Andrew Beckerman Introduces INTECOL

Oh INTECOL, give me a good week of science, frivolity and celebration of 100 years of the BES!

Let me be clear, up front, about this blog post. I am petrified. I am writing as the organiser of the science programme for the meeting, something hoisted upon me via the most awesome position you can have for the BES, Meetings Secretary. Just ask anyone else who’s done it, like Prof. Malcolm Press or Dr. Hefin Jones. I mean, you get to work with Richard English and Hazel Norman from the society. And if that wasn’t cool enough, you get to help make meetings happen, where anywhere from 25–2500 people come from around the world to share their science and ideas. Interested in party planning for ecology? Come join us.

But I am also writing as a journal editor – I share the Editor in Chief position for the new Open Access journal Ecology & Evolution with Prof Allen Moore, and I’ll be hanging out on Wednesday 16.15 at the Wiley-Blackwell booth to answer questions about the journal, our OA vision and the many cool ways you can submit to us.

And finally, I will also be there as a scientist, something my friends will surely question and laugh at. Be quiet Dylan Childs. But I have managed to get my name on quite a cool poster, with Dr. Olga Barbosa from Universidad Austral, in Valdivia, Chile. I’ve been on sabbatical there for nearly 8 months, and we’ve worked on using multi-objective programming tools to understand how to simultaneously meet urban development and biodiversity preservation objectives in the amazing city of Valdivia. The data Olga has on the city is just amazing. Go see it!?

But, lets go back to the FEAR. Much of my research centres around fear, mostly under the guise of predation risk. And for the first time, I am afraid of a meeting. INTECOL is big. I’ve organised the BES science programmes for a few years now. But , let me say it again. INTECOL is BIG! And filled with so many cool, interesting talks and posters cutting across the breadth of ecology. Notwithstanding the challenges, irritations and self-inflicted trauma (sorry Amy) of reconciling two databases to organise the programme, I just hope the timetabling of symposia, oral sessions, keynotes and workshops works. At least people seem to like the app.

At this point, I should introduce Amy Everard and Julie Hodgkinson. Julie is the BES staff person in charge of the BES centenary- the Festival of Ecology Manager -and is really the one coordinating all the cool events that have led to the meeting and, frankly, everything but the science at the meeting, though she’s had a hand in that working with the international science committee that advised us early on and helped set the keynote and symposia. Amy was hired as Julie’s assistant to help me with the programming
and Julie with the rest.

Why focus on these two superstars? Well, if the meeting goes well, they are the ones to thank. Any problems are not their fault. Find me instead, if you want to complain. Rob Salguero-Gomez might be the first the queue to talk about the Programme and conflicts! He has some good advice about negotiating the unavoidable situation of too many good things that happens at big meetings.

But then again, if the meeting is falling apart, I’ll have left for Portugal to attend That Other Meeting. Or gone back to hiding in Chile.

Welcome to INTECOL. Come meet the BES. Engage in debate and discussion. Learn cool stuff. Enjoy the biggest gathering of ecology London ahead ever seen. Ecology Rocks, doesn’t it.

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