Second iDiv conference inspires exchange of ideas
Leipzig. More than 200 scientists met for the second iDiv conference on Monday and Tuesday in the event location Kubus of the UFZ. The internal annual meeting has become an important platform for exchange between the different member groups from various locations in Germany. Consequently, also in 2016 the aim of the conference was to integrate different sub-disciplines of biodiversity research. The topics of the talks and workshops ranged from molecular biology to monitoring to social sciences. As an external guest, Tadashi Fukami, Associate Professor at Stanford University, talked about the importance of the assembly history of biological communities.
“This year we attached great importance to innovative formats in order to bring the people within the consortium together”, explained Dr Rebecca Thier-Lange, one of the conference organisers. Hence, the classical talks were complemented with several demonstrations, for example of devices such as the LiDAR scanner or a model of a flow cytometer. But in particular the eight ‘brainstorming sessions’ helped to find and further develop new ideas: What can be done to make more data accessible? What challenges must be overcome in order to gather new data? How can existing databases like TRY be advanced? What research topics are suited for socio-ecological modelling? In this way, the focus of the conference shifted from presenting past research to discussing new ideas. During the final plenary, many participants expressed their appreciation for these changes. “People discussed their projects and ideas at an early stage, allowing us to move towards deeper integration”, said Prof Jonathan Chase, who chaired the conference. “This is what we were really hoping for, and it was nice to see it happen.” The next meeting of this kind will take place in autumn 2017 in Halle or Jena.
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