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Australian biota feature at international symposium


Natasha and Julianne proudly display their ‘I love BES’ badges during a poster/networking session. [Image: Natasha Wiggins]

Recently, the British Ecological Society (fondly known as BES) ran their Annual Symposium series for 2010, which focused on ‘The integrative role of plant secondary metabolites in ecological systems’. The symposium was run at the University of Sussex, UK, from 12-14 April 2010.

Dr Julianne O’Reilly-Wapstra was an invited speaker and kicked off proceedings with the very first talk of the symposium, where she presented her work on ‘Selection for anti-herbivore Plant Secondary Metabolites (PSMs)’ in the session entitled ‘Biosynthesis and evolution of PSMs’. Julainne’s work on the eucalypt-herbivore system generated a lot of interest from a largely northern hemisphere based audience and set the scene for three more talks which would follow throughout the symposium proceedings on the Australian eucalypt-herbivore system. Dr Natasha Wiggins kicked off the second day proceedings with a presentation of her work on ‘The ecological implications of herbivore responses to plant secondary metabolites’ in the session ‘The role of PSMs in ecological processes and interactions’. Dr Joe Bailey, who has recently taken up a position as a Future Fellow at UTAS in Plant Science, wrapped up the proceedings of the second day with his presentation on ‘Cascading effects of PSMs on ecosystem function’ in the third and final session of the symposium ‘Integrative systems biology of PSMs: from gene to ecosystem’. Julianne and Joe’s presentations will also be adapted and submitted for publication in a special symposium proceedings.

Natasha flew home straight after the conference, missing by one day the turmoil created by a volcanic eruption in Iceland.  Julianne had, however, planned to stay in the UK for several weeks on a trip that included giving a research presentation to the Schools of Zoology and Plant Science at the University of Oxford.

Biobuzz issue eleven, May 2010