Ecology and Evolution Conference to Discuss Current Global Challenges

Jan 02 2019 Posted: 12:45 GMT

From 10-12 January, 170 ecologists will be jointly hosted by NUI Galway and GMIT as part of the second ‘Ecology and Evolution’ conference of the Irish Ecological Association (IEA). Founded in 2015, the IEA is a society for ecologists in Ireland. It provides a forum for an international group of Irish-based ecologists and professionals interested in ecological science to meet, collaborate and solve ecological problems.

With a focus on Ireland, the work of the Irish Ecological Association also draws on global themes relevant to ecosystems around the world. Ecology, the study of organisms and how they interact with each other and the environment, has many practical applications in terms of climate change, sustainable water, biodiversity conservation, soil health and many other global problems. Conference delegates represent both academic and professional ecologists and students working in higher education and research institutions, as well as non-governmental organisations, ecological consultancies and other professionals in ecology. 

The conference, sponsored by the Marine Institute, Environmental Protection Agency and British Ecological Society, will take place over three days with talks, workshops and other events covering topics from microbes to arctic breeding birds, marine predators and woodlands. There is also a focus on training and upskilling, in particular for early-career researchers, with workshops on data analysis, career mentoring and translating ecology into policy and action.

Four invited plenary speakers from Ireland and the UK will give keynote talks on microplastics in the oceans, the evolution of ageing in bats, conservation of biodiversity on farmland, and tagging and tracking birds and fish.

Dr Gesche Kindermann, Applied Ecology Unit, School of Natural Sciences at NUI Galway, said: “Understanding the environment and processes within it is vital if we want to address current environmental problems. There is a lot of exciting research going on in relation to ecology and evolution, and this conference is an opportunity to showcase this.”

Dr Dara Stanley, UCD and Adjunct Lecturer, School of Natural Sciences at NUI Galway, said: “Ecology is such an important discipline in our current world, and can be part of the solution to many of our major environmental and climate related issues. And Galway, situated in the beautiful west of Ireland, is a hotspot for Irish ecology.”

As part of the conference, there will be a free, public lecture by Professor Richard Thompson from the School of Biological and Marine Sciences at Plymouth University entitled ‘Marine Litter: Are there solutions to this global environmental challenge’ which will take place at 7pm on Thursday, 10 January at GMIT Galway Campus. No registration is required.

Dr Heather Lally from GMIT, said: “The IEA conference is an opportunity for local Galwegians, national and international researchers, NGOs, consultants and industry to come together to share their passion for Irish ecology. It has never been so important to work together to ensure its long term conservation.”

NUI Galway will host two full days of events on the 11-12 January in the Human Biology Building and GMIT will host the public lecture with Professor Richard Thompson and a series of talks and presentations on a variety of topics on the 10 January.

For more information about Professor Richard Thompson’s lecture, visit:

Delegates will also have a chance to take the NUI Galway Biodiversity Trail on campus, see:

For more details about the conference visit: and enter ‘Ecology and Evolution Conference Ireland’ and follow on Twitter and Facebook @irish_ecology


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