- 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 walking dinner
- 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’
– poster session (recommended poster size = 90 cm wide x 120 cm high, max. = 120cm wide and 145cm high)
- September 1st afternoon
September 1st, between 14h and 16h, we will host three diverse but highly relevant workshops
Registration is free for conference participants, yet due to the interactive nature of the workshops limited to in-person participants. Registration for the workshops happens through this form, where you will be asked to submit a first and a second choice. Final workshop participation will be decided based on the number of subscriptions and on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Workshops last approximately 1 hour.
- Workshop 1: myClim – the new R-package for microclimate data
by Matěj Man
Let’s use the new myClim R-package to facilitate and speed up the workflow of handling microclimatic data in R. The workshop includes hands-on coding examples on how to easily import primary data from logger files, pre-process and calibrate them, join time-series from multiple downloads, calculate derived variables from raw records, visualize the data, aggregate them and export to tidy R tables. We will demonstrate how to deal with time zones, how to wrangle the records efficiently (cut, crop, join, merge) and how to deal with metadata. Don’t forget to bring your own Tomst or HOBO files to play with them; basic skills in R required.
- Workshop 2: how do we measure microclimate?
by Sylvain Pincebourde
Microclimates can be measured using extremely various types of equipment and methodologies. When thinking about our experimental designs, we often start by struggling about which type of equipment is best for our specific purpose, what kind of variables we should consider, what about home-made (cheap) versus industrial (expensive) equipment, to what extent we can trust loggers etc.
In summary, this workshop will attempt to analyze the relationship between the type of logger and the spatial scale at which we need to measure the microclimate of organisms. This workshop will allow the participants to exchange and discuss on these points (and others).
- Workshop 3: Wellbeing in academia – an interactive workshop
by Caroline Greiser, Ellen De Vrieze, Karen De Pauw and Pieter De Frenne
Are you stressed by performance pressure, lack of time or work overload?
Do you have difficulties to focus and prioritize?
Do you have a life outside academia?
Especially after attending a conference, one might feel a bit overwhelmed by the achievements of other peers…
So let’s talk about the potential downsides of academic success.
We invite you to discuss with us the sensitive topic of wellbeing in academia.
By actively and openly sharing good and bad experiences, we hope to encourage people to find their own personal work-life balance as well as exchange ideas on how to achieve this.
The workshop consists of a question-and-answer round with an invited panel as well as open discussions with the participants.
The panel members are representing different career stages:
Stijn Van de Vondel (PhD candidate),
Julia Kemppinen (PostDoc, ECR)
and Koenraad van Meerbeek (young professor).
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.
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.
University of Bergen, Norway
The role of vegetation in regulating the microclimate of northern grasslands
Boreal and alpine vegetation are generally temperature-limited systems, where spatial and temporal variation in climate is known to profoundly affect biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. In our studies of climate change impacts on these systems, we have become increasingly aware of the potential role vegetation in mediating feedbacks to climate, on micro- as well as macroscale. In this talk, I will report on how we use field experimental approaches to assess and understand such feedbacks, focusing on the role of key grassland plant functional types in moderating microclimate, thereby affecting vegetation and ecosystem responses and feedbacks to climate change.
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.