Confirmed Symposia

Myrtles for Tomorrow: Myrtle Rust Research Updates

Many of New Zealand’s best-known native trees – pōhutukawa, rātā, mānuka – are in the Myrtaceae family. They urgently need protection from the exotic fungal disease myrtle rust which can cause total tree death and severely impact Myrtaceae-dominated ecosystems. The causal agent, Austropuccinia psidii, arrived in New Zealand from Australia via wind dispersal in 2017. Found throughout the North Island and making inroads in the upper South Island, this disease presents a significant threat to New Zealand’s native ecosystems.

This symposium will present work on myrtle rust from some of New Zealand’s leading experts from a range of institutions, providing conference attendees first-hand information on the research approaches underway and results to hand thus far.

Sponsored by: 

Enhancing Functional Biodiversity in Agroecosystems

This symposium will focus on how non-production vegetation can be used to enhance native biodiversity and alter ecosystem processes within New Zealand agroecosystems, with particular focus on sheep and beef farms. Speakers will touch on what biodiversity is associated with non-production vegetation on sheep and beef farms, the associated ecosystem processes, and the social and cultural barriers and drivers of biodiversity management on farms. 

Sponsored by:  

Mast seeding

Mast seeding has widespread ecological interest for academics and is increasingly important for operational planning of pest operations. This symposium will provide updates on Mechanisms, genetics and operational use of mast forecasts.

Contemporary Evolution in Response to Environmental Change

A symposium focused on examining rapid contemporary evolution in response to anthropogenically - induced environmental change and its role in understanding the ecology and conservation of species across taxonomic groups.  Traditionally, evolution was assumed to occur only over long time scales, but increasing evidence demonstrates that evolution can occur over short time scales in both natural and anthropogenic habitats. 

Mātauranga Māori and shaping ecological futures                       

Māori have distinct cultural knowledge, values, and perspectives that establish rights, responsibilities and relationships with flora and fauna. There is increasing recognition from scientists, practitioners, environmental managers, policy makers and others that mātauranga Māori, and working with Māori communities, enhances our understanding of ecology and provides valuable perspectives and frameworks to guide research, management and policy development. This symposium will celebrate the publication of a special issue of the NZ Journal of Ecology on this theme, and we invite submissions for presentations that have a focus on mātauranga Māori and how it is informing current and future research and decision-making in ecology, or that showcase collaborative research partnerships with Māori communities.

Ecology of dispersal, from species to landscapes

The dispersal of plants and animals and their movement through the landscape are key aspects of their ecology and evolution. Movement of propagules or individuals can maintain gene flow among populations and allow range expansion and range shifts in response to changing environments. For most plants, the dispersal of seeds or spores is the only process by which they are able to move away from the maternal parent to reach new localities appropriate for their establishment and growth. In fragmented modified landscapes, corridors to aid movement and dispersal can be vital for the maintenance of viable populations of species, and can encourage and enhance biodiversity in our urban landscapes.

This symposium aims to explore the issues related to invasive species and create a space for conversation and networking opportunities for all stakeholders interested in the management of these invasive species.

Next generation on next-generation sequencing

Next-generation sequencing is the future of ecology studies, as it allows ecologists to get a deeper understanding of underlying patterns, such as biodiversity, within and between individuals, populations and communities. Having a more mechanistic understanding about genetic basis and how it affects species’ ecology is crucial and should be viewed as an essential in an ecologist’s tool box. However, it does not come without challenges which will be discussed and investigated during the symposium.

This symposium is all about letting the next generation of young scientists highlight some of the next-generation sequencing and analyses methods and showcase real life case studies. It aims to alleviate the benefits and usefulness of genetics in future ecological studies, such as studying New Zealand’s unique biodiversity.

Invasive species and their ecological impacts

The intentional or accidental introduction of exotic species, into new regions, poses a threat to biodiversity, which is only second to direct habitat destruction. Changes in plant and animal distribution ranges have escalated in recent times, mainly because of increased human migration, global trade, and climate change. Recent reports suggest that New Zealand has one of the highest numbers of invasive species worldwide. there is a need to acknowledge and explore the new emerging environments occupied by invasives, identify the short- and long-term impacts of these invasions on NZ native species, and develop sustainable management strategies.

This symposium aims to explore the issues related to invasive species and create a space for conversation and networking opportunities for all stakeholders interested in the management of these invasive species.

Species interaction networks - Bridging the gap from theory to the field

Understanding the complexity of ecosystems has been a prevailing challenge for ecologists. Before the advent of network theory into ecology, interactions between species were typically studied in isolation. Theoretical understanding of ecological networks is advancing rapidly, but there remains a yawning gap between network theory and application to contemporary ecological problems. This disconnect is likely the result of the complex and abstract nature of network theory, preventing its utility being realised by field practitioners.

The goals of this session are to attract researchers who can bridge the gap between network theory and applied ecology by 1) communicating the use of network tools to a broad audience, 2) uniting the theory behind species interaction networks with their realised and potential applications to address ecological problems and 3) provide examples where network approaches have been applied to restoration, conservation, invasion and other contemporary problems in ecology.

The ecology and management of fire 

Severe wildfires are becoming increasingly frequent and more destructive in many parts of the world, including New Zealand. 

This symposium will bring together fire scientists and fire ecologists to better understand the problems caused by wildfires to society and ecosystems in NZ, and to discuss how we might mitigate them. It will involve updates on the current fire environment in NZ and elsewhere, and how this might change in the future, as well as case studies of fire research from NZ and beyond, detailing ecosystem impacts and our current knowledge of fire ecology. 

 The symposium will finish with a discussion session where the audience and a group of expert panelists will seek to answer the question: How can we best manage fire while conserving biodiversity in a changing world?

Ecology and management of Braided Rivers 

Braided rivers are an internationally rare ecosystem type, supporting many unique and threatened communities of flora and fauna. They are highly dynamic, characterised by multiple, shifting channels, variable flows and a variety of habitats. New Zealand is a braided river hot-spot, particularly Canterbury, which comprises 64% of our braided rivers nationally. The ecological integrity of New Zealand’s braided river’s is increasingly under threat, with rising pressure from invasive species, water and gravel abstraction, dams, flood protection works, recreational activities and climate change. 
This symposium will explore the biodiversity values, ecological significance and growing demands being placed on braided river habitats and discuss integrated approaches for future management and restoration.

Photo credit: Jon Sullivan

Key Dates

Symposia Submissions

Submissions open: 13 May 2019

 Submissions close: 7 June 2019
 Presenters advised: Mid June 2019

Call for Abstracts

 Call for abstracts opens: 17 June 2019

 Abstract deadline: 25 August 2019

 Presenters advised by: 04 September 2019

Submission guidelines:

Submissions should provide a brief paragraph, no more than 250 words, outlining what the symposium will cover and including the following:

  • Topic
  • How it is relevant

  • In addition (not included in the word count) please include:
  • A list of suggested/potential or confirmed speakers
  • General Information

    Language of Submission
    All submissions must be in English or accompanied with an English version.

    Word Count
    Submissions should be no longer than 250 words.

    Review and Notification to Authors
    All completed submissions will be reviewed. You will be informed by email (from of the acceptance status of your symposium by mid June 2019.

    Abstract Submissions
    All presenters included in accepted symposia will be required to submit an abstract. Abstract submissions open on 17 June 2019.

    All presenters are required to register and pay the Conference registration fee in order to be included in the program and to present on site. Registration and payment of registration fee by presenters of accepted symposia and abstracts must be completed no later than 18 October, 2019.


    NZES 2019 Conference Host

    Major Sponsor

    Supporting Sponsor

    Keynote Speaker Sponsor

    Symposium Sponsor

    Local Sponsors


    Conference Organisers

    Conferences & Events Ltd
    PO Box 24078, Manners Street, Wellington, 6011
      +64 4 282 1584


    This conference is organised bConferences & Events Ltd, Nelson, Wellington & Nationwide.  We are a New Zealand business.