Programmed sessions


S.01 - Limitations to greenhouse gas assimilation across scales in a warming world

Subject/Aim: The role of terrestrial ecosystems as either sinks or sources of greenhouse gases is currently one of the major sources of uncertainty in climatic models. Future increases in drought and heat may diminish carbon assimilation in shrublands, forests, savannas and grasslands which, along with increasing nitrous oxide and methane emissions from agricultural ecosystems may lead to a positive feedback to global warming. In this session we aim to explore the patterns and processes underlying greenhouse gas uptake and emission in terrestrial ecosystems from the molecular to the global scale.


Victor Resco. Centro de Investigación del Fuego (CIFOR), Toledo, Spain.

Penélope Serrano Ortiz. Estación Experimental de Zonas Áridas (EEZA), Almería, Spain.

Ana Margarida Were Eduardo. EEZA, CSIC, Spain.

 Opening session lecture by: 

Bert Drake. Smithsonian Environmental Research Council, Maryland, USA.

Plants and CO2: Will rising temperatures trump CO2 fertilization?


S.02 - Drivers of pollinator loss in Europe

 Subject/aim: The aim is to describe past, present and future changes in pollinator diversity and plant-pollinator networks. We will approach potential speakers who have used existing databases, modelling and experimental work to address the impacts of climate change, habitat loss and fragmentation, agricultural intensification, the use of pesticides, and the role of pathogens and invasive species as main drivers of change.


Montserrat Vilà. Doñana Biological Station, Spanish National Research Council, Spain.

Simon Potts. Centre for Agri-Environmental Research, University of Reading, UK.

 Opening session lecture by: 

Neil Williams. University of California-Davis. USA

Life history, resource complementarity and the sensitivity of pollinators to land use change


 S.03 - Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning in the Context of Environmental Changes (session sponsored and coordinated by BACCARA EU project)


Hervé Jactel. Laboratory of Forest Entomology & Biodiversity (UMR BIOGECO – INRA). France. 
 Opening session lecture by:  

Xavier Morin. ETH Zurich. Switzerland

Depicting the effect of climate change on the relationship between tree diversity and productivity in European temperate forests


S.04 - Impacts of climate change mitigation measures on biodiversity and ecosystem services

Subject/aim: The urgency for mitigation actions in response to climate change has stimulated society and policy makers to encourage the rapid expansion of measures to substitute fossil fuel consumption by cultivation of bioenergy crops, setting up wind farms or afforrestation of open habitats. Although many of these actions will directly or indirectly result in landscape (or seascape) changes over short timescales, to date adequate attention has not been given to the potential impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services. An important question is whether we are putting at risk today what we intend to preserve for the future by mitigating climate change. Environmental standards or legislative provisions in the majority of countries are still lagging behind the rapid development of those enterprises. This session aims to provide a forum for scientists to express their concerns about those developments and to present case studies in particular highlighting examples of where potentially detrimental situations were turned into win-win scenarios for both current biodiversity and climate change mitigation.


Jens Dauber, vTI, Institute of Biodiversity, Braunschweig, Germany.

Jane Stout, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.

David Bourke, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.

 Opening session lecture by: 

Pam Berry. University of Oxford. UK.

The ABC of Adaptation, Biodiversity and Climate change


 S.05 - The role of ectomycorrhizal communities in carbon cycling: New perspectives and emerging concepts

 Subject/Aim: Temperate and tropical forests are dominated by social tree species characterized by a particular type of root association with fungi: the ectomycorrhizal  (ECM) symbiosis. The ECM complex plays a major role in biogeochemical cycles and primary production. However, its complexity and the lack of appropriate investigation methods have so far prevented us from deciphering its functional structure. A range of new techniques have recently been developed or adapted to explore in situ the functional diversity and dynamics of ECM fungal communities, the key to understanding their contribution to ecological processes as carbon cycling in association with saprotrophic fungi. Actually, these forests are suffering from increasing stresses from natural and man-made origins, which affect not only the tree stands themselves but also biogeochemical cycles and especially C cycling. Here, we propose to discuss the roles and functional dynamics of ECM fungi in carbon cycles and their interaction with other actors of soil C decomposition in a context of disturbance and global climate change.  There is growing body of data regarding the roles that ECM fungi may play in C cycling.  However, those data are often contradictory, or open to alternative interpretation.  The purpose of this session is to present both sides of the argument, and to identify future research needs.


Ken Cullings, NASA, USA.

Pierre-Emmanuel Courty, University of Basel, Switzerland.

 Opening session lecture by: 

Jean Garbaye. INRA, France.

Can trees be mycoheterotrophic? Isotopic evidence of soil acquisition by ectomycorrhizal oak roots during reactivation


S.06 - Cause-Effect Relationships in Food Webs

 Subject/Aim: From the early works of scientists like Hardy (1920s), Lindeman (1941), MacArthur (1955) and Hairston, Smith and Slobodkin (1960), research on food webs has made significant contributions in theoretical as well empirical ecology. Today, food webs are used not only to characterize ecological communities by their simple trophic relations, but also to stand for a multitude of different aspects touching all fields of aquatic ecology. Examples are the energetic efficiency of different pathways (detrital vs grazing), alternative cybernetic control mechanisms (bottom-up vs top-town), the role of spatial and temporal heterogeneities for ecosystem stability (disturbances and resilience), regime changes in ecosystems (hysteresis), ecological stochiometry (body size and interaction strength), the impact of environmental conditions (from 'standard' to global change).

In this symposium, we invite contributions from these and other fields of modern food web ecology, which can help to elucidate important cause-effect relationships of food web structure and function. By bringing together this diverse expertise, we expect not only to outline the current general constraints in food web ecology, but also to learn more about urgently needed grounds for unifying theories, on which future action items for management and conservation of endangered ecosystems could call for.


Fred Jopp, University of Miami, USA.

Donald L. DeAngelis, University of Miami; U.S. Geological Survey, USA.

Alberto Basset, University of Salento, Lecce, Italy.

 Opening session lecture by:

Donald L. DeAngelis, University of Miami, USA

Reciprocal interaction between an aquatic food web and an fish population undergoing rapid evolutionary change


S.07 - Theoretical Ecology

 Subject/aim: Innovative research in the mainstays of ecology, including ecophysiology, population ecology, behavioral ecology, evolutionary ecology, ecosystem ecology, community ecology, ecosystem and landscape ecology. Reassessment of classic paradigms and contributions towards the actual frontiers that may help to develop the ecological science.


Miguel Angel Rodríguez. Universidad Alcalá de Henares, Spain

 Opening session lecture by: 

David Storch. Charles University.

Invariances in macroecology: Are species-abundance, species-area and speciesenergy relationships universal?


 S.08 - Stable isotopes in ecological processes

 Subject/aim: The last years have seen a striking advance in the development of stable isotope techniques and applications in ecological studies. From the microscopic to the planetary/global scale, stable isotopes have established as a powerful tool for the study of ecological processes and interactions. In this context, the proposed workshop aims to bring together recent advances in stable isotope studies across ecological disciplines, scales and systems, helping to identify common grounds and knowledge gaps to be addressed in the future.


Cristina Aponte (Institute for Natural Resources and Agrobiology, Spanish National Research Council

Mª Paz Esquivias Segura, University of Sevilla. Spain.

Juan Pedro Ferrio, Department of Crop and Forest Sciences, University of LLeida. Spain.

Sara Palacio, Instituto Pirenaico de Ecología, Spanish National Research Council, Spain.

 Opening session lecture by: 

Cristina Máguas. University of Lisbon. Portugal.

.Vδ13C and δ18O isotopes to trace plant integrated processes: the case study of Mediterranean plant communities under drought stress


 S.09 - Surveillance and Monitoring of habitats and species

 Subject/aim: The primary requirement for policy formulation as a response to environmental change and to report for European Directives is reliable knowledge on the extent and the quality of the resource. It is necessary to assess the changes that are taking place in that resource. It is not only required for European Directives but also essential if Europe wants to monitor the biodiversity targets of the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) for the period 2011-2020. Also the International Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) is now under development with the backing of the UN Environmental Program. Modelling the impact of of climate change for larger areas needs reliable data with continental to global coverage as is required for reporting in the IPCC. In general there is growing interest in coordinated biodiversity information.
What is needed now is to focus on standards and infrastructure for biodiversity science. This means that international cooperation, capacity building and gap-analysis reports must be developed. There are over hundred governmental and many NGO’s and research groups involved in surveillance, monitoring and analyses of biodiversity data. But data harmonisation and indicator development is still biased and further development and completion is needed.
This symposium will highlight the status at present and indicate the directions where we are going. We therefore want to invite presenters on surveillance and monitoring, as well as the groups that are developing harmonisation and standardisation and infrastructure such as in the Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON), WCMC, GBIF and Lifewatch.
Dr. Rob H.G. Jongman, Wageningen UR, GEO BON.

Dr. R.G.H. Bunce, Wageningen UR. The Netherlands.

Opening session lecture by: 

Dr Marc Metzger, University of Edinburgh, UK.

Environmental stratifications as the basis for biodiversity monitoring



S.10 - Ecological networks of mutualistic and antagonistic interactions. Implications for conservation and restoration

 Subject/aim: The last decade has witnessed a proliferation of studies using network theory to disentangle the extraordinary complexity of ecological communities. Although the study of food webs has a long tradition in aquatic ecology, it is not until the development of bipartite networks that complex network theory has allowed the studies of mutualistic and antagonistic interactions. Now we have an incipient body of knowledge about the similarities and differences in the topology of networks in different type of  interactions worldwide. However, we are still far from a complete understanding of the mechanisms underlying such topologies. Current lines of research aimed to understand the patterns and the processes behind complex networks among organisms are starting  to include the spatial and temporal dimension, the phylogenetic history, multiple interactions, etc. This workshop is aimed to be an adequate forum to discuss these new ideas and advances on network theory applied to ecological interactions.


Anna Traveset, Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies, University of the Balearic Islands, Spain.

Miguel Verdú, University of Valencia, Spain.

 Opening session lecture by: 

Jens Olesen. Aarhus University, DK.

Ecological networks crossing habitat borders


 S.11 - Impacts of global environmental change on the structure and functioning of dryland ecosystems

 Subject/aim: Technically, drylands are defined as regions that have an index of aridity (ratio of mean annual precipitation to mean annual potential evapotranspiration) of 0.05 to 0.65. These ecosystems are a key terrestrial biome, covering 41% of Earth’s land surface and supporting over 38% of the total global population of 6.5 billion, and are highly vulnerable to global change and desertification, two of the most important and pressing environmental and socio-economical issues currently faced by mankind. Because of the extent of dryland ecosystems globally, and the dependence of an important part of the human population on them for goods and services, it is crucial to understand how they may be affected by global change. The proposed session will present and contrast a suite of studies conducted with different organisms (vascular plants, biological soil crusts and microorganisms) at different spatial scales (from local to global) using both manipulative and natural experiments. Its overall objective of this session is to discuss the effects of ongoing global environmental change on the functioning of dryland ecosystems, as well as the implications of ongoing research efforts to mitigate the predicted effects of global change on these ecosystems.


Fernando T. Maestre, Rey Juan Carlos University, Madrid, Spain.

Roberto Salguero-Gómez, University of Pennsylvania, USA.

 Opening session lecture by: 

Brenda Casper, University of Pennsylvania (USA
A holistic approach to understanding demographic responses to climate change in desert plants


 S.12 - Evolutionary history, ecosystem function, and conservation biology: new perspectives.

 Subject/Aim: Over the past few years, there has been an active debate on the value of considering species’ evolutionary history when setting conservation priorities. Evolutionary history constrains species’ traits, which influence ecosystem function. However, there has been little empirical evidence that measures of diversity taking into account evolutionary history perform better than measures that do not in predicting ecosystem function, and that phylogenetically informed conservation priorities differ fundamentally from species-informed ones. As a result, the use of phylogenies in conservation has remained mostly academic. This symposium will bring together leaders in the fields of biodiversity and ecosystem function, phylogenetics, and conservation. They will present new results and discuss perspectives for the use of phylogenies in conservation.


Hélène Morlon, CMAP Ecole Polytechnique,

Franck Jabot, CEMAGREF Clermont-Ferrand, Mail

 Opening session lecture by: 

Marc Cadotte, University of Toronto-Scarborough, Canada.

Phylogenetic diversity promotes ecosystem stability


S.13 - Evolutionary Ecology

Subject/aim: Contributions on the interface of ecology and evolutionary biology, including life history evolution, evolutionary behavior, evolution of interspecific relations, and evolution of communities.


Adolfo Cordero, University of Vigo, Spain.

Silvia Matesanz, MNCN, CSIC

 Opening session lecture by: 

José Climent. CIFOR-INIA. Spain.

Intra-specific variation and plasticity of life history traits in two Mediterranean pines


 S.14 - Functional Ecology

 Subject/aim: Organism-level studies focused on the roles that species play in the community or ecosystem in which they occur, including behavioural, physiological, anatomical, and life history characteristics of species.


Helena Freitas, Centre for Functional Ecology, University of Coimbra, Portugal

 Opening session lecture by: 

Win van der Putten. Netherlands Institute of Ecology.

Functional ecology of aboveground-belowground multitrophic interactions under global climate warming


S.15 - Synthesizing community ecology, phylogenetics and macroecology 

 Subject/aim: One of the most striking patterns on the planet is the systematic geographic variation in biodiversity. Yet, we lack a robust body of theory to account for this variation. Obtaining this theory will undoubtedly require a new cross-disciplinary framework merging historical, evolutionary processes with contemporary ecological processes. Different aspects of community ecology, phylogenetics and macroecology are beginning to converge, but a formal integration of disciplines is still lacking. This session aims at showing the most recent trends on integrative research across community ecology, phylogenetics and macroecology to unveil drivers of biodiversity patterns at large scales. We will bring together world-class ecologists and evolutionary biologists to deliver theoretical, methodological and empirical case studies to gain novel perspectives on mechanisms driving species diversity


David Nogués-Bravo, Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, University of Copenhagen.

Nathan Sanders, Department of ecology and evolutionary biology, University of Tennessee.

 Opening session lecture by: 

Carsten Rahbek. University of Copenhagen. DK.

The day after tomorrow – merging the fields of macroecology to answer the ‘holy-grail question’ of what determines species diversity


S.16 - Biodiversity and Ecological Services in Agricultural Systems

 Subject/Aim: The intensification of agriculture over the last 40 years has entailed profound changes in the structure and functioning of European agroecosystems. The intensification processes have induced degradation of habitat quality and decreases in the diversity and abundance of food resources used by herbivorous and predatory species. These changes bear profound consequences for the biodiversity and the ecosystem services associated with Europe’s most extensive habitat. The project AGRIcultural Policy-Induced landscaPe changes: effects on biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (AGRIPOPES), supported by the EuroDIVERSITY programme of the European Science Fundation, has explored these issues in 11 case study areas across Europe.

The main objective of this session is to use AGRIPOPES results and those of other scientists working on these issues to discuss three main features related to the ecosystem services provided by biodiversity in European agroecosystems: (1) maintaining and restoring biodiversity in agricultural landscapes, (2) the persistence of species having high conservation value, and (3) sustaining and improving ecosystem services like biological control.

Expected outcomes of the session are the production of methodological bases for European-wide evaluations of the changes in biodiversity, simplification of food webs and the potential for biological control of agricultural pests in arable landscapes caused by agricultural intensification, as well as for large-scale assessments of agri-environmental schemes associated with recent CAP reforms.


Dr. Manuel B. Morales, Terrestrial Ecology Group. Dpt. of Ecology, Autounomous University of Madrid, Spain.

Dr. Juan J. Oñate, Terrestrial Ecology Group. Dpt. of Ecology, Autounomous University of Madrid, Spain.

 Opening session lecture by: 

Tim Benton, University of Leeds. UK.

The role of organic farming in a food-hungry world


 S.17 - Population Ecology and Community Ecology

 Subject/aim: Advances in the dynamics of populations and how these interact with the environment: spatio-temporal variation in population size, population growth rate, distribution and dispersion, density. Also, studies on the interactions between species in communities across spatial and temporal scales: variation in species richness, equitability, productivity, food web structure, predator-prey dynamics, succession, community assembly.

 Convenor: Begoña García, Pyrenean Institute of Ecology, Spanish National Research Council, Spain.

 Opening session lecture by: 

Dan Doak. University of Wyoming, USA.

Using spatially structured population processes to elucidate community functioning: demographic responses of a dominant African Acacia tree mediate community-wide effects of termites.


S.18 - Dryland restoration from ecotechnology to people Cambiar título a (ECOLOGICAL RESTORATION)

 Subject/Aim: Drylands cover more than 40% of the land, sustain more than 1/3 of the global population and host a significant number of hot-spots of biological diversity. But drylands worldwide are currently threatened by various types of degradation (a.k.a. desertification). Ecotechnological tools and strategies to combat desertification have significantly improved over the last decades, but uncertainties on the outcomes of restoration actions, particularly in response to climate change, are still substantial. On the other hand, ecological and technological improvements will have a modest impact on dryland capacity to provide ecosystem services and contribute to human welfare unless participative, adaptive and integrated management strategies are implemented. In this session we will discuss recent advances in dryland restoration, from ecotechnological innovations to land planning, paying particular attention to participative management strategies.


José María Rey Benayas. Universidad de Alcalá, Spain.

Jordi Cortina. Dept. Ecology and IMEM, University of Alicante, Spain.

Jaime Puértolas. Fundación CEAM, Spain.

 Opening session lecture by: 

James M. Bullock, (CEH). UK

Restoring ecosystem services and biodiversity


S.19 - Ecological Models and their applications in forest management

Subject/aim: Forest management in the past few decades has undergone a gradual transition from the basic goal of sustaining levels of resource extraction to the more comprehensive objective of sustaining the ecosystems that provide those resources. This ecosystem-based management requires managers to consider the ‘merchantable’ components of ecosystems within the broader context of ecosystem structure and function. Moreover, ecosystem-based management demands that natural resource managers address the multiple objectives associated with the wide range of ecosystem services provided by forests at multiple spatial and temporal scales. These objectives include a sustainable and economically viable harvest of natural products but also the maintenance of biodiversity and wildlife habitat, the preservation of natural areas for recreation, and the maintenance of the roles forests play in global cycles of nutrients, water and atmospheric gases. The challenge of multi-objective forest management at local, regional and global scales requires a wide variety of management systems developed and selected based on both ecosystem characteristics and management objectives. Because management plans are always based on estimations of future variables, modelling tools based on current ecological knowledge are needed more than ever to provide reliable projections of the ecological effects of alternative management plans at time and space scales meaningful for forest managers. This session will provide an update of the ecological models currently developed and used in forest management in Europe and other regions. We welcome contributions of study cases showing models with a strong ecological component but with direct applications in forest management.


Juan A. Blanco, University of British Columbia. Canada.

Adam Wei, University of British Columbia. Canada.

Opening session lecture by: 

Juan A. Blanco. University of British Columbia. Canada.

Bringing ecology into forest management through ecological models: examples from the Northern Hemisphere


S.20 - Ecosystems evolution during early successional stages: How can we link pattern and processes for the understanding of ecosystem dynamics?

Subject/aim: Re-vegetation of new created land surfaces can be observed in many places on earth after large and small-scale natural and man-made disturbances, e.g. after fires, landslides, volcanoes eruptions, in glacier forelands, on mobile sand dunes and rehabilitation of disturbed areas. New exposed surfaces at coastal seashore and inland lakes are other examples. Important first colonizers of new land surfaces are cyanobacteria, green algae, mosses, liverworts, lichens, fungi, and bacteria. These organisms forming biological soil crusts and are highly stress tolerant under extreme environmental conditions. The development of soil surface crusts influences vegetation pattern formation through adaption to the physico-chemical conditions in this resource-limited ecosystems. The understanding of pattern formations and interactions with biogeochemical and biotic processes are important for ecological theory and for applications in restoration ecology and combating desertification. Aim of this symposium is to present case studies linking pattern and processes of primary ecosystem development on different scales. Furthermore, we encourage the discussions on ecological models for primary successions and the formation of ecosystem pattern in such resources limited ecosystems.


Maik Veste, Cottbus; Germany,

Siegmar Breckle, Bielefeld, Germany

 Opening session lecture by: 

Nick Cutler, Oxford University, UK

Spatiotemporal dynamics during succession: linking the surface to the soil


S.21 - Involving Citizen Scientists in Ecology

 Subject/aim: The number of environmental and ecological studies involving members of the public in data collection is growing rapidly. Studies range from large-scale monitoring projects, where members of the public record data on species sightings or phenological events, to involvement in designed experiments. This session will discuss and compare these different approaches, appraise data quality, data quantity, the responses of the scientific community and funding bodies, and methods to maximize the benefits of volunteers and 'citizen scientists' in ecological studies.


Dan Bebber, Head of Climate Change Research, Earthwatch Institute and St. Peter's College, University of Oxford, UK.

 Opening session lecture by: 

Johannes Vogel, Keeper of Botany, Natural History Museum, London, UK.

We are all Citizen Scientists


 S.22 - Ecological Indicators of environmental change

 Subject/Aim:The objective of this session is to focus on the results of the use of ecological-indicators of the effects of environmental changes in ecosystems. Ecosystem functioning is extremely complex and thus monitoring the effects of environmental change factors in ecosystems in an integrative perspective can make use of ecological indicators. Studies on the use of ecological indicators to measure the effects on ecosystems of the: alterations in nitrogen cycle; air and soil pollution; climate change; land-use change; fragmentation; desertification and land degradation at different scales of analysis are welcome.


Cristina Branquinho, Centre for Environmental Biology, University of Lisbon, Portugal.

 Opening session lecture by: 

Pedro Pinho, Centre for Environmental Biology, University of Lisbon, Portugal

Using lichen functional-diversity as ecological indicator in a changing Mediterranean environment


 S.23 - Drought-induced forest dieback: causes, scope and implications

 Subject/aim: Worldwide episodes of forest dieback associated with drought and heat stress suggest that some of the world’s forested ecosystems may be already responding to climate change, raising the concern that forests may become increasingly vulnerable to future warming and drought, even in environments that are not normally considered water-limited. However, the interacting causes and the overall extent of these dieback episodes, as well as their impact at the community and ecosystem level, are still unclear. The aim of this session is to bring together researchers working on forest dieback in different ecosystem types, and to provide hindsight into their causes, particularly the physiological mechanisms underlying drought-induced tree mortality, and consequences.


Francisco Lloret, Center for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications (CREAF), Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain.

Jordi Martínez-Vilalta, Center for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications (CREAF), Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain.

 Opening session lecture by: 

Andreas Rigling, Swiss Federal Research Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape (WSL), Switzerland

Drought effects on Scots pine dieback in the European Alps – an integrative ecosystem analysis across multiple disciplines and scales


 S.24 - Concepts in the center of ecological knowledge? Probing a reflexive tool in biological conservation, ecological model building and data collection

 Subject/aim: Concepts are at basis of any ecological research and knowledge. Concepts determine the search, relevance and even perception of empirical data. By the same token, a reflected and neat use of concepts is of central importance for the application of ecological knowledge, e.g. in biological conservation or environment protection. Collecting and working on empirical data without developing a sound conceptual framework in which they are used makes every conception or model vague and ambiguous. Consequently, concepts can be considered as tools that allow to advance ecological theory and practice and thus also help to better react to rapid environmental changes. However, a sound and systematic reflection of ecological concepts draws essentially on work from epistemology, the history of ideas, ethics, semantics, and links their interests and kinds of questions to those of scientists working in the field of ecology or conservation biology.

The session will discuss such tools and perform their theoretical and applied importance for ecological research and practice, bringing together researchers from ecology, philosophy, conservation biology and the history of science. Basically, the session builds on work which has been accomplished in the context of the project “HOEK” (Handbook of Ecological Concepts).


Kurt Jax, Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ, Leipzig, Germany.

Astrid Schwarz, TU Darmstadt, Institute of Philosophy, Darmstadt, Germany / University of Basel, STS-Centre, Switzerland.

 Opening session lecture by:

Wolfgang Haber.

Reflections on the conceptual framework of ecology – Focusing on the ecosystem


S.25 - Applied Ecology

 Subject/aim: All aspects dealing with the application of ecological knowledge (concepts, theories, models, methods) to face up real-world questions. It includes topics as conservation biology, restoration ecology, global change assessment and amelioration, environmental pollution, management of wildlife and habitats, biological control of pests, weeds and diseases, land use managment.


Josep Mª Espelta, Center for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain.

 Opening session lecture by:

Dorothee Hodapp. Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg.

Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning-a case study on macrozoobentho data from the German Wadden Sea


S.26 - Trophic interactions and ecosystem functioning in real-world landscapes.

 Subject/aim: Inter-specific trophic interactions, both mutualistic and antagonistic, are now considered to be a backbone of biodiversity, with the networks of trophic interactions in a community contributing to biodiversity generation and long-term maintenance. However, the actual role of interaction network structure in shaping the link between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning remains poorly understood. This is especially relevant for attempts to predict the role of ecological functions in providing services, as well as their response to the new environmental scenarios imposed by global change drivers. The aim of this symposium is to bring together recent theoretical and empirical evidence on how the structure and composition of inter-specific interaction systems determines the outcome of ecosystem processes and services in real-world landscapes. Namely, we aim to deal with the following questions: 1) What are the traits of species and networks that mostly affect their functional outcomes?; 2) How does variability in interaction systems condition the outcome of pivotal ecosystem functions and services?; 3) How do global change drivers, such as quantitative and qualitative habitat modification, affect network structure and ecosystem functions; and, viceversa  4) does the structure of interaction systems contribute to functional stability and/or resilience to global change?


Daniel García, Oviedo University, Spain.

Jason Tylianakis, Canterbury University, New Zealand.

 Opening session lecture by: 

Elisa Thebault , Wageningen University, The Netherlands.

The structure and stability of mutualistic and antagonistic networks


S.27 - Conservation Biology

 Subject/aim: Discussion of scientific studies concerned with the lost of Earth’s biological diversity and the development of solutions to protect the species, their habitats and the natural functioning of ecosystems.


Mario Díaz Esteban, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (MNCN). The Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Spain

 Opening session lecture by:

Pablo Miguel Lucas. Doñana Biological Station CSIC. Spain

Assessing the dynamics of geographic range contraction


 S.28 - Population Ecological Genetics and Genomics

 Subject/aim: The interaction of an organism with the environment where it develops along with its genetic makeup determines its evolutionary dynamics. The integrated ecological and genetic view to study evolutionary change in contemporary populations is defined as population ecological genetics. Conceptually this discipline is not new but rapid developments of molecular techniques and bioinformatics in the last decades have enhanced its consolidation by linking environmental and genetic variation at different biological and spatial scales with the molecular mechanisms driving adaptive changes.
In the last few years, multiple genome-wide markers and entire genomes are becoming available for an increasing number of organisms, which are rapidly opening new opportunities to address old questions. This symposium attempts to provide insights into the main conceptual and technical advances as well as future challenges in the field of population ecological genetics and state-of-the-art population ecological genomics. We welcome hypothesis-driven theoretical and empirical contributions on population ecological genetics and genomics with no bias with regard to taxon, biome or biogeographical area.

Cristina García, Research Center in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources (CIBIO), Porto, Portugal.

F. Xavier Picó, Doñana Biological Station, Spanish National Research Council, Sevilla, Spain.
Opening session lecture by: 

Prof. Outi Savolainen, Plant Genetics Group, University of Oulu, Finland. 

Genetics of colonization and adaptation in Arabidopsis lyrata


S.29 - Sharing and harmonizing long-term ecosystem research and monitoring across Europe: contributions and experiences from the EnvEurope Life + project and the LTER-Europe network in 21 countries.

 Subject/aim: The harmonization of methods and concepts as well as data storage and sharing are among the major challenges to be met to enable effective use of long-term ecological data. Long-term time series are indispensable for recognition and analyses of trends in ecosystems, which have become crucial in times of slow, but steady Global Change

The long-term ecosystem research Europe network (LTER, comprises over 400 LTER sites across Europe and 23 LTSER platforms (Long-Term Socio-Ecological Research). Within the network data are collected across eco-domains of terrestrial, freshwater and marine environments and, hence, a wide range of different habitats. The LTER network was set up with a prominent bottom-up approach, within a quite heterogeneous scheme of data types and storage, measurements and targets as well as used methods. Starting from national peculiarities, the achievement of comparable and shared data still represents a major task of LTER-Europe.

The Life+ project EnvEurope (2010-2013) supports the efforts of 11 LTER countries and aims basically at the integration and coordination of long-term ecosystem research and monitoring initiatives across Europe, aiming at understanding trends and changes of environmental quality and identification of cause-effect relationships.

Among the project objectives is the justification and selection of a core list of ecological indicators to analyse and compare environmental quality internationally, properly link drivers and pressures with ecosystem states as well as the definition of standards about data storage and delivery .


The main aim of this session is to discuss the importance and role of long-term ecosystem research and monitoring data with a broader scientific community with respect to the following two questions:


We propose to have invited presentations from the EnvEurope and LTER community as well as from external experts. “Free” communication and open discussions of scientists working with LTER data and topics shall be given enough space to convey the main ideas and concepts that the project is dealing with and get qualified feedback.


Dr. Mark Frenzel, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ.

Dr. Mauro Bastianini, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche/National Research Council / Istituto di Scienze Marine - UOS di Venezia/Institute of Marine Sciences – Section of Venezia, Italy.

 Opening session lecture by:

Pierluigi Viaroli. University of Parma. Italy.

Long term ecological research in practice: challenging the unpredictable in a changing world


 S.30 - Ecology and evolution of dispersal in a rapidly changing environment: from understanding to conservation strategies

 Subject/aim:  In a rapidly changing world, dispersal of organisms is a key-mechanism promoting local and regional population persistence. Dispersal facilitates the spread of populations into newly-suitable environments and, by determining gene flow, profoundly influences the ability of local populations to adapt to environmental change. Understanding dispersal is thus crucial for both projecting and managing the response of biodiversity (and biodiversity-provisioned ecosystem services) under environmental change. This session will bring empiricists and theoreticians who are experts in the ecology and evolution of dispersal together with leading climate impacts modelers who are developing dynamic spatial models for projecting biodiversity responses to climate change. The session will focus on the mechanisms of dispersal and its impact on the genetic, population and community structure under environmental change, evolutionary responses of dispersal towards a changing environment and covariation with other life history traits and eco-evolutionary impact on range-shifting dynamics. We welcome modeling and empirical studies and seek contributions covering a range of theoretical and applied issues.


Dries Bonte, Ghent University. Belgium.
Justin Travis, Aberdeen University. UK.

 Opening session lecture by: 

Jenny A Hodgson.  University of York. UK

 Arrangements of habitat that facilitate range shifting: beyond stepping stones and corridors


S.31 - Applications of ecological models in biodiversity conservation and monitoring in a rapidly changing world
Subject/aim: In recent years, ecological models have been widely used to address the ecological impacts of climate change, land-use dynamics, biological invasions in and other drivers of change on ecosystems, landscapes and their biodiversity. Important methodological improvements have been recently achieved, from the improvement of predictive algorithms to the use of more causal environmental predictors at improved spatial resolutions. However, the potential range of applications of ecological models in biodiversity conservation and ecological monitoring is still far from fully explored. In this context, the proposed symposium will provide a broad perspective on recent advances on the use of ecological models in applied ecology, including: i) the recognition, interpretation and forecast of changes in a given territory; ii) the anticipation of trends in the patterns of drivers of ecological change, and the early detection of biodiversity responses to on-going and future environmental changes; and iii) the support of model-based frameworks for cost-efficient conservation and monitoring programs.


Joana Vicente, Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos / Universidade do Porto, Portugal.

Ângela Lomba, CIBIO – Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos / Universidade do Porto, Portugal.

 Opening session lecture by: 

Henrique Pereira, Centro de Biologia Ambiental, FCUL,

Modeling the response of biodiversity to global change: challenges and perspectives
S.32 - Ecological and ecotoxicological efects of oil spills and plastics in the marine environment
Subject/aim: In the last decades, the contamination of the marine environment by chemicals has been considerably increasing in several regions around the world. At the present, oils and plastics are of particular concern for a number of most important reasons, mainly: (i) in the case of oils, due to the enlargement of oil and gas exploration to new areas (e.g. Arctic) planned for the next future or already in course, increasing energetic demands and increasing marine transportation; (ii) in the case of plastics, due to the large amounts produced, quantities found in oceans and seas, and long time required for the degradation of some of them; and (iii) in both cases,   due to their toxic properties and effects that have been  found in organisms acute and/or chronic exposed (e.g. endocrine disruption, dead, growth delay),  ecological adverse impacts, potential risks for human health (e.g. contaminated sea food) and likely interactions with climate changes. In this session, both ecotoxicological and ecological questions related with oil spills and plastics in the marine environment (including the open sea, coastal areas, estuaries and lagoons) will be discussed, including:  methods and approaches for monitoring their presence and assessing their effects; interaction with other stress factors (e.g. temperature, salinity; invasive species); methods and strategies for ecological risk assessment;  mitigation and remediation measures; wildlife conservation strategies; effects at ecosystem level (e.g. on energy flow and nutrient cycling);  among others. Therefore, we invite all colleagues and students working in these areas to submit their work and actively participating in this session. It was created for you and will be made by you, so we do hope to have you with us in Ávila next September!  
Lúcia Guilhermino, ICBAS & CIIMAR, University of Porto, Portugal. 
Paula Sobral, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal.
Opening session lecture by:  
Ketil Hylland, University of Oslo & NIVA, Norway

Oil and plastics: current and future concerns for marine ecosystems


S.33 - Mediterranean forests and global change

 Subject/Aim: The Mediterranean basin combines a recognized distinction as global biodiversity hot spot and a characteristic spatial heterogeneity and temporal variability with a dangerous ecological fragility, which provokes its threatened condition in the face of the environmental change menace. Mediterranean forests play a crucial role since they do not only are influenced by global change (especially if we consider exclusive threats of woodland areas as wildfires or human deforestation), but they also modulate certain consequences of global change. Forested areas act as a sink for CO2, absorb ozone and other pollutants, exert an important role in the water cycle and emit volatile organic compounds which form ozone and aerosols. However, the multi-scaled nature of the interactions among the drivers of change and forest responses further limits our ability to forecast Mediterranean ecosystem dynamics in response to global change. These challenges are underscored by the fact that scientific assessments to evaluate global change consequences typically have limited spatial domains of applicability, implying that local details and system context are important. Knowledge and precision in Mediterranean forest ecology and scientific collaboration by means of inter-center and university teams and projects is needed to better understand and plan the short and long-term consequences of environmental change as it influences forest structure and function. The proposed session will present and contrast a suite of studies on the interaction between global change and forest ecosystems in the Mediterranean basin with the aim of discuss possible forest management opportunities and orientation.


Enrique Doblas-Miranda, Center for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications, Autonomous University of Barcelon, Spain.

Javier Retana, Center for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain.

Fernando Valladares, National Museum of Natural Sciences (MNCN). Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Spain.

 Opening session lecture by:

Enrique Doblas-Miranda. Center for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications, Autonomous University of Barcelon, Spain.

Threats and opportunities of global change for Mediterranean Basin ecosystems


S.34 - Stress ecology of soil invertebrates

 Subject/aim: Our session will focus on various processes, mechanisms and phenomena performed by or otherwise connected to soil invertebrates (e.g. decomposition, reproduction, species composition, behaviour) as influenced by various human impacts. Apart from giving an overview on current research in this area, the session will aim to highlight the effects of environmental stress on the important ecosystem services provided by soil fauna.


Péter Nagy, Dept. of Zoology and Animal Ecology, Szent István University, HUNGARY,

Erzsébet Hornung, Dept. of Ecology, Institute of Biology, Szent István University, HUNGARY,

Thomaé Kakouli-Duarte, Institute of Technology Carlow, IRELAND,

 Opening session lecture by:

Katalin Szlavecz. Johns Hopkins University.

Disturbance and stress in urban soils


S.35 - Advances in Eco-hydrology

 Subject/Aim: Eco-hydrology as a discipline starts as a join venture of ecological and hydrological perspectives as a must to better understanding the dynamics of the biotic interface between earth and atmosphere and the hydrological fluxes between them. In spite that huge progress has been made to date in some areas, such as evaporation, big challenges still remain to step forward. The dynamics of water in the unsaturated layer and its relation to vegetation is largely unknown. The same happens with the water and energy balance components across spatial and temporal scales that are observed with different approaches and techniques (i.e. ground instruments and earth observation systems). These and other frontiers of eco-hydrological knowledge are proposed to be the stuff of the proposed workshop addressed to ecologists, hydrologists and any other related disciplines.


Juan Puigdefabregas, EEZA-CSIC, Spain.

 Opening session lecture by:

Anthony O’Grady. Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

Can we predict groundwater discharge using ecological optimality?


S.36 - Climate change, extreme events and alpine ecosystem responses

Subject/aim: In the ecosystems of cold environments, such as the arctic and the alpine zone of high mountains, the main driver of biodiversity change is climate. Forecast twenty-first century climate change would much reduce today’s alpine climate space. However, the temporal and spatial responses of alpine ecosystems are likely to be varied. This variety largely stems from the existing diversity in habitat quality, and from different intrinsic dynamics associated with habitats. Open habitats during primary and secondary succession are highly dynamic and some azonal habitats are highly responsive to changes in resource availability. In contrast, the dynamics of established ‘zonal’ vegetation is rather ‘steady’. Long-term climate trends are routinely analysed to correlate them with changes in biodiversity. However, extreme climate events can reconfigure vegetation instantaneously and this impact can range from short-term transient responses to permanent changes in ecosystem structure and functioning.

The aim of this session is to discuss alpine ecosystem responses to long-term climate trends and explore the role of extreme weather/climate events by using historical information, results of repeat surveys and experimental manipulation to better interpret past, present and future climate change impacts. The session will bring together experts from empirical and modelling fields and will point ways forward to increase the predictive capability of alpine research in relation to global change.

 Convenor: Laszlo Nagy.

 Opening session lecture by: 

Christian Koerner, Institute of Botany, University of Basel, Switzerland

Global Change and high elevation biota