Ho ho ho, off to the BES annual meeting we go…

The British Ecological Society annual meeting is almost upon us. Before we head to Birmingham Journal of Ecology Editor, Mark Rees, has made some suggestions about what he thinks that you should go and see.

BES annual meeting 2012

Ho ho ho, here we go it’s BES annual meeting time and it’s back where it belongs – just before Christmas in a great city for eating, drinking, last-minute Christmas shopping with, of course, a bit of science thrown in for good measure. The meeting looks amazing, the abstracts run to some 197 pages, so there is plenty to choose from, and you can happily while away a couple of hours skimming through the abstracts and deciding what to go see on the train getting there.

Here are some suggestions:

Stress Tolerance in an era of climate change: from genes to ecosystems, has some fascinating talks illustrating how metabolomic techniques are revolutionising our understanding of how plants cope with stress (whatever that is!). The talk by Susan Schwinning on the traits that control drought tolerance also looks very interesting.

Ken Norris and colleagues will be exploring the promotion of good health and wellbeing, and knowing Ken’s appetite for wellbeing, this should be fascinating.

The difficulties to linking above-ground and below-ground processes are also explored by our very own Prof Bardgett, so go and see how plant traits influence soil microbial communities, amongst other things.

Andy Purvis is going to be modelling ecological responses to anthropogenic change, and needs your data so please give generously!

Coulson and Kanda ask why so much of our genome consists of signatures of past epidemics. Answers on a postcard.

Want to know how to link your individual-level experimental data to macro-scale behaviour? Go see Bruna and Chapman, apparently some maths might help, it seems.

De Roos looks at ontogenetic symmetry breaking, go find out how ecological principles fail when you allow individuals to grow, Blanchard is speaking here too, on fishy things.

Long explores the unexpected dangers of FACE experiments, using models.

Obviously the talks by Preece (Do bigger seeds make bigger crops?), Atkinson (Mechanistic basis of growth­­­–survival trade-offs), and Osborne (Global distributions of C3 and C4 plants) are not to be missed.

Drew Purves’ modelling of all the individuals on the planet sounds fun, what will emerge? Very curious indeed.

Steve Ellner is also flying in so don’t miss him 1st thing on Tuesday. Remember all the stuff you were taught about ecological vs evolutionary time? You know evolution is very slow relative to ecology, so both subjects can happily ignore each other? Well Steve and colleagues have shown this is not true by developing beautiful theory for partitioning change into ecological and evolutionary components, and working out which bits matter for real systems. It turns out that ecological and evolutionary time, are not much different after all!

OK, that’s a slightly Sheffield-centric view, and it’s taken over two hours just to skim read what’s on. As ever, several of the editors will be hanging around the BES stand, including Mike so you can come say cheerio! Follow me live tweeting @ProfMRees using the #BES12 hashtag.

Mark Rees
Editor, Journal of Ecology

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