This event took place on Monday 20 January 2020.

Global environmental and climatic change and human activities are affecting biodiversity on unprecedented levels, requiring widespread interdisciplinary responses to tackle these issues.

In this full-day event, scientists from across the University of Plymouth and further afield come together with practitioners to showcase nationally and globally important research, focused on the understanding and management of natural and human-modified landscapes.

We are pleased to welcome our keynote speakers Harry Barton, CEO of Devon Wildlife Trust, and Corine Dyke, Lead Advisor at Natural England, for their experience and insights on protecting nature, planning for changing coastlines, and sustainable futures.

Researchers from geographical, environmental, biological and social sciences will share their latest work – including previously unpublished findings – on the biodiversity crisis and species responses to global climate change; conservation and making space for nature; deep-time biodiversity trends; and living with nature: the health and wellbeing benefits of green spaces.

There will be plenty of opportunity for discussion to open dialogues across subject areas, and to explore the opportunities available for collaborative working that has greater impact potential. If your work involves land management and decisions that benefit wider society, then there will be scope to learn more about how you could apply the latest research into practice.

We are delighted to have a display of art that focuses on the South West Coast Path from Rosie Sherwood, who is currently taking part in a year-long residency with the University of Plymouth Marine Institute.

Research will also be displayed and discussed during a poster session. If you would like to contribute a poster that relates to the themes of the event, please email with a poster title, list of authors, and brief summary of ~150 words. A0 portrait or A1 landscape posters accepted.  

Morning programme

08:45 | Introduction by Professor Iain Stewart, Director of the Sustainable Earth Institute

09:00 | Keynote: 'Protecting nature and biodiversity for a sustainable future' by Harry Barton, Chief Executive of the Devon Wildlife Trust

09:30 | The biodiversity crisis and species responses to global change – quick-fire talks with Q&A, chaired by Dr Jessie Woodbridge

  • 'Vulnerability to global change – lessons from aquatic insect studies' by Professor David Bilton, Professor of Aquatic Biology
  • 'Response of tropical forests to global change' by Dr Sophie Fauset, Lecturer in Environmental Science
  • 'Responses of Antarctic marine biodiversity to a changing climate' by Professor John Spicer, Professor of Marine Zoology
  • 'Evolution of biodiversity and its conservation' by Dr Jon Ellis, Lecturer in Conservation Genetics

10:30 | Refreshment break and networking with poster display

11:00 | Conservation and making space for nature – quick-fire talks with Q&A, chaired by Dr Olivia Wilson

  • 'Biosecurity and the socio-politics of nature conservation' by Dr Kim Ward, Lecturer in Human Geography
  • 'Policy and protection of coasts ' by Dr Sian Rees, Senior Research Fellow in marine conservation, management and policy
  • 'Biodiversity in the UK overseas territories: views from Parliament' by Dr Nichola Harmer, Lecturer in Human Geography
  • 'An Ever Moving Now' by Rosie Sherwood, artist, independent publisher and scholar, and artist in residence at the University of Plymouth's Marine Institute

12:00 | Long-term biodiversity trends – quick-fire talks with Q&A, chaired by Professor David Bilton

  • 'Deep-time perspectives on landscape management and grazing as a driver of change' by Professor Ralph Fyfe, Professor in Geospatial Information
  • 'Archaeobotany and plants within heritage: from charred seeds to mighty oak trees' by Dr Ruth Pelling, Senior Archaeobotanist at Historic England
  • 'Human land-use and long-term biodiversity change in the British Isles' by Dr Jessie Woodbridge, Research Fellow in Physical Geography
  • 'Project Wildscape: Reconstructing the Holocene Palaeoecology of the Humberhead Levels' by Nika Shilobod, PhD student in Physical Geography

13:00 | Lunch and networking with posters

Afternoon programme

14:00 | Keynote: Corine Dyke, Natural England, on 'Planning for a changing coast'

14:30 | Living with nature: the health and well-being benefits of green spaces – quick-fire talks with Q&A, chaired by Professor Ralph Fyfe

15:45 | Summary by Dr Jessie Woodbridge and Dr Olivia Wilson

16:00 | Coffee/tea break and networking with posters

16:15 | Plenary discussion and poster session

Who is this event for?
This event will be of most interest to academics and researchers seeking collaborations in or with biology, marine, sustainability, geography, earth sciences, health and social sciences; those working in land management and planning; charities who take care of natural spaces and wildlife; or any other related field that would benefit from the latest thinking on biodiversity.

Harry Barton

Chief Executive Devon Wildlife Trust

Harry joined Devon Wildlife Trust in October 2011, having spent the previous five years as Chief Executive of the Earth Trust in Oxfordshire. He has worked for over twenty five years in the environmental sector, including spells at the Council for National Parks and Kew Gardens.

Harry studied Geography at Durham University (BSc) and then Environmental Policy at Wye College, University of London (MSc). He has a passion for the environment and has a particular interest in restoring wildlife at a landscape scale.

Corine Dyke

Lead Advisor on planning policy – Natural England

Corine is a lead advisor on planning policy across Devon, Cornwall, and the Isles of Scilly. She deals with consultations on plans across the area and working in partnership with local planning authorities on their Local Plans, Neighbourhood Plans and associated plans, such as coastal change management plans and biodiversity net gain plans.

Prior to this, Corine worked for the National Trust as planning assistant, for Carrick District Council as development management officer, and as senior policy planner at North Cornwall District Council, and then became principal policy planner at Cornwall Council. 

Corine is particularly interested in partnership working as a key to achieving good innovative planning. She is also keen to help promote the image of planning; to underline the importance of good planning and draw more people into the profession.

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