We want you to know what is going on in the BOD, our meetings, our actions, members leaving, the new ones elected,... but text written in this blog cannot be taken an official position or statement of the Society for Conservation Biology. Probably it is not even an official statement of the section... as these need to be approved by the members.

Monday, 17 October 2016


6 positions available in the SCB Europe Board. If you are a member of SCB, reside in Europe and you are interested in serving on the board, please consider nominating yourself to run for elections.
Board Members’ duties include active input to Board of Directors activities, fundraising for SCB-ES and the willingness to chair one of our standing committees. 
SCB members from Eastern and Southern Europe are particularly encouraged to apply.
Successful candidates will serve a ~3-year term (1 January. 2017 to 31 Dec. 2019).
Deadline for nominations: 15th November 2016
Please read carefully all the information in the document attached.
To apply, send an email with all of the following information to europe@conbio.org by 15 November 2016. Note that we only accept self-nominations.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

I didn’t learn science at the International Marine Conservation Congress

Guest Blog post by Leah Robertson 

I didn’t learn science at the International Marine Conservation Congress (@IMCC2016). That is, I learned power, privilege and equity, and how it is intricately tied to science and conservation.

Visual communication from an IMCC workshop. 

In the last year I worked with students who were facing a number of issues, ranging from academic difficulty to financial aid. Many of the people I worked with were marginalized and this fueled my passion for challenging inequality. This type of inequality occurs in so many ways that when you are not oppressed by it, it can be all too easy to overlook. In a post-secondary setting this begins with being able to financially access education and continues into barriers that occur in the classroom. Over the past few years I felt my love for marine science and equity work were in silos, until the IMCC4 opening plenary.

Michelle LaRue (@drmichellelarue), Jean Wiener, Max Lioboiron (@MaxLiboiron), and Asha de Vos (@ashadevos) were the most incredibly diverse and inspiring marine conservation panel who all understood and explained how power and privilege affect the way we do research. They spoke about the realities of being in developing countries and how so many brilliant minds cannot access education. Furthermore, when scientists come to poor economic areas to do research, the voice of those from the area is often left unheard and not included. These types of relationships can be incredibly damaging and as researchers we owe it to be conscientious about how our work affects marginalized communities.

It is one thing to recognize diversity, inclusion and equity but it is another thing to actually demonstrate it. From what I witnessed at IMCC4 the organizers worked incredibly hard to uphold these values. This is not surprising when you have an organizer like Sam Oester (@SamOester) whose science is always integrated into tackling barriers for marginalized people. Sam helped set the tone for the conference and from what conference attendees can only imagine was countless hours of work. A brilliant aspect is conference organizers didn’t do it by themselves. Community experts, such as Inclusion NL, helped conference organizers by providing support and insight to make the event more accommodating and accessible to participants

Careful thought had also been put into food options, including consideration of dietary restrictions and carbon footprint impacts. I hope to see other conferences use these decisions as a benchmark to meet and even improve upon. The cherry on top of it all is the announcement that the next IMCC conference will be held in Sarawak, Malaysia- the first time the conference will be held outside of Europe and North America. Besides showcasing a beautiful area, it will hopefully spur researchers from small island countries to present their work on an international platform.

The reality is we need to work harder as marine conservationists and be better allies of marginalized communities. The four speakers brought this to the attention of hundreds. Their work on these issues doesn’t begin and end at IMCC4. They pave the way by carrying these values in their everyday research and work. This means consistently challenging norms and being critical of our science and actions. However, after being a part of IMCC4 I can soundly say there is no better time to combine equity work with marine conservation, and I won’t be doing it alone.


Post by Leah Robertson, Memorial University of Newfoundland

Leah Robertson is a marine biologist and alumni of Memorial University of Newfoundland. Her research interests include deep-sea invertebrates and sustainable aquaculture. Her work outside academia includes activism for equity in post-secondary institutions (#edu4all) which bridged her passion into learning about inequalities that occur in science. Along with this she has worked extensively with a local catch and release aquarium (#NLlovesOceans) in Newfoundland, which aims to promote marine conservation through public engagement with marine animals. Currently Leah is involved with the Back to the Sea Society (#BacktotheSea) a group working towards opening a public aquarium in her home of Nova Scotia. You can find Leah on Twitter @robertsonleah10!

Monday, 10 October 2016

SCB-ES stories from International Marine Conservation Congress 2016!

In early August 2016, I and over 500 others, including scientists, conservation practitioners, and educators, attended the International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC) in St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada. It was my first time attending a marine themed conference! I was there to present on multidisciplinary projects that I and colleagues are pursuing both in coupling science, art and poetry and in bringing together marine and freshwater conservation scientists to overcome complex and complementary conservation challenges. I took the opportunity to write about my experiences at IMCC, sharing about our Poetry Workshop, which is posted on Real Scientists Blog (!!) and about our facilitated discussion on Fostering Marine-Freshwater Conservation Collaborations, which is written up in the Marine Ecosystems and Management newsletter

Cartoon fish highlighting the need for collaboration between marine and freshwater scientists.
Art by Stephanie Januchowski-Hartley.

As our SCB-ES membership representative, I also had the opportunity to meet and engage with many scientists at IMCC, including students who contributed blog posts for our SCB-ES blog post competition! I am excited for you to hear their stories from the conference, and how their experiences link back to their own research and conservation more broadly. You will get to hear from our two student contributors, Leah and Adam in the coming weeks! Leah's post focuses on her experiences at IMCC learning about the intricate ties between power, privilege and equity, and science and conservation. Adam's post focuses on the importance of collaboration between marine scientists and community members, and shares his reflections on different approaches he learned about at IMCC that are used to form those collaborations. 

Thanks for following along, and reading our stories and reflections from IMCC. I hope that we get to meet many of you at future conferences too, and to hear about and share your stories.  If you are a student member of SCB-ES and are interested in contributing to our blog, please get in touch! We are always looking for interesting stories to share! 

Stay tuned for Leah's blog post in the next few days. 

Post by Steph Januchowski-Hartley 

About the author: Steph is a Postdoctoral Researcher at University Paul Sabatier in Toulouse, France. In addition to her research on dam impacts on freshwater fishes, she also draws, writes poetry and is an active member of the Society for Conservation Biology! 

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Building collaboration at the African Congress of Conservation Biology

Guest Blog Post by Francisco Moreira

Goats in Argan trees (Argania spinosa) of Morocco.
Photo: F. Moreira
Next week (4-8 September 2016), I am representing Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) European Section at the 3rd African Congress of Conservation Biology (ACCB), El Jadida, Morocco; organized by SCB-Africa Section.

I am on the ACCB scientific committee, and will be leading: (i) a discussion about building collaboration between SCB-European Section and SCB-Africa Section and (ii) a round table discussion to identify “priority questions for biodiversity conservation in Mediterranean regions in Africa”. The round table discussion at ACCB adds to my ongoing work as leader of the ad hoc Mediterranean Working Group within SCB European Section. The goal of the round table at ACCB is to identify priority questions that, if answered, would guide more successful conservation actions in the five Mediterranean-type regions of the world.

My participation at ACCB is supported by both SCB-Africa Section (waiving registration fees) and SCB Executive Office (travel and accommodation). SCB European Section believe this is the beginning of exciting future of joint initiatives with SCB Africa Section!


About the author: Francisco is REN Biodiversity Chair holder at Centro de Investigação, Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos at Universidade do Porto in Portugal, and is a Board Member on the Society for Conservation Biology – European Section.

Friday, 22 July 2016

The 8th Greek Summer School ends with project presentations

The plant team, Martina Vanini, Chiara Catalano
and Daniele Lagnaz, presenting their findings
 at the end of the GSS course.
by Gábor Lövei

The two-week long Greek Summer School in Conservation Biology ended today with high quality presentations of the 5 projects done by the participating students. The students formed groups of three, and executed small projects on resampling the plant community in two Natura 2000 sites after their first sampling in 1996, the vegetation and the canopy arthropods in a nearby sacred grove, the use of bird cherry trees by birds, and on predation on artificial caterpillars of different colours and background.

This was preceded by the “panic day” when data were evaluated and presentations prepared. The stress was eased by the customary “gastronomy night” when participants cooked one of their national dishes. In the true spirit of appreciating diversity, we had several Italian pizzas, pasta of course, and excellent Parmesan cheese, a German beetroot soup and a cheesecake, Chinese and Malgasy dishes, several Greek delicacies from entrees to desserts, a clafoutis, and a sweet cherry soup. All these were accompanied by Italian, Hungarian and Greek wines. All dishes were much appreciated by the participants, recipes were exchanged, and a good time had by all.

The dates for the 2017 Summer School are set (26 June – 7 July), so keep your eyes open for the announcement that will come at the end of the year.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Debates and more environmental consciousness at the Greek Summer School

by Gábor Lövei

This year the novelty of the Greek Summer School was the organisation of two student debates. Half the participants were nominated  audience, and the remaining half formed two teams. After a morning theoretical introduction and discussion, the two teams had an afternoon to prepare their cases. One team supported, and the other one opposed the proposal “Invasion biology should be abandoned as a discipline, and replaced by redistribution biology”. Each team presented their case in 15 minutes, interrogated each other, followed fielding questions form the audience. The debate formally ended with a vote. Even though the proposing team mounted a determined and spirited support of their case, the majority voted not to accept the proposal, and keeping invasion biology as a discipline. For the second debate day, the former audience became the debating teams, and the proposal was that “The aim of conservation biology is to ensure the continued functioning of ecosystem services for humans”. A similarly lively debate was held around this proposal, too, but this also suffered the fate of defeat as the first one. In both cases, the discussion continued in the local bar, into the late hours of the night. Both debates were hugely enjoyed by the participants, and debates will certainly remain on the program of future GSSs.

This year was the 8th occasion that the Greek Summer School was held, and the third one at the Palase Field Station in Ano Pedina. The Organising Commitee has decided that it is time to do as we preach, and several steps were taken to reduce our environmental footprint. Participants were encouraged not to fly to Ioannina but take a bus either from Athens of Thessaloniki, and to consider using a carbon offset program.

Locally, we almost totally abandoned the use of plastic, recycled what we used, also recycled paper, cardboard and glass, drank tap water rather than bottled water, sourced what we could of our food from local producers, and cut down on eating meat – one main meal every day was a vegetarian meal. All this was well received by the students and is set to continue and expand.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

The First Ano Pedina Bio-blitz at GSS2016

Alessandro Locacciato insect-hunting
during the First Ano Pedina bio-blitz
During the summer course in conservation biology, one of the exercises has always been a crash course in arthropods. Held by Gabor Lovei & Zoltan Elek, this consisted of a discussion about global biodiversity, after which the students were tasked to collect and photograph arthropods they can find, and they were identified. This year we changed the setup, and organised the first "bioblitz" – two teams competed who could find the most arthropod species during a given time. The students mostly used their smartphones and cameras, but others opted for more traditional methods of catching arthropods around the Palase Field Station. This First Ano Pedina Bio-blitz was won with 120 OTUs collected or documented (the other team only found 59 species). The share of beetles, normally around 40% of all species globally, was only 20-23% - and butterflies were overrepresented.