Theme meeting, August 31 2017
In particular regarding the upcoming BECC call for research funding, but also to discuss other calls in the future, we noted that a communication platform is needed to foster exchanges if of ideas across both universities. We concluded two things: first, to get going, we will start using a Biodiversity-theme email-list, which in contrast to the main BECC list is open for anyone to send emails. By using this we can immediately start sharing ideas. Second, to enable more flexible communication of ideas we have created a slack team for the BECC biodiversity theme (login page at https://beccthemebiodiversity.slack.com). Slack is a cloud-based collaboration tool offering a much more convenient communication platform compared to emails, including easy search functions and permanent discussion threads around topics, which can be arranged under specific “channels”. Johan Ekroos will send an invitation for joining the slack team to all meeting participants in the hope that we will use it actively for communication within the theme.
We discussed the following ideas for workshops to be organised in the near future. If you are interested in planning these workshops, or to take part in an organising committee, please send Johan Ekroos an email.
Land-use and biodiversity: bridging the scale-mismatch. Understanding how biodiversity responds to land-use change and climate change is one of the main research topics within BECC. However, existing data on land-use intensity are typically coarse and available only at larger spatial scales compared to biodiversity data collected e.g. in national monitoring programmes. New techniques and technologies are either soon or already available for us to greatly improve data on land-use intensity across large extents, on a grain comparable with existing biodiversity data. We discussed the need to organise a workshop to learn more about these possibilities to pursue state-of-the-art research within this topic in BECC.
The role of common versus rare species. There is considerable debate to which extent rare species contribute to ecosystem functions and (intermediate) ecosystem services, which in turn has spurred debate regarding conservation goals in various settings. This debate can be exemplified with a recent synthesis research showing that the majority of crops are pollinated by a handful of dominant pollinator species, which however misses the point that nowadays rare species might actually be much more effective had they been more widespread.
We also discussed the possibilities of working with the concept "ecological offsetting", or "ecological compensation", combining insights from ecology, environmental science and political science.
Finally, the strategic plan of the biodiversity theme is available online. The document is intended as a living document guiding theme activities in terms of research, organisation of workshops/symposia etc. Please send any comments that you might have on the strategic plan to Johan Ekroos at any time, in particular if you can identify key strategies that you think are lacking.