More great symposia in store at the Annual Conference

By Julia John

The Albuquerque Convention Center will serve as the venue for the many symposia planned for the 24th Annual TWS Conference this September. ©AllenS

Early bird pre-registration for this year’s conference is now open! Register by June 30 to save an additional $50. All registration prices will increase $50 on July 1. And don’t forget to book your room through one of our host hotels early. They will sell out well in advance of the conference!

As The Wildlife Society’s 24th Annual Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico, slated for Sept. 23 – 27, 2017, draws closer, it’s time to take a look at some of the great symposia on the schedule. Last week, we featured symposia on conservation, communication and culture. Here are a few of the wildlife discussions on tap, which explore renewable energy, connectivity in the face of climate change, molecular ecology and mobile apps.

Advancing Wildlife Conservation and Renewable Energy: A Synthesis of Energy System Technologies and Identifying Effects on Wildlife

Whether they’re dealing with solar farms or wind turbines, forest-based biofuels or hydropower, biologists don’t always know the impacts of renewable energy on wildlife or how to mitigate them. This symposium will feature a panel of experts in different renewable energy sectors and review the technologies’ benefits and downsides. Speakers are wildlife managers or authors of Renewable Energy and Wildlife Conservation, an unprecedented new analysis of renewable energy projects’ consequences for wildlife.

“I hope people who attend take away a greater understanding of ways to mitigate adverse effects by partnering with industry in creative ways,” said Susan Rupp, a biologist with Enviroscapes Ecological Consulting, LLC, a co-editor of the book.

Climate-wise Connectivity: How to Plan and Implement

Learn how wildlife managers are helping species shift ranges to cope with climate change by planning and enhancing habitat connectivity. This event will dive into the theory behind climate-wise connectivity modeling. It’ll use case studies to demonstrate how the concept can be applied to control invasive species, promote the dispersal of butterflies through farmland, assist the range shift of a small mammal and restore and connect habitat in two mountain ranges. Wildlife examined will include mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus), American bullfrogs (Lithobates catesbeianus) and Mohave ground squirrels (Xerospermophilus mohavensis).

“We hope Wildlife Society members can work with researchers on planning for climate-wise connectivity and then with agencies and nonprofits to implement it,” said Annika Keeley, a University of Berkeley postdoc and an event organizer.

Genetics to Genomics: What We’ve Learned over the Last 10 Years and What’s Next for Wildlife

No matter what your level of familiarity with genetics, check out this symposium if you’re interested in hearing about its role in wildlife conservation today. Gain a better sense of how modern molecular ecology, which looks at entire genomes and vast quantities of genetic data for countless species, has enhanced conservation and compare genomic sequencing to traditional genetics. This talk will also explore cutting-edge developments in applied genomics for wildlife.

Mobile Apps in Conservation Science

Ever heard of CyberTracker or Survey123? iNaturalist or Field Photo? How about Echo Meter Touch or Song Sleuth? These are all mobile applications conservationists are increasingly using to collect massive amounts of data and map sites efficiently and accurately.

“It’s important for young professionals to learn that a lot of wildlife biology is done with a computer, code and mobile phone,” said Jason Estrella, a GIS specialist with Texas Parks and Wildlife who helped organize this symposium. “The more data we have, the better answers we can acquire.”

Mobile apps can prove valuable in a wide variety of projects, including documenting land cover through citizen science, controlling invasive plants, crowdsourcing biodiversity data, surveying alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) and recovering Mexican wolves (Canis lupus baileyi). This discussion will inform biologists how such platforms can aid fieldwork and help them identify ones that can best facilitate their wildlife research.

Click here for a detailed schedule of all the symposia and more conference events you can’t miss.

Julia John is a science writer at The Wildlife Society. Contact her at jjohn@wildlife.org with any questions or comments about her article.

Read more of Julia's articles here.