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Conferences and Meetings

Climate change and birds: solutions to the crisis | BOUsci20

 24 Nov 2020

on Zoom and Twitter!

Follow #BOUsci20 on Twitter

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


PROGRAMME & SCHEDULER Searchable and interactive app inc. built in time zone convertor
PROGRAMME – PDF (view on screen)
ABSTRACTS (xlsx download)
ATTENDEE GUIDE – PDF (view on screen)


We’re going virtual and moving everything online!

Climate Change and Birds will now be held wholly online in two formats:
(1) a Virtual Conference using Zoom Webinar, and
(2) a Twitter Conference.

The ongoing uncertainty around the global Covid-19 pandemic continues to impact many events. Given that we don’t know what level of restrictions we will be under, come the autumn, we’ve taken the decision to replace our in-person Climate change & birds conference with a Virtual Conference, on the same date, 24 November.

The switch to a wholly virtual event means that we can now offer a truly low-carbon event which will be more accessible and inclusive. Researchers from all around the world will be able to present and follow one or both of the virtual platforms we’re utilising.

For both events, we will run a programme presentations from c.0700 – 2100 GMT/UTC (1600 – 0000 AEST (UTC +9h) and 0200 – 1600 EST (UTC -5h)) – Twitter may go outside these times depending on submissions and times zones of submitting presenters.

The schedule allows people to present and/or attend for some/all of the conference during their normal working day from most time zones.

Submissions for both Zoom and Twitter presentation are open until 30 June 2020.

More information on the Zoom conference

More information on the Twitter conference

Aims and scope

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 Virtual 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.

Our Zoom Keynote presenters

Aleksi 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
Kathy Martin (University of British Columbia, Canada)
Temperate Mountain Bird Resilience and Vulnerabilities to Climate Variability
Ben Zuckerberg (University of Wisconsin-Madison, US)
Fitting the lens of climate change on bird conservation in the 21st century
Summaries of these keynotes will be shared as part of the Twitter conference.

Submissions and selection process

Submission is now closed.

  • We received 47 submissions: 21 (44%) from women and 26 (56%) from men.
  • 18 (38%) of submissions were from early career researchers (ECRs).
  • Our selection panel comprised two men and two women.
  • Submissions were scored blind on scientific merit alone (i.e. abstracts were anonymised before circulation).
  • Using the median scores of the four panel members, submissions were ranked and the final selection was then made to fit the slots in the themed sessions of the conference programme as advertised (sessions don’t receive equal submissions with some being over-subscribed and others under-subscribed).
  • Presentations from 15 women (32% of overall submissions and 71.5% of submissions from women) and 13 men (27% of overall submissions and 50% of submissions from men) have received oral slots in the programme.
  • Presentations from 13 men (27% of overall submissions and 50% of submissions from men) and six women (12.5% of overall submissions and 28.5% of submissions from women) have not been selected for oral presentation.
  • 16 (89%) of the 18 ECR submissions have been selected for the oral programme.

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)

Delivery team

Zoom conference
Ryan Burrell (University of Bath)
Steve Dudley (BOU)

Twitter event
Dr Nina O’Hanlon (Environmental Research Institute, UHI) @Nina_OHanlon
Monika Reiss (Liverpool John Moores University) @monika_reiss
Steve Dudley (BOU) @stevedudley_

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

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