Foras na Mara

2nd Ecology and Evolution Ireland Conference

January 7, 2019

2nd Ecology and Evolution Ireland Conference

10-12th January 2019

GMIT and NUI Galway

Galway

Update - 10th January: The conference is now fully booked up with no more capacity for people to attend, except for the free lecture this evening, Thursday by Professor Richard Thompson.

NUI Galway and Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) will jointly host 170 ecologists as part of the second 'Ecology and Evolution' conference of the Irish Ecological Association (IEA). The conference has been funded by the Marine Institute, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and British Ecological Society (BES).

NUI Galway will host two full days of events on the 11-12 January in the Human Biology Building, NUI Galway campus.

The three day conference, including talks, workshops and other events will cover topics from microbes to arctic breeding birds, marine predators and woodlands.

Four plenary speakers from Ireland and the UK will give keynote talks throughout the conference on topics including microplastics in the oceans, the evolution of ageing in bats, conservation of biodiversity on farmland, and tagging and tracking birds and fish.

Thursday 10th January (GMIT, Main Concourse - No registration is required)

Marine Litter: are there solutions to this global environmental challenge?

Professor Richard Thompson from the School of Biological and Marine Sciences at Plymouth University will deliver a free public lecture on Thursday 10 January 2019 at 7pm, on the subject of 'Marine Litter: Are there solutions to this global environmental challenge?'.

Plastic debris is widely distributed at the sea surface, on the sea bed and on shorelines. Nearly 700 species are known to encounter marine litter, with many reports of physical harm resulting from entanglement in and ingestion of plastic. At the same time it is very clear that plastic items bring many societal benefits. Can these benefits be achieved without emissions of waste to the environment? Progress requires systemic changes in the way we produce, use and dispose of plastic. A key solution to two major environmental problems, our non-sustainable use of fossil carbon (to produce plastics) and the accumulation waste, lie in recycling end-of-life plastics into new products.

Friday 11th January (NUI Galway, Human Biology Building)

Evolutionary ecology of migration in salmonid fishes

Tom Reed from University College Cork will speak about how animal migrations constitute some of the most visible and inspiring of Nature's phenomena.

Species, populations and individuals vary enormously in their propensities for migration, in spatio-temporal aspects of seasonal movements and in physiological, morphological and life history components of "migratory syndromes". Combining ecological and evolutionary approaches can help us make sense of this diversity and anticipate how anthropogenic changes may alter the fit between migratory populations and their environments. In this plenary, I will describe current work by our group on facultative migration in brown trout (Salmo trutta), a native Irish species of high ecological, cultural and economic value. This research takes an integrative, interdisciplinary approach to probe the proximate and ultimate drivers of variation in migration propensity and associated life history tactics. I will also present highlights of previous collaborative work on other aspects of migration biology in salmonid fishes, both at home and abroad. I will then finish with a brief discussion of how the twin concepts of biocomplexity and portfolio effects, as applied recently to salmonid fishes, provide a framework for managing risk from inevitable perturbations, many of which we will not be able to understand or accurately forecast.

Ecological intensification - an ecological paradigm for sustainable agriculture

Lynn Dicks from University of East Anglia will speak about Sustainable agriculture' is a clear policy target nationally and internationally, but what it means exactly, and how to achieve it, are the subject of much discussion and debate in the scientific literature. Ecological intensification (EI) is one of the many concepts discussed, in which farmers actively manage and intensify the ecological functions that support production, such as pollination, pest regulation, water storage and natural soil fertility. EI is an ecosystem approach to agriculture. But what can it really promise to farmers and policy makers? I will look at the ecological evidence that EI can increase yields, and lay out an agenda for agro-ecological research to explore its viability, in the context of modern intensive farming.

Saturday 12th January (NUI Galway, Human Biology Building)

Professor Emma Teeling from UCD will be speaking at the event.

There will also be a number of student poster presentations and other oral presentations given.The Ecology and Evolution Conference represents both academic and professional ecologists, students working in higher education and research institutions, as well as non-governmental organisations, ecological consultancies and other professionals in ecology.

The conference will also be a focus on training and up skilling, particularly for early-career researchers, with workshops on data analysis, career mentoring and translating ecology into policy and action.

Dr Heather Lally from GMIT said "The IEA conference is an opportunity for local Galwegians, national and international researchers, NGOs, consultants and industry to come together to share their passion for Irish ecology. It has never been so important to work together to ensure its long term conservation."

The Irish Ecological Association was founded in 2015 as a learned society for ecologists working in Ireland (Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland) and/or with an interest in Irish ecosystems. The IEA works in partnership with the British Ecological Association to strengthen networks and opportunities for ecologists and evolutionary biologists in Ireland and the UK. While focusing on Ireland, the Irish Ecological Association also draws on global themes relevant to ecosystems around the world.

For more details about the conference visit: www.eventbrite.co.uk and enter 'Ecology and Evolution Conference Ireland' and follow on Twitter and Facebook @irish_ecology

The conference programme can be viewed here