Day 2 – Wednesday October 19th

Response scenarios for coastal zone ecosystems on sea level and climate change and the impact of the human footprint on coastal zones

Morning session

The morning session will focus on ecosystem response to sea level rise, climate change and human footprint. Lectures will focus on the importance of the conservation of healthy coral reef – seagrass – mangrove ecosystems; and the importance of coastal lagoon habitats and threats of harmful algal blooms as a result of environmental change and human impacts. Threats to these ecosystems negatively impact the coastal defense role of reefs and mangrove forests. The lectures Calcification and Bio-erosion of Caribbean Coral Reefs’, ‘Corals in Crisis: Causes and Impact of Coral Diseases’, ‘Dynamics of Seagrasses and Associated Fauna and Flora’, and ‘Response of Mangrove Forests to Sea Level Rise in the Greater Caribbean’ will address various aspects. The significance of threats to coastal lagoonal systems will be covered in ‘Life-habitats of Caribbean Coastal Zone Lagoonal Systems: Aquatic Environments, Microfloras, and the Threats of Future Increase of Harmful Algal Blooms’. The implications for mass fish die-offs and human health are important areas of attention.

Invited speakers
Chris Perry
, Physical Geography, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, United Kingdom;
Mark Vermeij, CARMABI, Curaçao, and Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Brigit van Tussenbroek, Instituto de Ciencias Mar & Limnol, Univ. Nacional Autonome Mexico (UNAM), Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico; Ken Krauss, United States Geological Survey, Lafayette, Louisiana, USA;
Francesca Sangiorgi, Marine Palynology and Paleoceanography, Department of Earth Sciences, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.

Afternoon session

The afternoon session will start with a review of 6000 years of human footprint on the Caribbean islands and the effects on coastal systems. In this lecture combined with the lectures  ‘Human Presence in Relation to Sea Level Rise and Climate Change in the Caribbean’ and ‘Human Presence and the Use of Natural Resources in the Caribbean’  we will explore the causal relationship between human presence, sea level changes and climate fluctuations. The lecture ‘Human Presence and the Use of Natural Resources in the Caribbean’ will provide a historical perspective. The second half of the afternoon session will include contributions on high-resolution sea level-climate-environment reconstructions. This includes the lectures: ‘High-Resolution Environment – Climate Reconstructions for the Caribbean Coastal Zones of South America’ and ‘High-Resolution Holocene Climate – Environment Reconstructions Inferred from the Geo-Archive of Central America’. Combined with North-American data, these reconstructions aim to provide insights in the patterns and if any regional differences in climate induced changes and its implication to predict future patterns regarding a changing Caribbean climate. The afternoon will conclude with the lecture ‘Causal Relationships between Discrete Steps in Caribbean Cultural History and Events Inferred from High-Resolution Climate – Environment Reconstructions?’.

Invited speakers
Corinne Hofman
, Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands;
Peter Siegel, Department of Anthropology, Montclair State University, Montclair, New Jersey, USA;
Andrzej Antczak, Universidad Simón Bolívar, Caracas, Venezuela / Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands;
Ligia Urrego, Departemento de Ciencias Forestales, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Sede Medellin, Medellin, Colombia;
Gerald Islebe, El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR), Unidad Chetumal, Chetumal, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Matthew Peros, Department of Environmental Studies, Bishop University, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada.

The titles of the lectures are provisional.