New approaches to old problems

posted on October 15, 2012

Our Sylva Scholar Kirsty Monk, provides a run down of a busy conference season in the ecological world.

This year is no exception, over the last fortnight I have attended three conferences, all totally different in context but sharing the common themes of using new methods to tackle old problems.

The Biodiversity Symposium in Oxford, highlighted the potential of new technologies, such as bioaccoustic recognition (being able to tell species apart from their song, using computers) and telemetry (electronic tracking), for enhancing scientific investigations. The programme included talks from the Sylva Foundation and myself about myForest and FungiWatch respectively and, to my delight, had a whole session devoted to citizen science.

Next came the Oxford Green Schools Conference where I, in collaboration with my partner school St Ebbes’, presented the results of our Royal Society project to other teachers from Oxford and received a great response.

One week later came a joint BES/SEB/BS conference devoted to interactions between above and belowground interactions. This was fascinating and highlighted just how complex life on earth really is, discussing everything from hormones, through aphids, to tropical forest carbon cycling.

All of these were great events and I cannot wait to put everything I have learned into practice!

Kirsty Monk, Sylva Scholar

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