IBS Malaga 2019

Keynotes & Symposia

Three Keynotes and Symposia for IBS Malaga 2019 will be held on the mornings of January 9, 10 & 11th.  We’re excited to announce the lineup below!

Keynote Speakers

Dr. Rosemary Gillespie

2019 Wallace Awardee

January 9, 2019

Dr. Ceridwen Fraser

2019 MacArthur & Wilson Awardee

January 10, 2019

Dr. Johannes Wessely

2019 IBS Dissertation Awardee

January 11, 2019


January 9, 2019:  Geography & genes – insights and advances for biogeography

A historical perspective is essential to both describe and explain biogeographic pattern, and it has long been appreciated that a rich source of historical data is the genetic information contained within species. Because biogeographic pattern may fall within a broad range of geographic, temporal and taxonomic scales, how we can best harness the information from genomes continues to be an area of intense interest and development. At one extreme, molecular phylogenetic data can be used to understand the spatial and temporal dimensions of biogeographic pattern that has formed over deep geological time scales. At the other extreme population genetic data can be used to understand recent or ongoing processes that that structure diversity. Recent technical and analytical developments are offering new opportunities to exploit the genetic information within individuals and species in exciting ways that built upon the solid phylogenetic and population genetic foundations of biogeography. This symposium brings together a set of speakers to showcase new developments in how genetic data is being applied to biogeographic analysis. These presentations will demonstrate to the congress participants

  • (i) how limitations of temporal, geographical and taxonomic scale can be addressed with genomic data,
  • (ii) new and complementary ways to generate fundamental biodiversity measures and indices, and
  • (iii) new opportunities to connect evolutionary pattern with process.


  • Brent Emerson (IPNA-CSIC, Tenerife, Spain)
  • Jairo Patiño (University of California, Berkeley, USA)

Moderators (Question panel)

  • Rosemary Gillespie (University of California, Berkeley, USA)
  • Evan Economo (Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, Japan)


  • Lacey Knowles (University of Michigan, USA)
    • The intersection of ecology and climate change, and the shaping of species divergence
  • Alfried Vogler (Imperial College, UK)
    • Metabarcoding for community level biogeography
  • Paula Arribas (IPNA-CSIC, Canary Islands, Spain)
    • Whole-community assembly from metabarcoding data reveals the structure of the soil mesofauna at multiple genetic levels and spatial scales
  • Isaac Overcast (City University of New York, USA)
    • An integrated model of population genetics and community ecology
  • Josselin Cornuault (Royal Botanic Garden, CSIC, Spain)
    • Comparative phylogeography: the origin of variation in dispersal patterns
  • Jairo Patiño (University of California, Berkeley, USA)
    • Next generation island biogeography: using genomics to understand speciation
  • Rosalía Piñeiro (University of Exeter, UK)
  • Henrik Krehenwinkel (University of Trier, Germany)

January 10, 2019:  Do we need to reclassify the tropical and sub-tropical biomes and if so, into what?

Traditionally, major habitats spanning the tropics and sub-tropics have been classified as one of three biome types; i) tropical and sub-tropical moist forest; ii) tropical and sub-tropical dry forest; iii) tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas and shrublands (Olsen et al., 2001). These biome types have been used to describe biological communities spanning South and Central America, Africa and the Indo-Pacific regions. However, it has long been recognised that while these habitats may look similar in structure and function, there is often little floristic similarity between regions. In addition, over the past 50 years, extensive land-use change in some regions has resulted in large blocks of habitat primarily reflecting the anthropogenic activities upon them (e.g. crop-lands). A recently published large-scale phylogenetic analyses of tropical angiosperm trees has added further to the debate by suggesting that the world’s tropical forests should be divided into two major floristic regions: a combined American-African versus Indo-Pacific region (Slik et al., 2017). The time is therefore ripe to ask the question do we need to reclassify the tropical forest and sub-tropical biomes and if so, into what? This session will give seven speakers 20 minutes each to address this question from their own research perspective, followed by a 30 minute panel debate. The aim of the session is not to necessarily come to a consensus on the question, but to provide a timely debate on a topic that has strong significance for the International biogeographical community at large.


  • Katherine J. Willis (University of Oxford, UK)
  • Dov Sax (Brown University, RI, USA)

Moderator (Question panel)

  • Rob Whittaker (University of Oxford, UK)


  • Richard Field (The Univeristy of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK)
  • Bill Baker (Kew, UK)/Wolf Eiserhardt (Aarhus University, Denmark)
  • Carsten Rahbek/Ben Holt (Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, Denmark)
    • A bird’s eye view on tropical and sub-tropical biomes
  • Jennifer C. McElwain (Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland)
    • A deep time perspective on the tropical and subtropical biomes
  • Caroline Lehmann (University of Edinburgh, UK)
    • Integrating ecology and evolution to delimit savanna
  • Gabriela Zuquim, (University of Turku, Finland)
    • Beyond climate control: The importance of soils in predicting the future of plant habitat suitability in a tropical forest.
  • Jayashree Ratnam (TIFR – National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bengaluru, India)
    • Rethinking tropical Asia’s woody biomes:  History, climate and woody plant traits distinguish savannas from forests
  • Erle C. Ellis (University of Maryland, Baltimore, US)
    • Anthrobiogeography: Mapping Biomes in an Anthropogenic Biosphere

January 11, 2019:  Towards a more applied biogeography: combining process-based and niche approaches to address practical questions

Projecting the impacts of climate change on biodiversity is a major goal in macroecology and biogeography. The failure of commonly used methodologies to produce accurate forecasts has led to increasing interest among researchers in adopting more mechanistic or process-based approaches. Yet, the transition away from traditional correlational studies is proving slow, partly due to data limitations. Until the outcomes of experimental macroecology become more common, forest and agricultural species offer conspicuous study cases to investigate species responses to climate. Data availability on long temporal series of phenological observations for crops allows—for example—the calibration of phenological and demographic models that can accurately predict species responses to varying temperature regimes. Similarly, process-based forestry approaches allow determining how forest dynamics will be altered by climate change. The availability of high-resolution spatial and temporal data on agricultural and forestry species has the potential to deepen our understanding of how biodiversity responds to climate. Even so, biogeographers still seem reluctant to employing data and practices from sister disciplines.

On the other hand, modelling strategies in agronomy or forestry have developed highly detailed, process-based approaches able to make accurate predictions, but strongly limited in their geographic scope. Merging techniques commonly used in biogeography with process-based approaches from agronomy or forestry can be mutually beneficial. First, by increasing the accuracy of wild species distribution forecasts across scales. Second, by expanding biogeography towards a more applied paradigm, where the typically large-scale focus of its forecasts would be useful to compare agricultural and forestry practices and predictions across regions. These predictions are particularly welcome in a context where assessment of threats on ecosystem services such as food and wood supply, and carbon sequestration, is of critical concern to human livelihoods.

The topic of this symposium will bring together world experts who have combined crop or inventory data (from both agricultural or forest species) and/or, high temporal-resolution climate data with process-based models based on phenology, demography or physiology, to predict the future impacts of climate change on targeted species. Besides sharing advances in fields that usually fall outside biogeography but whose findings would be relevant in the attempt to move the field towards using process- based approaches, this symposium aims to foster discussion on three topics.

  • On the utility and feasibility of importing process-based approaches used in agronomy and forestry to biogeography.
  • On identifying data gaps and needs, if such implementation were to be applied to wild species.
  • On how the large spatial focus of biogeography may allow upscaling process-based models, by e.g. combining them with niche models, to produce outcomes relevant to inform decisions of farmers, forest managers and policy makers.


  • Ignacio Morales-Castilla (Universidad de Alcalá, Spain)
  • Raúl García-Valdés (Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, Spain)

Moderator (question panel)

  • Pep Serra-Diaz (AgroParisTech)

Speakers & talk titles

  • Jesús Olivero (Universidad de Málaga, Spain)
    • A pathogeographical approach to the Ebola-virus disease
  • Harald Bugmann (ETH Zürich, Switzerland)
    • Using forest succession models to predict species ranges and range changes: potentials and limitations
  • Emily Meineke (Harvard University, USA)
    • Spatio-temporal links between phenology and herbivory of blueberries across the Eastern US
  • Maaike Bader (University of Marburg, Germany)
    • Understanding global variation in treeline spatial patterns: a community database and spatial process model
  • Florian Hartig (University of Regensburg, Germany)
    • Connecting mechanistic macroecological models with global biodiversity data – state-of-the-art and perspectives
  • Raúl García-Valdés (CREAF – UAB, Spain)
    • Combining niche and process-based models to project climate change impacts on forest functioning
  • Isabelle Chuine (CNRS, Montpellier, France)
    • Do advantages of process-based species distribution models offset their weaknesses
  • Ignacio Morales-Castilla (Universidad de Alcalá, Spain)
    • Applied biogeography under global change: lessons from process-based applications in agronomy and forestry
Childcare is available free of charge for children ages 3-12 at the conference venue.  There is a nursing room available at the conference centre and babies/nursing mothers are welcome at the conference itself, however children ages 0-2 are unable to be offered childcare due to restrictions that apply regarding facilities and qualification of personnel.  For more information about childcare, please click here.