Conference announcement: Megafauna and Ecosystem Function

I’m excited to announce an upcoming conference at Oxford University on megafauna and ecosystems, past and present! I’ve pasted some details below, including the fantastic plenary lineup. There’s been a lot of exciting emerging research in this field, and I’m excited to participate. There will be space for 200 registrants, including contributed posters and talks. For more details, see this handout. Many thanks to the organizers for what looks to be a really excellent event!

Megafauna and ecosystem
function: from the Pleistocene to
the Anthropocene

Tuesday 18 – Thursday 20 March 2014
St John’s College, University of Oxford

The Environmental Change Institute and the Oxford Martin School will host a
three-day conference exploring the ecological and environmental
consequences of megafauna (large animal) extinctions. The conference will
consider the environmental legacies of the late Pleistocene extinctions,
examine the effects of contemporary extinctions, and finally discuss the
science and controversies around ”rewilding” and reintroduction of
megafauna. As well as invited plenary speakers (see examples below), there
will be opportunities for submitted oral presentations and posters.

Todd  Surovell

University of Wyoming, USA


On Pre-Clovis and Pleistocene Overkill

David Nogues-Bravo

University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Ancient DNA reveals past global population dynamics links to climate-driven range dynamics’

Kate Lyons

Smithsonian Institution, USA

‘Megafaunal extinction and its impact on mammalian community structure on multiple continents’

Christopher Johnson

University of Tasmania, Australia


Ecological impacts of the Pleistocene Megafauna extinctions in Australia


Jacquelyn Gill

University of Maine, USA


Impact of North American Pleistocene extinctions on tree cover


Felisa Smith

University of New Mexico, USA

‘Recalibrating the Anthropocene: humans, megafauna and global biogeochemical cycles.

Chris Doughty

University of Oxford, UK

Nutrient dispersal by megafauna.

Adam Wolf

Princeton University, USA

‘Herbivore diffusion of seeds in contemporary time in relation to climate velocity’

Jim Estes

University of California at Santa Cruz, USA

Marine megafaunal extinctions and trophic cascades: what really happened to Stellar’s sea cow?

Blaire Van Valkenburgh


Assessing predator-prey levels in the Pleistocene of North America


Mauro Galetti


University of Sao Paulo, Brazil

‘The impact of megafauna extinction on genetic structure of some tropical plants’


John Terborgh

Duke University, USA

The effects of defaunation on the structure and function of  tropical forests

Fiona Maisels

Global Conservation Program

Massive loss of forests elephants in central Africa


Stephen Blake


Washington University in St. Louis, USA

Massive recent loss of African forest elephants and impacts on forest structure and diversity


Greg Asner

Carnegie Institution, USA

‘Novel approaches to assessing the impacts of elephants on ecosystem structure and function”

Paul Jepson

University of Oxford, UK

Re-wildling visions and controversy: unsettling  the conservation regime


Sergey Zimov

Pacific Institute for Geography, Russia

‘Lessons and future prospects from a Pleistocene rewilding in Siberia.’

Frans Vera

Oostvaardersplasse,  Netherlands


‘30 years of rewilding in the Netherlands: the impact of herbivores on closed canopy forest’


Josh Donlan

Cornell University

The potential for rewilding in North America

George Monbiot

The Guardian

The case for megafaunal rewilding (title tbc)

Yadvinder Malhi

University of Oxford, UK

Ghosts of lost giants: what it means to live in a megafauna-depleted world, and what can or should be done?


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