Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, UK

Owen Lewis is Professor of Ecology in the Department of Zoology and a Fellow of Brasenose College, University of Oxford. He is a community ecologist whose research investigates the processes structuring, maintaining and threatening rainforest biodiversity. Particular areas of interest include plant-enemy interactions and their effects on plant diversity; the structure and dynamics of species-rich food webs; and the effects of global change on trophic interactions and ecosystem functioning. His tropical forest fieldwork includes sites in Panama, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Australia and Thailand. Owen is the lead Principal Investigator of the LOMBOK consortium (, a large multidisciplinary team investigating biodiversity, biogeochemistry and ecosystem services in human-modified tropical forest and oil palm dominated landscapes in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo.

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United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Biosphere Networks & Capacity Building Section, Science Sector Focal Point for Africa, Division of Ecological and Earth Sciences, Paris, FR

Doctor in Plant Ecology, Noëline Raondry Rakotoarisoa began her professional career in Madagascar as a teacher-researcher in plant biology and ecology. From 1984 to 2000, she taught successively at the University of Mahajanga and at the University of Antananarivo. Dean of the Department of Natural Sciences of Mahajanga University from 1984 to 1989, she is one of the founding members.
Between 1994 and 2000, she coordinated for UNESCO the projects of the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) program in Madagascar. She joined UNESCO / MAB in 2004 and served successively in the regional offices for West Africa (Dakar) and East Africa (Nairobi).
She is Senior Program Specialist in the Division of Ecological and Earth Sciences and Head of the Biosphere Network and Capacity Building at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris since 2011.

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CNRS (French National Centre for Scientific Research) - PSL Research University Paris, EPHE, UPVD
Director of CRIOBE (Centre de Recherches Insulaires et Observatoire de l’Environnement) - USR 3278
Moorea, French Polynesia

Dr. Serge Planes has been involved in the study of population genetics of marine fish since the beginning of his career that started with his PhD in 1989. Over the past 20 years, he has published almost 200 papers in international journals dealing primarily with the population genetics of coral reef fishes but more generally looking at questions of functional ecology, ecology of marine protected areas and recruitment of marine fishes. His early work suggested that coral reef fish populations are much more limited in space than was generally believed prior to the early 90’s. Most of the recent work using both genetic markers and other techniques has confirmed Dr. Planes’ view that marine populations conform to a stepping stone model, with limited gene flow occurring between adjacent populations and most renewal being from self-recruitment. This view has major implications for conservation planning. In this general frame, recent works were focus on parental assignation investigating variability in parents-offsprings success and heritability in natural populations.

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Center for Marine Environmental Sciences (MARUM), Universität Bremen, Germany

For almost three decades Lydie Dupont has been studying vegetation history of African biomes in relation to global climate change with a focus on large-scale and long-term variability. Together with colleagues and students, she has been using pollen records from marine sediments to describe and understand the fluctuations of biomes over time scales of several million years, of glacial-interglacial cycles, and during abrupt climate changes.

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Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama

Helene Muller-Landau’s research is directed towards understanding the structure and dynamics of plant communities and terrestrial ecosystems, especially of tropical forests. Her group integrates empirical and theoretical approaches to pursue this aim. A major focus of her current research concerns quantifying the carbon budgets of tropical forests, investigating how these respond to environmental variation and depend on plant functional composition, and working to improve the representation of tropical forests in earth system models. She is also particularly interested in understanding the forces shaping the functional composition and diversity of tropical trees and lianas in different conditions. She is a staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, and the lead scientist for the Global Forest Carbon Research Initiative of the Center for Tropical Forest Science – Forest Global Earth Observatory (CTFS-ForestGEO), a global network of large-scale forest dynamics plots.

Please read the abstract of the keynote talk here ...