The C·I·B at NEOBIOTA 2012

A strong contingent from the Centre for Invasion Biology (C·I·B) attended the 7th European Conference on Biological Invasions (NEOBIOTA 2012) which was held from 12 — 14 September in Pontevedra, Spain. Europe recognises the progressing and escalating threats posed by invasive alien species and therefore suggests that immediate cooperative and specific planning is necessary if biodiversity loss is to be halted. The aim of the conference was to bring together scientific, technical and political personnel in order to motivate science driven policies, hence the theme of the conference — “from data to decisions”.

The conference comprised 62 oral and over 200 poster presentations with topics in the following broad categories: climate change interactions with biological invasions, early detection, modelling, risk analysis, traits conferring invasiveness, ecological impacts, management, and genetics and evolution. The C·I·B team made presentations in the categories of modelling, impacts, risk analysis, traits conferring invasiveness and the C·I·Bís Director, Dave Richardson gave a keynote presentation on management of invasive trees worldwide. The broad range of topics covered ensured an interesting and stimulating conference.

The conference was very beneficial as an academic learning curve for young and mature scientists. It also gave us a cross-sectional snippet of the state of research in the field of biological invasions. Although NEOBIOTA conferences have a strong European focus, the 2012 meeting had participants from around the world. Many lessons were drawn, especially regarding management of invasive alien species. It was also a great opportunity for networking. The conference ended with a field excursion to the Galicia Atlantic Islands Land-maritime National park. One of the outcomes of the conference was a formal letter to Spanish authorities urging more attention to the management of invasive alien species.

The conference was very well organised and the organisers gave personalised attention to the needs of each participant — many thanks to them. The town of Pontevedra is popular for its wide variety of seafood and wine (even during lunch), and this made the event even more enjoyable. The next NEOBIOTA conference will be held in Luxembourg in 2014.

CIB contingent at the NEOBIOTA 2012

The C·I·B contingent at the NEOBIOTA 2012 Conference; from left to right: Llewellyn Foxcroft (SANParks and C·I·B core team member); Farai Tererai (C·I·B PhD student), Sabrina Kumschick (C·I·B post-doc); Desika Moodley (C·I·B MSc student); Núria Roura-Pascual (former C·I·B post-doc, now at the University of Gerona, Spain); Mirijam Gaertner (C·I·B staff member) and Dave Richardson (C·I·B Director).