It’s now four weeks since the 11th INTECOL conference closed and a perfect time to reflect on the six days of talks, posters, plenaries and social events. The conference has been five years in the organisation and many people came to together to plan this special event, doubly special as it coincided with the British Ecological Society’s centenary. I was bought in by the Society to develop a centenary programme but also to oversee the INTECOL conference. I have very much enjoyed the past three years working with the International Scientific Committee, the Local Organising Committee, the academic sponsors, ecological societies from across the world and of course the INTECOL organisation itself.
Through all these individuals and organisations we were pleased to welcome to London this August, 2065 delegates from sixty seven countries, across all continents, from students to eminent professors. Throughout the six days of the conference there were eleven plenary talks, sixteen parallel sessions, 1080 oral presentations, 580 poster presentations and 30 workshops. The conference reflected the international ecological science taking place across the world today.
Sunday 18 August began with a series of tours to places in South East England that held a special ecological interest. Delegates enjoyed a trip to Wytham Woods in Oxfordshire, Kew Gardens and Rothamsted Research among others. The day was finished off by the Welcome Mixer, which was very well attended and provided an excellent format for meeting old colleagues and friends and making new ones.
Monday 19 August began with the Opening Ceremony, with remarks by Professor Alan Covich, President of INTECOL, Professor Georgina Mace, President of the British Ecological Society and Professor Ilkka Hanski, representative of the International Scientific Committee. The delegates then listened to the opening plenary lecture by Professor Sandra Díaz from the Córdoba National University, Argentina talking on the tangled bank.
Each day delegates enjoyed two and on some days three plenary lectures on a wide variety of topics. Professor Díaz was followed by Professor Joel Cohen, Rockefeller University, talking about Taylor’s law. Tuesday 20 August saw Professor Ove Hoegh- Guldberg from the University of Queensland, on the challenge of climate change on coral reef ecology, Professor Nancy Grimm from Arizona State University spoke on prospects for resilient urban water systems and Professor Ilkka Hanski from the University of Helsinki talking on spatial structure of populations and biodiversity.
Professor Georgina Mace from University College London spoke on biodiversity conservation as part of the British Ecological Society Presidential address on Wednesday 21 August. Unfortunately our Wednesday afternoon plenary Dr Jane Lubchenco was unable to travel due to illness and Professor Bill Sutherland stepped in to give the lecture, which was followed by a debate on policy.
Dr Bojie Fu from the Research Centre of Ecology and Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences began the proceedings on Thursday 22 August, talking about ecosystem services in a changing landscape. Unfortunately Professor Susan Trumbore was unable to attend due to illness and Professor David Tilman of the University of Minnesota stepped in to give a lecture
Friday’s plenaries were given by Professor Martin Nowak from Harvard University on the evolution of eusociality and Professor Tim Clutton Brock from the University of Cambridge on the ecology of cooperation.
Each day there were two scheduled parallel sessions, held close together, it enabled delegates to move easily between rooms to attend the talks of most interest to them. Each lunchtime a series of interactive workshops were held and each afternoon we held a dedicated poster session. There was lots of opportunity to network through several social events including the British Ecological society’s centenary party held in Old Billingsgate in Central London.
We can tell you how we much we enjoyed the conference, but it’s real success was made a success by all of the delegates and speakers that we welcomed to London. Below we share some of their comments on what they liked best:
- Attendees from across the globe! Wide range of attendees, from Masters students to international hero professors;
- The content, the ability for professional ecologists to interact and discuss the material presented and the shared effort of all participants to make ecology a more straightforward and team-spirited field of biology;
- Wide topics including politics challenge, excellent plenary speakers and chance to talk worldwide researchers;
- Plenaries were phenomenal;
- The grand plenaries that set our science in context;
- The number and diversity(in terms of students/professors/etc)of speakers. The informal and easy opportunities for networking/socialising. The structure, alternating plenaries and sessions and workshops;
· Well structured program, good key note speakers from a variety of research fields, and an excellent last-night party. BES did a fantastic job with organising such a party, the venue, food and the band were excellent - a great way to get to know other delegates.
We hope you enjoyed the meeting, the final act on Friday 23 August was to hand the baton over to the Ecological Society of China for the 12th INTECOL congress in Beijing in 2017,we wish them a happy and fruitful organisation and hope to see you all there.
Festival of Ecology Manager
The British Ecological Society