Thematic sessions

View the programme of thematic sessions for BES 2024 below.

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 available live and on-demand to both in-person and virtual attendees of BES2024.


Dealing with uncertainty in environmental management: rewilding as a case study

Organisers: Nathalie Pettorelli, ZSL (UK) and Christopher Sandom, University of Sussex (UK)

Environmental management operates in a realm where uncertainties dominate, but these are rarely discussed. Rewilding is characterised by a high level of unpredictability in ecological outcomes, making uncertainty a core concept to its implementation. This session will explore how uncertainties impact rewilding initiatives, and how co-design with local communities may ensure project sustainability amid increasingly prominent uncertainties in ecological outcomes

Dynamical Ecological Networks: connecting topics and approaches

Organisers: Remo Ryser, University of Bern (Switzerland) and Benoit Gauzens, German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig (Germany)

This session explores the organisation and dynamics of ecological networks, emphasising computational models to understand the interplay between environmental conditions, species interactions and ecosystem functions. We aim to integrate diverse research fields, enhancing our ability to predict, manage, and mitigate biodiversity and ecosystem responses to global environmental changes.

Ecological flows and fluxes across the land-sea interface

Organisers: Lisa Wedding, University of Oxford (UK) and Yadvinder Malhi, University of Oxford (UK)

Ecological flows across the land-sea interface underpin ecosystem structure, functioning, and resilience, but socio-political divisions hinder their study and restoration. Understanding these connections is vital. This session will explore cross-ecosystem flows and highlight case studies to inform large-scale ecological restoration and nature recovery across interconnected terrestrial and marine habitats.

Evidence-based conservation at 20: Past achievements and future challenges

Organisers: Phil Martin, Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3) (Spain) and Harriet Downey, Woodland Trust (UK)

In 2004, conservation scientists proposed improving the effectiveness of biodiversity management by basing decisions on scientific evidence. Over the last two decades, impressive progress has been made, but serious challenges remain. This session will explore the achievements of evidence-based conservation, highlight challenges, and identify future opportunities.

Engaging with Nature Finance to Address the Biodiversity Crisis

Organisers: Franziska Schrodt, University of Nottingham (UK) and Helen Ford, University of Nottingham (UK)

Nature finance is emerging as a key tool for reducing nature loss and uplifting degraded ecosystems. We highlight the importance of integrating finance with policy, research, and on-the-ground actions to design a well-functioning market that effectively addresses the biodiversity crisis, and outline opportunities for ecologists to engage in nature finance.

Tropical roots under global change: generalizable patterns of global tree root functions for process-based and trait-based modeling with a cross-biome perspective.

Organisers: Monique Weemstra, Wageningen University (Netherlands) and Katrin Fleischer, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (Netherlands)

Knowledge on tree roots and their functions is vastly increasing, but especially for temperate species. Different mechanisms may prevail in tropical forests due to their distinct edaphic and climatic environments. Here, we invite modeling, theoretical, and empirical insights on tree root traits and functions that allow for a more balanced cross-biome perspective.

Ecological time lags: implications for nature restoration policies and practice

Organisers: Emma Gardner, UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (UK); Laura Graham, University of Birmingham (UK); Justin Travis, University of Aberdeen (UK); Tamsin Woodman, University of Aberdeen (UK); Kevin Watts, Forest Research (UK) and Adam Sheppard University of Birmingham (UK)

Ecological time lags – delays between environmental changes and biological responses – present a significant challenge for nature restoration. Through talks and an interactive panel discussion, this interdisciplinary session combines ecological theory, empirical studies and policy insights to explore how better understanding of ecological time lags could improve restoration policy and practice.

Novel tools and technologies to tackle current challenges in Invasion Science

Organisers: Joana Raquel Silva Vicente, CIBIO-InBIO BIOPOLIS University of Porto (Portugal) and Eva Malta Pinto, CIBIO-InBIO BIOPOLIS University of Porto (Portugal)

Biological invasions are a major driver of environmental change and biodiversity loss. Effective management will require robust, dynamic and automated detection and monitoring systems and adaptive response strategies. This session will showcase the latest advancements and applications of tools and technologies designed for (early-)detection, monitoring, and managing biological invasions.