Today the Dutch ecological community has convened at the Netherlands Annual Ecology Meeting (NEAM) in the forest near Lunteren. The meeting was kicked off by plenary lectures by Trisha Atwood and Han Olff who talked to the theme of “Ecosystem functioning in a changing world”. Trisha highlighted the importance of animals in modifying plant communities and their consequent importance for understanding changes in carbon storage. Han illustrated the complexity of ecological networks and posed the significant challenge of understanding changes in competing networks. Following the plenaries I chose two sessions to follow. The first on “Plant Ecology” and the second on “Ecosystem Resilience”. There were many exciting talks in both sessions, two of which grabbed my attention. Mara Baudena (Utrecht University) highlighted the complexity of modelling forest-grassland interactions in Africa, while Sofia Gomes (Naturalis Biodiversity Centre) showed surprising (to me) variation in mychorizal fungi across the globe.Furthermore four talks were presented by researchs at my home, the Institute for Biodiversity & Ecosystem Dynamics (University of Amsterdam):
Crystal McMichael“Ancient human disturbances may be skewing our understanding of Amazonian ecology”
On Wednesday I attended my first Netherlands Annual Ecology Meeting (NAEM) unfortunately, due to prior commitments, I was not able to attend the whole event, but I still managed to get a nice insight into the vibrant Dutch Ecological research community. Particularly exciting for me was the “Biodiversity in Space and Time” theme. Plenary sessions by Alexandre Anotonelli (University of Gothenburg) and Hans ter Steege (Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Leiden) focused on the Amazon ecology past and present. The subsequent session on the same theme, organized by Daniel Kissling (University of Amsterdam) and Niels Raes (Naturalis Biodiversity Center), was also excellent and ranged from species richness patterns past and present in Gabon (Andre van Proosdij, Naturalis Biodiversity Center), through soil microbes (Kelly Ramirez, Netherlands Institute of Ecology) to the role of sea level change on island biodiversity (Kenneth Rijsdijk, University of Amsterdam). I am looking forward to attending more of these meetings in the future and getting involved with the NERN community.