Invited Speakers

Dulčić Jakov

Head of Laboratory of Ichthyology and Coastal Fisheries, Scientific Counsellor at Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries, Split. Full professor at University of Zagreb. His research interest includes taxonomy, biology and ecology of coastal fish, fish population dynamics, coastal fish assemblage ecology, marine biodiversity of marine coastal areas, the processes of tropicalisation and bioinvasion in the Adriatic Sea, bioinvasion, zoogeography, history of marine research.

Pleanary Lecture:
„Croatian marine ichthyologists: a 440-years long journey“


This presentation is giving a historical overview of the development of marine ichthyology in Croatia from the 16th century and the work/correspodence of Jakov Sorkočević Lovrov until the present day (a 440 – years journey). The presentation also gives data concerning the most important marine ichthyologists (Sorkočević, Bučić, Kolombatović, Brusina, Kosić, Lorini, Šoljan, Gamulin, among others) whose work marked certain periods of history in a particular way. Some of their works (such as „Fishes of the Adriatic“) that contributed to the development of marine ichthyology in Croatia and wider area are discussed as well.

Buj Ivana

Employed as an assistant professor at the Zoological Department of the Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb. The main focus of her work includes taxonomical, population genetic and evolutionary investigations of freshwater fish species, particularly endemic species in karstic watersheds. Moreover, she is dedicated to conservation of exceptional ichthyodiversity present in Croatian watersheds by combining all available approaches, including conservation genetics principles and integrative approaches.

Pleanary Lecture:
„From evolutionary ‘highways’ to diversification ‘blind-ends’ – the origin and perspective of exceptionally rich ichthyodiversity harbored inside Dinaric karstic watersheds“

Lovrenc Lipej

Scientific Counsellor at Marine Biology Station Piran, National Institute of Biology, Slovenia. Full professor at University of Ljubljana. His research interest includes coastal fish assemblage ecology, shark ecology, marine biodiversity of marine coastal areas, with special regard to protected areas, the processes of tropicalisation and bioinvasion in the Adriatic Sea, special interest in endangered species and habitat types of the Mediterranean, raptor ecology in the Mediterranean type ecosystem.

Pleanary Lecture:
„The state of art of elasmobranch research in the Adriatic Sea: experiences from the Gulf of Trieste“


The fate of elasmobranchs in the Adriatic Sea and the whole Mediterranean basin is unclear. Due to their vulnerability to fishing pressure they are facing an unprecedented and dramatic decimation in their numbers. Since sharks and rays As apex predators can regulate prey species densities and their distribution, they are considered as suitable indicators of environmental health, however, they are still poorly investigated. To this end, it is important to achieve knowledge from all possible and available sources such as the specimens entangled in fishermen nets as bycatch and sighthings and to include modern options such as citizen science by applying LEK (local ecological knowledge). Author wish to present the state of art of elasmobranch research in the Adriatic Sea with experiences gained through research performed in its northernmost part and try to propose some options to improve the elasmobranch research and possible conservation measures.

Murat Bilecenoglu

Employed as a full professor at the Biology Department of Aydın Adnan Menderes University, Turkey. He has focused on several fields of marine research including fish taxonomy, alien species introductions, conservation biology, marine biodiversity studies (with an emphasize to marine protected areas) and fish population dynamics.

Pleanary Lecture:
“We watched them spread, invade and become part of us - overview of alien fish in Turkey”


Approximately 16% of the Turkish marine ichthyofauna is composed of alien species originating mostly from the Indo-Pacific Ocean and the Red Sea - a ratio doubled within the last two decades, as a pure indication of the unprecedented increase of introductions. Ongoing research is skewed towards recording new species introductions and range expansions, which provides a close and timely monitoring of their dispersal capabilities, while costly and laborious bio-ecological research is extremely limited to a few examples. Therefore, a good understanding of the magnitude of the multifaceted impact of alien fish has not yet been achieved, which is required for the efficient prioritization of actions for developing mitigation measures. This presentation will focus on the ecological, socioeconomics and human health impacts of notable alien fish based on experience gained from the Turkish coastline. The varying invasive species perception among different segments of the society will also be discussed.

Nir Stern

Head of fish and fisheries lab at the Israeli Oceanographic and Limnological Research Institute (IOLR). His studies focus mainly on the marine fish fauna of the eastern Mediterranean Sea, integrating traditional taxonomy with DNA-based methods to explore local biodiversity, from eggs to adults. Moreover, he is responsible for national monitoring projects both in marine and freshwater environments, and serves as an active member in national conservation efforts such as designing marine protected areas and implementing sustainable fisheries protocols.

Pleanary Lecture:
„From eggs to adults: dynamic trends in fish and fisheries at the Israeli Mediterranean coast, Levant Basin.“


The ichthyofauna at the Israeli Mediterranean coast will be reviewed during this talk throughout its life cycle, pursuing a general attempt to describe the diversity and distribution of fish in a highly invaded and oligotrophic sea. First, Ichthyoplankton surveys that were conducted above the continental shelf and beyond will be discussed, including the advantageous use of DNA-based methods in processing the planktonic samples. Next, juvenile recruitment trends and adult benthic fish distribution will be presented based on seven years of monitoring experience, emphasizing the dynamic changes in fish communities of continental sandy habitats, a mixed outcome of intense biological invasion and global warming.

José Carlos Hernández

Professor at the Universidad de La Laguna (Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain) and head researcher of the Marine Community Ecology and Conservation research group.

José Carlos is also an experience diver in love of every marine creature, specially fish. His motivation in life is to understand and to explain the secrets of the underwater life to his students; and doing so, he seeks to make them to care our connection to nature.

He has extensively investigated the establishment and stability of alternative ecosystem states in subtropical rocky systems, such as sea urchin barrens and macroalgae forest. In parallel with the degenerating trend of the natural world around us he has also cultivated an especial interest on the study of human-derived stressors, such as overfishing and climate change, that can act to erode the resilience of marine communities, thus exacerbating the risk, spatial extent and irreversibility of an unwanted regime shifts for marine ecosystems. For this research topic, he has worked at different Marine Protected Areas worldwide to understand how ecosystem resilience can be enhance.

Pleanary Lecture:
“Nature protection and ecosystem resilience: what have we learn from a catastrophic underwater volcanic eruption?”


Natural hazards are not uncommon in marine ecosystems. Recently, we have observed intense volcanic activity in the western part of the Canary Islands (Spain). In October 2011, an underwater eruption occurred on the southern coast of El Hierro Island. The large amount of gases emitted during the eruption created a sulfurous volcanic plume that caused large invertebrate and fish mortalities. This catastrophe affected the Mar de Las Calmas area, which includes a well-established, 24-year, marine protected area. We used this catastrophic event and 25-year time series data from Punta de La Restinga-Mar de Las Calmas Marine Reserve (PRMC-MR) to test the resilience of the commercial fish species to the mass mortality caused by the volcanic eruption. We considered resilience as a sequential process and partitioned it into (1) resistance or the ability to absorb the impact, (2) course or trajectories of recovery, and (3) recovery as the ability to restore a similar fish community 8 years after the volcanic impact ceased. Here, we demonstrate that the no-take zone can boost the resilience of commercial fish communities. This result was mainly due to the total fish biomass in the no-take zone that was resistant, had a positive course and had recovered from the perturbation. The fish community had not recovered to the prevolcanic state 8 years after the eruption. This was probably due to the contrasting return times of fish with different life histories. While the parrotfish Sparisoma cretense recovered and even surpassed its prevolcanic biomass within the first year after the eruption, the dusky grouper Epinephelus marginatus still had not yet reached its pristine biomass. We provide the first empirical evidence to date of the usefulness of no-take zones in promoting ecological resilience against underwater volcanism.