BES Macroecology Conference 2018

BES Macroecology Conference 2018 – 10th and 11th July

The annual BES Macroecology conference was hosted in St Andrews this year and took place in the Byre Theatre which proved to be an excellent venue. This immediately followed the BES Quantiative Ecology Conference on Monday 9th (also held in the Byre) at which there were many very interesting lightning talks, including one from Maria and a poster from Jess. It also featured three exciting plenaries, one of which was delivered by a student speaker – Kate Wootton, the others were Jane Reid and Janine Illian. Hamish the haggis was doing the timekeeping and met a few friends here in St Andrews!

There were a number of very interesting talks contributed by several members of the group (Faith, Faye, Jess, Laura and Viviana), in addition to a poster from Maria which featured the BioTIME database and our forthcoming data paper. We had four plenary speakers, Nathalie Pettorelli, Bob O’Hara, Brian McGill and Anne. In addition we featured a student plenary, selected by the committee, Alex Skeels, who had travelled from Australia to join us! Our timekeepers were Nessie and a lovely highland cow, shown below by Laura.

In addition to the talks, there were three workshop sessions on the Tuesday, GitHub workflow, interactive demonstrations of useful tools delegates could recommend and most excitingly communicating macroecology through the medium of ceilidh dance which was run by Lewis Hou. This particular workshop led us to design two new dances which were performed at the ceilidh that evening – Woodland Masquerade and Death Island Reel which explored succession and island biogeography respectively.

The second day featured breakout discussion groups on topics including:

  • statistical best practice,
  • do we need more fieldwork and how to acknowledge it and other data contributions,
  • how many traits are needed to assess functional diversity (and how to select them)?
  • should scientists be science communicators?
  • is macroecology useful for conservation?

We all thoroughly enjoyed the conference(s) and can’t wait for next years (in Cornwall).

Last dance at the ceilidh