Special Seminar with Dr. Janie Wulff
The Biology Department at UHM would like to invite the public to a special seminar featuring Dr. Janie Wulff, Associate Professor of the Department of Biological Science at Florida State University. The seminar, "Bottom-up, top-down, and side-ways control of sponges: Conclusions muddled by methods" will be held on Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 3pm at Watanabe 420. Please find Dr. Wulff's seminar abstract at the bottom of this page.
Abstract: "Sponges play many beneficial roles on coral reefs, including maintaining water column clarity by efficient filtering of picoplankton, facilitating reef regeneration by stabilizing rubble, increasing survival of corals by binding them to the reef frame, and sheltering hundreds of species of invertebrates and fishes. Recent assertions that sponges are overwhelming coral reefs have been based on the assumption that sponges represent a parallel case to that of fleshy algae, which may burgeon when nutrients increase and herbivores decrease; and controversy has developed over whether or not sponges are increasing due to release of control by bottom-up vs. top-down forces, as different studies have reported divergent conclusions. Strides towards resolution of the controversy can be made by: 1) considering whether or not quick and easy methods used for evaluating sponge consumption by predators can answer questions about control of sponges in natural systems, 2) considering what types of data are capable of distinguishing if sponges are overwhelming coral reefs or if sponges are actually declining, and 3) taking into account mutually beneficial and competitive interactions as well as trophic interactions."