New UK Biodiversity Science Committee Formed

On 19 September 2012, the inaugural meeting of the UK Biodiversity Science Committee (UK BSC), formed partly as a result of discussion at a meeting hosted by the BES in November 2011, was held at the Royal Society.

The UK BSC will represent the UK biodiversity science community and will act as the constituted advisory committee for the Royal Society Global Environmental Research Committee (GERC). Previously, two representatives of DIVERSITAS sat on GERC; now they will be replaced with a representative of the UK BSC.

The UKBSC will engage with the science community to advance the promotion of biodiversity science as a contribution to national and international science programmes.

Individual Global Environmental Change (GEC) programmes, such as DIVERSITAS, are being amalgamated into an overarching research framework: Future Earth (2012-2014), run by the International Council for Science (ICSU).


The UK BSC will scrutinise the content of the draft Future Earth framework. Once this is finalised, the UK BSC will advise the Royal Society GERC on recommendations in biodiversity science to address global environmental challenges. The UK BSC will:

– identify gaps in biodiversity knowledge and understanding
– recognise available expertise within the UK biodiversity science community
– propose pioneering and priority topics for research
– raise awareness of opportunities for international collaborative research.

The committee is currently considering how best to engage in the development of the UK contribution to the Inter-Governmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

Several committee members will participate in the UK Biodiversity Research Advisory Group workshop hosted within the forthcoming British Ecological Society annual conference.

Committee members 2012-13
Gary Carvalho, Bangor University
Terry Dawson, University of Dundee
Peter Dennis, Aberystwyth University (Secretary)
Keith Hamer, University of Leeds
Mike Hassell, Imperial College
Alison Hester, James Hutton Institute
John Hopkins, Independent (ex-Natural England)
Richard Gregory, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
Sandy Knapp, Natural History Museum (Chairperson)
Anne Magurran, University of St Andrews
Jonathan Silvertown, Open University
Paul Somerfield, Plymouth Marine Laboratory
Andy Stott, Defra
Ruth Waters, Natural England
Alan Watt, NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology

For more information, please contact the committee secretary, Peter Dennis (