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The Faculty of Biology of the UB holds the foundational conference of SIBECOL, the first scientific society of experts on ecology of the Iberian Peninsula

SIBECOL is a scientific entity created in July 2018 in Barcelona. Photo: Blanca Arroyo

SIBECOL is a scientific entity created in July 2018 in Barcelona. Photo: Blanca Arroyo

This conference will gather around seven hundred international experts from February 4 to 7, at the Faculty of Biology of the University of Barcelona.

This conference will gather around seven hundred international experts from February 4 to 7, at the Faculty of Biology of the University of Barcelona.

SIBECOL aims to promote knowledge on natural ecosystem and initiatives for the environmental sustainability. Photo: Txemi Olano

SIBECOL aims to promote knowledge on natural ecosystem and initiatives for the environmental sustainability. Photo: Txemi Olano

The first SIBECOL conference coincides with the commemoration of the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Professor Ramon Margalef (1919-2004), the first professor of Ecology in Spain and a model for many generations of ecologists and naturalists.

The first SIBECOL conference coincides with the commemoration of the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Professor Ramon Margalef (1919-2004), the first professor of Ecology in Spain and a model for many generations of ecologists and naturalists.

30/01/2019

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Marine and terrestrial ecosystems facing global change, effects of pollutants in the environment, invasive species in a changing environment, and challenges to preserve biodiversity in a global world are some of the topics to be treated in the first SIBECOL conference –the first scientific society of experts on ecology in the Iberian Peninsula –from February 4 to 7, at the Faculty of Biology of the University of Barcelona.

 

This foundational conference, which will gather around seven hundred international experts, will be held together with the commemoration of the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Professor Ramon Margalef (1919-2004), professor of Ecology at the UB since 1967 and a model to many generations of ecologists and naturalists in the country. 

 

The SIBECOL foundational conference is organized by a committee led by the lecturers and researchers Isabel Muñoz (Faculty of Biology, UB), Josep Piñol (CREAF-UAB), Celia Marrasé (ICM-CSIC) and Francisco Lloret (CREAF-UAB).

 

Created in July 2018 in Barcelona, SIBECOL is a scientific entity promoted by the Spanish Association for Terrestrial Ecology (AEET), the Iberian Association of Limnology (AIL), the Portuguese Ecological Society (SPECO) and the Spanish Society of Ethology and Evolutionary Ecology (SEEEE), and counts on the support of the peninsular collective of experts on the field of marine sciences. It is integrated by more than two thousand members from Spain and Portugal, and aims to promote the knowledge on terrestrial and water ecosystems and to improve the management of the environment and environmental sustainability. 


The conference will start on Monday, February 4, at 5 p.m., in the Aula Magna of the Faculty of Biology of the UB, in an act presided by the rector of the UB, Joan Elias, with the participation of Celia Marrasé, president of SIBECOL; Francisco Lloret, president of AEET; Joandomènec Ros; professor of Ecology at the UB and president of the Institute for Catalan Studies (IEC); Sonia Castañeda, director of Fundación Biodiversidad of the Ministry for Ecological Transition, and Cristina Màguas, president of the European Ecological Federation (EEF). The opening conference, titled “Rebuilding Marine Biodiversity in a Shifting Ocean”, will be given by the expert Carlos M. Duarte, from the King Abdulla University of Science and Technology (Saudi Arabia).


Ecologist Ramon Margalef, a distinguished scientist for SIBECOL


The program of the conference will treat a wide range of topics of scientific topics on pollution and cycles of matter, environmental microbiology, ecology and society, etc. from an integrating perspective in the different fields of knowledge on Ecology. Attendants can take part in the conference, general sessions, working groups, oral presentations and posters in the conference, which will also dedicate a special interest to initiatives to promote the participation of young researchers.

 


The scientific legacy of Professor Ramon Margalef (1919-2004), one of the most cited researchers in the field of ecology, will be one of the big topics in the SIBECOL conference. Regarding the centenary of the birth of Professor Margalef –author of an extensive legacy of scientific articles, books, communications and contributions to dissemination journals- Professor Narcís Prat (UB) will coordinate a chapter of the program that goes through his scientific work and the validity of the ecological thinking of Margalef, marked by a series of renovating ideas and a way of regarding nature which made an impact and guided works by other generations of ecologists. 


A methodological revolution in Ecology


The program also includes several contributions on the most innovating advances in the study of ecological dynamics where many species interact –so far researchers used to work on simplified cases or a few species- or molecular techniques applied to microbial ecology or the study of organisms, systems and ecological and evolutionary systems.  


Lecturer Isabel Muñoz, from the Department of Evolutionary Biology, Ecology and Environmental Sciences and the Water Research Institute of the UB (IDRA), says that “regarding integration of knowledge, we find a methodological revolution in many branches of Ecology. Therefore, in the conference, there will be sessions on study objects that share many aspects but which had been treated independently so far –such as trees and marine organisms, or the ground and soil”.


Global change: after the human footprint in the planet


The global environmental change which affects the whole planet will be another topic of interest in the conference, with sessions on the balance of carbon in the ecosystems, the records of past changes to know the present better, the remotely controlled observation systems, effects of biodiversity in agriculture, the impact of extreme climatic episodes and the use of big data in Ecology.  “The human activity has been leading the planet to a highly uncertain situation for many decades”, highlight the organizers. “In many aspects, limits on which scientific knowledge could make precise predictions are already over mainly due the effects of emissions to the environment and the direct transformation of territory”.


“Therefore, we could say there are enough scientific consensuses to say this situation is not sustainable for the environment, but acceleration –different than speed- is not decreasing. Therefore, the most urgent challenge is to stop this acceleration. At the same time, we have to ease the recovery or adaptation of natural systems to this environment in deep transformation”.


From a scientific and social view, scientific societies carry out a dual function. On the one hand, they help creating meetings for scientists with different experiences in the same discipline, and on the other, they can give advice and information to the citizens and the different social agents in an expert way. In this context, SIBECOL represents a dual channel of internal communication –and external as well through transfer of knowledge for society.


The first SIBECOL conference, which will coincide with the 14th Conference of the Spanish Association for Terrestrial Ecology, will count on the participation of the Ecological and Forestry Applications Research Centre (CREAF), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, University of Girona (UdG), the Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA), the Institute of Marine Sciences (ICM-CSIC), and the Center for Advanced Studies of Blanes (CEAB-CSIC). 




 

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