| Izah Azahari |
UNIVERSITI Brunei Darussalam (UBD), through the Institute for Biodiversity and Environmental Research (IBER) and the Faculty of Science (FoS), organised a workshop themed “Gastropod thermal biology and climate change in the tropics” yesterday at The Core Residential College, UBD.
The guest of honour was Hajah Normah Suria Hayati binti Pehin Jawatan Dalam Seri Maharaja Dato Seri Utama (Dr) Haji Awang Mohd Jamil Al-Sufri, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources.
The workshop will be held until December 11 as part of the iCUBE (The International Consortium of Universities for the Study of Biodiversity and the Environment) initiative.
In her speech, Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Global Affairs) of UBD, Dr Joyce Teo Siew Yean, stated that the iCUBE symposium – Gastropod Thermal Biology and climate change in the tropics would discuss the roles of adaptation and plasticity in the threats of climate change to tropical ectotherms, with special reference to tropical gastropods.
In addition to the university community and participants from other organisations in Brunei Darussalam, more than 30 participants from 13 countries across the globe participated in the workshop with speakers that include several world-renowned scientists on the theory of climate change and how animals will respond to climate change.
“I would like to reiterate the mission of iCUBE to strengthen and create international linkages and promote exchanges among scholars and students of research universities from around the globe.
“In the perspective of UBD’s growing academic internationalisation, we strongly believe in the value of iCUBE and its mission.
“UBD has devolved sizeable resources to the organisation of this event,” said the Assistant Vice Chancellor.
Hajah Normah Suria Hayati, in her speech, said global warming is a challenge concerning the world’s government, societies and international scientific community, in particular the animal and plant communities at the very foundation of all ecosystems directly providing or affecting the availability of natural resources exploited by humans.
This, she added, shows a pressing need to understand how organisms respond to ongoing global environmental changes and how they affect the ecosystem’s structures, functions and services.
Hajah Normah Suria Hayati also said the available studies on the vulnerability of tropical organisms to climate changes are based on the relatively limited range of groups and species, and that the generality of the models obtained has not been appropriately tested in many groups.
“Scientists have extended these studies to a wider range of groups, searching for alternative models systems to understand the organisms’ response to climate warming.
“This symposium and workshop are meant to make a substantial contribution to this important goal,” she added.
“This is a positive step in promoting awareness and increasing education on the climate changes to the younger generation who are ready to take over the knowledge and the responsibility for the future.”
The objectives of this workshop are to draw attention to the threat of future climate change on natural tropical ecosystems; disseminate knowledge, promote awareness and understanding of regional environmental and climate change issues and their impacts on tropical ecosystems; strengthen existing and create new international links between Brunei Darussalam, and other countries through people-to-people interactions, sharing of information and knowledge for better mutual understanding of environmental and climate change issues; establish a platform for the discussion of climate warming vulnerability of tropical animals; as well as to work on specific conceptual outcomes that incorporate broader taxonomic and ecological inclusion into existing models for climate warming vulnerability, with special reference to gastropods.
The workshop comprises a series of lectures, field trips and afternoon specialist discussion sessions. International visiting speakers and the scientific coordinator are Associate Professor Brent Sinclair (Western University, Canada), Professor Brian Helmuth (Northeastern University, USA), Associate Professor Christopher Harley (University of British Columbia, Canada), Professor Yunwei Dong (Xiamen University, China) and Christopher Willett (University of North Carolina).
Field excursions involve visits to rocky shore and mangrove intertidal systems. A post-workshop excursion will be held on 12-13 December at the Kuala Belalong Field Studies Centre, coordinated by the Institute for Biodiversity and Environmental Research, UBD.
For any inquiries, contact Associate Professor David J Marshall (Coordinator, Gastropod Thermal Biology Workshop) at firstname.lastname@example.org.