BES Annual Meeting Begins at the University of Leeds

The British Ecological Society’s annual meeting begins today at the University of Leeds. The meeting is Europe’s largest gathering of ecologists. Hundreds of scientific papers will be presented at the meeting. Highlights include:

The BES Lecture, given by Professor Andrew Watkinson, director of Living with Environmental Change and former director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia.
Society faces a range of challenges from climate change to biodiversity conservation. Addressing these challenges demands a robust evidence framework for action. In addition, research increasingly needs to be seen to stimulate the economy, particularly the green economy. In his lecture, entitled Making a difference: research with impact, Professor Watkinson will examine how researchers should respond to these challenges.

In his Presidential Address, BES President Professor Charles Godfray will discuss Mosquitoes, malaria and ecology, arguing that ecology is critical for successfully controlling diseases spread by insects. We know surprisingly little about the ecology of major insect vectors of malaria in Africa, what they eat and how their populations are regulated. Professor Godfray will describe recent novel ideas for controlling mosquito vectors of malaria, and explore how ecological sciences can assist in their deployment.

Ecologists will report new findings on how inbreeding among bumblebees in the Western Isles of Scotland could be increasing their risk of extinction; explain why white-clawed crayfish from running water are thinner than those living in still water – information vital to saving this species from extinction in England and Wales; and reveal new ways of monitoring the impacts of Wave Hub, a site off Cornwall where wave energy converters are tested.

The BES team will be blogging from the annual meeting, at You can also follow news from the meeting on Twitter (#BES2010).