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Organised by Professor Anne Magurran and Dr Maria Dornelas
We live in a world in which biological diversity is under threat as never before. Drawing insights from organisms ranging from microbes to mammals this meeting will show why a deeper understanding of temporal turnover in ecological communities in essential in coping with the changes that the natural world will experience over the next 50 years.
The biographies and audio recordings are available below.
The proceedings of this meeting are published in a dedicated issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.
Professor Anne MagurranChanges in the structure of ecological communities through time
Anne Magurran is professor of ecology and evolution at the University of St Andrews. She did her PhD on biological diversity at the University of Ulster, was a postdoc at the universities of Bangor and Oxford and is particularly grateful to the Royal Society for its support in the form of a University Research Fellowship. Anne has written two books on the measurement of biodiversity (Ecological Diversity and its Measurement, Princeton 1988 and Measuring Biological Diversity, Blackwell 2004) and co-edited a further two (Evolution of Biological Diversity, with R.M. May, OUP 1999, and Biological Diversity: Frontiers in Measurement and Assessment, with B.J. McGill, OUP and due for publication later this year).
Dr Maria DornelasDisturbance and change in biodiversity
Maria Dornelas recently joined the Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies at the Universidade de Aveiro, to study biodiversity patterns of deep-sea communities. She was a research fellow at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University in Australia (2008-2009) studying coral community dynamics. She was post-doctoral fellow at the University of St Andrews (2007) examining effects of environmental constraints on biodiversity patterns. She completed her PhD at James Cook University in 2006, during which she focused on neutral theory and coral communities. Maria is interested understanding how ecological processes affect biodiversity patterns, and she likes combining fieldwork and mathematical models to address questions under this theme.
Stephen Cox CVO, Executive Director, Royal SocietyWelcome by Stephen Cox CVO, Executive Director, Royal Society, and Professor Anne Magurran
Professor Brian McGillBird populations and communities through time in a changing environment
Brian McGill has a BA in Mathematics from Harvard and a PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona. In between the two degrees he spent almost 10 years in the software consulting business. He is an assistant professor in the School of Biology and Ecology and the Sustainability Solutions Initiative at the University of Maine. He has previously been on the faculty at the University of Arizona and McGill University. His research focuses on studying ecological communities at large spatial scales to address questions like predicting the effects of climate change on organisms and measures the effects of land use change.
Session 1, 1st Discussion
Professor Mark Vellend, University of British Columbia, CanadaBiogeography of the air
Professor Andrew ClarkeBiological diversity at high latitudes: speciation and extinction in an extreme environment
Andrew Clarke has recently retired from the British Antarctic Survey, where he worked on the ecology and evolution of polar faunas and undertook over 20 periods of fieldwork in Antarctica and Svalbard. He was Head of Biological Sciences for a decade before returning to full-time science in 2000, and has honorary chairs at the Universities of St Andrews and East Anglia. Particular interests are evolutionary adaptation to low temperature, the role of short-term environmental variability in marine ecology, and the role of climatic and tectonic changes in determining global patterns of biological diversity. He is presently working on the Cenozoic evolution of the Antarctic marine fauna, and the nearshore ecology of Antarctic marine benthos, and writing a book on thermal ecology.
Session 1, 2nd Discussion
Professor Robert ColwellModelling range shifts and richness on tropical elevational gradients under Quaternary glacial cycles
Robert Colwell is Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Connecticut (USA). He studied at Harvard and the University of Michigan, and has worked at the University of California at Berkeley, the Universidad de Chile, James Cook University (Australia), UNAM (México), and is currently Visiting Scholar at the Danish NSF Center for Macroecology and Evolution at University of Copenhagen. As an evolutionary ecologist, his interests center on the biology and geography of biodiversity. In the tropics, he has worked with the ecology and evolution of species interactions, and managed and developed database tools for a major biodiversity inventory. His work with biogeographical theory and spatial models, focusing on the mid-domain effect, has stimulated controversy, new directions in the field, and links with conservation biology. In collaboration with colleagues in statistics, he has been active in developing new statistical methods and software tools for biodiversity statistics.
Professor Anne ChaoPhylogenetic diversity measures based on Hill numbers
Anne Chao is Tsing Hua Distinguished Chair Professor, Institute of Statistics, National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan. She received a PhD in 1977 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Statistics. Since 1978, she has been working in National Tsing Hua University. Her main research areas include statistical estimation of bio-diversity indices and statistical analysis of ecological and environmental survey data. Specific methodological interests include species abundance estimation and its applications, capture-recapture experiments and population size estimation, as well as related statistical inferences and quantitative methods in ecology. Recent interests focus on measuring taxonomic and phylogenetic diversities. She serves currently as an Associate Editor for Biometrics and Journal of Agricultural, Biological, and Environmental Statistics. She is a Fellow of Institute of Mathematical Statistics.
Session 2, 1st Discussion
Professor Nicholas GotelliMeasuring temporal change in community structure
Nick Gotelli is a Professor in the Department of Biology, University of Vermont, where he teaches ecology and evolution. His current research interests include: ant diversity and biogeography; the evolutionary ecology of carnivorous pitcher plants; community responses to global climate change; macroecology; and the statistical analysis of biodiversity and community structure. He is the author of three books: A Primer of Ecology, Null Models in Ecology (with Gary Graves), and A Primer of Ecological Statistics (with Aaron Ellison); and two software packages: BioGeoSim (with Gary Entsminger, Carsten Rahbek, Rob Colwell, and Gary Graves) and EcoSim (with Gary Entsminger).
Session 2, 2nd Discussion
Dr Rebecca MorrisAnthropogenic impacts on tropical forest biodiversity
Rebecca Morris graduated from the University of Cambridge with a degree in Natural Sciences, and gained her PhD from Imperial College London. Following postdoctoral research at the NERC Centre for Population Biology and the University of Bristol, she was awarded a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship, and moved to the Department of Zoology at the University of Oxford. Currently she holds a Royal Society University Research Fellowship at the University of Oxford. Rebecca’s research focuses on understanding the structure and dynamics of ecological communities. She has a particular interest in tropical forest ecosystems and in using large-scale manipulative experimental approaches. Her recent research projects include the role of indirect interactions in structuring and maintaining tropical diversity, and the responses of food web structure and ecosystem function to environmental change.
Professor Rita ColwellBiogeography of microorganisms through genomics
Born in Beverly, Massachusetts, Dr Colwell holds a B.S. in Bacteriology and an M.S. in Genetics, from Purdue University, and a Ph.D. in Oceanography from the University of Washington.Dr Rita Colwell is Distinguished University Professor both at the University of Maryland at College Park and at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Senior Advisor and Chairman Emeritus, Canon US Life Sciences, Inc., and President and CEO of CosmosID, Inc. Her interests are focused on global infectious diseases, water, and health, and she is currently developing an international network to address emerging infectious diseases and water issues, including safe drinking water for both the developed and developing world.Dr Colwell has held many advisory positions in the U.S. Government, nonprofit science policy organizations, and private foundations, as well as in the international scientific research community. She is a nationally-respected scientist and educator, and has authored or co-authored 17 books and more than 750 scientific publications. She produced the award-winning film, Invisible Seas, and has served on editorial boards of numerous scientific journals.
Session 3, 1st Discussion
Professor Mike BentonThe origins of modern biodiversity on land
Michael Benton is Professor of Vertebrate Palaeontology at the University of Bristol. His main research interests are in the origin and diversification of major groups of vertebrates, most notably dinosaurs and birds. He explores the shapes of radiations and major extinctions from large sectors of the tree of life. He is currently working on the effects of the largest mass extinction of all time, at the end of the Permian some 252 million years ago, on life on land, recovery from this crisis and the radiation of dinosaurs and other groups during the Triassic, and the origin of feathers in dinosaurian and bird evolution. Michael Benton has published over 200 scientific papers and more than 50 books, including many popular children’s books about dinosaurs. He has supervised over 50 PhD students, and started the MSc in Palaeobiology in Bristol, which has graduated over 200 students since 1996.
Dr Kathleen LyonsEcological correlates of range shifts of late Pleistocene mammals
Kathleen Lyons is a scientist in the Department of Paleobiology at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. She received her PhD in 2001 from the University of Chicago and did postdocs at the University of New Mexico with Jim Brown and Felisa Smith and at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis. Her research focuses on the temporal and spatial dimensions of mammalian community structure. She is particularly interested in the effects of global climate change on community dynamics and the role that body size plays in these dynamics. She uses the fossil record of mammals over the last 40,000 years because it offers a unique opportunity to examine the way that ecological processes play out over evolutionary time. The late Pleistocene was a well-document time of turnover in community composition. By comparing patterns in fossil communities with modern communities, Kate evaluates the effects of climate change and extinction on community assembly.
Session 3, 2nd Discussion
Professor Jeremy Jackson, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, San Diego, USA and Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Republic of PanamaThe future of the oceans past
Jeremy Jackson is the Ritter Professor of Oceanography and Director of the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California and Senior Scientist Emeritus at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in the Republic of Panama. He is the author of more than 150 scientific publications and author or editor of seven books. His research includes human impacts on the oceans and the ecology and paleoecology of tropical marine ecosystems. Dr Jackson is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science and recipient of numerous international prizes and awards. His work on overfishing was chosen by Discover magazine as the outstanding scientific achievement of 2001.
Dr Aaron MacNeil, Australian Institute of Marine Science, AustraliaTransitional states in marine fisheries: adapting to cope with predicted global change
Dr MacNeil specialises in quantifying the ecological role of fishes in marine ecosystems and on the development of metrics useful for understanding the effects of anthropogenic disturbance on fish communities. He has particular expertise in the use of hierarchical models and has worked on applied fisheries problems in polar, temperate, and tropical ecosystems, focusing on research relevant to making informed management decisions. His current research includes understanding the relative rarity of marine organisms globally and quantifying disturbance and recovery of reefs within the Great Barrier Reef. He holds a PhD in Marine Biology from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and is currently Research Scientist in Marine Biodiversity at the Australian Institute of Marine Science.
Session 4, 1st Discussion
Dr Ben Collen, Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, UKPopulation and range dynamics: implications for conservation planning
Ben Collen is head of the Zoological Society of London’s Indicators and Assessments Unit and Research Fellow. His current research is focussed on developing integrated measures of the status and trends of biodiversity, developing species-based indicators to enable robust understanding of human impact on biodiversity. He is interested in broad scale macroecological patterns and in understanding how these will change under future threat scenarios. He has carried out field projects in Kenya, Equatorial Guinea, Mongolia, Australia, Tanzania and most recently Liberia, where he has implemented a monitoring programme for the EDGE focal species, the pygmy hippo, using remote triggered camera traps.
Professor Steven Chown, Stellenbosch University, South AfricaTemporal changes in transformed landscapes: a southern system perspective
Steven Chown is Director of the Centre for Invasion Biology and Professor of Zoology at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. He obtained his PhD at the University of Pretoria in 1989 based on ecological and systematic work undertaken at sub-Antarctic Marion Island. His current research includes macrophysiology, macroecology, insect physiology, population ecology, phylogeography, and invasion biology. The majority of this work is undertaken in African and Antarctic systems, but also spans global scales. He has trained 27 MSc and 17 PhD students, and has published widely. His publications include two scientific books, and two popular volumes on Southern Ocean islands. He has also contributed substantially to conservation policy both in South Africa and through the Antarctic Treaty System. As a consequence of the latter and his research in the Antarctic he is the inaugural recipient of the Tinker Foundation's Martha T. Muse Award for science and policy in Antarctica.
Session 4, 2nd Discussion
Book prize event 6 Mar
History of science lecture 7 Mar
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