This year’s British Ecological Society annual meeting was rewarding as ever. It has been a few years since I last attended, but great to meet up with colleagues and friends and make new contacts – I am looking forward to seeing more of people in the coming year. And of course, there were also lots of interesting of talks and posters to keep everyone busy between the lunch and other social events. It was great to see so many Southampton ecologists (and Southampton alumni) present from across the Faculty – there must have been over 15 of us!
Adham Ashton-Butt presented one of his PhD chapters in the impact that replanting for a second generation of oil palm has on soil quality – a paper which will hopefully be out in the new year.
Eleven months after joining the Centre for Environmental Science (CES) in the Faculty of Engineering and the Environment in September 2017, I moved across with CES to the new School of Geography and Environmental Science(SoGES) in the Shackleton Building, Building 44, which is on the green side of the Highfield Campus. To an office with a fantastic view over Building 44’s quad and water feature; and enjoy almost daily sightings of the resident female Grey Wagtail.
The move is part of the restructuring of faculties here at Southampton, which has seen the academic units where there is considerable activity, teaching and research, relating to the environment brought together under the new Faculty of Environmental and Life Science. The school (SoGES) itself has a wealth of ecological researchers particularly linked to spatial and temporal processes. Along with some great teaching, sediment and microscopy labs/facilities, which the past year’s and current Masters and undergraduate students have already been making use of for their dissertation projects.
Congratulations, to this year’s MSci and MRes students in Zoology, Biology and Ecology after defending their theses. Great array of talks on mammal communities in Belize, flocking birds in Malaysia, over wintering Bumblebees in urban Southampton and insect diversity of university green spaces to name a few!
It has been great to have Anak Agung Ketut Aryawan, Resti Wahyuningsih, and Dedi Purnomo here in Southampton for a couple of days during their UK visit from SMARTRI, Indonesia. We managed to catchup with updates on BEFTA programme projects and the new trials and experiments they are running in the plantations in Sumatra. Lots of good discussion on oil palm; bait lamina; sorting insect sample efficiently; and why people need the value weeds. We also managed to fit in a talk from Lek on his resent field trip to Thailand – looking at freshwater communities on the forest-oil palm boundary, and an excursion to Chilworth Conservation Area to see some of the Southampton countryside and help Hannah Gunn, Biological Sciences student with some ant sampling.
Congratulations, to Frances Mullany, Georgina Hollands and Chloe Lewis on graduating this week with their MSci degrees. After defending their theses on fruit-feeding butterfly communities, leaf litter ant communities in Belize and Morlet’s Crocodiles in Guatemala earlier in the year. Here, Frances and Georgina celebrating with two other fellow MSci students Owen Middleton and Charles Wilson after final theses talks.
It was great to finally get to the European Conference of Tropical Ecology (GTOE) this year. Along with members of the Cambridge BEFTA team (Ed Turner, Sarah Luke, Millie Hood and Julie Hirsch) we presented the recent results from the BEFTA understory manipulation experiment along with an initial look at the data coming from the replanting area across the Riau sites. A summary of the work cam be seen in the project website www.oilpalmbiodiversity.com.
The BEFTA crew were joined by Frances Mullany and Georgina Hollands – attending their first international conference. They presented a poster on their work from last summer, looking at the impacts of a hurricane Earl on butterfly and ant communities in Belize.