Species and ecological processes – taxonomy and traits in the workings of nature

Join the Aquatic SIG and Linnean Society for a one-day online event exploring links between ecology and taxonomy in the face of global change.

A sky view of a coral reef

Ecology and taxonomy have long been natural bedfellows, particularly in the study of biological populations and communities. Ecology’s focus is, however, moving inevitably to ecosystem processes in the face of global environmental changes and demands on sustainable productivity. The link between ecosystem ecology (with its focus on processes and their rates) and species identity and traits is still crucial because the accelerating loss of biodiversity is itself a major aspect of global change. Species may be lost due to human activities, and often the ‘roles’ of species in nature (i.e. the relationship between species and process rates) are lost before we have even appreciated their value.

Both ecology and taxonomy have now been transformed under the ongoing molecular and Big Data revolutions of the past decade, and it is timely to re-evaluate the relationship between the two. Here, the Aquatic SIG and Linnean Society present an exciting range of keynote speakers to set new questions and help shape the next generation of research, especially in areas that are still huge blank canvases.

Confirmed keynote speakers

  • Mary Power (University of California, Berkeley) – Endosymbiotic versus free-living cyanobacteria in a river food web
  • Florian Altermatt (University of Zurich and Eawag) – The Anthropocene’s cascading effects on interspecific interactions, resource fluxes, and ecosystem dynamics
  • Jose Montoya (CNRS: French National Centre for Scientific Research) – The sponge microbiome
  • Owen Petchey (University of Zurich) – Why ecologists should avoid putting things into groups
  • Julia Reiss (Roehampton University) – Weight as a key trait of freshwater invertebrates
  • Markus Weitere (Helmholtz Centre of Environmental Research) – Biofilms as microbial food webs: How taxonomic and trait resolution help understanding ecosystem processes
  • Alfried Vogler (Imperial College London) – Metagenetics of aquatic macroinvertebrate communities
  • Tom Bell (Imperial College London) – Bacterial traits and the functioning of miniature ecosystems
  • Anje-Margriet Neutel (British Antarctic Survey)


Registration deadline is 17:00 BST Friday 30 April 2021.

register here

Organising committee: Alan Hildrew (Queen Mary University, Linnean Society); Julia Reiss (Roehampton University); Guy Woodward (Imperial College London), Michelle Jackson (University of Oxford, BESAG), Bill Brierly (FBA) and Padmaparna Ghosh (Linnean Society)