Plenary Speakers


Florian Leese: DNA-based monitoring of freshwater ecosystems in Europe and beyond

Florian Leese is Professor of Aquatic Ecosystem Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany. He started his research career in classical taxonomy and freshwater ecology at the Max Planck Institute for Limnology and much of his early research was spent on formal species descriptions. He shifted to population genetics for his PhD research at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research, and then moved to the Daphnia lab of Ralph Tollrian as a postdoc in 2008 (Ruhr University Bochum, Germany). In 2013, he shifted back from model to non-model organisms when he was promoted to junior research group leader of the "GeneStream" team. In close cooperation with the Otago Zoology team (New Zealand), his research team started to use different genetic tools to quantify effects of multiple stressors on freshwater biota. This focus has continued since 2015. In particular, however, he seeks to more explicitly bridge the application gap of these methods to improve environmental monitoring. As Chair of COST Action DNAqua-Net, he leads a network of experts to identify best practice strategies for environmental DNA or other genetic methods for routine biomonitoring.


Andrea Reid: Learning from the land as a pathway to pluralism

Dr Andrea Reid is a citizen of the Nisga’a Nation and a new Assistant Professor with the University of British Columbia’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries. She is helping to launch and lead the Centre for Indigenous Fisheries, working to build a national and international hub for the study and protection of culturally significant fish and fisheries. Her research programme adopts highly interdisciplinary and applied approaches to improving our understanding of the complex interrelationships between fish, people and place. Reid’s PhD in Biology (Governor General’s Gold Medal; Carleton University ’20) centered on multiple stressor effects on Pacific salmon, using tools and insights from Western and Indigenous sciences in tandem. Reid is a cofounder of Riparia, a Canadian charity that connects diverse young women with science on the water to grow the next generation of water protectors. She is also a National Geographic Explorer and a Fellow of The Explorers Club.


R. lestyn Woolway: Global lake responses to climate change

Dr R. Iestyn Woolway is a climate scientist and Research Fellow at the European Space Agency Climate Office (UK). He graduated from Bangor University (Wales) in 2011 with a BSc and MSc in Physical Oceanography and then undertook a PhD in Physical Limnology at University College London between 2011 and 2015. He then moved to the University of Reading to work as a Postdoctoral Research Assistant in Climatology, within the world-renowned Department of Meteorology, working on a project investigating temperature changes across different surfaces of the Earth, with a particular focus on lake surface water temperature. In 2018, he was awarded a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship, based at the Centre for Freshwater and Environmental Studies at Dundalk Institute of Technology (Ireland), where he investigated extreme events in lake ecosystems. In 2020, he started his current position at ESA. His research now focuses on the physical interactions between climate and water, with a particular interest in lake thermal responses to climate change. Using a combination of in-situ, satellite, and modelled data, his research aims to answer key questions that relate to climate-induced changes in lakes worldwide.  

Lisette N. de Senerpont Domis: Restoring aquatic systems in the Anthropocene: a perfect storm for ecocentric water quality management

Lisette de Senerpont Domis is an aquatic ecologist at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW). She holds a PhD in Natural Sciences of Leiden University. She is interested in how different components of human-induced global changes, such as climate warming, eutrophication, and habitat fragmentation affect species interactions.  Over the years, stimulated by the urgency of the ecology crisis this planet is facing, she became more and more interested in making ecological principles operational for aquatic ecosystem management and conservation. She is head of the Aquatic Knowledge centre Wageningen or AKWA, a translational science unit at the NIOO-KNAW. AKWA translates state-of-the art fundamental scientific knowledge to encompassing solutions for the complex problems water users face in the light of fast environmental changes. Her current research spans the continuum from fundamental scientific research to applied research. Importantly, she builds on fundamental scientific insights to answer applied questions. As complex environmental issues require a multifaceted approach, she often adopts a team science approach, also reflected in her co-chair position at the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON).


Jorge García Girón: Geographical variation of aquatic macrophyte biodiversity: Towards an integration of scale and ecological organisation

Jorge García-Girón, winner of the ‘EFFS 2019-2020 Best PhD thesis Award’, is a postdoctoral researcher at the Finnish Environment Institute (Finland). Jorge is interested in the biogeography of present-day and extinct organisms. His research interests mostly centre on community ecology, macroecology and applied statistics to tackle issues of freshwater biodiversity and global change. His current works span taxonomic, spatial and time scales ranging from studies of local communities to continental and global diversity patterns across plants, insects and Cretaceous dinosaurs.