Indo-Pacific Fish Conference and the Australian Society for Fish Biology

20-24 November 2023, Auckland, New Zealand
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Special Sessions
Special Session 1 Moving beyond home-ranges: how can we harness fish movement ecology to study, understand and manage ecosystem functioning?

Convenor: Julian Lilkendey (; Renato Morais (; Robert Streit (

Recent advancements in fish tracking methods enable the study of fish movements beyond their home ranges. They unveil novel foraging behaviours, concealed habitat utilization, spawning aggregations, and larval dispersal pathways. These findings provide crucial insights into ecosystem functioning by simultaneously tracking the transfer of energy and nutrients through aquatic systems. With dynamic global changes, trophodynamics may collapse, leading to severe ecological and socio-economic consequences. To prevent this collapse, a comprehensive interdisciplinary framework is needed. This special session welcomes submissions from all fields studying fish movement, aiming to integrate fish movement ecology with research on ecosystem functioning to aid conservation and restoration efforts.

Special Session 2 Facing environmental changes: what are the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms providing resilience in fishes?".
Convenor: Lucrezia Bonzi. (

The ability to cope with environmental changes is essential for fish resilience, and one of the key mechanisms allowing fishes to face such variations is acclimation through phenotypic plasticity. Whether acute, developmental or transgenerational, plasticity is usually associated with dynamic changes in transcription regulation and/or epigenetic modifications. This session will showcase the latest findings on the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms involved in fish responses to changing environments, and highlight the links between molecular and physiological approaches. Among others, we will discuss topics such as: the role of gene expression and transcriptional regulation in environmental acclimation, the impact of the environment on the epigenome, and the potential of genetic adaptations and/or epigenetic modifications to enhance fish resilience in a changing planet”.

Special Session 3 Building a better future for fish: a symposium on fish-friendly infrastructure
Convenor: Tom Rayner (; Craig Boys (; Rod Price (

This symposium will promote collaboration and innovation in designing and implementing water infrastructure that protects and preserves biodiversity. It will unite international experts from science, engineering, policy, and social research to explore four themes: safe waterways, engineering for diversity, policy to action, and building stakeholder support. Leading experts will deliver talks summarizing current research, manufacturing and implementation, followed by a Q&A panel discussion. Attendees will gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities in this field, by exploring solutions from around the world.

Special Session 4 The evolution and ecology of fishes: assessing traits and functions in a changing world
Convenors: Dr. Jennifer Donelson ( & Dr. Christopher R. Hemingson (

Fishes possess an incredible diversity of morphologies, behaviors, and life histories. While exciting to study, it can be difficult to make comparisons and generalities across such a broad swathe of life. The study of organisms through the lens of traits allows for comparisons to be made between disparate taxa and ecosystems. However, which traits matter from ecological vs evolutionary perspectives are often a point of contention. In a rapidly changing world, how does evolutionary history affect the current and future evolutionary trajectories of organisms and their ecological interactions? Our goal is to showcase the knowledge gained by studying fish traits and functions, from evolutionary origins, through morphology and genetics, species co-evolution, and ecosystem functions.

Special Session 5 Larval fishes - solving phylogenetic, life-cycle and ecological questions
Convenor Jeff Leis (

Most marine bony fishes have a two-phase life history including pelagic larvae that differ in morphology, ecology and habitat from adults.  These phases operate in separate evolutionary theatres, and ecologically, effectively function as separate species. Larval morphological features provide characters for phylogenetic analysis and aspects of life history are determined during the larval phase, including recruitment and scale of genetic and demographic connectivity.  Although larval survival is necessary for persistence of species, larvae are often neglected by researchers and managers focused on adults.  This session will address many of the unanswered questions about the pelagic larval phase of Indo-Pacific fishes.

Special Session 6 The influence of ocean energy infrastructure on fish and fisheries
Convenor: Dianne McLean (

Ocean infrastructure supporting fossil fuels and renewable energy industries can have significant impacts on fish populations and fisheries. Research is progressing across the globe to understand and mitigate such impacts, including investigations of fish population status, population connectivity, fish production, fisher displacement and access, changes to catches, damage to fishing gears, impacts to indigenous sea country values, etc. This symposia topic showcases the latest research from across the globe, helping to inform management of fish populations and fisheries across the full-life cycle of offshore energy installations.

Special Session 7 Fish and fishery data to inform marine sanctuary design and planning
Convenor: Jordan Goetze (

The processes and data that inform marine conservation planning often vary on a case-by-case basis. With parallel processes occurring globally there is opportunity to contrast and compare approaches across a broad range of countries. This session aims to facilitate knowledge sharing on transdisciplinary data used to inform conservation planning, ranging from First Nations cultural information, to socio-economic analysis, to population models of fished species. We will ask each presenter to summarise how their research has informed the planning process and what they think are the most pressing research gaps on a final slide.

Special Session 8 Fish sensory ecology: new techniques and approaches
Convenor: Lucille Chapuis (

Fishes rely on sensory systems to detect, interpret, and respond to information available in their environment: vision, audition, chemoreception, electroreception and mechanoreception. An understanding of the processes underlying each of these sensory modalities can be incredibly powerful, as it allows the interpretation of behavioural responses of fish to their (changing) environment. This special session aims both at uniting experts in different sensory modalities to collectively realise the power of innovative methodological capabilities and attract the attention of other members of the IPFC & ASFB to sensory ecology and its capacity to help some critical questions regarding fish ecology, evolution and behaviour.

Special Session 9 Fisheries and the Potential of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for Improving Sustainability Outcomes
Convenor: Rich Little (; Geoff Tuck (; Gretchen Grammar (

Fisheries are facing significant challenges in the 21st century due to overfishing, climate change, and a rapidly growing global population, but new technologies in Electronic Monitoring (EM), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) offer new solutions for addressing these challenges and achieving more sustainable outcomes. This session will explore the potential of AI and ML in the fisheries industry and its role in improving sustainability outcomes, reducing costs, and sampling more rapidly. Overall, this session will provide valuable insights and information for anyone interested in the future of the fisheries industry and its potential for achieving more sustainable outcomes through the use of AI and ML.