Neobiota 2016: the largest gathering of invasion ecologists I have ever seen, all under the watching eye of Vianden’s famous castle.
We joined forces here in Luxembourg with more than 260 ecologists from all over the world for what – up till now – is proving worthy to compete for the best conference I ever visited.
The high levels of all the presentations during this 3-day meeting clearly indicate that invasion ecology has evolved into a mature discipline. As a discipline, we are far past the stage that we remain on our own, looking at our own little specific invasion-related problems.
No, we now have an important role to play, bridging gaps between evolutionary ecology, functional ecology, biogeography, climate change research, management and many more. While we are implementing knowledge from all these disciplines, invasion ecology is also giving back to the rest of ecology: invasive species have proven to be valuable test cases to understand fundamental ecological problems. From biotic interactions, over effects of human disturbances to the impacts of climate change, research on alien species provides major breakthroughs.
And again, as I also said after the Perth conference on mountain ecology in 2015, the fastly increasing success and power of big global collaborations (like our own precious MIREN) and even bigger global datasets is playing an important role in these successes.
There is one more days of talks coming up, but already now the list of good ideas is too long to handle.