In July, the Conservation Science lab travelled to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to attend the 2019 International Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB).
As one of the largest international conferences in conservation science, ICCB is attended by scientists from all over the world, and we did our best to make the most of this opportunity to learn from our peers, communicate our research, and even have a little fun! Our activities fit under the two research themes: the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems, and Biodiversity Indicators.
We kicked off the conference early with pre-conference meetings and workshops. Emily was part of the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems steering committee meeting in the preceding week. On Saturday Jess and Kate taught workshop participants the recipe for assessing risks to ecosystems with the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems framework. On Sunday, in another workshop, Calvin Lee helped show participants satellite data and tools that can help inform conservation decisions using Remap.
On Tuesday, Jess co-chaired the symposium ‘Hotspots of diversity and natural capital: assessing risks to Asian ecosystems’, in which both she and Calvin were speaking. Jess explained how she has developed indicators to quantify ecosystem health using data generated by Red List assessments. Calvin presented the methods he has developed using free remote sensing data that enable users to confidently assess spatial coverage of ecosystems for Red List assessments.
On Wednesday we moved on to our second theme, biodiversity indicators, with Emily participating in the symposium ‘Challenges and opportunities for tracking trends in species and ecosystems for reporting towards national and international biodiversity targets’. During this session Emily provided an overview of everything the Conservation Science lab is doing to meet these challenges and create opportunities, focusing on whether our current indicator set is fit for the purpose of measuring progress towards global targets, and helping to improve conservation decisions.
The final day of the conference was big day for the lab, with Kate explaining how taxonomic bias affects the Red List Index and the Living Planet Index, as well as announcing a new R package designed to convert trait-based model output into more detailed species-level information. In a different session, Simone described how common marine ecosystem indicators like proportion of biomass and coefficient of variation show potential when applied to terrestrial systems. Jess, Emily, Calvin and the Red List of Ecosystems team participated in a workshop on the new RLE database they have been involved in developing. And lastly, Calvin won the Pacific Conservation Biology award for best student presentation for his fantastic talk on remote sensing methods!