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Welcome: The International Biogeography Society Early Career Conference 2014

The International Biogeography Society (IBS) and the Australian National University (ANU) invite you to the IBS Early Career Conference 2014.

The conference will take place in Canberra, ACT, Australia between the 7th and the 10th of January 2014, and is jointly supported by the IBS, the ANU Centre for Macroevolution and Macroecology (, and the ANU-CSIRO Centre for Biodiversity Analysis (

The event aims to bring together early career researchers, along with more experienced scientists, working on many aspects of biogeography, in order to present and discuss their work and increase networking opportunities. Contributions will include keynote talks, oral presentations, and posters, and pre-conference workshops will be run for a restricted number of participants. Evening mixer events will offer a relaxed environment for researchers at different stages of their careers, along with IBS board members, to socialise. Post-conference field trips will give visitors the chance to see the beautiful surroundings of Canberra.

Follow the links, above, and see below for more information on registering and participating. These pages will be updated with event details until the conference starts. Please check back regularly for details.

Keynote speakers:

Dr Michael Kearney, University of Melbourne
Dr Catherine Graham, Stony Brook University
Dr Simon Ferrier, CSIRO
Dr Matthew Fitzpatrick, University of Maryland
Dr Hélène Morlon, École Polytechnique
Prof Craig Moritz, Director of CBA, ANU-CSIRO

Follow the conference on twitter @ibs2014, #ibs2014, and stay up to date with the conference at the IBS Facebook page. If you have any questions, please write to us (the organising committee) at

We look forward to welcoming you to Canberra in January 2014!

Dr Haris Saslis-Lagoudakis, Dr Peter Cowman, Dr Dan Warren, Dr Dan Rosauer, Dr Renee Catullo & Assoc. Prof. Marcel Cardillo
The local organising committee



Information about the IBS Early Career Conference 2014

The conference will be held at ANU Commons (, on the ANU campus. Workshops will be run at the teaching facilities of the Research School of Biology, ANU, a new complex with purpose build rooms for computer centric workshops. ANU is within a few minutes’ walk to the main attractions and amenities of Canberra CBD, including restaurants, bars and museums

ANU Centre for Macroecology and Macroevolution
ANU-CSIRO Centre for Biodiversity Analysis

Abstract Submission
Deadline extended to August 20, 2013. Please see the link at the top of the page.

Registration Information
Registration for this meeting is now open. Deadline is 31 October 2013. Please follow the link at the top of the page.


Conference Schedule

The conference schedule is as follows:

Pre-conference workshops

On the 7th of January, we will offer workshops for a limited number of participants. The workshops will be filled on a first come first served basis, so please register as soon as possible. All workshops require participants to bring their own laptops. Workshop presenters will contact participants near the time of the workshops with information on software and other resources they will need to download. To register for the workshops, please follow the Registration link at the top of this page.

Please note that, because all workshops are held on the same day, each participant can attend a maximum of one full-day or two half-day workshops.

Workshop 1 (Full day):

Introduction to species distribution modelling
Presenters: Dan Warren (ANU) and Jane Elith (University of Melbourne)

Species distribution models (SDM) combine data on the occurrence of species with environmental predictors in order to construct a statistical model of species' habitat tolerances and preferences. These models are used across evolution and ecology to estimate the effects of climate change, find new populations, and estimate species' niches. In this course, we will cover the concepts and methodology used in modelling species distributions from occurrence data. Topics will include finding, accessing, and formatting data, selection of appropriate predictor variables, basic R skills for SDM, and statistical methods including regression trees, GAM, GLM, and Maxent.

Workshop 2 (Full day):

Modelling compositional turnover using generalised dissimilarity modelling
Presenters: Dan Rosauer (ANU) and Karel Mokany (CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences)

Predictive models of beta diversity, or compositional turnover, are increasingly being applied to studies of conservation priorities, impacts of climate change (paleo and future) and habitat loss. A commonly used approach is generalised dissimilarity modelling (GDM). GDM is particularly useful for spatial analyses of biodiversity where the patterns of interest involve hundreds or thousands of species. GDM compares the community composition and environmental conditions across pairs of sites to predict compositional difference as a function of environmental difference, extrapolating the prediction beyond surveyed sites. The resulting models give a spatially continuous prediction of turnover, and thus of the spatial structure of diversity. GDM has been used to study compositional turnover in space and time, as well as species, phylogenetic, genetic and functional turnover.

This hands-on workshop will introduce the concepts and practical steps involved in fitting GDMs. Participants will fit and interpret models of community dissimilarity, and explore a number of ways of applying and visualising them. Applications covered may include identifying conservation priority areas, defining biological regions, projecting community change over time and biological survey planning. Participants will use the open source statistical package R, and various stand-alone tools.

Workshop 3 (Half day):

An Introduction to R for beginners
Presenter: Rob Lanfear (ANU)

R is a fantastically useful piece of software for biologists. This half-day course will introduce R for beginners, and briefly cover some popular biogeography packages.

Workshop 4 (Half day):

Free your mind: Model comparison and model testing in historical biogeography with the R package 'BioGeoBEARS'
Presenters: Nick Matzke (UC Berkeley) and Peter Cowman (ANU)

Biogeographers who wish to infer biogeographic history on phylogenies have traditionally been limited to just a few models implemented in programs such as LAGRANGE, DIVA, or Mesquite. The R package BioGeoBEARS implements these models and many others in a common framework that allows users to statistically compare how well each model fits the data. The best models can then be objectively chosen using Bayesian or likelihood-based model choice procedures (e.g., Bayes factors, AIC). New models in BioGeoBEARS include jump dispersal and dispersal as a function of distance. BioGeoBEARS also makes use of R's graphics capabilities to easily plot ancestral range estimates on phylogenies.

This workshop will introduce the basic theory behind historical biogeographical models and statistical model choice. Participants will then work through a number of examples on their computers, with the help of the instructor. The examples will teach how to use BioGeoBEARS to load phylogenies and geography data, run maximum likelihood and Bayesian estimation, compare models statistically, and graphically display results. Remaining time will be used to help users run their own datasets (the basic inputs are just a newick file, and a PHYLIP-format geographic ranges file, for example as used by the C++ version of LAGRANGE).


Conference symposia

8th January 2014: Species distribution across time and space (Dan Warren - ANU)
Species distribution modelling (SDM, alternatively ecological niche modelling or ENM) is one of the most broadly used tools in evolution, ecology, and conservation biology. These methods use presence data for species in conjunction with environmental variables in order to construct mathematical models of the species’ tolerances, which are used to predict the relative suitability of different patches of habitat. Although these methods have proven their utility very broadly, there are still fundamental limits to our ability to infer species ecology from presence-only data. This symposium focuses on methods for integrating phenomena such as physiology, evolutionary history, biotic interactions, and dispersal into the modelling process to improve model construction and validation beyond what is possible with presence-only data.
Confirmed Keynote Speakers: Dr Michael Kearney, University of Melbourne, & Dr Catherine Graham, Stony Brook University

9th January 2014: Advances in phylogenetic methods for biogeography (Marcel Cardillo, Haris Saslis-Lagoudakis, Peter Cowman - ANU)
The continuous development of computational techniques, increasing sequencing efforts and advances in divergence time estimation in recent years have led to a better understanding of the relationships and time frame of the Tree of Life. A growing number of studies are exploring large phylogenetically informed datasets with statistical methods to reveal large-scale present and past patterns in evolution and ecology. This symposium presents new methodological and theoretical advances in the application of phylogenetics to questions in biogeography. Empirical studies from a wide range of taxa integrating phylogenetics, phylogeography, ecology, palaeontology and statistical modelling will be presented. These studies will highlight the roles played by ecology and evolution with respect to the past, present and future distribution of biodiversity.
Confirmed Keynote Speakers: Prof Craig Moritz, Director of Centre for Biodiversity Analysis, ANU-CSIRO & Dr Hélène Morlon, École Polytechnique

10th January 2014: Biodiversity turnover across spatial scales (Dan Rosauer - ANU)
Beta diversity, or compositional turnover, is a powerful integrative concept for understanding how biological diversity is distributed spatially, and how diversity varies with spatial scale. A range of recent approaches have sought to statistically model compositional turnover to address questions including conservation priorities, impacts of climate change (past and future) and habitat loss. Determining the contributions of environment and isolation to dissimilarity (species, phylogenetic, genetic, morphological) is adding to knowledge about the basic processes by which biological diversity is generated and maintained. This symposium explores new approaches to model and investigate the drivers of compositional turnover.
Confirmed Keynote Speakers: Dr Simon Ferrier, CSIRO & Dr Matthew Fitzpatrick, University of Maryland

Social Events

On the 7th January 2014, the registration desk will be open for participants to register for the conference. In the evening on the same day, the organizing committee will point out (and probably lead the way to) local restaurants and watering holes. On the 10th of January 2014, a closing evening banquet will be organised at some venue near the conference site.

Post-conference fieldtrips

Canberra is the capital of Australia, and is surrounded by beautiful nature, including several nature reserves, where visitors can see many iconic Australian animals (the platypus, koalas, kangaroos, wombats, wallabies), and plants (banksias, eucalypts), as well as cave systems. The coast is only a couple of hours away and Sydney approximately a 3 hour drive.

Fieldtrips to two national parks are available on the 11th of January. Departure times will be confirmed during the conference. Trips will be realised if the minimum capacity is met. Registration for fieldtrips will be on a first come first served basis, so please make sure you book your place as soon as possible. To register for the field trips, follow the Registration link at the top of this page.

Costs cover transportation and entry to the national parks. Both national parks offer several tracks with different levels of difficulty and points of interest. There will be no guided tours, so visitors can decide which self-guided trails they would like to follow based on what they would like to see. Coaches will drop visitors at different points of interest, so some level of co-ordination will be required.

Half day trip - Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
8:30am to 2:30pm
Min: 25 people, Max: 48 people
Level of Activity: Moderate
Cost: $60.00 per person

Nestled between Tidbinbilla and Gibraltar Ranges the reserve forms part of the Australian Alps National Park. The Australian Alps are National Heritage listed, recognising that their natural and cultural values are of outstanding national significance. Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve is home to a wide range of Australian animals living in diverse sub-alpine habitats including wetlands, grasslands, wet and dry forests and woodlands.

What you might expect to do:
Walking trails offer an active means to explore the natural world at Tidbinbilla. With 22 marked trails, ranging from an easy 15 minute stroll to an all day bushwalk there is something to suit everyone.
What you might expect to see:
Kangaroos  and emus can be seen all over the park and there are pools where platypuses are often sighted. Furthermore, the habitats in the park support a wide range of wildlife including koalas, potoroos, wallaroos, possums, wombats, echidnas, emus, lyrebirds as well as many other birds and reptiles.

Note: Please wear comfortable clothing, appropriate shoes for walking and a hat. Make sure you bring a bottle of water and sunscreen with you. If you have a pair of binoculars, please bring them along.

Full day trip - Booderee National Park
8:30am to 8:30pm
Min: 25 people, Max: 48 people
Level of Activity: Moderate
Cost: $100.00 per person

Thanks to the vast range of habitats found in the area - coastal cliffs and heaths, sandy beaches and rock platforms, mangroves and ocean, swamps, lakes and forests - Booderee is home to several plant and animal species. The park contains many species that are at the limits of their bio-geographical range. The habitats protect a high concentration of rare and threatened plants and animal species.

What you might expect to do:
The park offers several self-guided trails where you can see different habitats and encounter the park's wildlife. There are several beaches where you can cool down before, during, or after your walk.  The Botanic Gardens on site contains a significant collection of plants collected over the last fifty years, and is unique in its presentation of regional Koori plant utilisation.
What you might expect to see:
There are over 200 species of birds, including sea, freshwater, heath and forest birds. The park website points out some of these and there is even an iPhone app on Booderee birds.
There are over thirty species of native mammals including ten species of bats, thirty-seven reptiles, seventeen amphibians and at least 180 species of fish. Over 460 native plant species have been recorded in the Jervis Bay Territory. Several iconic Eucalyptus and Proteaceae species can be encountered at the park.

Note: Please wear comfortable clothing, appropriate shoes for walking and a hat. Make sure you bring a bottle of water and sunscreen with you. If you would like to swim, please bring your beach equipment with you. If you have a pair of binoculars and snorkelling equipment, please bring them along.

For more information about things to do in Canberra, please follow this link:





International Biogeography Society Travel Awards

The IBS is offering travel grants to support student attendance at the IBS Early Career Conference 2104 in Canberra, Australia. A range of awards will be offered to cover meeting registration costs, workshop attendance, and between $200-400 AUD towards expenses. Please download the form here and send your completed applications to by September 6th, 2013. Please direct any questions to the same email address. Grant recipients will be notified by September 30th, 2013. 




The University House, located on ANU campus, ( offers accommodation at special rates for conference participants. The following types of rooms are offered (prices are inclusive of breakfast):

Twin room - 2 single sized beds
$152 - single occupancy
$169 - twin occupancy

Queen Suite
$167 - single occupancy
$184 - twin occupancy

To book at University House, please send your email to with the email subject line "2014 IBS Early Career Conference".

UniLodge provides furnished student accommodation and apartments in Canberra, and is conveniently located at the same complex as the conference venue ( The complex offers en-suite units charged on a weekly basis.
Conference participants can book Single Studios (single occupancy) at a reduced rate ($250.00 per week) for the week of the conference (6th-13th of January 2014). Please be advised that UniLodge does not provide bedding, pillows, crockery, or towels, so you will need to bring your own.

To book at UniLodge, please send your email to Hollie West ( before the 6th of December 2013 with the email subject line "2014 IBS Early Career Conference".

Further casual accommodation in student residences is likely to be available, including rooms with shared facilities and en-suite units. Please have a look at the links below:
Several accommodation options are available around Canberra CBD, near the venue. The price range for hotels is $100-300 AUD per room, and $28-175 AUD for hostels. For more information, follow the link below:  


Travel Information

By Air
Canberra has its own airport, which is located about 10 minutes’ drive away from Canberra CBD.
Taxi companies operate from Canberra airport. For more information on finding a taxi and pre-booking your taxi trip, please follow the link below:
Bus services operate between Canberra Airport and Canberra CBD (West Row). For more information, please follow the link below:

By Road
Frequent coach services run between Canberra CBD and Sydney International Airport, as well as Sydney CBD.
Please follow the following links for more information on coach services:


Australian Visa Information

All travellers to Australia, other than Australian and New Zealand citizens, are legally required to hold a valid visa. We would recommend applying online through the for an eVisitor (subclass 651) visa. This visa is cost-free and allows visitors to visit Australia for:

  • tourism, such as holidays, recreation or seeing family or friends
  • business purposes, such as attending a conference, negotiating or exploring business opportunities.

You must hold a passport from an eligible country to apply for this visa. You must be outside Australia when you lodge your application for an eVisitor. You do not need to visit an immigration office and you will not receive a stamp or label in your passport. However, you will be given a confirmation for your records.
An eVisitor is an electronically stored authority for travel to Australia. eVisitor can be accessed by airlines, travel agents and Australian border agencies.

More information on this type of visa can be found here:
For more information on how to apply for this visa, please follow the following link:

If you do not qualify for this type of visa, please check other visa options at:

The organisers will be happy to assist you with documentation required for visa applications. Please contact us at
It is advised to apply for your visa as soon as possible and at least six (6) weeks prior to you travel date, to ensure adequate processing time.