International Congress for Conservation Biology 2010 overview

18 07 2010

A few posts ago I promised a brief overview of the 2010 International Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB) that I attended last week in Edmonton, Canada. Here it is.

While acknowledging that it is impossible for any single individual to attend all talks at a congress of this size given that there were usually around 6-8 concurrent sessions on most days, I can provide only a synopsis of what I saw and what I heard from others.

I’ve been lukewarm about the two SCB conferences I have attended in previous years (Brasilia and Chattanooga), and I expected about this same this time around. However, overall the presentations were generally of a higher quality, the audio-visual was professional and the schedule was humane (I really, really, really like 09.00 starts; I really, really, really hate 08.00 starts).

For me, highlights certainly include Tyrone Hayes‘ plenary on the evils of atrazine, Fangliang He‘s description of the perils of overestimating extinction rates from species-area relationships, Mark Burgman‘s account of the crap performance of ‘experts’ in returning truth, Stuart Pimm‘s advocacy of scientific advocacy, Bastian Bomhard‘s sobering account of our failure to meet the 2010 Convention on Biological Diversity targets, Rob EwersBioFrag software, Tom Brook‘s account of vertebrate threat patterns, Rob Dietz‘ presentation on the Centre for Advancement of the Steady State Economy, Guy Pe’er‘s review of population viability analyses, and of course, the Conservation Leadership Programme salsa party!

Things that failed to tickle my fancy (or were positively annoying) were the US$45 bison burgers at the final barbecue function, the backward-facing band at said same function, the coffee (or lack thereof), the few and far-between restaurants in the general vicinity of the conference venue, certain pulpit-hammering sermons instead of scientific plenary presentations, fairly ordinary food served at the tea breaks, and the less-than-inspiring alcoholic refreshment choices on offer.

The last whinge aside, I rate the overall experience at about 6-7 out of 10.

I’m off tomorrow morning at sparrow’s fart to the 2010 International Meeting of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation in Bali, Indonesia, so expect another few posts over the coming days on this subject. I’ll be severely travelled/conferenced out by the end of this month.

CJA Bradshaw

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