The British Ecological Society Annual Meeting always provides a fantastic setting to connect with ecologists from all over the world and the 2019 conference with the theme of ‘Celebrating Global Ecology’ was no different.

From the plenary lectures to thematic sessions and workshops to social events, there is something for everyone. In this post some of our authors and editors talk about their highlights.

Kevin Gaston, UK – Editor-in-Chief

It was fantastic to catch up with so many of the People and Nature team, who have made the first year of the journal such a great success.

People and Nature’s First Birthday Party

Cecily Maller, Australia Lead Editor

Highlights for me include the strength of the Humans and Nature stream, which had a substantial number of high quality, interdisciplinary papers on a broad range of topics that included methodological, conceptual and empirical challenges. It demonstrates the value of having a journal dedicated to this type of research. And the joint panel on the challenges of doing interdisciplinary research with fellow editors generated some insightful questions and responses.

Lizzie Jones, UK – Author ‘A place‐based participatory mapping approach for assessing cultural ecosystem services in urban green space

BES 2019 was a blast! As my first annual meeting, I was a little apprehensive to give a talk but everyone was friendly, supportive and welcoming. The diversity of talks was fantastic and as a social scientist, I was especially excited by the People and Nature sessions.

Nature & Humans session in pictures. Courtesy of Holly McKelvey, holly draws.

Rob Fish, UK – Lead Editor

The conference reinforced to me that the study of people–nature interactions represent a significant area of curiosity and innovation for the BES community. I was impressed by the number of papers that explicitly treated this relationship; this move from background to foreground significance is exciting for the social scientist. I must confess though that I also took the opportunity to listen in on papers completely out of my comfort area: ecology in a digital age was a cultural experience for me.

Tim Bonebrake, China – Author ‘Sacred groves and serpent‐gods moderate human–snake relations

This was my first BES conference and I was very impressed all around. The last oral session I attended had eight talks, seven of them from PhD students… and they were all outstanding. One particular highlight for me was seeing the work being done by Esther Kioko, this year’s recipient for the Marsh Award for Ecologists in Africa; with so little known about insect and pollinator diversity in East Africa, large-scale coordinated efforts to digitize museum records and collect data on Lepidoptera are vital for equipping local communities to increase resilience to climate change and enhance food security. The theme of this year’s conference was “Celebrating Global Ecology” and I was pleased to see much success in achieving such a celebration during my week in Belfast.

Esther Kioko receiving the Marsh Award for Ecologists in Africa.

Kai Chan, USA – Lead Editor

For me, a highlight was the conversation we had in the interdisciplinary peer review workshop. It’s clear that new models of editing and peer-reviewing interdisciplinary research at People and Nature and Plants People Planet are addressing some of the fundamental challenges facing interdisciplinarity, and overall vastly improving a system roundly considered to be broken.

Helen Roy, one of our Associate Editors and 12 Months in Ecology plenary speaker talks about her highlights of BES 2019 here.

Every year the three days are full of ecological wonder (and lots of laughter).

We hope you agree and we look forward to seeing you in Edinburgh in December 2020!

Helen Roy’s highlights of BES 2019.