International meeting on belowground biodiversity (BioLink) at Reading this week

The first annual meeting of the COST Action FP1305 Biolink will take place from 4th until 7th November 2014 at the University of Reading, organised by Dr Martin Lukac.  Final programme available here.

One of the aims of the Action is to establish a vibrant community of scientists interested in relating the many forms of belowground biodiversity found in European forests and tree plantations to the function of the whole ecosystem. The Action is organised around the following working Groups:

WG 1 Linking belowground biodiversity to ecosystem function.

WG 2 Microbial and faunal functional biodiversity in belowground food-webs.

WG 3 Belowground biodiversity in plantations and tree crops.

WG 4 Functional diversity in forest models.

The aim of the meeting is to set the Action in motion: to establish a partnerships and collaborations, to identify new avenues of research, to help starting researchers find contacts, identify and target suitable research funding streams and, most of all, discuss an interesting topic with a group of friends! To help us achieve all these goals, we have put together a two-day programme which includes exciting speakers, a brainstorming session, poster session where starting researchers will present their work.

Likely outputs (of the Action):

  • A summary of current knowledge of belowground biodiversity in forest ecosystems across a management intensity gradient. The Action will assess the role of soil biodiversity as a determinant of ecosystem stability and publish in scientific publications.
  • Integration of new theoretical and technological advances in biodiversity research in the forestecosystem research community. Emerging analytical and modelling approaches will be showcased by inviting leading speakers
  • Provision of a focal point for the dissemination of information about forest biodiversity and ecosystem function.
  • Collation and exchange of recent findings from experimental and observational studies of belowground biodiversity in perennial tree crops and simplified ecosystems. These will be contrasted to those from forest ecosystems.
  • Comparison of experimental and model results from natural forests and tree crops concerning effects on soil biodiversity. Further inclusion of know-how from related modelling research (aquatic food-web modelling, agricultural soil modelling) will boost the development of new forest ecosystem modelling concepts to include soil functional diversity in a more mechanistic way.
  • Identification of new cross-disciplinary research areas in a series of review and opinion publications in peer-reviewed journals.