The goal of our Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) Europe Section Blog is to share stories and relevant information about activities going on within our section and more broadly in the conservation community. Stories and articles shared on our blog should not be taken as an official position or statement of SCB or SCB Europe Section. Thank you for reading!

Friday, 31 October 2008

Candidates for "Board Member" 2008

This November we have to elect three new members of the Board of Directors (BoD), to take the chairs of those that end a three years term. We have 9 candidates for "Board Member". Here you have the names of those running for the election with their election statement. I indicate the country in which the candidate is resident. There can be no more than two board members resident in the same country in the BoD

Linda Olsvig-Whittaker (Israel)

"I am a conservation biologist in the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA). In that context, most of my professional cooperation is with Europe. At present I am participating in EBONE, a pan-European conservation project under the FP7 framework (see for more information on this project) as a workpackage leader. I previously served on the board of directors of the SCB Asia Section for six years, successfully helping to establish that Section, but after being elected for two terms, I reached my limit on that board. That was fun and interesting, but in fact my closest connection is with European conservation, which probably serves as the best model for what we are doing here in Israel.

Personal background: Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology (1980, Cornell University, under R.H. Whittaker) with special emphasis on plant community ecology, a strong background in informatics and multivariate statistics, and ten years as a research scientist in the Ben Gurion University's Institute for Desert Research (1984-1994) before moving to the INPA. Here I am responsible for conservation informatics, database management, data analysis, monitoring and inventory. In that context I participated as a workpackage leader in both the European BioCISE and BioCASE projects (establishing the European version of GBIF). I am still the national node contact for BioCASE. I am also a workpackage leader in EBONE.

My special contribution is probably that I am fairly good at organization and strategy. I was the communications officer for the Asia Section for six years and helped to set up the first section conference in Kathamandu, Nepal. I am fairly good at logistical and technical problems. Also, as an ecologist and conservation biologist, I have worked in both academia and government, hence have a fairly broad perspective on conservation."

Barbara Livoreil

"After a PhD in ethology, I have been working as a scientific officer for 10 years in a small NGO in France. My duties are manyfold, from developing and implementing scientific programs for the conservation of Hermann’s tortoises, to consulting, educating and communicating about conservation sciences. This very local, community-based approach teaches me a lot about “conservation in the real world”, on a daily basis, with local people and problems. On the other hand, member of SCB since 1998, I joined the European Section in 2001 and rapidly got involved in its Policy Committee. Member of the Board of Directors and recently chair of the Communication Committee, I really enjoy the wonderful team-spirit of the still-growing SCB, and the European and international insights of conservation it conveys. Linking local to global is a major challenge, and science can be a very useful tool to ensure the best possible solutions. Helping to promote sciences at all level is my wish and commitment, in order to build up a better, sustainable and biodiverse world."

Raphaël Arlettaz

"My ultimate goal is to bridge the gap between conservation research and concrete implementation in practice so as to obtain real changes for endangered biodiversity. My double position actually enables me to work efficiently in these two complementary fields. First, I am heading the first chair of conservation biology ever created (2001) in a Swiss university (Bern), where research – with a strong relevance for practical conservation issues – focuses above all on endangered vertebrate species inhabiting agro-ecosystems and alpine ecosystems. Second, I am leading a field station of the Swiss ornithological institute in the Alps, where one both conducts monitoring work and implements conservation action in close collaboration with governmental agencies and various stakeholders, with recommendations and guidelines stemming from the outcome of the research of my group at university. I’d like to help the European Section of the Society of Conservation Biology to work out similar joinventures between scientists and practitioners so as to bridge the great divide between conservation research and implementation."

Markku T. Kuitunen (Finland)

"Prof. Markku Kuitunen (born 22.11.1953) has 26 year's experience in research and education of environmental issues and conservation biology. His quality is to consider issues within large topics. His basic education lays in ecology and environmental management. However, he masters not only the vertebrates, invertebrates and plants, but also chemistry, social sciences, statistics and philosophy. He has visited in large number of universities or natural museums all over the world, lived in Hungary, Australia and worked one year in USA at the Natural Resources Research Institute, University of Minnesota.

Professionally his research is focusing the linkage between human and natural systems, particularly to assess the constraints how human induced environment limits on the existence of other living organisms. He has been intensely interested in the values of biological diversity and their conservation or restoration, and the role of education in shaping these conservation issues. The primary research applies these principles on the levels of landscapes, populations, individuals, and humans. In practice, I prefer on considering the questions of ecological impacts when assessing the human caused alterations on natural systems. He has taught many courses in Ecology, Conservation Biology, Environmental Management and EIA for the last twenty-five years."

Gavin M Siriwardena (United Kingdom)

"I have been fascinated by the natural world, and by birds in particular,since I was a child and have an equally long interest in conservation. At school, I also discovered a strong interest in science and followed all these interests up by focusing on biology. I studied zoology at Cambridge University, concentrating on ecology and behaviour, and went on to study for my PhD at Leicester University, working on vocal communication in carrion crows. Between and after my degree courses, I kept up my involvement in conservation by taking short contract and volunteer work with major NGOs in the UK (the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust). Subsequently, as a post-doctoral researcher, I have worked at the British Trust for Ornithology since 1996, working mostly on the ecology and demography of farmland bird populations. This work has focused on analyses of long-term data on abundance and demography and, latterly, on landscape-scale experiments investigating behavioural and population responses to agri-environment measures. I have published a dozen or so papers as first author, in journals such as Journal of Applied Ecology, Ibis, Ecography and Bird Study, and have spoken and/or organized round table discussions at a range of national and international conferences.

I am very keen to join the board of the European section of the SCB, both to expand my own scientific horizons and to use my skills and experience to help conservation science in whatever way I can."

Sajid Mehmood (Pakistan)

"While the parts played by Biochemist/Molecular Biologist in the conservation biology is now became established. The Biochemist/Molecular biologist, however, have important contributions to make, the principal activities including the study of population dynamics and affinities of organisms in natural populations using molecular techniques and to study the ecological and genetic impact of certain/selected species and their impact on environment. Being as a Biochemist/Molecular Biologist I have concern about all these issues and want to work in these areas."

Jeremy Cherfas (Italy)

"I was one of the original founding members of the Society, after the meeting at Asilomar, and maintain an interest in the Society and its development. I particularly welcome the idea of regional chapters because, once they reach critical mass, they can contribute in both directions, giving people a sense of ownership of the Society and also feeding back and influencing the other chapters. My main interest is agricultural biodiversity and its conservation and use, and I would hope to build bridges between the two communities, which too often regard one another as in opposition."

Bengt Gunnar Jonsson (Sweden)

"Professor in Plant Ecology, focusing forest biodiversity and conservation policy. Received PhD at Umeå University, Sweden. Post-doc experience from Oregon State University, USA. Currently holds a position as professor at Mid Sweden University in Sundsvall and project leader in the “Forest Biodiversity Group”. Member of the faculty board of Science, Technology and Media at Mid Sweden University. Active member in Swedish advisory board for the Convention for Biological Diversity. Participating in numerous national reference groups on protected areas, monitoring of forest biodiversity and Swedish environmental targets. Organiser of several workshops, symposia, conferences and networks around forest biodiversity and forest history.

Together with climate change, the loss of biodiversity is the main challenge to our civilization. This requires devotion from not only political point of view but also from an active and responsible scientific community. Being involved some in the work of the Convention of Biological Diversity I have come to realize that despite decades of attempts there still exists a gap between policy makers and the scientific community. I think the future value of SCB rests on it ability to take a much more active part in the international process that truly can change the ongoing trends. However, the challenge also includes maintaining a solid scientific, quantitative base in biology and ecology as an important tool towards a sustainable future."

Judit Vörös (Hungary)

"I was born in Veszprém, Hungary in 1976. I have done M.Sc. in applied zoology at the University of Veterinary Science, Budapest, and I have completed my PhD in 2007 in taxonomy on the Eötvös University, Budapest. Since 2000 I work in the Collection of Amphibians and Reptiles of the Hungarian Natural History Museum, in the last four years as the curator of the collection. My main research interests are molecular taxonomy, phylogeny, phylogeography and conservation of amphibians and reptiles. I have experience mainly on European species, but participate in conservation projects of amphibians in New Zealand and Australia. Since many amphibians are threatened worldwide my mission is to contribute to research on reasons and consequences of amphibian decline. Lately one of my main projects is the research of the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis within the Hungarian amphibian fauna. As the member of the local organizing committee I contributed to the 1st European Congress of Conservation Biology."
If you want to cast your vote follow this link