Detlev Arendt studied zoology at the University of Freiburg and obtained his PhD in 1999. He then was a postdoctoral researcer in the
laboratory of Joachim Wittbrodt at the EMBL in Heidelberg but then established his own laboratory at the institute in 2003. He established the
marine annelid Platynereis dumerilii as a molecular model for evolutionary, developmental and neurobiological research. His major interests involve the evolution of the animal body plan with a particular focus on the nervous system. He has also studied the evolution of photoreceptor cells and in recent years he has pioneered the growing field of cell type evolution in animals.
Plenary talk title: Traversing European Coastlines: The TREC expedition
Abstract: Sampling land-water interfaces is key to monitor the human footprint on oceans, seas, and estuaries, as well as lakes and rivers, with regard to urbanization, agriculture, coastal exploitation, various forms of contamination or litter dumping, as well as the detrimental effects of climate change. In the seas, coastal habitats are richest in biodiversity across organismal scales but also present the highest levels of pollution. At the same time, for most citizens land-water interfaces are the site of contact with the marine ecosystem and thus crucial for raising awareness of its accelerating decline. Population growth and industrial practices have placed unprecedented stresses on oceans, lakes and rivers and without urgent interventions, some will face ecosystem collapse in the coming decades.
The Traversing European Coastlines (TREC) expedition will involve the parallel sampling by the schooner Tara and other vessels in the coastal waters and by scientists operating from land supported by mobile laboratories that will facilitate analysis in situ as well as enable citizen science. With this setup, the TREC expedition aims at a synchronized and integrated sampling of micro- and macroscopic life and multimodal environmental metadata in coastal sediment, waters, estuaries, and soil, to obtain a first pan-European census of coastal ecosystems. TREC will monitor coastal communities across organismal scales, from viruses, bacteria and protists to coastal benthos and apex predators. This collaborative effort plans to leverage different types of expertise in Europe, for global ecosystem surveys of oceans, sediments, and soils.
Another strong pillar of the TREC expedition will be concerted outreach activities to foster public engagement and knowledge and ultimately create an ocean-literate society. This will include citizen science projects, public presentations, exhibitions, on site visits, interactions with schools, and meetings with local stakeholders.