NZES & ABNMS 2014 conferences

I spent the last two weeks of November on the North Island to attend two back-to-back conferences, first the New Zealand Ecological Society (NZES) meeting in Palmerston North and second, the Australasian Bayesian Network Modelling Society (ABNMS) meeting in Rotorua.

Our group was well-represented at the NZES conference, with my supervisor, Dr. Bill Lee, and myself presenting and our Ph.D. student, Greg Nelson, attending. I spoke about a study led by Dr. Andrew Tanentzap (University of Cambridge) in which we tested Silvertown’s 2004 hypothesis that earlier arrivals to islands encounter greater ecological opportunity and are thus able to diversify and fill niche space, limiting the opportunity for later arrivals. We used data from the alpine zone of the Murchison Mountains in Fiordland, South Island, to test our predictions. This work is currently in revision for a special feature in New Phytologist on Plant Radiations.

At the ABNMS meeting, I had the opportunity to attend a 2-day introductory workshop led by Bayesian Intelligence, a company from Melbourne, before the 2-day meeting. It was a great chance to learn a new set of tools useful for both synthesizing big data sets with expert knowledge and supporting evidence-based decision-making. The meeting was also particularly interesting as an employee of a Crown Research Institute (CRI) here in NZ because all of the CRIs were represented among the attendees, a rare opportunity to bring together our diverse fields of science and clearly see the overlap in what we do.