Two weeks ago I attended the biannual International Biogeography Society (IBS) conference in Bayreuth, together with 600+ other people from more than 50 different countries. This IBS conference, my first IBS meeting, proved to be an exciting event during which I met scientists from many different disciplines and heard talks on cutting-edge biogeographical research.
The IBS conference was held in the Bavarian city of Bayreuth, in the middle of the biodiverse landscape of Upper Franconia. This landscape provided the training ground for Alexander von Humboldt, the founder of the field of biogeography. The 4-day conference included a wide variety of symposia and many, many posters. The conference dinner in the German Steam Train Museum was highly memorable. The conference was closed by a lecture from Daniel Simberloff, once a doctorate student of Edward O. Wilson, who received the Wallace Award for his outstanding contributions to invasion ecology.
I had a talk in the plenary symposium of ‘Ecosystem response to past climate change’, organized by David Nogués-Bravo and Francisco Rodríguez-Sánchez. The symposium covered the dangers of climate change to biodiversity and tried to assess if the range and rate of adaptation, migration, persistence, or extirpation, that are registered in deep-time records, palaeorecords, and the recent past, are adequate responses for predicted climate change in the future. I addressed this issue from the point of view of a small remote island, where migration is obviously a limiting factor. I showed how I reconstructed climate and its effect on island biota during the last 40,000 years using long-term palaeoecological records from Mauritius (de Boer et al, 2013 & 2014). These records show that different climate regimes result in different ecosystem response to climate change in the past. Local extirpation or population collapse of larger vertebrates was a natural phenomenon in the lowlands of Mauritius due to frequent climate extremes (I will discuss this in more detail in my next blog; de Boer, 2015). Despite these population collapses, island biota have always (in the timeframe of my records) survived natural climate change. Therefore, my take home message was not to focus on the effects of (future) climate change alone. Other key components of global change, such as invasive species and habitat destruction, are more imminent threats to the biodiversity of many islands. For more information on my research, including publications, click here.
More information on the IBS read on (below) or visit the IBS website or blog. All abstracts and other details of the IBS conference in Bayreuth can be found here. The next IBS meeting will take place in Salvador, Bahia (Brazil) in March 2017.
The Cross-disciplinary Palaeo-Environmental Research Training (XPERT) network commences in 2015. This international network will bring together early career researchers from five countries to learn new skills and develop collaborative projects. Training will be provided during a field school in Ecuador, and a summer school at the University of Amsterdam. For further details please visit the respective field school, summer school and staff pages hosted on this blog.
2014 has seen more people visit this blog and more “clicks” through to articles than in any previous year (see Annual Report 2014). So thanks for reading! I hope that the information provided is useful. For me 2014 has been a big year of change; with the largest work related change being taking up my new post at the University of Amsterdam in September.
2015 promises to be an exciting year with a number of key projects generating exciting findings (including chironomid climate for the Neotropics, Andean flank evolution, and ‘deep time’ palynomorphs) , the start of the XPERT network, and new proposals and collaborations being developed here in the Netherlands (including new proposal to work in Europe!).
Any comments, thoughts or contributions on the blog welcome.
Science check call over Badger cull, Pallab Ghosh (@), BBC News.
Reporting on: Transparency and Evidence-Based Policy: An Open Letter to Defra from Journal of Animal Ecology
New fanged frog ‘gives both to tadpoles’, Jonathan Webb, BBC News.
Hodgson, J.A., Thomas, C.D., Wintle, B.A. & Moilanen, A. (2009) Climate change, connectivity and conservation decision making: back to basics. Journal of Applied Ecology 46, 964-969.
…and published comment:
Doerr, V.A.J., Barrett, T. & Doerr, E.D. (2011) Connectivity, dispersal behaviour and conservation under climate change: a response to Hodgson et al. Journal of Applied Ecology 48, 143-147.
Summary (Will): The debate over the effectiveness of corridors to link landscapes
Jeffers, E.S., Bonsall, M.B. Froyd, C.A., Brooks, S.J. & Willis, K.J. The relative importance of biotic and abiotic processes for structuring plant communities through time. Journal of Ecology.
Jussila, T. & Virtanen, V. (2014) Learning in Virtual Forest: a forest ecosystem in the web-based learning environment. Journal of Biological Education 48, 196-200.
Associated Virtual forest site: http://www.helsinki.fi/biosci/biopop/virtualforest/index.html
Closing data: 14 December 2014
Interviews: January 2015
We are looking for an ecologist with experience and interest in long timescales specifically related to one, or more, of the following research areas: