Once again, the annual ESA conference proved a huge success, attracting over 500 registrants to a regional area for a feast of research and networking. Highlights included the opening plenary with speakers from the federal government and the esteemed Wentworth Group. The program included up to 6 parallel sessions on some days, providing a wide range of choices for attendees.
You can view the final program as a PDF here.
The ESA Gold Medal was awarded to Professor Mark Westoby, Macquarie University, for his outstanding contribution to ecological science throughout his career.
An interesting innovation at ESA2003 was the interwearving of a local arts program into the scientific program, comprising of theatre performances and art exhibitions, and the commissioning of a special limited ESA print from a local artist. This received some national media interest, and a report can be heard here.
The 3rd one-day postgraduate course on Current Ecology and Evolution was held on the day prior to the conference. Speakers included Prof. Hugh Possingham, Prof. Mike Lee, Dr Kris French, Prof. Peter Cullen and Greens Member, Lee Rhiannon.
The scientific combined with the political, addressing questions such as "Your research - can it influence governments and save the world?" and "How to do research that can change Australia's future".
Topics covered included an update on the most interesting recent advance in all ranges of ecological science from the experts, and focus groups tackling the questions "Are exotic species always a bad thing for non-agricultural ecosystems?" and "What would be high-priority research questions for cooperatives made up from lots of researchers?", looking at the implicatons of cooperation in an electronic research environment.
Almost 100 students attended the day, and it was well received as a continuing event in the student calendar.
Student prizes awarded at ESA 2003
ESA Marilyn Fox Award for best inaugeral presentation at a conference: Fred Ford
Rock on! Ecological Consequences of Pebble Mounds
ESA Best spoken paper at the conference: Karen Marsh
How do plant toxins lead to mixed diets? (.pdf attached)
ESA runner-up best spoken paper at the conference: Tara Martin
Do experts know anything about birds and grazing? A Bayesian approach using expert opinion .
ESA Best poster:
ESA Runner up best poster: Shanti Virgona
Habitat segregation of Banksia marginata and Banksia spinulosa (,pdf attached)
Blackwell/EMR prize for a spoken presentation on management or restoration: Angela Wardell-Johnson
People and their framewords of environmental practice: a case study of two contrasting landscapes
Blackwell/EMR prize for a poster presentation on management or restoration: Jodie Reseigh
Grassy Vegetation: the effects of agricultural management on native plant species richness (.pdf attached)
Australian Flora Foundation prize for a spoken paper on the biology or cultivation of an Australian plant: Kathleen Owen.
The mechanism of self-sterility in Bulbine bulbosa : self-incompatibility or inbreeding depression (.pdf attached)
Rainforest CRC prize for best spoken presentation: Sarah Boulter
Reproduction on top canopy trees, and the birds and the bees . (.pdf attached)
Rainforest CRC prize for a student poster presentation: Jessie Wells
Plant species attributes and spatial patterns of regeneration in secondary rainforests (.pdf attached)