Scientist to teach workshop on macrobenthic organisms

By: Melissa Schneider / Published: Oct 24,  2016

Professor Chet Rakocinski of The University of Southern Mississippi's Gulf Coast Research Lab invites academic researchers, private consultants, agency personnel and anyone interested in gaining a better understanding of relationships among the presence of different invertebrates and environmental quality to the workshop he will teach on Saturday, Nov. 5.

Chet Rakocinski
Chet Rakocinski

The workshop, Macrobenthic Organisms as Indicators of Estuarine Health, is free and is taking place in conjunction with the Gulf Estuarine Research Society and Society of Wetland Scientists Fall Meeting.


Saturday, November 5, 2016
8:00-11:45 a.m.
Hilton Pensacola Beach
12 Via De Luna Drive
Pensacola Beach, Florida

This interactive workshop will consider the use of benthic indicators based on macrobenthic organisms in determining estuarine health. Starting with traditional approaches based on biodiversity, it will progress to recent novel approaches that consider responses based on ecological function, and physiological mechanisms connecting responses by individual organisms to the population level as a means of tailoring indicators to specific environmental stressors, like hypoxia.

Powerpoint presentations of background and new information will alternate with interactive exercises designed to enhance learning from both the presenter and workshop participants. Refreshments and coffee will be provided.

View a workshop flier here.

Register online.


8:00              Welcome

Introductions (presenter and participants)
Statement of workshop objectives and approach
Estuarine macrobenthic organisms

  • What are they?
  • Why are they important?
  • What can they tell us about estuarine condition?
  • What kinds of information can they provide?
  • How can we quantify them?

Activity:  Examine and discuss benthic organisms and samples

8:45  Break
9:00 Review of existing macrobenthic indicators based on biodiversity
  • How are they branded?
  • How do they work?
  • What metrics are required?
  • How can they be related to the environment?
  • What are their drawbacks?

Activity: Example calculations of traditional indices

9:45 Advantages of macrobenthic indicators based on ecological function
  • Trait based metrics
  • Functional group based metrics
  • Process based metrics
  • What advantages do they offer?

Activity: Example calculations of functional metrics

10:30 Break
10:45  Linking individuals to populations as indicators of specific stressors
  • Taking an ecophysiological approach
  • Linking individual responses to population responses
  • Using environmental information to forecast expected indicator
  • What advantages would customized indicators promise?

Activity: Demonstration of a nascent customized indicator


11:45 Adjourn



comments powered by Disqus