People, Politics and the Planet – Any Questions?

March 17, 2015

People, Politics and the Planet – Any Questions?
9 March 2015 The Light, Euston Road, London
British Ecological Society

Find out what UK politicians think about the environment ahead of the forthcoming UK general election.

The panellists were:

  • Lord de Mauley TD (Conservatives, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Natural Environment and Science)
  • Barry Gardiner MP (Labour, MP for Brent North and Shadow Minister for the Natural Environment)
  • Baroness Parminter (Liberal Democrats, Environment Spokesperson)
  • Natalie Bennett (Green, Party Leader and Parliamentary Candidate for Holborn and St. Pancras)
  • Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP (Scottish National Party, MP for Banff and Buchan)
  • William Cash (UK Independence Party, Heritage and Tourism Spokesperson)


News article

Science check call over Badger cull, Pallab Ghosh (@BBCPallab), 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.

Journal Articles

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:


Predicting the future by understanding the past: Climate change

October 9, 2014

As part of the 500,000 years of solar irradiance, climate and vegetation changes” Natural Environments Research Council funded (NE/K005294/1) project we have produced a wall chart explaining the type of research we do and how it can help to place on-going, and projected, climate change in context. The wall chart is designed for use in schools and universities. To obtain a copy of this, and other wall charts, please contact the British Ecological Society (direct wall chart link here).

Understanding Climate Changes

3rd BES Macroecology SIG meeting

July 23, 2014

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, 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…

An interview with Phil Jardine

July 1, 2014

Well, we’ve heard from Wes and Adele, and now it’s my turn (Phil Jardine) for a bit of a chat on the “Ecology of the past” YouTube channel. Similar to the previous interview videos, I’m talking about my role on the Bosumtwi pollen chemistry project, and what I’ve done (academically speaking) prior to coming to the Open University. Enjoy!

For more videos check out the “Ecology of the past” YouTube channel.

An interview with Adele Julier

May 26, 2014

Following on from Wes Fraser’s insightful and revealing interview, cactus-hugger Adele Julier tells us about her academic background and her role on the Lake Bosumtwi pollen chemistry project.


For more videos check out the “Ecology of the past” YouTube channel.

BES Tropical Ecology Meeting

April 23, 2014

The 7th Early Career Research meeting 2014

The University of York, August 14th and 15th 2014

Tropical ecosystems – from process to policy

SIG_TropEcol_final-300x214Keynote speakers:

After six successful meetings, the legendary BES-TEG Early Career Research Meeting returns. Day one will focus on Ecology and Ecosystem Processes, while day two will focus on Practical Applications and links to Policy such as conservation, livelihood, policy and development.

All early-career researchers, both PhD and Post-Docs, are welcome to present their tropical ecology related research with a poster and/or oral presentation. There shall be a competition for both with prizes. This event will take place at Derwent College (D/L//047) and the accommodation at Alcuin College (see map link below).

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Macroecology workshop

April 9, 2014

Phil Jardine taking charge at the macro-ecology meeting

Phil Jardine taking charge at the macro-ecology meeting

On 1st April, Alice, Encarni, Hayley and Nick attended the joint British Ecological Society Macroecology Special Interest Group and Palaeontological Association workshop held in the Natural History Museum, called Challenges in Macroecology – Scaling the Time Barrier. The workshop was co-organised by our member Phil Jardine (jointly with Victoria Herridge, Adriana de Palma and Isabel Fenton), and it was a mix between deep and shallow time, neoecologists and other researchers interested in any kind of macroecology topics.

We enjoyed so much how this one-day meeting was scheduled, with some formal approach including four plenary and lighting talks, and other informal initiatives such as speed dating and discussion groups. This way, all participants could interact with other non-directly related researchers.

The focuses of the plenary talks were related to different fields within macroecology. In this sense:

  1. Andy Purvis opened the session with the definition of macroecology, the trends and shifts of study topics it has carried out since the discipline began and ended with what macroecology is not any longer.
  2. David Jablonski explored through examples of bivalves studies how climate in time and space affects the studies of diversity dynamics, mainly addressed to three key questions: a) Extinctions, b) Latitudinal Diversity Gradients, and c) Geographical ranges.
  3. Lee Hsiang Liow encouraged us to evaluate both processes and observations, and highlighted the importance of modelling both to take into account the “unobservable” or latent truth including examples of capture-recapture and occupancy methods.
  4. Kathy Willis gave a review of the trends followed for conservation strategies since 1980s, until the development of the “ecosystems services” idea of given an economic value to biodiversity. Her main statement was focused on how palaeo-data can help in providing information to some “knowledge gaps” related to human resources including: a) trends in biomass, b) trends in nutrient cycling, c) trends in in final ecosystems services, and d) sustainability of ecosystems services.

Lighting talks were related to more specific study cases of macroecology, including specific researches about turtles, fungi, beetles, crocodiles, foraminifera or dinosaurs, in several spatial and temporal scales .

We would like to thank again Phil, Victoria, Adriana and Isabel for the great day that finished with a nice and warm wine reception sponsored by BMC Ecology. We hope to attend further events like this soon.

For more on this meeting see blog post by @protohedgehog “Macroecology – scaling the time barrier”  and storify of the twitter feed, click here.

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