Thematic sessions

Submissions are now closed for thematic sessions at our 2023 Annual Meeting in Belfast.

Application information

Applications to host a thematic session at BES2023 are now closed.

All proposals will now be evaluated by the BES Events Committee. Please note that the selection process is competitive, and we receive more applications than we can accommodate in the programme.

What is a thematic session?

Thematic sessions complement the contributed scientific programme of our Annual Meeting by providing a forum for the exploration of particular timely, innovative, and important questions in ecology, and for highlighting the integration of disciplines. They are an important opportunity for members of the community to shape the programme of the Annual Meeting.

Thematic sessions are two hours long and usually comprise one 30-minute plenary and six additional 15-minute talks. Thematic session organisers will be responsible for inviting the speakers for the session and for ensuring they receive the necessary information, for creating the running order, and for chairing the session.

Please note that the BES cannot cover registration and attendance expenses for thematic session organisers or speakers. Organisers may seek external funding or sponsorship opportunities if additional funding is required. A limited number of conference grants will also open for applications later in the year.

Suggested topics

We support submissions from across the full spectrum of ecology. However, for this meeting, we are particularly interested in considering proposals with a focus on:

Fire ecology

While fire has always had a role in shaping biodiversity, changing fire regimes are now creating impacts in new areas and greater impacts in existing fire-prone regions as incidences of wildfire increase. Submissions to this topic could discuss the impacts of increased wildfire, the different wildfire management scenarios, or potential actions for conservationists and decision makers.

Living laboratories

Large-scale ecological restoration projects for meeting biodiversity and climate targets also provide an opportunity for researchers to gain robust scientific insights from real-world situations. Submissions to this category could explore how nature restoration projects can be harnessed to provide new data, facilitate the exploration of new concepts, and support our understanding of ecological conservation, resilience, adaptation and recovery.

Conservation genetics

The explosion of a suite of eDNA and non-invasive genetic monitoring means ecologists can now study entire populations and their ecosystems. This topic explores how using these data is a powerful tool in conservation management, utilising population dynamics of endangered and vulnerable species to better focus conservation efforts.

Green finance and renewable energy

Green finance is increasingly available from the public and private sectors as well as in blended finance models. The UK Government recently announced its new Green Finance Strategy to help grow green finance further, including plans to fund the scaling up of sources of renewable energy. Submissions for this topic could discuss how green finance is being and could be better utilised for carbon storage and biodiversity restoration, and how renewables, including wind, solar and biomass, affect land use and biodiversity.

International equity

The problems, barriers, and solutions to achieving international equity are now increasingly well defined, leaving us to take the tangible actions that bring about meaningful change for a more equitable international research community. We are calling for submissions to explore how such actions can be amplified and sustained in the long term through lessons and successes on the field, and how organisations such as the BES can leverage our position to support a route map to change.

Creating an inclusive environment for ecologists

We are committed to promoting an inclusive ecological community and all thematic session submissions must consider equality and diversity. Each proposal should be developed with the BES equality and diversity statement in mind and this will be considered as a criterion when scoring applications.

The organisers and speakers should reflect the diversity of the ecological community. Please consider multiple dimensions of diversity. Consider reaching out beyond your own networks and the usual suspects when selecting speakers.

Consider the content of the session. Our Annual Meeting attracts academics, practitioners, and educators across all career stages and working across many disciplines. Try to consider more than one audience when developing your session.