Symposium 2016: Fish, Genes & Genomes: Contributions to Ecology, Evolution & Management, Bangor University 18th to 22th July

Fishes have contributed significantly to our understanding of evolutionary change in wild populations, both because of their remarkable display of adaptive radiation and persistence across a wide range of environments, and the unique position of fisheries as the only major food resource harvested from natural populations. The former has afforded opportunities to examine biodiversity at both the species and population levels, while the latter has resulted in critical considerations of how the impact of man, especially overexploitation, habitat alteration and wide-scale introductions, can drive loss and degradation of species and locally adapted populations. Fishes offer insightful ecological and evolutionary models, yielding new insights into processes such as local adaptation, response to environmental stressors, the diversity of breeding systems and mating tactics, and genetic structure in the wild. Moreover, they provide some of the most phenomenal cases of explosive speciation in vertebrates as well as a broad range of divergence and connectivity, across scales. Such impressive biodiversity has, however, in many cases been challenged by numerous ecological and genetic threats. In North America for example, 27 species of freshwater fishes in three genera have become extinct during the past century, and freshwater fishes are now the most endangered group of vertebrates in Europe, with 72% of species in German fresh waters attaining endangered status. Of the 30 000 or so species of teleosts for example, constituting around half of all vertebrates, it is estimated that at least 9000 are exploited, so representing massive anthropogenic pressure on the natural dynamics and recruitment of many fish populations. Indeed, many of the world’s fish stocks are depleted or recovering, with few underexploited stocks remaining. Such exploitation has likely negative consequences on phenotypic traits affecting production, as well as possible irreversible shifts in genetic structure and diversity. Thus, both the existence of high diversity at the species and population levels, and the risks to biological integrity and persistence through human activity has fueled the quest to describe and monitor fish diversity. Foremost among the tools applied have been molecular genetic markers offering a repertoire that is heritable, discrete and stable to infer biological diversity from traits to species.

The application of molecular genetic technologies to fish and fisheries biology has a long history. Early studies were dominated by the application of karyotype/chromosome morphology and protein polymorphisms, primarily to identify closely related species and monitor the dynamics of identifiable stocks. With the advent of DNA sequencing and PCR-based technologies, applications have escalated considerably. Studies now explore the nature and dynamics of drivers underpinning the remarkable levels of population and species biodiversity, and serve as exemplars in ecology and evolution. With the advent of genomics, further spectacular advances have elucidated the genomic basis of adaptive diversity in the wild, as well as yielding powerful molecular-based management tools for conservation. Topics such as connectivity among marine populations, the spatial and temporal scale of population differentiation, effective population size, fisheries-induced evolution, and the analysis of adaptive variation in the wild enhance our understanding of the mechanisms shaping fish abundance and distribution, as well as contributing conceptually to ecological and evolutionary theory. Recent emphasis on ecosystem-based management demands new perspectives in tackling the complexity of fish biotic and abiotic interactions underpinning shifts in ecosystem structure, diversity and function.

The aim of this symposium is to bring together scientists interested in the study and application of genetics and genomics to decipher fundamental and applied aspects of fish biodiversity. Fish biologists, geneticists, physiologists, ecologists and conservation biologists who incorporate molecular, genetic or evolutionary principles into their studies are invited. Importantly also, biologists engaged in advancing our understanding of core concepts and approaches in ecology, evolution and management through the use of fish as models are equally encouraged to participate. The 3.5-day symposium will provide a timely platform to synthesize recent genetic and genomic advances in fish and fisheries biology. The meeting aims to highlight significant recent advances and identify new and interdisciplinary areas likely to make a key impact in our understanding of fish in natural and disturbed environments.


Contributions are encouraged in the following, or related themes in the broad field of genetics and genomics in fish biology, ecology, evolution and conservation. Interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary papers are welcomed, especially where these relate to improved understanding of populations, environmental interactions and conservation initiatives.

  1. Adaptation and evolutionary change
  2. Population structure and connectivity
  3. Life history, physiological and behavioural diversity
  4. Selection and adaptation: beyond genome scans
  5. Species interactions (e.g. host parasite coevolution)
  6. Phylogenomics
  7. Genomics of speciation
  8. Phylogeography
  9. Macroevolution
  10. Community ecology and evolution
  11. Population resilience
  12. Metagenomics and metagenetics
  13. Environmental DNA
  14. Management of wild and captive populations
  15. Fisheries genomics
  16. Conservation genomics
  17. Aquaculture genomics
  18. Genomic effects of supplementation and escapees
  19. Fish, molecules and policy
  20. Policy implication of genetic data
  21. Incorporation of genetic data into management



Robin Waples (NOAA Fisheries Seattle USA)


Louis Bernatchez (Université Laval Québec Canada)


Dorte Bekkevold (DTU Aqua Denmark)
John Casey (Fisheries & Aquaculture Sector European Commission Italy)
Jenny Ovenden (University of Queensland Australia)
Craig Primmer (University of Turku Finland)



Gary Carvalho (Bangor University UK)

Scientific Advisory Committee

Gary Carvalho (Bangor University UK)
Paul Shaw  (Aberystwyth University UK) (Deputy Convener)
Lorenz Hauser (University of Washington Seattle USA)
Stefano Mariani (Salford University UK)
Jann Martinsohn (Joint Research Centre EC Italy)
Kerry Naish (Univiersity of Washington Seattle USA)

Local Organising Committee

Gary Carvalho (Bangor University UK)
Nigel Milner (APEM Limited c/o Bangor University UK)
Ian McCarthy (Bangor University UK)
Jane Smith (Bangor University UK)

Symposium Secretary

Jane Smith (email: