Keynote presentations


We are proud to introduce the keynote presentations for the Ecopath 35 Years Conference:

Wednesday Morning Keynote: Villy Christensen

Dr Christensen is a professor at the University of British Columbia specialising in ecosystem modelling—in particular data-driven ecosystem model construction. He is known for his work as a leader and developer of the Ecopath project, an open source ecosystem modelling software system widely used for ecosystem based management and increasingly for environmental impact assessment . His recent publications have described global ocean models, studied global fish biomass trends, and outlined new habitat capacity models.

Thursday Morning Keynote: Bob Ulanowicz

Robert Edward Ulanowicz is an American theoretical ecologist and philosopher who in his search for a unified theory of ecology has formulated a paradigm he calls Process Ecology. He was born September 17, 1943 in Baltimore, Maryland. He served as Professor of Theoretical Ecology at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science's Chesapeake Biological Laboratory in Solomons, Maryland until his retirement in 2008. Ulanowicz received both his BS and PhD in chemical engineering from Johns Hopkins University in 1964 and 1968, respectively.

Friday Morning Keynote: Jeff Polovina

Dr. Jeffrey Polovina was born in Troy, New York on September 30, 1948. He obtained an undergraduate degree in mathematics at Carnegie Mellon University and later a Ph.D. in statistics from the University of California, Berkley. He began his career in academics teaching at the University of San Diego. He moved to Hawaii and began working at the University of Hawaii Sea Grant office. He later went to work for the National Marine Fisheries Service and has served as the Chief of Ecosystem and Oceanography Division for most of his career.


Session 1: Dr. David Chagaris

Dr. David Chagaris is an assistant research professor at the University of Florida, Nature Coast Biological Station at the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. His research focuses on applied fisheries ecosystem and population dynamics modeling. He has utilized the EwE framework extensively in his research to evaluate ecological tradeoffs of fisheries harvest policies on the West Florida Shelf, develop ecological based reference points for Atlantic menhaden, and simulate invasion and mitigation strategies for invasive Lionfish in the Gulf of Mexico. The overall goal of this work is to provide information and tools that enable managers, scientists, and stakeholders to become better stewards of our shared natural resources. Dr. Chagaris is currently a member of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Ecological Reference Points Committee and serves on stock assessment review panels for Gulf of Mexico reef fish. Prior to joining the University of Florida he conducted stock assessments for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. He received BS and MS in Biology from East Carolina University and a PhD in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences from the University of Florida.

Session 2: Dr. Natalia Serpetti

Dr. Natalia Serpetti is a senior Post Doctoral Research Associate in Ecosystem Modelling and Benthic Ecology and the Marine Modelling Module Leader for University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI). She is interested in understanding the processes governing the dynamics of marine ecosystems and the forces that can regulate it and affect it using modelling approaches. Modelling can give us the opportunity to understand how the ecosystem levels are interacting to simulate and predict future scenarios of the ecosystem functioning as a whole. Her research has covered the whole ecosystem from fish ecology and trophic niches (BSc), nutrient cycling and sediment biogeochemistry (PhD), benthic macrofaunal taxonomy and ecology (postdoc), and regression statistical modelling and ecosystem modelling (currently). Recently, Dr. Serpetti has taken a multi-disciplinary approach using modelling tools, to combine, link and couple ecosystem components and drivers to better understand spatial and temporal changes of observed ecosystem functioning.

Session 3: Dr. Kim de Mutsert

Dr. Kim de Mutsert is an assistant professor in the department of Environmental Science and Policy, and the Associate Director of the Potomac Environmental Research and Education Center at George Mason University. She holds an MS in Biology from the University of Amsterdam, and a PhD in Oceanography and Coastal Sciences from Louisiana State University. Her research interests include fish ecology in the marine, estuarine and freshwater environment. Dr. de Mutsert is especially interested in the effects of environmental and anthropogenic stressors on nekton community structure and food web dynamics. Current projects include modeling the response of living marine resources to hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico, studying effects of freshwater diversion on nekton communities in Louisiana estuaries, monitoring the long-term recovery from eutrophication of tidal freshwater fish assemblages, and estimating population size of anadromous fishes (Alewife and Blueback Herring) in the Potomac River watershed. She recently received a National Academy of Sciences Early Career Research Fellowship to support the work she does in the Gulf of Mexico. She teaches courses in Estuarine and Coastal Ecology, Limnology, Ichthyology, and Fisheries Science.

Session 4: Dr. Jason Link

Dr. Link is the Senior Scientist (ST) for Ecosystem Management with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). In this role, Dr. Link leads approaches and models to support development of ecosystem-based management plans and activities throughout the agency, serving as the agency’s senior-most authority on ecosystem science. Dr. Link has written several books and book chapters on the topic of Ecosystem-based Fisheries Management, has written over 190 peer-reviewed publications, over 300 reports, has over 250 published abstracts, and has convened over 10 major international symposia and summits on marine ecosystem management and modeling-related topics. Dr. Link has led the development of several strategic documents for NOAA and NMFS to improve and enhance mission-needed science. Dr. Link has been a champion of ecosystem science and ecosystem-based management, both as a discipline and as a practice, for resource management agencies in the U.S. and around the world, sitting on several international advisory boards and the editorial board of an international marine science journal.

Session 5: Dr. William Walters

Dr. William Walters is currently an assistant professor at the Pennsylvania State University, in the Department of Nuclear Engineering. His primary research is in developing computer modeling methods for the transport of radiation in nuclear systems, and in the design and analysis of nuclear reactors. Due to his interest in algorithm development and numerical methods, he has also worked on and off with the Ecopath with Ecosim software since 2007. This work was initially on implementation of individual-based models, multi-stanza models, and improved numerical methods. More recently, he has focused on improving and validating the Ecotracer module in EwE. Dr. Walters obtained a B.A.Sc. from the University of British Columbia, an M.S. from the University of Florida, and Ph.D. from Virginia Tech.