Past ESCALATE colloquia

ESCALATE colloquium

14th of June, 2018

Teja Tscharntke is head of the Agroecology Research Group at the University of Göttingen. He is currently the most cited ecologist of Germany, Austria & Switzerland. His work focuses on biodiversity and associated ecosystem services in managed and natural systems, biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationships, pollination and multitrophic interactions.

The slides of his presentation "Integrating Biodiversity Services into Agriculture" are available here:

ESCALATE colloquium

20th of March, 2018

Fons van der Plas is an ecologist at the University of Leipzig and has a background in biodiversity and ecosystem functioning research. He gave a presentation on "Biodiversity and ecosystem multifunctionality in the real world".

ESCALATE colloquium

9th of March, 2018

Elisa Bayraktarov is an ecologist at the University of Queensland and has a background in environmental monitoring. Her research interests focus on the effects of local and global threats on ecosystems and species at risk in a changing future. Elisa gave a presentation on "A Threatened Species Index for Australia".

ESCALATE colloquium

23rd of November, 2017

Jan Hanspach is a Postdoctoral Researcher at Leuphana University in Lüneburg. He gave a presentation on A social-ecological perspective on food security and biodiversity at the landscape scale.

Achieving food security and conserving biodiversity are prominent challenges facing humanity in the 21st century. The academic discourse around these has been dominated by reductionist approaches and a focus on food production. In order to advance the discussion, Jan presented the recent idea of social-ecological system archetypes. These archetypes are characterized by a typical set of external drivers, internal features, and stabilizing feedback mechanisms and differ in their food and biodiversity outcomes. Further, he presented findings from a comparative study on 110 landscapes in the Global South and link them to the discussion. Overall, Jan argued that shifting the emphasis towards a social-ecological perspective provides a more holistic understanding of the food-biodiversity nexus.

ESCALATE colloquium

12th of October, 2017

Eren Turak is researcher at the Office of Environment and Heritage in Sydney, Australia. Eren is an expert in freshwater ecology and is knowledgeable for Global biodiversity targets, protected areas and ecosystem based management. He gave a presentation on Global biodiversity measurements need a robust conceptual framework, global networks of experts and strong links to conservation management.

ESCALATE colloquium

31st of August, 2017

Alfred Burian is a Postdoctoral Researcher at Stockholm University. He gave a presentation on A community perspective on population growth in agro-pastoralist communities of Western Kenya.

 After a period of sustained growth during past decades, human population densities are projected to double in Sub-Saharan Africa within the next 35 years. In their study, they combined social and agricultural research approaches to assess the relationship between human population densities, agricultural production and the socio-ecological resilience of agro-pastoralist communities in Western Kenya. Despite the overall positive effect of past population growth, they recorded early warning signs for a reduced resilience of households in the area. Diseases and droughts were important reasons for declining livestock sizes per household, which indicated that farmers were not able to recover adequately from catastrophic events. Considering projected increases in climate variability, the results highlight the necessity to strengthen the resilience of households to facilitate positive trajectories of socio-ecological development.

ESCALATE colloquium

20th of July, 2017

Bradley Barnhart is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) where he is working on multi-objective optimization problems related to trade-offs between economic productivity and environmental and ecosystem services. He gave a presentation on Bilevel optimization and applications related to spatially targeting agri-environmental policy amidst uncertainty and risk.

ESCALATE colloquium

24th of April, 2017

Mike Gill works as Lead Science Officer for Polar Knowledge Canada and is Vice-Chair of GEO BON. He gave a presentation on Attributes and design elements for a Biodiversity Observation Network.

The challenge that GEO BON faces, is going beyond quantification of the natural system that forms the basis for ecosystem service provision, and includes the incorporation of multiple tradeoffs, multiple scales and a wide range of social dimensions. This requires a broad interdisciplinary team from science and humanities fields that can jointly identify and explore the most crucial components of the system that need to be observed. Mike Gill presented the current work of GEO BON in that regard, outlining the attributes and design elements that will followed to face this challenge.

ESCALATE colloquium

20th of April, 2017

Steven R. Beissinger is Professor at the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, University of California and was visiting as a fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. He gave a presentation on Metapopulation dynamics in coupled natural-human systems: integrating birds, wetlands, landowners, drought, and disease.

Incorporating people directly into the system under study from multiple perspectives may offer the best potential to produce meaningful conservation solutions. This approach has been characterized as coupled natural and human systems (CNH) research. It uses a multidisciplinary approach to identify important feedbacks between different components of a study system and models system complexity across organizational scales. Steven illustrated how CNH thinking and integrative modeling can be applied to understand factors affecting metapopulation dynamics of a secretive, threatened bird, the Black Rail (BLRA), which inhabits small wetlands on private lands in an agricultural landscape in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California. Over 2/3rds of the wetland sites receive irrigation water in this arid landscape. Working with a multidisciplinary team, we quantify linkages between the main components of this CNH: metapopulation dynamics, landowner decisions, climatic variation, and disease ecology. Over the past 15 years, colonization rates of BLRA were strongly affected by wetland area and secondarily by irrigation, while extinction rates were driven by isolation and area. BLRA occupancy strongly declined after the arrival of West Nile Virus in 2007 and due to drought from 2013-15. Using agent-based models, Stevens group has begun to explore how actions within the human system impact the natural system, probing whether feedbacks in the natural system can produce changes in the human system.

ESCALATE colloquium

10th of January, 2017

Larry Li is a Professor of Ecology at the University of California, Riverside and his laboratory addresses questions that include: How do biological and ecological systems self-organize? What are the origins and mechanisms of emergence of scaling from individual to landscape levels (especially on emergence of dynamic scaling)? And what are the physical bases of non-equilibrium biological and ecological systems?

Larry Li uses mathematical, statistical, and computational modeling approaches as a way of exploring and answering these questions. These modeling approaches help identify general principles and basic mechanisms governing emerging properties of biological and ecological systems at multiple temporal and spatial scales based on energetic, thermodynamic and information considerations.

ESCALATE colloquium

26th of October, 2016

Elizabeth Law is a Postdoc at the Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science, the University of Queensland, Australia. In her presentation she demonstrated this approach using a case study from Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo, where the remnants of biodiverse forest landscapes face the dual challenges of ‘sustainable’ development and palm oil.

ESCALATE colloquium

3rd of December, 2015

Armin Grunwald (Head of the Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS) and Head of the Office of Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag TAB) is a mathematician and philosopher and gave an inspiring a talk entitled "Transformative Wissenschaft - Bedrohung der Freiheit der Forschung?".

ESCALATE colloquium

21st of May, 2015

Immo Fritsche (Professor of Social Psychology at the University of Leipzig) gave a talk entitled "WE make a difference: The social psychology of pro-environmental action" (UFZ-intern) .

Global environmental crises reflect the aggregated behavior of individuals. This is why efforts of explaining or solving these crises require psychology as the science of individuals' thinking and behavior. Individuals' pro-environmental behavior is often discouraged by perceptions of personal helplessness in face of a global problem that can only be solved collectively. Immo Fritsche gave a brief overview over common approaches in environmental psychology explaining individuals' pro-environmental behavior and presented empirical research (both experimental and correlational) on how people bridge the gap between personal helplessness and collective action, building on the unique human capacity to define the self in terms of a group ("we"). Specifically, he provided evidence, that social identity variables, such as perceived in group norms and collective efficacy beliefs predict people's general and specific (e.g., use of e-cars) pro-environmental intentions over and above personal cost-benefit analyses. Finally, Immo Fritsche discussed the relevance of these results for designing interventions to foster pro-environmental behavior.

ESCALATE colloquium

17th of March, 2015

Hugh Possingham (University of Queensland) gave a talk entitled "Spatial planning for conservation outcomes". 

The Possingham lab developed the most widely used conservation planning software in the world. Marxan was used to underpin the rezoning of the Great Barrier Reef and is currently used in over 160 countries by over 5000 users – from the UK and USA to Madagascar and Brazil – to build the world’s marine and terrestrial landscape plans. Most recently Marxan was used to develop the biggest marine reserve system in the world – Australia’s federal marine reserve system. Hugh coauthored two scientific consensus statements that supported Australia’s new marine reserve system, that is a quarter the size of Europe. Many governments and ENGOs use his lab’s work for the allocation of funding to threatened species recovery and solving other conservation conundrums. He is an advocate of wise decision-making and an informal advisor to several governments.

ESCALATE colloquium

20th of November, 2014

Gretchen Daily is Bing Professor of Environmental Science, a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and is director of the Center for Conservation at Stanford University. In her talk Mainstreaming Natural Capital into Decision-Making: Frontiers in Research and Policy Gretchen Daily discusses a strategy for meeting this challenge and advances being made on three key fronts. A recording of the talk can be viewed online (UFZ internal).

The first frontier is in characterizing the production of life-support services by ecosystems, in biophysical, economic, health, and cultural dimensions. The second frontier is the integration of this understanding into new, practical tools and approaches for use in high-leverage decision contexts. The third frontier is in policy and finance mechanisms now being implemented around the world.


18th of September 2014

Andreas Dittrich and Michael Beckmann (UFZ) will present the results of the ESCALATE workshop on Temporal and spatial dynamics of ecosystem services in old cultural landscapes (HistES). In the colloquium we will present and discuss the methods and results of the workshop as well as the development and the supervision of the workshop concept.

Guy Ziv

30th of September, 2014

Guy Ziv (University of Leeds) will presented his work on the Natural Capital Project and on the ecosystem service valuation tool InVEST.

Prof. Robert Paxton

13. May 2014

Prof. Robert Paxton from the Martin-Luther-University in Halle presented the results of his group's recent Nature publication "Disease associations between honeybees and bumblebees as a threat to wild pollinators." He also gave a few insights on the development of the paper and how he experienced the publication process in such a highly ranked scientific journal.

Prof. Alexandra-Maria Klein

19. March 2014

Alexandra-Maria Klein is Professor of Nature Conservation and Landscape Ecology at Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. She presented a talk on "Biodiversity and ecosystem services in changing landscapes" in an ESCALATE Colloquium. Alexandra-Maria Klein investigates the stability of ecosystems and the effects of landscape change on pollinators. She discussed the ecology of pollinators in cultural landscapes and their ecosystem functions and services.

Prof. Jörn Fischer

10. February 2014

Jörn Fischer is Professor of Sustainable Landscapes at Leuphana University Lüneburg and is one of the leading experts in sustainability science. His research aims at solving real-world sustainability problems and tries to re-thinks how these sustainability problems are framed and addressed in current research. In his talk he focused on the current scientific debate on land sharing vs sparing and will be related to one of his recent publications: "Land sparing versus land sharing: moving forward".

Prof. Henrique Pereira

17. December 2013

Prof. Henrique Pereira, who leads the working group Biodiversity Conservation at iDiv, gave a presentation on the "Understanding biodiversity patterns in complex landscapes: the countryside species-area relationship".

Prof. Ralf Seppelt

30. September 2013

ESCALATE Launch Colloquium

The launch colloquium of the Helmholtz Research School ESCALATE took place on September 30. About 50 participants joined the event. The two keynote speakers Aletta Bonn and Matt Walpole reported on the success and possible drawbacks of ecosystem service projects and on how a concept such as "Ecosystem Services" can really help to solve land management problems on the ground.

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