Bridget Emmett to be President of the BES from 2024

Members have elected Bridget Emmett to be the next BES President in an online vote.

Photos of new trustees elected to the BES Board
Top, l-r: Bridget Emmett, Tim Coulson, Markus Eichhorn. Bottom, l-r: Rob Freckleton, Thorunn Helgason, Rick Stafford

Bridget Emmett has been confirmed as the next President of the British Ecological Society (BES). The result of the online vote, in which over 1000 members took part, was announced at the Society’s Annual General Meeting today (Monday 19 December 2022).

“I’ll work to make BES more inclusive and relevant for its membership, to foster a stronger community and to raise the profile of ecological science to meet ever increasing societal and environmental challenges,” Bridget says.

She will succeed Yadvinder Malhi when his term as President comes to an end in December 2023.

The online vote of the membership elected several other people to roles on the Board of Trustees. They will set the direction of the Society over the coming years.

  • Tim Coulson becomes Vice President of the BES and Chair of the Membership Committee
  • Markus Eichhorn is the new Honorary Treasurer of the Society
  • Rob Freckleton will be the new Chair of Publications Committee
  • Thorunn Helgason is re-elected as a Board member, and
  • Rick Stafford is confirmed in a second term as Chair of the Policy Committee

President Elect

Bridget Emmett will serve as President Elect on the Board in 2023, before assuming the role of President 12 months later.

She is based at the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Bangor, UK, where she has been a member of the senior management team since 2001. As Science Area Head of Soils and Land Use, she has responsibility for over 80 research staff and their 40 PhD students.

Bridget has been a member of the BES since her PhD. She says it provided an opportunity to network with other students beyond her own lab and to be inspired by some of the best ecologists of the day.

Her research has covered many different topics, including the impacts of air pollution, climate change and land management and has involved a combination of long term experiments, national-scale monitoring and modelling. “Most of my current projects involve the leadership of large, multi-partner programmes seeking consensus on the current state of our knowledge and understanding in support of policy development,” she explains.

Vice President and Chair of the Membership Committee

Tim Coulson of the University of Oxford, UK, is excited by the prospect of being Vice President and chair of the membership committee.

“I have been a long-time supporter of the BES and have previously played an active role in the Society by serving as senior and chief editor of the Journal of Animal Ecology,” he says.

With significant management experience as head of department and chairing university committees, Tim’s research interests have primarily focused on animal ecology. He has also worked on plant population dynamics, conservation science, and community and evolutionary ecology.

Honorary Treasurer

Markus Eichhorn of the University College Cork in Ireland will oversee the finances of the BES as Honorary Treasurer.

With the Society in a position of relative financial strength and at a time of great uncertainty for the future of the natural world, Markus is clear that the BES is in a position to leverage our assets for maximum effect. “It is time to invest further in activities that will deliver on our mission, increase membership and generate alternative revenue streams.”

Chair of Publications Committee

“For many ecologists around the world, their first and sometimes only point of contact with the BES is through the Society’s publications,” says Rob Freckleton of the University of Sheffield, UK. He joins the Board as Chair of Publications Committee.

“The Society’s journals publish excellent basic science and provide the scientific evidence that underpins our response to challenges such as climate change and human impacts on ecosystems,” he explains. “In doing so they play a major role in delivering the vision of the Society.”

Ordinary Member of the Board

Thorunn Helgason will serve another term on the Board, having first been elected in December 2019.

Head of the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Edinburgh, UK, Thorunn has been closely involved in developing a new volunteering strategy for the BES in collaboration with the Equality and Diversity working group. This strategy aims to support the members and others who give their time so generously to help the BES raise the profile and impact of our discipline.

Chair of Policy Committee

Rick Stafford of the University of Bournemouth, UK, has been re-elected to the role of Policy Committee Chair.

In his first three-year term, Rick helped move the Society to a more proactive approach to policy, producing influential reports on Nature-based Solutions and Protected Areas, working with the policy committee and the BES policy team.