While the conference has been postponed to end of August, the program remains the same:
- August 29th
Pre-conference excursion (with separate registration) featuring some of Flanders’ most beautiful nature and most interesting microclimate research (see bottom of this page) [SOLD OUT]
Evening: icebreaker event featuring Belgian fries
- From August 30th to September 1st: main conference
2,5 days of conferencing, including 10 invited keynote speakers (see below), submitted talks from 12’ + 3’, and a poster session
- September 1st afternoon
Microclimate workshops. If you have an idea for a workshop, get in touch with the organizing committee!
Our keynote speakers
University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Predicted and observed impacts of warming on the composition, traits, and phenology of Arctic and alpine tundra plant communities
Arctic and alpine regions are warming much faster than the global average, potentially leading to large shifts in the characteristics and function of tundra ecosystems. We use a combination of multi-site observations, warming experiments, and long-term monitoring to understand how warming has and will alter these ecosystems, particularly focusing on the diversity, composition, and functional and phenological traits of tundra plant communities.
University of Oulu, Finland
Microclimate and soil moisture in high-latitude ecosystems
The spatio-temporal variation of microclimate and soil moisture is evident from the boreal forests to the tundra. These patterns help us understand high-latitude ecosystems that are facing a rapid macroclimatic warming with possible feedbacks to global climate change. This highlights the role of microclimate and soil moisture in these ecosystems and also their importance beyond the scope of the high-latitudes.
Rey Juan Carlos University & University of Alicante, Spain
In the footsteps of Humboldt: understanding the ecology of our planet through global scientific collaboration
Alexander von Humboldt developed a way of doing science based on the use of a large number of observations of human and environmental variables over space and time. I will talk about how we are following Humboldt´s steps to study the ecology of global drylands using a multidisciplinary approach and the power of international collaboration. I will also provide some recommendations for those interested in
setting up an international and inclusive network of researchers to address ecological questions and problems at the global scale.
Durham University, UK
The impacts of logging on tropical rainforest microclimates
Habitat degradation by selective logging is extensive in the tropics, yet even intensively logged forests retain much of their biodiversity. To maintain high biodiversity into the future, logged forests must be able to support species under climate change – a feat that could be compromised by the structural simplification inherent in logging. Using both thermal imaging cameras and temperature loggers, we discovered a surprising and encouraging capacity for intensively logged tropical forests to thermally recover, which gives hope that at least some species will be capable of finding local thermal microrefugia as the climate warms.
Université de Tours, France
Fine-scale microclimates modulate the vulnerability of insects to warming
Insects are small creatures and as such they use fine-scale microclimates at the cm scale. How do we get to such small scales? Integrative approaches relying on biophysics and ecophysiology are powerful to quantify the vulnerability of insects in a warming world by considering the thermal experience of these species. I will exemplify these aspects based on our research on plant-insect relationships. Fine-scale microclimates can both provide thermal refuges and expose to thermal danger depending on subtle biophysical mechanisms.
Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Impact of the growing environment and its microclimate on coffee
Small changes of coffee quality scores are driven by the growing environment: altitude, shade and management practices induce dramatic switches in the microclimate experienced by coffee and the fraction of specialty 1 vs. specialty 2 coffee beans. This directly affects smallholders’ livelihood in Ethiopia and competitiveness in the international markets.
University of Houston, USA
Non-native tree invasions as a tool to mitigate climate change: more cons than pros?
Climate change is among the most crucial problems facing humankind, and action is needed to limit the magnitude and rate of change. Non-native invasive woody plants have been proposed as a tool for climate change mitigation through carbon sequestration despite their potential negative impacts on biodiversity and human welfare. Here we describe how fires, soil carbon, water use and albedo may complicate the use of woody species in some ecosystems as a way to limit global warming. Clearly woody species can have fundamental use, but more research may be needed to do this in an effective way.
University of Bergen, Norway
Prospects of microclimate mapping approaches for fundamental and applied ecology
The ability to map microclimates is increasingly recognised as an important step to better understand global change impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems. In this talk I will give an overview of the young history of microclimate mapping approaches and highlight some exciting avenues that arise from developments in remote sensing, meteorology and modelling. By incorporating detailed effects of vegetation canopies and microtopography on microclimate variation we are now able to analyse how changes in land use and macroclimate are driving the climatic landscape availalbe to organisms. This unlocks important new opportunities for fundamental and applied research in ecology and environmental sciences.
Interesting summary text
On microclimate ecology and biodiversity research in Flanders
On a preconference excursion on August 29 you have the possibility to visit cutting edge microclimate ecology research sites and the Hoge Kempen, the only Belgian national park. We will make three stops where there will be guided tours by site managers and room for an interactive discussion.
- FORBIO – Effects of tree species diversity on microclimate
The FORBIO research site in Hechtel-Eksel is part of the international TreeDiv-network of experimental sites on tree species diversity (www.treedivnet.ugent.be). In 40 large plots, five tree species were planted in different diversity levels, ranging from monocultures to four species mixtures. The main goal of the set-up is to investigate the effect of biodiversity on ecosystem functioning. Of course, the differences between tree species and mixtures also result in subtle differences in forest microclimate. During this stop, we visit the experimental site and get a real-life presentation of two innovative sensor types that are used to map the microclimate.
- ECOTRON Hasselt University – High-tech research with full microclimate control
The UHasselt ECOTRON (https://www.uhasselt.be/FieldResearchCentre) exists of 13 high-tech ecosystem rooms of which the microclimate can be perfectly controlled, for instance to mimic different climate change scenarios. Local site managers Prof. Nathalie Beenaerts, Prof. François Rineau and Prof. Nadia Soudzilovskaia will show us around the impressive infrastructure, will explain the functioning of the ecosystem rooms and will elaborate on their ongoing research.
- Hoge Kempen – Microclimate research in Belgium’s only national park
Hoge Kempen National Park covers more than 12.000 ha of protected forest and heathland (https://www.nationaalparkhogekempen.be/en). We will make a walk in the Mechelse Heide, one of the best conserved heathlands of the national park. Along the way, our guides Prof. Nathalie Beenaerts, Prof. François Rineau and Prof. Nadia Soudzilovskaia will give some background on the vulnerable ecosystems we cross and demonstrate some of their observational research sites.
The excursion runs from 9 AM until 6 PM and includes bus transport from Antwerp and a sandwich lunch. More practical details will be provided shortly before the event. Registration and payment will be together with the conference registration, or separately at a later date.