Helen Roy, Ecologist at the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and People and Nature Associate Editor writes for Relational Thinking about ecological wonder, laughter and other highlights of the British Ecological Society Annual Meeting 2019 .

Another exciting year in ecology, another inspiring British Ecological Society Annual Meeting. Perhaps this year more than any other there was emphasis on the importance of ecology in providing solutions to the seemingly overwhelming global environmental challenges we face. It was incredibly gratifying to hear of the many contributions that ecologists are making to begin the process of transformative change that is urgently needed:

From advances in ecological understanding and ways to quantify biodiversity:

to applications to assist in providing ecological evidence for conservation decision-making:

to embracing the complexities of ecology to deliver measures such as tree planting in the right place and the right time:

to simple steps for preventing the spread of invasive non-native species:

and pollinator monitoring:

and enhancing urban habitats for pollinators:

– there are so many innovations and advances that are cause for hope.

The intimate links between people and nature resonated throughout the meeting with the focus on indigenous knowledge within a number of talks (example) and one of the lunchtime workshops:

providing important perspectives and reflections. It is incredible to see such advances in interdisciplinary research and timely to celebrate the first birthday of the BES journal People and Nature:

The Science Slam is always a showcase for science communication. This year was no exception. Three hours of laughter. Many moments of surprise. Much revealed about people and nature:

Misrepresentation of Arctic ecology in well-meaning but utterly inaccurate Christmas card depictions stole the night but special mention should go to the attempt to create an ecological network with mosquitoes centre stage:

It was exciting to see innovative approaches and emerging technologies being embraced in many contexts from remote sensing to explore effects of climate change on phenology in remote places:

and tracking invasions and functional responses:

to statistical developments to derive trends from unstructured biodiversity datasets:

and scenarios for considering future land use projections:

There are simply too many highlights to mention – every year the three days are full of ecological wonder (and lots of laughter). I have been to many, many BES Annual Meetings and every time they exceed my high expectations. Every year I am inspired by our amazing global community and the amazing research that is shared in so many different ways through the Annual Meeting and beyond:

Looking forward to seeing you in Edinburgh for #BES2020 – meanwhile thank you to the British Ecological Society for giving the stage to our research, knowledge and understanding!