Rien Aerts

VU University Amsterdam, DES- Institute of Ecological Science, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Overarching topic: Ecosystems & global change

Prof. Rien Aerts is an ecosystem ecologist with about 30 years experience in research on how ecosystems react to environmental change and how this affects biogeochemical cycles. During the past two decades he has been very active in investigating how climate change affects biogeochemical cycles in cold biomes, notably in northern Scandinavia and the Antarctic Peninsula. In his work he tries to link plant ecology with soil ecology and soil microbial ecology with strong ramifications to earth sciences. He is director of the Institute of Ecological Science at the VU University in Amsterdam. He has published more than 150 papers in ISI rated journals which have been cited in Web of Science more than 11,000 times.

Susanne Fritz

Senckenberg Biodiversity & Climate Research Centre (BiK-F) & Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany

Overarching topic: Macroecology & biogeography

Susanne is an evolutionary biologist by training but has dabbled extensively in macroecology, conservation biology, and paleontology. She is interested in the processes underlying large-scale biogeographic and phylogenetic patterns and their relationships with the abiotic environment, and in consequences for global conservation prioritisation. She has worked on ecology, evolution and conservation of mammals, amphibians and birds, and is now heading an Emmy Noether junior research group focusing on macroevolution of ecological niches in birds. The group investigates the evolutionary and ecological processes that shape species` climatic niches, i.e. the climatic conditions that living species can be found in. Key questions include whether climatic niche evolution is linked to paleo-climatic conditions, and how climatic niche evolution is related to the evolution of traits that quantify other ecological niche parameters, such as diet or habitat. Finally, the group also studies the diversification of clades, i.e. the speciation and extinction of avian and mammalian lineages, by linking molecular phylogenies, the fossil record, and paleo-climatic modelling.

Thomas Lewinsohn

Depto. Biologia Animal, IB, UNICAMP, Campinas, São Paulo, Brasil

Overarching topic: Multitrophic interactions

Thomas Michael Lewinsohn was born and educated in Brazil, having graduated in Biology from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. He earned a MSc and PhD at the University of Campinas (Unicamp), where he is Professor of Ecology. His research focuses on various intersections between community ecology, insect-plant interactions, and the organization of biodiversity, on which he has published more than 70 papers and chapters and edited two volumes. He has been quite active in Brazilian and overseas research agencies, and been a senior consultant for the UN Development Program, World Bank (GEF), European Science Foundation, the Brazilian Ministry of the Environment for which he organized the first Assessment of the Knowledge of Biodiversity in Brazil, and the Museum of Tomorrow (Museu do Amanhã), inaugurated in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. He has been a visiting professor or researcher at the University of Bayreuth and the T.U. München (Germany), the Center for Population Biology (UK), the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (USA) and the Doñana Research Station (CSIC, Spain), chair of a Brazil-France exchange program, and recently a resident scholar in the Rockefeller Center in Bellagio, Italy. He is past president of ABECO, the Brazilian Association for Ecological Research. Further interests span the history and philosophy of science, various forms of music - especially early music - and authoral photography.

Shahid Naeem

Earth Institute Center for Environmental Sustainability at Columbia University, New York City, US

Ecological services & social ecology

Shahid Naeem is Professor of Ecology in the Dept. of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology and Director of the Earth Institute Center for Environmental Sustainability at Columbia University. He obtained his PhD from the University of California at Berkeley, was a postdoctoral fellow at Imperial College of London, the University of Copenhagen, and University of Michigan. He has served on the faculty of the University of Minnesota, the University of Washington, and currently serves on the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the Earth Institute at Columbia University. Recipient of the Ecological Society of America’s Buell and Mercer Awards and the Lenfest Distinguished Faculty award at Columbia University, he is also a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and an Aldo Leopold Leadership fellow. Considered among the “World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds” in environmental and ecological science by Thompson Reuters in 2016, his teaching, research, and publications focus on the importance of biodiversity in the functioning of ecosystems and the services they provide humanity.

Nathalie Pettorelli

Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, London, United Kingdom

Overarching topic: Conservation

Dr Nathalie Pettorelli is a research fellow at the Institute of Zoology (IOZ) and an honorary lecturer at University College London (UCL), with a main research focus on biodiversity monitoring and climate change ecology. Her expertise includes methods to assess, predict and mitigate the impacts of changes in climatic conditions on species and ecosystems. Together with her PhD students and colleagues, Nathalie was the first to present a coherent framework for quantitatively assessing mammals’ vulnerability to extreme natural events, while pioneering efforts to combine population dynamics modelling and species distribution models to better inform translocations. She was also among the first to highlight the potential for Earth observations to inform population dynamics studies and support species reintroduction programmes. So far, she has published a single authored book and an edited book, over 100 peer-reviewed publications as well as various book chapters, blogs and editorials. Nathalie is on the editorial boards of Journal of Applied Ecology and Animal Conservation, two high impact, UK-based journals. She is also the Editor in Chief of Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation, a newly launched journal that aims to promote collaborative work at the interface between remote sensing, ecology and conservation.

Professional page:

Twitter: @Pettorelli

Christian Wirth

Spezielle Botanik und Funktionelle Biodiversität, Universität Leipzig, Germany

Overarching topic: Functional & evolutionary ecology

Christian Wirth is professor at the University of Leipzig, managing director of German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig and Fellow of the Max-Planck-Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena. He is a plant ecologist and ecosystem scientist by training with a keen interest in the diversity of plant functioning and disturbance ecology. He is one of the founding members of the TRY database for plant traits and started the development with his group in 2007. His current research focuses on understanding whether and how the influence of biodiversity on ecosystem functioning can be generalized using plant functional traits. His work combines global database development and modeling as well as field observations and experiments in forests and grasslands in Germany, China, Brazil, Russia and Alaska. He is also increasingly involved in restauration projects and forest canopy research and serves as director of the Botanical Garden of the University of Leipzig.