Collaborative ecology across the Tasman at EcoTas 2013

The Ecological Society of Australia’s (ESA) annual conference is a fixture in the ecosystem research community’s calendar each year. TERN itself has become a fixture at the conference, and this year was no different as we and many other Aussies travelled ‘across the ditch’ to attend this year’s conference – a joint meeting held in Auckland with the New Zealand Ecological Society (NZES).

‘EcoTas 2013’ brought hundreds of people from across the Australian and New Zealand ecological research communities together, giving them an opportunity to discuss the latest issues and advances in ecological science.

TERN was well represented at the conference, with a number of presentations throughout the week describing advances in Australian ecosystem science enabled by TERN’s infrastructure. It was especially encouraging to see over half of the talks in the special ‘eResearch’ symposium referencing TERN infrastructure as a tool that is enabling their work.

TERN’s exhibition booth had a steady flow of visitors throughout the week, with plenty of time and opportunity for conversation. The conversations extended to the virtual as well, with TERN a top feature of the twitter conversations throughout the week of EcoTas:

It was a pleasure for all attendees to see Prof David Keith from the University of New South Wales receive the Australian Ecology Research Award (AERA), given in recognition of his outstanding contribution to science for the conservation of biodiversity.

David delivered the AERA lecture on the final day of EcoTas, discussing new methods for assessing risks of ecosystem collapse. David says, ‘In the face of so much rapid change, and with limited resources to investigate and manage problems, we need to be well informed about the risks so we can make rational management choices.’

‘The AERA lecture is a great platform to describe the ideas behind a new international approach to risk assessment – the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems – to see how it can be useful in an Australian and New Zealand context.’

David has recently been working closely with Australian and New Zealand colleagues on this topic, partly thanks to the increased capacity for cooperation and collaboration for scientists and managers provided through TERN’s Australian Centre for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis.

‘If we’re going to respond more effectively to ecosystem changes, we not only need better ways to assess risks, we also need better ways to collaborate and share data and learnings. That’s why this meeting here this week, the professional networks fostered by the New Zealand Ecological Society and the Ecological Society of Australia, and also the work of umbrella organisations like TERN, are so important,’ says David.

Published in TERN newsletter December 2013

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