Invited speakers

Sandra Díaz

Sandra Díaz is Professor of Community and Ecosystem Ecology at Córdoba National University, Senior Principal Researcher of the National Research Council of Argentina, and the founder and director of the international initiative Núcleo DiverSus on Diversity and Sustainability. She has been a visiting Professor in the Universities of Oxford and Grenoble and has received numerous academic awards. She is interested in plant functional traits and general patterns of functional specialisation, their interactions with global change drivers and their effects on ecosystem properties. Recently she has had a strong influence in the theoretical development and practical implementation of the concept of functional diversity and how it affects ecosystem properties and the benefits that different people derive from them. She is a co-founder and co-leader of TRY, the Global Communal Plant Trait Initiative.Recently she has been the leading authors of the conceptual framework of the Intergubernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).


Michael Huston

Consistent plant-environment patterns from local to global scales: commonalities in ecology and evolution
Michael Huston is a Professor in Landscape Ecology at Texas State University, USA. His primary research objective is understanding the causes of spatial and temporal variation in the diversity of all types of organisms, with a focus on terrestrial plants. In addition to theoretical work on the interactive effects of disturbance and productivity on community structure and diversity, he has worked with models of plant growth and competition, nutrient cycling, and hydrology, and analyzed the effects of environmental conditions on plant community structure at scales ranging from a few meters to global. He is currently focusing on the effects of environmental conditions on speciation rates, and on human health and poverty.


Marcel Rejmánek

Impacts of plant invasions on ecosystems and biodiversity: What we know and what we want to know
Marcel Rejmánek is a Professor in the Department of Evolution and Ecology, University of California, Davis, and a Researcher at the Belize Foundation for Environmental Research and Education, Punta Gorda, Belize. He studies many aspects of biological invasions, vegetation succession, seed dispersal, and population dynamics of tropical trees. His research includes chaparral and coniferous forests in California, tropical forests in Central America, and artificial grasslands in Chile. Together with Daniel Simberloff, he coedited Encyclopedia of Biological Invasions.


David Storch

Do we understand spatial diversity patterns? The origin of universal laws in macroecology
David Storch is a Professor at Charles University in Prague, interested in macroecological patterns in diversity, distribution, and abundance of animals and plants at multiple spatial scales. His reasearch has comprised empirical studies on the origin of the relationships between species richness and climate, as well as more theoretically oriented studies based on ideas of invariances, universality, scaling, and geometric constraints. He edited the book Scaling Biodiversity (Cambridge University Press, 2007), and is an editor of Ecology Letters.


Eddy van der Maarel

Some reflections on the history of biodiversity theory
Eddy van der Maarel is emeritus professor of plant ecology at Uppsala University and of biology at the University of Groningen. His research during the 1970s-1990s has dealt with the dynamics and species diversity of plant communities. In more recent years he has focused on nature management and the history of ecology, which are linked to his earlier work on dynamics and diversity.


Kathy Willis

Professor Katherine (Kathy) J. Willis is Director of Science at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Kathy is also Professor of Biodiversity in the Department of Zoology, University of Oxford and an adjunct Professor in Biology at the University of Bergen. She previously held the Tasso Leventis Chair of Biodiversity at Oxford and was founding Director of the Biodiversity Institute. Kathy’s research interests focus on the relationship between long-term ecosystem dynamics and environmental change. Recent work has also focused on the development of technologies to measure and derive economic and ecological values for biodiversity. Kathy has published extensively and has authored or co-authored over 100 scientific publications, including the landmark book The Evolution of Plants, now in its second edition.


Susan Wiser

How can we meet “big data” aspirations in vegetation informatics?
Susan Wiser is a plant community ecologist in the Ecosystem Processes and Global Change group at the Landcare Research, a Crown Research Institute in Lincoln, New Zealand. Her research addresses a wide range of applied problems in plant ecology.  These include understanding pattern and process in rare, azonal plant communities to underpin their protection and management, design of national and regional-scale systems for reporting on biodiversity status and trend, and optimising the use of large long-term or spatially extensive datasets to understand species occupancy, national-scale community compositional patterns, ecosystems carbon accumulation, and long-term community dynamics.