3rd BES Macroecology SIG meeting

Last week I went to the University of Nottingham for the third BES Macroecology Special Interest Group annual meeting. Macroecology concerns itself with ecological patterns and processes at large spatial and/or temporal scales, and so is a natural place to link palaeoecological research with that of modern ecologists and biogeographers. The conference took place over two days, and comprised a mix of 5 minute lightning talks, longer invited talks (including two keynotes by Catherine Graham of Stony Brook University, New York) and discussion sessions.

The lightning talks covered a wide range of subjects, including maximising phylogenetic diversity in the Kew Seed Bank, outstanding problems with species distribution modelling, morphological variability in Madagascan tenrecs, and latitudinal gradients in pollination mechanism. The breakout discussion groups focused on questions inspired by Edge.org, such as ‘Which ecological concepts are ready for retirement?’ and ‘What should worry macroecologists most?’; I led a group discussing ‘Should macroecology be more interdisciplinary?’ (yes, but with caution was our rather non-committal answer).

There are plans to hold next year’s Macroecology SIG meeting at the Centre for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate (CMEC) at the University of Copenhagen, and I’d like to encourage palaeoecologists to consider attending. Chatting to the delegates at the Nottingham meeting, there certainly is a growing interest in ecological change over longer timescales and the role of history in shaping modern biotas, and so palaeoecologists have a lot to offer to these sorts of research areas. Copenhagen’s got to be a nice place for a conference as well…

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