seal, northern fur seal, Steller's sea cow, sea otter, and polar bear.  The presenters will cover topics in the fields of geology/geomorphology, paleontology, phylogenetics, mitogenomics, paleoecology, paleoclimatology, zoogeography, and archaeozoology. 
A panel discussion will follow and consider ways to explore other concepts and approaches, including (but not restricted to):
1)      What can the correlations between molecular clocks and the magnitude and rate of climate change tell us about species emergence? 
2)      How do we fit morphological and behavioral diversity (including ecotypes) into genetic-based models of speciation and adaptation over time? 
3)  What other genera provide tempting opportunities to explore this notion in greater detail (Arctocephalus, Lagenhorhynchus, and Stenella, for example)?
The panel will also discuss output the group might like to consider, such as a themed journal issue.

Susan J. Crockford, Ph.D. (Zoology/Evolutionary Biology/Archaeozoology) 
Adjunct Professor (Anthropology/Graduate Studies) email: scrock at uvic.ca 
University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada 
Pacific Identifications Inc. (www.pacificid.com) 
6011 Oldfield Rd., RR 3 
Victoria BC V9E 2J4 
phone (250) 721-7296 fax (250) 721-6215 
email: sjcrock at shaw.ca  
**see my book website www.rhythmsoflife.ca ** 
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