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Conferences and Meetings

Climate change and birds: solutions to the crisis | BOUsci20

 24 Nov 2020

and globally via Twitter!

Follow #BOUsci20 on Twitter

In conjunction with
British Trust for Ornithology
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Durham University

The planet is now experiencing the effects of current climate and ecological crises, with an urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Future warming is projected to far exceed the current 1.5°C target, so the need to adapt to climate change is also critical.

This one-day conference will bring together scientists, conservationists and policy experts to use what we know about the impacts of climate change on birds to understand future vulnerabilities. We will also examine the evidence that adapting our conservation practice will provide solutions to the climate crisis for birds.

In particular, we will consider different approaches to estimating future impacts of climate change on birds and their habitats, and how these can inform adaptation needs. Given that forecasting the future is always difficult, we will look at the impact of uncertainty upon decision-making for policy and practice.

How we might adapt biodiversity conservation to make climate smart choices has been much discussed, considering potential implications for landscapes, protected site management and species. There is an urgent need for evidence to inform decision-making, and to consider what level of adaptation will be sufficient. Using a range of studies, we will review what we know and identify key knowledge gaps that will inform future work. As an output from the conference, we aim to write a ten-year update of a previously published IBIS Viewpoint from the 2010 BOU conference ‘Birds and Climate Change’.


  • To consider approaches to projecting future impacts of climate change on birds and review what they tell us about species’ vulnerability.
  • Given the anticipated impacts on species and habitats, to review the priorities for adaptation,
  • To assess success rates of different adaptation approaches, and to identify current knowledge gaps in delivering solutions to the climate change crisis for birds.

Going global – a simultaneous in-person and online event

As well as being a traditional in-person meeting, we are also running the meeting simultaneously as a Twitter conference!

We will be taking submissions (see call for papers below) from those wishing to present in-person at the one-day meeting in the UK, as well as from researchers from around the world who will present remotely via Twitter. All presentations at the UK meeting will also be posted as Twitter presentations so that the whole event is recorded online.

This initiative reflects the need for conferences to be more aware of the carbon footprint of the people presenting and attending these events, as well as the need to make such meetings, especially those on major global topics, more inclusive and open to both take part in and follow.

Twitter is a free and inclusive platform on which to take an event global as, unlike other social media platforms, you don’t even need an account to follow online – from anywhere in the world.

Keynote speakers

Alexsi Lehikoinen (University of Helsinki, Finland) | @AksuLehikoinen
Climate change and abundance changes in birds: the role of habitat quality and protection
Beth Scott (University of Aberdeen, UK) | @BEScott_abdn
Where, when and why are seabirds vulnerable to climate change
Graham White (RSPB, UK) | @BillyBloodworm
Evolving conservation management in the face of climate change: delivering practical solutions for birds

Call for papers

We are now taking submissions for both in-person and Twitter only presentations.

Deadline for all submissions: 30 April 2020.

In-person – presenting at the 24 November meeting in Peterborough, UK
We are seeking submissions which fit within the conference outline above and from those able to attend the meeting in person.

Please note that all in-person presenters will be required to produce a Twitter version of their presentation to be posted on Twitter at the time of their presentation. See below for Twitter presentation format. Support is available – follow the link to online guidelines.

Those not selected for an in-person presentation will be automatically considered for a Twitter-only presentation slot.

Twitter only submissions
We are seeking submissions which fit within the conference outline above from researchers anywhere in the world who are able to tweet their presentation live in Twitter only presenter slots before, during and after the in-person UK meeting.

Twitter presentation format
The basics are:

  • Twitter presentations take the form of six tweets with attached slides/images/videos.
  • Each presenter is allocated a 10-minute slot in which to present their research.
  • In-person presenters will present their presentation simultaneous to their in-person presentation (we will give you detailed guidance on how to do this).

For in-depth rules, guidelines and Twitter presenting tips please see here.

Scientific Programme Committee

Dr James Pearce-Higgins (BTO) Chair, Scientific Programme Committee
Dr Francis Duant (Centre for Ecology & Hydrology) Chair, BOU Meetings Committee
Dr Jo Gilbert (RSPB)
Dr Christine Howard (Durham University)

Twitter event organisers
Steve Dudley (BOU)
Nina O’Hanlon (Environmental Research Institute, UHI)

Image credit: Top right, Pacific Ocean sea surface heights | NASA-JPL/Caltech/Ocean Surface Topography Team climate.nasa.gov

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