Post-conference workshops will be held on Friday 2 December 2016, at Rydges Esplanade.

Register via the online registration site.

Media skills training session

Tuesday 29 November 2016, 1310-1350

Location: Sirius Room

Participation fee: nil

Please note: registration is not required to attend this training session. All welcome. 

There are many advantages to communicating your research through the media: informing people about the work and its importance, raising the profile of your subject area, eliciting action, and possibly helping with funding.

This session will explain how traditional media – print, TV and radio – works and how to increase your chances of having your work covered. It will include advice about identifying the story and hook in your work, the changing nature of the media, interacting with journalists and appearing on radio and TV. We will also provide pointers on what to do if you’re contacted unexpectedly by the media.

The session will be run by Simon Torok and Paul Holper from communication company Scientell. Simon and Paul are the media advisors for the Ecological Society of Australia.


Working with a new decision-support tool for prioritising management actions in space and time

Friday 2 December 2016, 0830-1300

Participation fee: nil

Please note: participants are requested to bring their own laptop for this workshop

This workshop will provide a hands-on, practical complement to the presentations in the symposium: New science for prioritising management actions on Australian islands. The symposium will describe the scientific background to the new decision-support tool that we have developed. The workshop will then introduce people to the software and its graphical user interface and allow them to work on their own computers with data that we are using to make on-ground management decisions for islands along the Pilbara coast with managers from the WA Department of Parks and Wildlife.

The workshop will be useful to any ecologist with an interest in how basic and applied research can be used to guide actual conservation decisions, in collaboration with managers. The workshop will also appeal to anyone wanting to understand a new decision-support tool, with capabilities beyond those of existing conservation planning software, and to discuss its applications beyond islands in Western Australia (e.g. other island systems, mainland regions, marine ecosystems). Participants will have the opportunity to trial and comment on a software system that is still in development, and to speak to the development team about scope for modifications.



Inclusions: morning tea

Putting nature back on the Australian political agenda

Friday 2 December, 0900-1330

Participation fee: $55 (inc GST)

The workshop is aimed at any interested ecologist including those working in research institutions, government agencies, and private industry. The broad goal of the workshop is to promote discussion and understanding of the reasons for the current low profile of nature conservation on the Australian political agenda, and to identify ways in which ecologists and conservation scientists can improve this situation. Specifically, the workshop will cover:

Invited speakers will be experts in fields and topics that include contemporary politics, political science, social science, environmental law and economics, attitudes of agencies and research institutions towards politically relevant science, pressures on scientists to abstain from political commentary, mainstreaming biodiversity into public policy, and the relative roles of scientists and conservation advocates.

The workshop will explore four themes, each with presentations followed by open discussion:

Inclusions: morning tea

Terrestrial laser scanning for ecology – new field technology to help measure and monitor vegetation structure

Friday 2 December, 0900-1600

Participation fee: $20 (inc GST)

Please note: participants are requested to bring their own laptop for this workshop

This workshop is aimed at any ecologist working on measuring, mapping, monitoring and modelling vegetation structural properties (e.g. height, canopy architecture, cover, LAI, biomass), from undergraduate to advanced ecologist.

Participants will gain a full understanding of how Terrestrial Laser Scanning (TLS) can be used to provide ecologically relevant measurements of vegetation by participating in a hands-on process to collect TLS data at the workshop, and then progressing through the tools and software required to manage and analyse this data. We recognise that everyone may not collect TLS data in future, but may use data collected by others. Participants will also learn about existing open access TLS datasets for Australian ecosystems that they can use, and be provided with a direct connection to the international community that is driving the efforts to enhance TLS applications in ecology – the Terrestrial Lidar Scanning Research Coordination Network ( Participants will also be shown where existing open access datasets for vegetation structure related parameters for Australian ecosystems are, how they can access them, and what kind of information they can draw from them.


This workshop will be presented as part of an international collaboration between Australia’s TERN (,au) and an international network of ecologists and other scientists who have led the development of TLS applications for vegetation measurement, monitoring and modelling, that is funded through the US National Science Foundation’s Research Collaboration Network Context  for “Coordinating the Development of Terrestrial Lidar Scanning for Aboveground Biomass and Ecological Applications.”  

 Inclusions: morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea

Innovative tools for mapping and modelling species distributions

Friday 2 December 2016, 0900-1300

Participation fee: $20 (inc GST)

Please note: participants are requested to bring their own laptop for this workshop

Models play a critical role in synthesising our understanding of the natural world and making forward projections into novel conditions. These projections help tailor conservation efforts by pinpointing hotspots of biodiversity now and into the future under a changing climate. While they are central to ecological forecasting, models remain inaccessible to many scientists and managers, in large part due to the informatics challenges of managing the flows of information in and out of such models. In this workshop the ALA (Atlas of Living Australia) joins forces with the BCCVL (The Biodiversity and Climate Change Virtual Laboratory) to explore the often-complex relationships between taxa and the environment and how to use this data in ecological models.

In the first half of this workshop participants will use the ALA Spatial Portal to learn about key features, data quality issues, environmental layers and simple but powerful tools like scatterplots to get a better understanding of taxa-environment relationships. They will then take what they have learnt in the ALA to the BCCVL to explore the basic elements of species distribution models and climate change projections, including the data required to run the models, the differences across various model algorithms and how to appropriately interpret and evaluate the results of model outputs. Using the BCCVL, workshop participants will access national datasets to run a species distribution model and then project the results into the future using a climate change projection under a number of different emission scenarios.

The workshop will be of interest to students, environmental/climate scientists and researchers, ecologists, decision-makers, members of government and industry groups, and anyone with a keen interest in conservation and climate impacts. No complex coding/statistical knowledge is required.

 Inclusions: morning tea

An introduction to mixed effects modelling in ecology with R

Friday 2 December 2016, 0900-1630

Participation fee: $50 (inc GST)

Please note: participants are requested to bring their own laptop for this workshop

The workshop is aimed at anyone interested in understanding how, when and why to use mixed effects models to analyse ecological data. ESA delegates would want to participate in this workshop because mixed effects models are appropriate for a wide range of ecological data sets, and yet many people do not yet understand them or use them well. This course will provide a clear introduction to mixed effects modelling with the well-established software package R, using a range of ecological examples.


Inclusions: morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea


COMPASS Training: Communicate the So What of Your Science With the Message Box

Friday 2 December 2016, 1430-1630

Participation fee: nil

Ecologists have crucial insights to share about how and why the world is changing, and yet, much of that knowledge remains locked up in the Ivory Tower, shared only on the pages of scientific journals or at professional conferences. This workshop is aimed at anyone from graduate students/postdocs/early career researchers to more senior ecologists.

This hands-on, engaging, highly-interactive workshop will draw from COMPASS’ 15 years of experience training thousands of scientists from around the world to more effectively engage in the public discourse around the environment. We’ll prepare you to communicate what you know and why it matters in clear, lively terms. Geared for everyone from early career scientists to more seasoned researchers, we’ll help you shake bad habits and empower you to engage with the audiences you most want to reach using a deceptively simple tool called the Message Box.

In this workshop, participants will:

  1. Identify the key messages arising from their research
  2. Explore the relevance of their science for a given audience
  3. Craft and share more effective elevator pitches
  4. Learn the essentials of the science of science communication

Working with Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network

Friday 2 December 2016, 1330-1630

Participation fee: nil

Ecosystem science is becoming more collaborative and data intensive than before. National infrastructures like Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN) plays a crucial role in bringing together significant ecosystem data collections and make them available for research use. The workshop will provide a practical, hands-on session on how to search access and use TERN data collections along with general knowledge on the use of TERN infrastructure. The workshop will be practically oriented and participants are requested to bring their laptops. The workshop will also provide some insight into a future direction of TERN, as well as allowing users to provide feedback on improvements they would like to see.

The workshop is aimed at anybody who uses Terrestrial ecosystem data in their day-to-day activities; this includes environmental scientists, ecologists, research students and researchers from academia, government and industries. Participants are requested to bring their laptop for practical training.

Inclusions: afternoon tea


If you are interested in organising a workshop for ESA 2016, please complete the proposal form below, and submit to the Conference Secretariat via email to email hidden; JavaScript is required.

We are happy to accept proposals at any time, but it would be advantageous to submit your proposal prior to conference registration opening in June.