Around the world in 80 collaborators

The Alps, summer playground of select Qaecologists. Photo: Reid Tingley

The Alps, favoured summer playground of Qaecologists. Photo: Reid Tingley

Qaecologists love to travel, and with so many international conferences in the Northern Summer, it’s also a great chance to visit and learn from other labs and meet colleagues. Here’s a few of the cool labs and fabulous collaborators we’ve had a chance to visit over the last couple of months:

Starting in the US West Coast, Casey Visintin met up with Kate Tiedeman and Fraser Shilling at the Road Ecology Center at UC Davis. Kate sits in Robert Hijman’s lab. They discussed possible collaborations modeling species distributions and risks to wildlife using citizen-science collected data in both California and Victoria.

Most extravagant banana split ever; thanks ESAmerica. Photo: random ecologist with Hannah Fraser's camera.

Most extravagant banana split ever; thanks ESAmerica. Photo: random ecologist with Hannah Fraser’s camera.

Meanwhile East Coast style, Hannah Fraser  went to the American ESA, met lots of people and had a fantastic time (click here for her long-form post on that). One of her highlights was the ESA conference dinner—instead of the usual sit-down meal, they had a range of food trucks and gave out tokens to spend at them. Not only delicious (most extravagant banana split ever) but great for mingling, particularly when you compare this with the usual sit down format where you have to steal someone’s spot to join a group and you can’t really do this before all the food is served because many people have specific dietary requirements. She strongly endorses the format for other conferences (nudge, nudge, ESAustralia!). Very fun and productive.

Skipping to Asia now, Lucie Bland stopped in to Singapore and the august-sounding World Congress on Risk, a multidisciplinary conference covering topics such enthralling topics as occupational health and safety, environmental health, engineering, ecological risk analysis, and risk perception.

Perceived vs. actual risks in the workplace. Eeek - glass of wine! Image from Talaka et al. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4003859/pdf/uoeh11_326.pdf

Perceived vs. actual risks in the workplace. Eeek – glass of wine! Image from Talaka et al.

Lucie took the chance to drop in on Ryan Chisolm’s lab at the National University of Singapore. Ryan lab’s focusses on some important theoretical questions in ecology, including patterns of biodiversity in tropical forests and biodiversity-ecosystem function models, and they had some great chats on the extinction of plants and birds in Singapore. Given Ryan studied with Qaeco godfather Mark Burgman, this surely makes the Chisolm lab some sort of Qaeco half-sibling?

To Europe now, with many Qaecologists taking advantage of their trips to ICCB. Lucie visited the a few researchers at the University of Montpellier, including Sonia Kefi (who works on signals of impending regime shifts in ecosystems) and David Mouillot (a coral reef biologist who is keen to strengthen links with the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems).

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CosmoJazz Festival in the Chamonix Valley. Photo: Reid Tingley

Darren Southwell popped by Tolouse, to visit Regis Sabbadin at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research and yak about ways to manage complex ecological systems, such as metapopulations.

Further north, Pia Lentini, Freya Thomas, Natalie Briscoe, and Reid Tingley visited Wilfried Thuiller and the Laboratoire d’Ecologie Alpine (LECA) in Grenoble. They had various reasons for doing so (other than the Alps) – but most were interested in chatting with all of the clever folks at LECA about traits and species distributions. Fortunately, this also provided them with an opportunity to catch up with former Qaecologist Laura Pollock in her new Grenoble digs (and see the Alps).

British tourists ride through the Alps on some sort of summer holiday jaunt. Photo: Natalie Briscoe

British tourists ride through the Alps on some sort of summer holiday jaunt. Photo: Natalie Briscoe

Reid and Freya particularly enjoyed the CosmoJazz Festival in the Chamonix Valley, while Natalie and Freya also saw some folk riding bikes.

In sunny England, Natalie Briscoe visited, Chris Thomas, Jane Hill and their lab group at the University of York to talk about modelling species range dynamics under climate change – in particular how we can incorporate factors such as weather variability, species traits and population dynamics. Hearing about the projects going on in the group, Natalie was reminded again of the value of comprehensive long-term monitoring datasets (such as those that exist for many butterfly species in Europe), which provide a unique opportunity to evaluate how well models are able to predict species’ responses to recent environmental change.

Meanwhile further south, Kate Giljohan met up with Ben Collen at University College London, and Stuart Butchart at BirdLife International in Cambridge to talk biodiversity indices.

And much further south and hotter still, Kate, Natalie, and Luke Kelly visited Lluís Brotons at the Eco-Land Lab in Solsona, Catalonia, in Spain. Luke has just moved to Spain for two years on a Veski Fellowship and is starting an exciting new collaboration between Qaeco, the Forest Sciences Centre of Catalonia and the Centre for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications.

Melbourne meets Catalonia in Montpellier. Photo: Luke Kelly

Melbourne meets Catalonia in Montpellier. Photo: Luke Kelly

The Forest Sciences Centre of Catalonia is also the new home of ex-Qaecologist Alejandra Morán-Ordóñez, and ICCB was a great chance for old and new colleagues from the two lab groups to meet.

Gosh scientists can be peripatetic. Can’t wait for next winter!

And you can read much more about any of these trips and collaborations at many Qaecologists’ personal pages linked above.

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