Not A Poster Session – Tuesday 5 pm to 7 pm


Native Oyster Network – UK & Ireland: The world is your oyster

In Europe native oyster populations have declined by 95% since the 1950s, despite this, we are optimistic that the world will once again be an oyster for the UK’s only native oyster population of Ostrea edulis.

The Native Oyster Network (UK & Ireland) is a new network that has been established in partnership with ZSL and the University of Portsmouth, with the aim of facilitating the restoration of Native Oysters across the UK & Ireland. The network coordinates communication and information sharing between seven restoration projects and ten native oyster production companies. As native oyster restoration in the UK & Ireland is still in the early stages, we have the potential to shape a large scale ecologically coherent approach.

This session will showcase the widespread national efforts to restore this species back from the brink, whilst introducing the model of our new restoration network. We will also encourage attendees to participate in our “world is your oyster” reef-building activity, whereby we will ask them to draw on oyster shells with messages, to build a conservation optimism oyster reef. By Celine Gamble from ZSL. 

Conservation, collaboration and catching coldwater prawns

When a consortium of West Greenland Prawn fishers and Sustainable Fisheries Greenland (SFG), wished to be certified against the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) fishing sustainability standard, little was known about the seabed and how the fishery affected it. The Greenland fishers approached researchers from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) for what was the start of a fruitful relationship. Since then, the ZSL team used underwater cameras to map the seabed, discovering vulnerable marine ecosystems and species whilst quantifying the impact of fishing on these habitats.

Consequently, fishing gear was adapted to prevent bycatch and damage to the sea bottom, and the fishery worked with the government to designate marine protected areas. This collaboration was not only instrumental to the fishery becoming certified in 2013, but also in supporting necessary improvements to maintain the certificate and continued market benefits of using the MSC ecolabel. This an example of how collaboration with fishers and scientists can produce positive change and MSC can provide the right incentive to set it in motion.

Presenters will engage in storytelling of the Greenland case and other examples of how the MSC programme has incentivised change around the world, using videos, including ZSL’s seabed footage, as well as printouts and objects from the field. Participants will be invited to play ‘tricky trawling’; a ‘flappybird’-esque a game, learning how to avoid sensitive habitats and species. By Ashleigh Arton and Samantha Lees from the Marine Stewardship Council and Kirsty Kemp from ZSL.

That one jaguar passing by my backyard, means my welfare

This session will feature a puzzle telling the story of a gloomy initial human-wildlife conflict, for which proposed solutions seemed ineffective or incomplete. However, once complexity is embraced, the story turns into a very welcomed, livelihood improving, initiative. Using the format of a puzzle, Ronit Amit from the People & Fauna Program will summarise a process to generate benefits for rural towns to coexist with jaguars and pumas in Costa Rica. Puzzle pieces will represent diverse knowledge sources and solving the puzzle will represent the importance of interdisciplinary work by highlighting both the conservation challenges and the solutions proposed to solve them.

Ronit Amit has listened to stakeholders related to wildlife interactions and this literal and figurative puzzle exhibits their voices and views. Still ongoing, this is a process to devolve rights and responsibilities to local people on their wildlife management. The focus on “Wildlife means Welfare” (the People & Fauna Program’s slogan) represents the programme’s goal to foster pro-coexistence behaviours. By Ronit Amit, PhD. University of Costa Rica and People & Fauna Program.

Living in Harmony

Jessica Phillips spent seven weeks camping on Nelson Island on the Antarctic Peninsula while studying penguins as part of her PhD in collaboration with the British Antarctic Survey. She had minimal internet access so she began designing a board game about our experiences there to provide the team with some entertainment. She started by sketching the tents they were staying in, then decided to create a penguin and a seal character. As weather essentially dictated their lives, she created six weather conditions that changed frequently. She also created event cards that encapsulated the challenges the team faced – getting trapped in the tents for 36 hours because of a storm, and her most desperate hopes as her supply of chocolate dwindled – getting a chocolate drop-off from Rothera (the biggest British base on Antarctica).

Each character had its own objective, and the one who achieved it first won the game. The penguins needed to travel to sea and catch enough krill to feed their chick, the seal needed to eat penguins and bite the researcher, and the researcher wanted to get foraging data back from the penguin and seal and make a trip to the rather isolated toilet. Think you would win at this game? Come and have a try! By Jessica Phillips from the University of Oxford.

Visualising Conservation Successes differently

SHEN, an initiative of Nature Conservation Foundation and the Snow Leopard Trust, is a women-led conservation enterprise project for Snow Leopard conservation in India. This session is about interpreting milestone moments of the initiative. It will engage with the participants through visual storytelling. These stories have arrived from the unmissable moments in the project where we captured the reactions of the community members to our interventions.

This Not A Poster will be discussing the emotional stimulus for practitioners and stakeholders, which makes them continue these efforts despite hurdles. While discussing these visuals, delegates will also be talking about how to identify these moments and how a conservation activity leads to it. By Preety Sharma from the Nature Conservation Foundation. 

What’s the Deal with Zoo New England’s Blanding’s Turtle Headstart Program?

Zoo New England’s local conservation program, Grassroots Wildlife Conservation, runs a headstarting program for threatened Blanding’s turtles that directly involves schoolchildren in the conservation of this local species by having students and teachers raise turtles in their classrooms, which are then released into the wild. The success of this program will be demonstrated using playing cards and toy turtles for a fun, interactive experience. By Michelle O’Brien from Zoo New England. 

Rolling With the Tides

Coralliths are an unusual spheroidal morphology of coral, which allows them to passively move with wave action and fish grazing. In the Maldives, they have been found to stabilize new habitat as they grow larger and expand the range of the reef for themselves and others. This provides hope in the light of climate change warming much of the current geographical range of tropical reefs.

Nadia Jogee’s PhD project, based at the University of Edinburgh, is investigating their ecological role in Honduras and trying to establish the limiting factors of corallith formation, is it adaptive plasticity or tolerance of mechanical stress? This will be communicated to local school groups in Honduras and Scotland via the game ‘Rolling with the Tides’. Come and have a play and learn more! By Nadia Jogee from the University of Edinburgh.

Shock, wonder and optimism – the surprisingly engaging story of oysters

Who knew the world’s ultimate introvert could captivate an audience? Globally, oyster reefs carpeted tens of thousands of kilometres of seafloor just two hundred years, but today are all but lost from common memory. In Australia, a team of researchers has been engaging coastal communities on the surprising talents of oysters to build support for their conservation. They’ve learnt a few tricks on how to sell conservation of these less than charismatic critters to different audiences, which has inspired them to delve deeper into the psychology of conservation messaging.

This session will discuss how balancing the psychological benefits of pessimism and optimism can build an enticing narrative for engaging your audience. Optimism and pessimism imprint differently on the human brain, and knowing what concerns your target audience can identify how best to use these psychological constructs. Using history, imagery and video, Dominic Mcaffee will explore our communication strategy for exciting diverse audiences who didn’t even know they cared about oysters. By Dominic Mcafee from the University of Adelaide.

Let’s map our network

The Future For Nature (FFN) Academy is a movement and a network of students and young alumni in the Netherlands, who are passionate about the natural world, inspired by conservation heroes, with the aim to conserve nature.  Many of the conservation heroes are winners of the Future For Nature award, bestowed to three young, international laureates in Burgers’ Zoo in the Dutch town of Arnhem every spring, akin to the Whitley award event in the UK.  By getting to know these laureates personally, members of the FFN Academy get even more inspired and more easily share their own passion with others, and thus contribute to a strongly positive force in conservation.

In this Not A Poster session, FFN Academy members engage in a “structured conservation” with you, and invite you to draw your personal network. You feature as one of the nodes, and you map your own connections with others (nodes) who work in conservation, either as individuals or in organisations. What does your network look like? How does that help you to gain inspiration and share your passion? And how does that help all of us to dream about and construct the global community of Conservation Optimism?  By Denise Swanborn from the Future For Nature Academy.

Come and learn more about the British Ecological Society

The British Ecological Society is a thriving learned society of 6000 members in 120 countries. We are an innovative and inclusive community and have unique membership opportunities for everyone involved in ecology. Belong to our global ecological community and enjoy access to our journals, member-only grants, training and mentoring opportunities, and much more.

We are home to six journals that publish high-impact ecological research, including our new journal, People and Nature, led by Editor in Chief Kevin Gaston and Lead Editors Kai Chan, Rob Fish, Rosie Hails and Cecily Maller. People and Nature is a broad-scope, open access journal, publishing work from across research areas exploring relationships between humans and nature. Ask us about our call for papers on consuming wildlife: managing the demand for wildlife products.

Come and learn more about what we as a society can do for you and try your hand at the People and Nature buzz wire game to win a year’s free membership to the BES.