2018 Annual Symposium Program Special Sessions

The following Special Sessions will be part of the 61st Annual IAVS Symposium. The location of each Special Session in the program is shown below. If you have a talk in a Special Session, you may contact the organizer to find out where your talk fits within the session.  

Species pools across scales: an integrative perspective

Tuesday, July 24, morning and afternoon sessions
Organizers: Meelis Pärtel and Carlos Carmona
Contact email: meelis.partel@ut.ee

The species pool of a site encompasses all the species in the region that could potentially inhabit those particular ecological conditions. Characterizations of biodiversity that ignore species pools are problematic because they do not necessarily reflect its real status, or allow comparisons between ecosystems or taxonomic groups. Accordingly, ecologists have developed tools to estimate dark diversity (the absent portion of the species pool) and to quantify community completeness (how much of the species pool is realized within the local community). These advances have allowed analysing the relative importance of processes shaping local diversity, the traits that determine species absences from local communities, or the restoration potential of degraded habitats. However, despite its importance for both theoretical and applied studies, there are several aspects of species-pool based studies that
need further developement. These include improved methods to estimate species pools at different spatial scales, the expansion of the framework beyond approaches based exclusively on taxonomy, thus including the functional and phylogenetic facets of diversity, or applications into restoration and nature conservation, among others. This session aims to 1) summarise the ongoing efforts to enhance estimations of species pools, 2) discuss ways to integrate species pools with different facets of diversity, 3) present novel studies using species pools to tackle both theoretical and applied ecological problems.


Temporal and spatial vegetation changes using permanent plots

Friday, July 27, morning and afternoon sessions
Organizers: Francesco de Bello and Enrique Valencia
Contact email: fradebello@prf.jcu.cz

There is increasing interest in the consequences of global change on the stability of ecosystems. Long-term data provide important insights on vegetation fluctuations over time. In this context, this special session has two aims: 1) to bring together scientists interested in the analyses of temporal and spatial vegetation stability using data from permanent plots and 2) to celebrate the legacy of the ‘carousel model’ proposed mainly by Eddie van der Maarel 25 years ago. This important model for vegetation science stresses the value of maintaining permanent plot surveys for exploring questions related to vegetation responses to global change drivers, such as the stability of ecosystem services of different vegetation types, and theoretical questions related to coexistence mechanisms. Talks are encouraged to include varying types of analyses of vegetation in permanent plots, with a preference towards natural and semi-natural communities. Both current and historical ecological theories centered on the mechanisms regulating vegetation stability and the related ecosystem services will be discussed. Insights on the mechanisms maintaining species coexistence in time and space are also welcome. Topics that will be discussed include biodiversity effects on community temporal variability, vegetation trends in response to global change drivers, and the spatial and temporal synchrony between species. The opportunity of submitting a special issue to the Journal of Vegetation Science, i.e. condensing the corresponding talks of the session, is welcomed by the Editors of the journal.

Toward a circumpolar Arctic vegetation classification

Monday, July 23, morming session.
Organizers: Amy Breen, Jozef Sibik, Donald (Skip) Walker, and Aaron Wells
Contact email: albreen@alaska.edu

An Arctic Vegetation Classification (AVC) is needed to address issues related to rapid Arctic-wide changes to climate, land-use, and biodiversity. Currently, there are insufficient and non-standardized Arctic vegetation plot data to accomplish these tasks, however, the recently launched Arctic Vegetation Archive (AVA) and AVC aim to fill this knowledge gap. Each Arctic nation is building their piece of the pan-Arctic archive. Significant progress toward an AVA and AVC has been made in the past few years with the endorsement of the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF), the biodiversity arm of the Arctic Council. The primary objectives of the proposed special session are to: (1) bring key Arctic data contributors together to share their datasets, databases and local classifications efforts; (2) develop classifications and applications of the existing Alaska AVA (AVA-AK), (3) broaden the AVA-AK to the North America Arctic to include vegetation plot data in Canada and Greenland, (4) identify key vegetation-related questions, and outline tasks, timeline and proposal opportunities to work toward a circumpolar classification, and (5) link the AVC to other classification approaches such as the US National Vegetation Classification and the European Vegetation Classification. We welcome presentations related to vegetation classifications and applications of vegetation plot data such as the AVA to research in the circumpolar Arctic, and similar efforts to areas adjacent to the Arctic, including the forest-tundra transition, northern boreal forest, and alpine extensions of Arctic tundra.

Invasive species on coastal dunes

Tuesday, July 24, morning and afternoon sessions
Organizers: M. Luisa Martínez and Juan B. Gallego Fernández
Contact email: marisa.martinez@inecol.mx

Coastal dunes are found along many sandy coasts of the world. They offer critical habitats for a highly diverse flora and fauna, and provide relevant ecosystem services such as erosion and flood control, water purification, recreation and aesthetic value. These ecosystems are exposed and threatened to the impact of the increasing human activities that take place on the coast which result in habitat destruction and loss, as well as the impacts of invasive alien species. The combination of the natural disturbances of coastal dunes with the human-induced actions frequently results in a synergy between disturbance and invasions. Specifically, the impact of invasive species has been well documented for several species, but no comprehensive study has addressed this issue from a global perspective. Thus, the aim of this symposium is to analyze the impact of alien plant species on coastal dune systems from different regions and latitudes, including tropical and temperate. The analyzed impacts include the invasibility of different communities, the effect on the invaded communities, and the potential invasiveness of the different invaders.

Historical ecology in vegetation science

Thursday, July 26, morning and afternoon sessions.
Organizers: Guillaume Decocq and Radim Hédl
Contact email: guillaume.decocq@u-picardie.fr

Any plant community is historical, that is an extent plant community can be viewed as a legacy of the past and the initial stage of the future. Historical ecology may improve our understanding of current ecosystem functioning by assessing past relationships between human societies and the environment. It may further help to predict the responses of ecosystems to global environmental changes and human activities under various scenarios. This special session aims to gather Information from studies using temporal analyses addressing the response of vegetation to natural or human drivers. No time scale and no spatial scale are excluded. “Analysing the present as an interpretative model of the past and interpreting the past as an historical fact from which originated the present” could be the governing principle of the session. A non-exhaustive list of topics could be:

  • past land use aftereffects on vegetation
  • resurvey studies to identify drivers of successions
  • time-lag and hysteresis in vegetation science
  • vegetation associated with archaeological sites
  • use of archaeosciences to investigate current vegetation patterns
  • landscape history and dynamics of socio-ecosystems
  • concepts and methods in historical ecology
  • applied historical ecology and benchmark ecosystems
  • new technologies in historical ecology


The US national vegetation classification system

Tuesday, July 24, morning and afternoon sessions
Organizer: Todd Keeler-Wolf
Contact email: Todd.Keeler-Wolf@wildlife.ca.gov

Extensive development and peer reviewed descriptions at all hierarchical levels of the United States National Vegetation Classification (USNVC) have led to its widespread adoption by US federal and state natural resource agencies and conservation organizations. The “EcoVeg” concepts that underlie the USNVC have also used by Canada (Canadian Vegetation Classification) and several Latin American countries. Many of the theoretical foundations of this classification system are rooted in internationally accepted concepts of vegetation science. Much of the support for the development of content and continued evolution of the USNVC has come from federal and state agencies. Its acceptance results from the inherent value of vegetation classification, the need for a standard system to facilitate communication among users, and the breadth of applications built into the system. This symposium offers a sampling of perspectives covering the origins, development, applications, and refinement of the EcoVeg approach as applied in the US and elsewhere. The first presentations describe the realization of the approach and cooperative development of its content. These are followed with examples of its use by early adopter agencies and organizations – including applications across an array of geospatial and sociopolitical scales. The concluding presentations discuss the process of refinement through active engagement by researchers, international and interdisciplinary collaboration, and peer-reviewed publication of findings. 

Dispersal and plant reproduction in disturbance-driven vegetation dynamics

Monday, July 23, morming session
Organizers: Péter Török & Judit Sonkoly
Contact email: molinia@gmail.com

Plant reproduction, spatial dispersal and seed bank formation are especially crucial stages of plant life cycle. Studying the effects of anthropogenic and natural disturbances on these stages is essential to understand disturbance-driven vegetation dynamics. Related plant traits have a decisive role in metapopulation dynamics, local establishment and species assembly. The aim of this special session is to discuss the role of reproductive and dispersal traits in the patterns and processes of vegetation in fragmented landscapes. Both theoretical and case studies in plant reproductive and dispersal ecology are welcome.

Theory and methods in vegetation science

Thursday, July 26, morning and afternoon sessions
Organizers: Dave Roberts and Peter Minchin
Contact email: droberts@montana.edu

Both of us joined IAVS in the 1980s and were members of the now defunct "Working Group for Data Processing", later renamed to "Working Group for Theoretical Vegetation Science".  This group used to run its own smaller symposia which focused mainly on the development and evaluation of methods for community analysis (e.g. ordination, clustering).  We both feel it is timely to organize a special session on the topic of theory and methods in vegetation science, since there have been many recent developments in the toolbox for community analysis.  We plan to invite speakers, including both established researchers and promising young scientists, who work on a wide range of methods and models concerned with the analysis of vegetation patterns in space and time.


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