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The 2015 Annual Meeting of the ATBC Asia-Pacific Chapter will be held at the Himawari Hotel Apartments in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, from 30 Mar – 2 April. The meeting will be hosted by the Royal University of Phnom Penh, and the Centre for Biodiversity Conservation, and local conservation NGOs.
MEETING THEME The 2015 conference will bring together researchers, students, biodiversity specialists, conservation practitioners, policy makers, universities, government agencies and non-government organizations from around the Asia-Pacific region under the theme: ‘The Future of Biodiversity in Tropical Asia: addressing local and global challenges MEETING OBJECTIVES In accordance with the general goals of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation, the objectives of the Phnom Penh meeting are:
- To promote and improve cooperation, communication, and interchange among all people interested in the study, conservation, and/or management of any of the components and/or processes present in tropical ecosystems of the Asia – Pacific region.
- To provide a space where the most recent findings related to tropical biology and/or conservation can be presented and discussed, in order to catalyze further advancement.
- To encourage and facilitate research in all aspects of tropical biology and conservation.
- To support the education of students at both undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as to assist them in the development of their careers.
- To acknowledge and honor the work of researchers who have had an outstanding long-term impact on the development of tropical biology and/or conservation.
- To promote awareness in the general public of the importance of studying and conserving tropical ecosystems.
- To link ATBC with conservation initiatives in Cambodia and the Asia – Pacific region.
BACKGROUND TO BIODIVERSITY RESEARCH AND CONSERVATION IN CAMBODIA Cambodia supports a rich biodiversity yet is one of the least known countries worldwide. In addition to forming an important part of the Indo-Burma Hotspot, containing four Global Ecoregions and 40 Important Bird Areas, it possesses many of the best remaining forests and wetlands in mainland Southeast Asia, with countless endemic and globally threatened species. Though knowledge of Cambodian biodiversity remains limited, recent years have seen an astonishing rise in the number of species documented. Much of this research has been led by international biologists however, due to the chronic shortage of Cambodian scientists. As a consequence, Cambodia’s current ability to manage its natural heritage is severely hampered both by a lack of skilled people and biological information. As the country moves towards greater development and prosperity, there needs to be a clearer understanding of how to manage and use its natural heritage wisely. Natural resources are the mainstay of Cambodia’s economy: more than 80% of Cambodians depend directly on natural resources for subsistence and income, and all utilize wild resources such as fish and timber. With pressures on biodiversity and the environment increasing, there is a risk of losing much of this natural wealth forever; to the detriment of present and future generations. As a result, the lack of national capacity and reliable biodiversity data has been highlighted in all recent priority-setting exercises, including the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan. MEETING PROGRAM Call for symposia Fellowships – ATBC – Asia Chapter plans to offer a limited number of fellowships to participants from lower-income institutions. The fellowship are ~$US500 each and will be awarded to participants from lower-income institutions presenting high quality papers (poster or oral) at the meeting. Preference will be given to younger scientists, conservationists, officials and policy makers. Applicants should first register for the meeting and submit an Abstract. General schedule (under construction)
- Invited plenary lectures
- Invited symposia
- Contributed sessions
- Proposal Writing Workshop (1 day)
- Basic Statistics: Experimental Design & Data Analysis using Linear Models (6 days)
- Advance Statistics: Mixed effect modeling and prediction with GLMM and GLS (6 days)
- Wildlife Statistics Bootcamp (10 days)
- GIS Workshop (6 days)
Field trips: Participants will have the opportunity after the meeting to visit a selection of the best ecotourism projects in Cambodia, including projects where local communities benefit from participating in environmental conservation, in the Northern Plains, Tonle Sap and Prey Nup mangroves. Field trips to significant wildlife areas will also be arranged with support from local conservation organizations. MEETING LOGISTICS Deadlines Registration open 15 October 2014 Symposia submission deadline 30 November 2014 Early-bird registration deadline 31 December 2014 Abstract submission deadline 31 January 2015 Late registration deadline 31 January 2015 MEETING ORGANIZATION Local Organizing Committee
- Prof Phal Des (Chair), Vice-Rector, Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP)
- Nick Souter, Project Manager, Centre for Biodiversity Conservation, RUPP
- Nophea Sasaki, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Applied Informatics, University of Hyogo, Japan
- Neang Thy, CECG Manager, Fauna & Flora International, Cambodia
- Thi Sothearen, Centre for Biodiversity Conservation, RUPP
- Alex Diment, Senior Technical Advisor, Wildlife Conservation Society, Cambodia Programme
- Antony Lynam, Secretary, ATBC Asia –Pacific Chapter, and Wildlife Conservation Society, Asia Program firstname.lastname@example.org
- Neil Furey (Chair), Fauna & Flora International, Cambodia email@example.com
- Tommaso Savini , Conservation Ecology Program, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, Thailand firstname.lastname@example.org
- Aldrin Mallari, Fauna & Flora International, The Philippines
- David Westcott, CSIRO Atherton, Australia
- Steve Turton, James Cook University, Cairns, Australia
- Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz, University of Nottingham, Malaysia
- Catherine Yule, University of Nottingham, Malaysia
- Soumya Prasad, Indian Institute of Sciences
- Alice Hughes, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, China
Course and Workshop Committee
- Soumya Prasad, (Chair) email@example.com
- Alice Hughes
- Rhett Harrison, CGIAR, Kunming, China
- Robert Bagchi, ETH, Zurich, Switzerland
- Nick Souter
Event Organizer Kung Sophea, Tnaot Khmer
Office of the Executive Director
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
University of Connecticut
Storrs, CT 06269-3043 USA
Tel 860-486-4057; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
August 27, 2014
Dear ATBC member,
Greetings! Our annual meeting in Cairns last July was a huge success, and filled us with enthusiasm and excitement about the important and far-reaching work that we are doing individually and collectively. As a member of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation you are part of a unique international society of researchers, educators, and conservationists. We are united by a passion for understanding how tropical organisms, assemblages, and ecosystems evolve, function, persist, and interface with society.
This year we made a commitment to communicate more regularly with members. We also want you to become involved in creating a new ATBC that will increase our influence on science and conservation policy and build greater capacity for research, conservation, and communication across the globe. Please visit our website regularly to stay informed about who we are and what we are doing. In this, our first in a series of regular newsletters, we have some exciting news to share about ATBC and Biotropica.
- In July, the ATBC Council and invited participants embarked on a Strategic Planning Initiative that will culminate in the writing of a Strategic Plan for 2015-2020. Our incoming President, Jaboury Ghazoul, is the Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee. We will be following up with a survey of members and meeting registrants to learn more about your vision for ATBC’s mission and activities and how you perceive the benefits of membership.
- In the coming year you will also see a new ATBC logo, a larger and energized Conservation Committee, emergence of the Young Scientists Chapter, fundraising efforts, and networking with other tropical biology societies around the world. We are on the move!
- The window for nominating Council Members and President is open until September 15, 2014. Elections will be held in November, 2014. The window for nominating Honorary Fellows is open until October 15, 2014. Nominations include the name of the proposed Fellow with a short one-to-two page justification (and curriculum vitae, if possible). Please submit your nominations for Council or Honorary Fellow to Lúcia Lohmann, the Chair of the Nominating Committee.
- Our recently created Student & Early Career Scientist Chapter (ATBC-SECSI) is gaining momentum and members and has big plans for the coming year. This chapter was created to encourage the involvement of students and early career scientists in the ATBC and at annual meetings, to organize activities that fit the interests of students and early career scientists working in tropical biology, and to provide opportunities for networking with all members of ATBC. To get involved, please join them on Facebook, where you can contact current Chapter President Erin Kuprewicz.
- Big news on the Biotropica front; beginning January 2015, Biotropica will become an “online-only” journal! This brings with it a number of advantages for our authors and readers, including free color printing of figures, the ability to read articles on- and off-line on Wiley’s soon-to-be released Biotropica app, and the reduction of ATBC’s environmental footprint from the reduced use of paper, inks, shipping, etc. Article Processing Charges – the online version of “page charges” – will continue to be waived for ATBC members. In addition, printed copies of Biotropica will continue to be available upon request for an additional fee if you still prefer to read Biotropica that way. For more details visit the Editor’s Blog, where you can also see the Editor’s Choice article from each issue, pictures from the field submitted by authors, and learn about what goes on behind-the-scenes at your society’s journal.
- Mark your calendars now for the 52nd Annual ATBC meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii on 13-17 July!
Stay tuned for more news about ATBC and the upcoming elections.
We are excited to announce that in 2015, the ETH Zurich will host the Annual Conference of the Society for Tropical Ecology (Gesellschaft für Tropenökologie, gtö), focusing on “Resilience of Tropical Ecosystems: Future challenges and opportunities.” The conference (www.gtoe-conference.de) will run from Tuesday 7th to Friday 10th April, 2015 in Zurich, Switzerland. The conference provides an exciting and friendly atmosphere for tropical ecologists at all levels of their career. A priority is to maximize interactions among delegates, practitioners and policy makers. Ultimately, this meeting will provide a platform for tropical ecologists to work together to ensure resilient tropical ecosystems. We welcome contributions from all fields of Tropical Ecology. Please download and print the conference poster here to display in your department.
Tropical ecosystems are global biodiversity hotspots increasingly under pressure from a growing population. The complexity and unpredictability of these systems present considerable challenges for ecologists, conservation biologists and natural resource managers. The global demand for food, energy and recreation, large scale industrial land use change and anthropogenic climate change present scientific and social challenges. Ensuring resilient tropical ecosystems and provisioning a broad array of ecosystem services necessitates maintaining biodiversity at all its levels.
Past mismanagement and habitat degradation require counter measures, including habitat restoration and developing novel management approaches for resilient tropical landscape mosaics which both meet the immediate livelihood needs of rural communities and the ecosystem services for broader society. This presents great challenges but also opportunities.
The annual conference of the Society for Tropical Ecology (gtö) will provide an interdisciplinary platform for discussing these major challenges and future opportunities in tropical Ecology including:
- Understanding tropical biodiversity
- Defining Resilient tropical ecosystems
- Novel approaches to understand and manage tropical ecosystems
|Call for sessions
The organizing committee encourages all members of gtö and scientists interested in tropical ecology research to organize and chair sessions for presentations or workshops.
Proposals for sessions will be accepted until September 30, 2014. We welcome proposals addressing the above-mentioned topics as well as all other topics relevant to tropical ecology.
Proposals should include the following information:
1. A session title plus a short title (max. 5 words or 50 characters)
If you would like to propose and chair a session, please submit your proposal to
For all sessions, researchers and students interested in tropical ecology will be welcome to submit oral and/or poster presentations. Over the following weeks, session themes and chairs will be selected by the scientific committee. The call for presentations will then follow. Speakers will be selected by the session chairs, in collaboration with the scientific committee. Attendees not giving an oral presentation will have the opportunity to present their research in the form of a poster presentation. Efforts should be made to be specific and to avoid presenting overviews, summaries, or material that is already widely known. The goal of the conference is to stimulate new ideas by presenting new information.
More information to follow at a later date
This brief note intends to provide you with the conference date and venue for your planning purposes. More detailed information (including materials concerning the submission of talks and posters, and registration information, etc.) will follow in the coming weeks.
We are looking forward to arranging a stimulating conference and hope that you will be able to participate. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our conference office at: email@example.com. Please refer to the conference website for further information: www.gtoe-conference.de.
We look forward to welcoming you to Zurich!
Please forward this email to interested colleagues, students etc.
With kind regards,
The local organising Committee and
Professor Dr Manfred Niekisch
President of the Society for Tropical Ecology (gtö)
Dr. Chris Kettle
Prof. Jaboury Ghazoul
Dr. Barbara Becker
Dr. Claude Garcia
Prof. Kentaro Shimizu
Contact conference office: firstname.lastname@example.org
Annual Conference of the Society for Tropical Ecology
(Gesellschaft für Tropenökologie, gtö)
“Resilience of Tropical Ecosystems: Future challenges and opportunities”
April 07 – 10th, 2015, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
The Luis F. Bacardi Award is given to a young post-doctoral researcher (no more than five years after completing Ph.D.) for outstanding conservation-related presentation at each ATBC annual meeting.
Deciphering seed disperser decision-making: how see size and chemical defenses influence seed fate
Human effects on the environment and biodiversity are rapid, global, and long lasting. One region where these effects are most prominent is the tropics. Tropical ecosystems, the most biologically diverse habitats on earth, are experiencing unprecedented, rapid biodiversity loss.
One overlooked component of biodiversity loss is the loss of biotic interactions. Most plants in the Neotropics (up to 90%) are dispersed by animals. In fact, many plant species rely upon mammals for reliable and effective seed dispersal. Scatter-hoarding animals can dramatically affect plant survival by depositing seeds in favorable microhabitats away from parent plants (seed dispersal) and by consuming seeds (seed predation). By understanding how scatter hoarders make seed dispersal decisions, we can infer how different plant seed set strategies (producing many small seeds vs. few large seeds) or chemical defenses may influence seed survival and ultimately plant recruitment. Using agoutis (Dasyprocta punctata, Rodentia) as a study model, I experimentally tested how seed size and chemistry influence seed fates in a tropical premontane wet forest in Costa Rica. I hypothesized that seeds perceived by agoutis to be very valuable (i.e., large, non-toxic seeds) would be taken far from sources and preferentially cached over less valuable (small, toxic) seeds. Using artificial seeds created from non-toxic baked plasticine and peanuts, I manipulated fruit size (three weight categories: 4g, 14g, 24g) and chemistry (with or without 2% tannic acid) in fully factorial paired-choice field experiments.
I tracked the fates of individually numbered thread-marked seeds in space and time. Overall, large (24g) fruits were moved farthest and preferentially hoarded by agoutis, whereas small (4g) fruits were eaten in situ. There was no difference in the handling, regardless of size, of non-toxic and toxic fruits by agoutis, probably due to the low concentration of tannins used. By experimentally manipulating seed size with a high degree of replication, I have discerned how this fundamental plant functional trait affects agouti seed dispersal decisions, with far-reaching implications for the evolution of seed size in plants, forest community composition, and the conservation of plants and their seed dispersers.
At the Department of Biological Sciences of the National University of Singapore, there is an opportunity for a PhD student interested in the functional ecology of tropical secondary forest succession and/or forest restoration.
We are looking for an independent and creative applicant who is interested – and preferably with experience – in ecological field research in tropical forests. He/she will help setting up a new research project on the functional ecology of secondary forests and forest restoration in a human-dominated landscape in East Kalimantan. Within this framework, the PhD student will investigate mechanism of forest succession using a functional trait approach, seedling experiments and permanent plot data. Field work will be primarily in East Kalimantan and Singapore. There may be an opportunity to use data from one of the largest permanent plot studies on secondary forest dynamics in the Tropics (http://goo.gl/cRmJux) for comparative analyses.
Application: Send a CV, a short motivation (max 1 page) and contact information of two references to Michiel van Breugel (email@example.com) before September 15.
The successful applicant will need to apply online for the graduate program at the Department of Biological Sciences (DBS) before October 1st. For a successful application, he/she must meet the minimum admission criteria established by the university. When admitted the student will start his/her graduate studies at DBS in January 2015 and receive a research scholarship with a monthly stipend and full tuition fee subsidy.
Visit http://www.dbs.nus.edu.sg/education/graduates_prospective/ for more information on admission criteria and procedures and details on the scholarship. Please contact Ms Reena Devi D/o Samynadan of the office of Graduate studies at DBS (firstname.lastname@example.org) for additional questions.
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is a globally recognized biological treasure. Inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1981 based on all four natural criteria, it supports over 1,500 species of fish, 4,000 species of molluscs, and the world’s largest collection of coral reefs.
The GBR also contributes more than $5 billion to the Australian economy each year, and sustains nearly 70,000 jobs.
Australia’s achievements in protecting the GBR and its biota are applauded. The GBR is protected by two complementary pieces of federal legislation: the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975 and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Under the former Act, multiple use is allowed only to the extent that it is consistent with the main objective of long-term protection and conservation.
Continued government leadership is needed to secure Australia’s GBR for its future citizens and the global community. This leadership should empower government agencies, communities and local environmental organizations to prevent development that conflicts with existing environmental protection for the reef.
The Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC), the world’s largest organization dedicated to the study and conservation of tropical ecosystems, is concerned about plans for port development and associated dredging in the Abbott Point area. In particular, we are concerned about the feasibility of the offset requirement for reducing net sediment input into the GBR Marine Park.
At this 2014 annual meeting of the ATBC, in Cairns, Australia, the largest meeting of tropical biologists ever in Australia, we, the association representing 589 scientists and conservationists from 55 nations including Australia, DECLARE:
Therefore, be it resolved that the ATBC urges the Australian Government to:
- Seriously consider the cumulative impacts of port development within the GBR Lagoon.
- Reconsider the need for extended port development in the Abbott Point area in recognition of the substantial environmental cost;
- In the event of extended port development, avoid all dumping of dredge spoil into the marine environment. Placing the dredge in contained terrestrial sites far from major courses should be explored as an alternative;
- In the event that the Abbott Point port extension should go ahead, we ask the Australian Government to:
- Provide costed details on options for achieving the offset requirement;
- Provide confirmation that the proponents are willing to meet these costs;
- Provide a process to ensure that the offset requirement is being met and is effective as a mitigation effort;
- Maintain a scientifically robust program for monitoring water quality in catchment rivers and the inshore GBR regions to track progress towards the recovery and protection of a healthy GBR.
24 July 2014, Cairns, Australia
Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) forests support a disproportionate amount of species not found elsewhere on the planet. A major challenge to the conservation of Papua New Guinean biodiversity is that it remains largely unexplored and therefore under-studied.
In July 2014, the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC), the largest organization in the world for the study and conservation of tropical systems, convened in Cairns, Australia. This brought together 589 scientists and conservationists from 55 countries to Australia’s wet tropics, which is essentially, from a biological perspective, an extension of Papua New Guinean forest.
The ATBC congratulates the Government of Papua New Guinea for initiating the establishment of a biologically representative network of Conservation Areas in collaboration with the traditional landowners. This process is essential for the preservation of Papua New Guinean biodiversity.
We call on the Government of Papua New Guinea to provide new funding initiatives to support the training of the next generation of Papua New Guinean biologists. A better system of funding is also needed if established researchers are to continue exploring the biota. These initiatives are essential for the documentation, understanding and protection of the globally important PNG biodiversity.
Therefore, be it resolved that the ATBC:
- Urges the Government of Papua New Guinea to strengthen the PNG Research, Science and Technology Secretariat and to establish a competitive funding mechanism for biodiversity research open to all Papua New Guineans from government and non-governmental research organizations. The selection process should be based on scientific merit;
- Implores the Government of Papua New Guinea to expand the number of studentships available for postgraduate biology students;
- Urges the Government of Papua New Guinea to create a network of Conservation Areas by approving pending proposals for the Managalas, Wanang, Torricelli and Sulamesi Conservation Areas, by increasing the number of protected areas and designating, together with the landowners, additional Conservation Areas representing all principal ecosystems in Papua New Guinea.
- Exhorts the Government of Papua New Guinea to promote the effective management of protected areas and Conservation Areas.
- Encourages the Government of Papua New Guinea to compensate landowners with royalties for their conservation set-asides and assist them with sustainable development projects.
- Encourages private enterprise within Papua New Guinea to support the Government in its efforts to promote the study and preservation of the country’s biodiversity.
- Encourages the PNG government to seek international collaboration with scientists and conservationists to achieve the above mentioned goals.
Australia has many trees, amphibians, and reptiles that are unique, being found nowhere else on Earth. Northern Australia contains a disproportionate amount of this biodiversity which occurs in little developed areas, parks and reserves, indigenous titled lands, and community-managed lands. Whilst Australia’s achievements in protecting some of its remaining native forests, wildlife and wilderness are applauded, some 6 million hectares of forest have been lost since 2000. Existing forest protection will be undermined by weak climate change legislation, and poorly regulated agricultural and urban development.
The Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC), the world’s largest organization dedicated to the study and conservation of tropical ecosystems, is concerned about recent changes in Australia’s environmental regulations, reduced funding for scientific and environmental research, and support for governmental and civil society organizations concerned with the environment.
Securing Australia’s environmental heritage for its future citizens and the global community will be undermined without strong environmental legislation and leadership that empowers government agencies, communities and local environmental organizations to protect rainforests. This requires sufficient funding for research that can advise the management of these sensitive areas, environmental progress in Australia will be hampered, and the inheritance of its future citizens compromised.
At this 2014 annual meeting of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation, in Cairns, Australia, we, the association representing 589 scientists and conservationists from 55 nations including Australia DECLARE:
Whereas, the industrialised Commonwealth of Australia has one of the world’s highest per capita greenhouse-gas emission rates in the world, and relies primarily on fossil fuels for its electricity generation, it still is a major contributor to global climate disruption.
Whereas, human-caused climate disruption (global warming) is now one of the greatest threats to species and ecosystems worldwide, and will increasingly exacerbate the current extinction crisis arising from human endeavour.
Whereas, Australia has experienced severe fragmentation of biologically unique habitats as a result of human development, in part resulting in the world’s highest mammal extinction rate, and a major loss of other plant and animal species.
Whereas Australia has recently weakened or overturned decades of legislation designed to protect its sensitive natural ecosystems and species, as well as altered demonstrably effective climate-change mitigation strategies such as elimination of the carbon-pricing scheme.
Therefore, be it resolved that the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation:
- Urges the Commonwealth Government to reconsider its stance on a financial penalty system to limit its greenhouse gas emissions, and that it implement a mandatory emissions-trading scheme in light of its recent decision to overturn the existing carbon-pricing scheme. The Commonwealth Government’s ‘Direct Action’ plan to reduce its emissions will be ineffective for reducing emissions.
- Implores the Commonwealth Government to retain its Renewable Energy Target to maximise renewable energy penetration in its electricity-generation sector.
- Commends the Commonwealth Government’s recent announcement to appoint Australia’s first Threatened Species Commissioner and a Ministerial Council on the Environment to advise the Commissioner, but encourages the Government to instate some legislative power to the position as it currently lacks decision-making power to effect real change to threatened-species policies.
- Implores the Commonwealth Government not to devolve national oversight of industrial and urban development potentially exacerbating the status of Australia’s threatened species. The Government should not allow individual Australian states to weaken or overturn national legislation such as the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 given the recent trends for state governments to relax laws for vegetation clearing and to allow industrial activities such as logging, grazing, fishing and mining in ‘national’ parks and other protected areas.
- Urges the government to reinstate a major funding scheme to the only independent legal entity available to limit environmentally destructive human development – the Environmental Defenders Office. Without funding to continue this essential legal representation for environmental-related cases, rampant and demonstrably damaging development will go unchecked.
- Implores the Commonwealth Government to abandon its attempt to remove the tax-deductible status of environmental groups and non-government organisations that work to protect Australia’s unique and threatened ecosystems and natural capital.
- Encourages the Commonwealth Government to commit to enforcing the Illegal Logging Prohibition Act 2012 that criminalises the importation into Australia of illegally logged timber and any product made from illegally logged timber, and the Illegal Logging Prohibition Amendment Regulation 2013 that regulates compliance of the Act. Any delay in enforcement of the Act and the Regulation will result in even greater deforestation of tropical and other forests and continued loss of species from these mega-diverse habitats in the Asia – Pacific region.