The most pervasive threat to marine ecosystems today is global climate change. Greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere from human-related sources (e.g., burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, industrial activity, etc.) are warming the planet and the oceans at a staggering rate. In addition, excess CO2 emitted into the atmosphere is being absorbed by the oceans, therefore decreasing pH and causing ocean acidification. Over and above these two main threats – ocean warming and acidification – increasing industrial and agricultural activities are making hypoxia (low oxygen) zones more widespread and pronounced and increasing turbidity and pollutant concentrations. The fishes represent the most speciose group of vertebrates currently on the planet, exceeding 50% of all species. Among the bony and cartilaginous fishes are are some of the extremes in terms of development, athletic performance, and physiological tolerance. How the fishes will respond to global climate change and the additional related anthropogenic stresses will dictate the fate of marine ecosystems worldwide. To understand this, my team examines various metrics of “athletic performance” across species, swimming types, habitats, developmental stages, and generations under individual and combined climage change stressors. In my talk, I will discuss the three areas of research my team has been undertaking to tackle some of these questions regarding the fate of aquatic athletes in a changing world.
Dr. Jodie Rummer’s background is in marine biology and comparative physiology. She is currently an Associate Professor/Principal Research Fellow at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies. But, prior to joining JCU in 2011 as an ARC Super Science Fellow, Jodie’s academic training started in the U.S. (BSc, MSc), took her to Canada (PhD, University of British Columbia), and then to Hong Kong for a short post-doc. Between 2015 and 2017, Jodie held an ARC Early Career Discovery
Fellowship. She received the highly prestigious UNESCO-L’Oréal Women in Science Fellowship for Australia and New Zealand and gave a TEDx talk, “Athletes of the Great Barrier Reef”, in 2015. In 2016, Jodie was named one of Australia’s top 5 scientists under the age of 40 by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and Radio National (RN) and was awarded the Society for Experimental Biology’s President’s Medal.
Jodie has researched fish buoyancy, exercise, and is a leading authority on the evolution of oxygen transport and how performance is maintained during stress. Today, Jodie’s team combines ecology, evolution, and physiology to address issues important to conservation, such as the effects of climate change and other human-caused problems on coral reef fishes, sharks, and rays and the potential for adaptation.