1 Land surface modelling meets Sensing ▶
Full title: Towards a new generation of ecosystem and land surface modelling and sensing for tropical hotspots

Chairs: Jörg Bendix, Thomas Hickler

Contact: bendix@staff.uni-marburg.de

Short to long-term developments of tropical ecosystems can only be assessed with models which are capable to project future dynamics. However, they must be highly adapted to the very diverse tropical ecosystems and must be also able to include at least major vegetation and ecosystem processes. Because the future of tropical ecosystems mainly depends on responses and effects of ecosystem processes to/on climate and land use changes, ecosystem models might also be coupled with e.g. climate models. This coupling has so far mainly been addressed with land surface models (LSMs). However, recent LSM are hardly adapted to diverse tropical ecosystems, e.g. indicated by one or very few plant functional types (PFTs) currently used for the tropics. Furthermore, the parameterization of the LSM is commonly done with fixed values, not properly considering the intra- and inter-specific variation of traits nor the plasticity against changing environmental conditions. Last but not least, dominant processes (such as herbivory etc.) are mostly not considered. Ecosystem models increasingly incorporate some of the crucial aspects mentioned above, but these developments are not yet used in LSMs. Furthermore, model development is generally limited by available data for model parametrization. The session will summarize all efforts in improving ecosystem and land surface modelling, including efforts to collect the necessary data. Improvements can lie in the modification of model architectures itself, in the inclusion of ecosystem processes and in new ways of dynamic parameterization using variable instead of fixed parameters on novel PFT sets properly depicting tropical diversity. In remote tropical areas, new ground based sensors (sensing with sound and light) and remote sensing applications have increasing potential for model parameterization and evaluation, including model-data fusion techniques based on statistical techniques such as machine learning. The session asks for all contributions ranging from complete studies with improved models to individual innovative solutions in PFT development, parameterization, new ground data and (remote) sensing driven submodel parameterization and ecosystem and LSM evaluation.
2 Mountain biogeography ▶
Full title: Mountain biogeography: new insights, challenges, and future directions

Chairs: Alexandra Muellner-Riehl, Adrien Favre, Zehao Shen, Suzette Flantua

Contact: muellner-riehl@uni-leipzig.de

The goal of this session is to bring together people working on different aspects of mountain biogeography, who report about their latest research achievements, share knowledge about practical challenges encountered when working in different parts of the globe, and provide an outlook on their view of future research avenues, brought about by global change, new methodological advances, and paradigm changes. Ideally, thematic talks will not only consider contemporary determinants of mountain biodiversity, but also historical factors.
3 Sustainable hunting ▶
Full title: Sustainable hunting in the African tropics

Chairs: Katharine Abernethy, Donald Midoko Iponga, Lauren Coad,

Contact: katesithings@me.com

This session will tackle the urgent need for improved governance of hunting for wild meat. In Central Africa, many millions of people still rely on wildlife for food security and many millions also choose to eat wildlife as a preferred luxury. The survival of most large mammals in the region is now threatened by local hunting pressure. However, large human populations who have few alternative to basic food and income needs cannot be excluded from such an essential resource. This creates an intractable problem in successfully balancing wildlife conservation and human development and reaching the Sustainable Development Goals. Our session will bring together researchers and practitioners of conservation and community development in Central Africa. We will explore the evidence base for improving both the social and environmental sustainability of subsistence hunting across the region (2 talks), the results of current research to measure social and environmental impacts (2-3 talks), how we can monitor progress towards sustainability (1-2 talks) and finally, how research on sustainability is, or could be, used to change practices on the ground (2 talks). This final section will include one talk reflecting on the theory of change in hunting management and how to tackle cross-sectoral obstacles to change in governance. If possible, we would like to combine our session with a discussion opportunity for speakers and audience members over a break time. Our speakers will be drawn from researchers and practitioners active in the region, most of them nationals of Central African countries, or permanent residents. We have secured funds for travel and subsistence for up to 8 people from the Central African region.
4 Forest Modelling and Remote Sensing ▶
Full title: Novel methods in tropical forest ecology: remote sensing, machine learning and forest models

Chairs: Rico Fischer, Andreas Huth

Contact: rico.fischer@ufz.de

Tropical forests are characterized by complex patterns, structures and processes acting at various spatial and temporal scales. Consequently, forest attributes like biomass stocks or carbon, water and nutrient fluxes can vary in space and time. Understanding and predicting main forest attributes in response to global change drivers is a major challenge for scientists and policymakers. State-of-the-art methods like field inventories, forest modelling or remote sensing techniques are generally applied to estimate and project forest attributes under global change. However, each of these methods can be limited in terms of accuracy, extent or resolution leading to uncertainties. To overcome such limitations and to improve estimates of forest attributes, the combination of these methods represents a promising approach. We want to explore innovative linkages between remote sensing, machine learning, forest modelling and field data and to discuss perspectives of future research in forest ecology. We encourage scientists of different fields to contribute novel approaches that can be applied to characterize patterns, structures and processes in tropical forests.
5 Land use change in tropical ecosystems ▶
Full title: Human-modified tropical landscapes: Analyzing drivers and impacts of tropical land use changes on ecosystem functioning across scales

Chairs: Manan Bhan, Florian Schwarzmueller

Contact: manan.bhan@boku.ac.at

Land use changes in tropical ecosystems can have dramatic effects on ecosystem services like carbon sequestration and biodiversity conservation. Research in this area has focussed on effects at local ecological and sociological scales, as well as on global drivers such as international trade. Linking the research between the global drivers of land use change and the effects on local ecosystems and communities can enable improvements in designing local conservation strategies as well as global policies. The session will bring together research on tropical land use change across different spatial and sociological scales, and the nature of their non-linear interactions, with a view towards understanding feedbacks and developing mutual learnings. We seek to develop novel methodological frameworks to analyse land use change opportunity costs and production optimization scenarios to minimize impacts (for example, on local biodiversity) and maximize ecosystem functioning (for example, enhancing carbon sequestration potential) across the tropics. This includes studies focussing on the contemporary past as well as on work that yields insights into possible future change trajectories. We aim to integrate theoretical, data-based as well as model-based approaches of tropical land use change at various scales, its global drivers and local consequences, drawing on ecological as well as socio-economic concepts in order to depict tropical ecosystems continually in a state of flux.
6 Mangrove ecosystems in the Anthropocene ▶
Full title: Mangrove ecosystems in the Anthropocene: Facing changes and management challenges

Chairs: Marie Arnaud, Guilherme Abuchahla, Mirco Wölfelschneider, Farid Dahdouh-Guebas

Contact: gymasa@leeds.ac.uk

The world?s tropical coastlines vary greatly in geomorphological and ecological settings. Nevertheless, most of them share the presence of mangrove ecosystems as a common feature. Mangroves are among the most valuable ecosystems in the world providing numerous ecosystem services, such as flood and erosion mitigation, provision of food, support to biodiversity and high carbon storage and sequestration. However, mangrove ecosystems are increasingly under pressure from climate change and local anthropogenic activities. For instance, eutrophication, land-cover change, sea-level variation, and global warming already affect the delivery of mangrove ecosystem services as well as their ecological processes. There is a pressing need to address those issues by (i) quantifying the impact of those threats to mangrove ecosystem functions and dynamics (ii) improving our understanding of socio-ecological processes related to mangroves and (iii) proposing novel mangrove ecosystem management and governance practices. This session aims at bringing together multiple disciplines (ecology, geography, biogeochemistry, social science, biology, soil science) to address the issues that mangroves are facing and at showcasing successful solutions in conservation, restoration and management practices. Innovative studies on a global or local scale advancing our understanding of all processes related to mangrove ecological dynamics and ecosystem services are welcomed.
7 Biogeography ▶
Full title: Biogeography


8 Tropical land-use systems for people and nature ▶
Full title: Managing tropical agricultural land-use systems more sustainably for people and nature

Chairs: Dominic Andreas Martin, Delphine Clara Zemp, Fabian Brambach, Sarah Luke

Contact: dominic.martin@uni-goettingen.de

Humans currently use more than half of the terrestrial land surface for agricultural production. Although these activities provide crucial services for people, they are having substantial impacts on the biodiversity and functioning of terrestrial ecosystems. In the tropics, the impacts of human influence are particularly severe because diversity levels are high, species are evolved for relatively constant environmental conditions, and transformation has occurred rapidly in recent decades. However, it is also across the tropics where land-use change has brought the largest recent gains in terms of economic growth and poverty alleviation, and where high levels of food production are most needed. There is an urgent need to strike a balance between the needs of ecological and socio-economic functions within tropical agricultural land-use systems. There is increasing evidence that ecological and socio-economic trade-offs within agricultural land-use systems can be non-linear, and therefore ?win-wins? for biodiversity conservation, ecological functioning, and human needs may be possible under certain conditions. Management options such as low-input farming, diversification and agroforestry practices can enhance soil protection and fertility, biological control, water and climate regulation, and other ecosystem functions and services at local and landscape scales. These management options may have benefits for both the environment and biodiversity, and for maintenance of crop yield. In order to optimize the potential suite of benefits that can be gained, land-use management needs to be guided by inter-disciplinary scientific approaches, which consider the complexity of land-use systems in interaction with the changing environment and society. Such approaches may reveal synergies and trade-offs between ecological and socio-economic functions at various spatial scales. In this session we will particularly showcase research from early-career researchers. The oral presentations will be followed by a panel discussion during which the audience and presenters will be invited to reflect jointly on opportunities and constraints for managing tropical agricultural land-use systems more sustainably, as well as outstanding questions in this field of research.
9 Towards new theories in tropical ecology ▶
Full title: Towards new theories in tropical ecology

Chairs: Franziska Taubert, Andreas Huth

Contact: franziska.taubert@ufz.de

The analysis of empirical observations can reveal interesting patterns and structures on the dynamics of various ecological systems. Patterns which are frequently observed to be similar ? either across different communities or under different environmental conditions ? often lead to the hypothesis about general underlying principles describing the systems? behavior. Here, we want to summarize studies in tropical ecology which (a) apply existing theories to explain surprisingly observed patterns of ecosystems, (b) derive new generalized principles from large observational data (e.g. remote sensing data) or (c) integrate different theoretical concepts to expand ecological theory (e.g. on the coexistence of species). The synthesis of such studies can help to move one step closer towards a common theoretical understanding in tropical ecology.
10 Tropical forest recovery after disturbance ▶
Full title: Tropical forest recovery after disturbance

Chairs: Nadja Rüger, Marielos Peña-Claros, Catarina Jakovac

Contact: nadja.rueger@idiv.de

Only about 50% of the world?s tropical forests are unmanaged old-growth forests. The remaining half are forests regenerating after previous land use, timber or fuelwood extraction, or natural storm or drought events. Understanding how forest structure and composition change during the recovery from disturbances is fundamental to our ability to correctly predict carbon stocks and fluxes and vegetation feedbacks to the climate system as well as to plan sustainable forest management. However, forest regeneration pathways may depend on the type of disturbance, the type of previous land use, or the type and intensity of management interventions. In this session, we will bring together researchers studying forest regeneration after various kinds of disturbance, including large-scale natural disturbances (e.g. hurricanes), previous agricultural land use, and timber extraction to compare forest recovery in terms of forest structure, tree species diversity (taxonomic, phylogenetic, functional, demographic), and carbon stocks. Scientific approaches include chronosequence studies, longitudinal studies where individual plots are followed over time, and large-scale forest modification experiments. We will discuss differences and similarities in forest recovery. Contributions will lead to a better understanding of the context-dependence of forest regeneration and are relevant to improving forecasts of carbon fluxes and sustainable forest management.
11 Free Session ▶
Full title: Free Session


12 Diversification in the tropics ▶
Full title: Historical demography, connectivity and diversification in the tropics

Chairs: Renske Onstein

Contact: onsteinre@gmail.com

This session aims to find generality in the ecological and evolutionary processes leading to diversification in the tropics. We focus specifically on the effects of past environmental changes on population and genetic connectivity, demographic change and diversification. One of the challenges in this field is to clean, filter and assemble large genomic or genetic datasets using bioinformatics tools. Using these data, historical demographic modelling and a strong hypothesis-driven framework allow for the testing of specific predictions with respect to the drivers of tropical diversification. For example, the timing of lineage divergences, changes in (past) population sizes, the distribution of functional traits and the reconstruction of habitat suitability at paleoclimatic scales can shed light on the relative roles of landscape barriers, ecological gradients and anthropogenic changes (e.g. fragmentation, extinction) during diversification. Our speakers address this in different taxonomic groups and across different tropical realms, allowing us to assess whether there is generality in the factors important for tropical diversification.
13 Biodiversity across elevational gradients ▶
Full title: Traits, interactions and ecosystem functions across elevational gradients

Chairs: Nina Farwig, Eike Lena Neuschulz

Contact: farwig@staff.uni-marburg.de

Climate and land-use change modify the structure and composition of ecosystems across the globe. The dramatic loss of biodiversity calls for a mechanistic understanding of the relationships among environmental change, communities, biotic interactions, ecological processes and functions. Functional traits are considered as key to describe these relationships. Tropical mountains provide pronounced gradients of environmental conditions and thus, can be used as natural experiment to study the links between environmental changes, biodiversity and ecosystem functions. This session aims at compiling the latest knowledge on patterns of biodiversity and ecosystem functions and processes across elevational gradients. A special focus will be on the use of traits to predict biotic interactions and ecosystem functionality across environmental gradients.
14 Pollinators in the tropics ▶
Full title: Pollinators in tropical ecosystems

Chairs: Antonia Mayr, Samuel Boff

Contact: antonia.mayr@uni-wuerzburg.de

"Pollinators have key functions in ecosystems and animal pollination is the mayor component of pollination systems in the tropics. However, pollinators are threatened by various environmental and anthropogenic factors, which highlights the need for a more holistic understanding of pollinator populations and communities. Therefore, this session aims to consider manifold aspects of pollinator ecology including drivers of pollinator diversity patterns, all kinds of pollinator traits (e.g. morphological, chemical and behavioural traits) and pollinator interactions with conspecifics as well as different interactants (such as plants, other pollinators, predators, parasitoids and cleptoparasites, microbiota and fungi). We are looking forward to studies on different groups of pollinators and from different geographic regions and habitat types. By providing a wide range of topics, we hope to extent our horizons, exchange knowledge and ideas and open up discussions about pollination ecology in the tropics."
15 Microbiomes and ecosystem functioning ▶
Full title: Novel insights from a hidden world: microbial ecosystem functions and plant-microbe interactions in (sub-) tropical ecosystems

Chairs: Dr. Gemma Rutten, Dr. Tessa Camenzind

Contact: gemma.rutten@idiv.de

Microbes are crucial for ecosystem functioning, especially in respect to their role in decomposition, carbon sequestration and nutrient cycling. Yet, our understanding of microbial ecology in highly diverse tropical ecosystems remains limited. It is therefore of fundamental importance to better understand the functions of microbiomes and potential responses to environmental change. In the last decades, several influential studies have shown the importance of microbes in tropical ecosystems, and shed light on their crucial role for ecosystem functioning and ecological patterns. Foliar microbial communities were shown to be hyperdiverse, while the diversity of soil communties was not necessarily higher than in temperate systems. Leaf endophytic fungi help the recycling of nutrients during litter decomposition and the symbiosis between plants and mycorrhizal fungi help store carbon into the soil. At the same time, this symbiotic relation can affect interactions between trees and the outcome of competition. Moreover, both above- and belowground pathogenic fungi can posivively affect tree diversity, by preventing one tree species from dominating the plant community. Nevertheless, exactly which factors determine microbial community patterns proved to be complex, particularly regarding the heterogeneous and diverse plant communities and potential high functional redundancy among microbial taxa. This complexity also makes it difficult to predict what happens when environmental conditions change. Therefore, we invite microbiologists and plant ecologists to exchange and discuss their novel findings on the diversity and functionality of microbes, and above- and belowground interactions with plants under various conditions. We aim to gain an overview of the current knowledge of microbial ecology in tropical systems. This will aid a better understanding of the hidden microbial world, which plays an important role in ecosystem functioning in tropical systems, and needs more attention to understand ecosystem adaptations to future conditions.
16 Biodiversity Monitoring ▶
Full title: Biodiversity Monitoring


100 DAAD Poster session (Posters only) ▶
Full title: DAAD Poster session (Posters only)