First JBI Global Colloquium: “Towards a comprehensive understanding of biodiversity-geodiversity relationships”

Geodiversity – the abiotic diversity of the Earth’s atmosphere, surface, and sub-surface, comprising geology, soils, hydrology, climate, landforms, and their interaction – is increasingly recognised as a crucial component of the natural world, and a key element of the “conserving nature’s stage” approach to conservation.

Interest in the relationships between biodiversity and geodiversity has grown dramatically in the last decade of biogeographical research, not only from a conservation viewpoint, but also as part of modelling the distribution of alien species, informing management of ecosystem services, and in progressing our understanding of climate change and other anthropogenic impacts on biodiversity.

Yet significant gaps remain in our understanding of biodiversity–geodiversity relationships, and more evidence is required to value geodiversity correctly in policy and conservation efforts. Given the multi-disciplinary interests in geodiversity, a comprehensive and balanced understanding of the relationships between geodiversity and biodiversity is essential as a foundation.

This colloquium will bring together researchers from across the ecology–geography spectrum, to collectively identify the major knowledge gaps in the field of geodiversity–biodiversity relationships, and foster discussion around planning a research agenda and strategic framework to fill these gaps in a systematic way. The event will draw on the expertise of researchers at all career stages, facilitating a new and genuinely cross-disciplinary collaborative network to tackle these fundamental questions.

When, where, who, and how?

The event is planned as an online meeting in Summer 2021. The event will be held over one day, providing ample time for thorough discussions and significantly reducing the financial cost of participation, as well as making in-person attendance more feasible to researchers with caring responsibilities.

Our online format will enhance the accessibility of our event to overseas and/or early-career researchers who may be unable to travel.

There will be a mix of keynote speakers, along with geodiversity-themed lightning talks to encourage networking and disseminating research. The main focus of the event will be on smaller group-based discussions corresponding to five key themes that categorise the knowledge gaps in biodiversity-geodiversity relationships, which are:

  • Building geodiversity-biodiversity knowledge across the tree of life.
  • Evaluating spatio-temporal biases in geodiversity-biodiversity research and how to address them.
  • Evaluating and contrasting observational versus experimental opportunities to address geodiversity-biodiversity research questions, and how anthropogenic influences may shed new light on geodiversity-biodiversity research.
  • Building collaborations between disciplines to benefit geodiversity-biodiversity research.
  • Raising the profile of geodiversity within biodiversity research.

Participants will be encouraged to join ‘breakout’ groups in at least two discussions, with each group ultimately feeding back to the rest of the participants.

Organizers & contacts

The primary organising team consists of Dr Dave Clark (University of Essex, UK), Dr Laura Graham (University of Birmingham, UK), Dr Joseph Bailey (York St John University, UK), Prof. Richard Grenyer (University of Oxford, UK), Dr Barnabas Daru (Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, USA), Eva Lieungh (Uni. of Oslo NHM, Norway), Dr François Bétard (Université de Paris Diderot University, France), Dr Helena Tukianen (Uni. of Oulu, Finland), and Dr Adrianna Ruggiero (Universidad Nacional del Comahue, Argentina).

Intended outcomes

The primary outcome of the discussions taking place at our event will be for all participants to contribute to a key perspectives paper, in which we will provide a clear roadmap of the knowledge gaps in biodiversity-geodiversity relationships, and some practical suggestions on how to fill them. Following on from this, we foresee a series of more specific forward-looking perspectives and meta-analyses, where appropriate, dealing with each of the five categories outlined above, with more definitive recommendations of how we can build towards a comprehensive understanding of biodiversity-geodiversity relationships.

Of equal importance will be the establishment of a global network of researchers interested in biodiversity-geodiversity relationships. By mass streaming our event, we aim to attract a wide spread of researchers from different backgrounds, resulting in a network that fairly represents global perspectives on biodiversity-geodiversity relationships. We are especially keen to encourage ECRs to attend, as it is they who are likely to adopt and ultimately fulfill the research directions and narratives resulting from this colloquium, and for whom this network will be most beneficial by disseminating and sharing career-development opportunities. Furthermore, certificates of attendance will be offered to all participants as proof of international conference attendance.

We are excited to see what research directions emerge as a result of our event, and look forward to assembling a vibrant and global network of researchers to tackle questions on the horizon of geodiversity and biogeography.

(Prepared by the organizing team.)

Published by jbiogeography

Contributing to the growth and societal relevance of the discipline of biogeography through dissemination of biogeographical research.

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