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Tackling the roots of plant blindness

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Event description
This event brings together experts from academia and industry to discuss plant blindness, its implications and how to tackle it.

About this Event

Plant blindness (the inability of people to recognise and identify even common plant species compared to a generally reasonable ability to recognise animals) is a major problem. Fewer university courses contain significant identification or taxonomy components, and university students (and the general public) show a clear lack of knowledge around plant identification. This becomes particularly concerning when we consider that many major global challenges, from food security to climate change, rely on plants for some component of their solutions.

Our event will bring together experts from a range of academic and industry areas to discuss plant blindness, its implications and how to tackle it. We will have a series of keynotes and lightning presentations and finish with a workshop. The workshop will focus on strategies to (1) tackle plant blindness; (2) improve the teaching of plant identification and better incorporate these skills into a wide array of degrees (e.g. general biology, ecology and physical geography degrees); and (3) consider if “plant blindness” is a problematic term and, if so, what could replace it. We will produce a short written piece for publication focusing on the issues and solutions identified during the meeting.

Keynote speakers

  • Dr Mark Fennell, Associate Director of AECOM and expert in invasive plant ecology and management
  • Dr Susannah Lydon, Assistant Professor in Plant Sciences, University of Nottingham
  • Dr Jonathan Mitchley, Associate Professor of Field Botany, University of Reading

Preliminary programme

10.00 – 10:15: Welcome

10.15 – 11.00: Keynote from Dr Jonathan Mitchley

11.00 – 11.20: Lightning session 1

11.20 – 11.30: Break

11.30 – 12.15: Keynote from Dr Susannah Lydon

12.15 – 12.35: Lightning session 2

12.35 – 12.45: Break

12.45 – 13.30: Keynote from Dr Mark Fennell

13.30 – 13.50: Breakout session

13.50 – 14.00: Closing remarks

Abstract submission

We welcome delegates and abstracts from any aspect of plant blindness (teaching, research or industry focused). If you would like to give a 7-minute lightning talk, please submit the presenter name, presentation title, and abstract (150 words max) in one word document to Dr Karen Bacon (karen.bacon@nuigalway.ie) or Dr Julie Peacock (j.peacock@leeds.ac.uk) by 17:00 (GMT) Monday 1 March 2021.

Registration

Please register for this event by 17:00 (GMT) Monday 8 March 2021.

If you are interested in becoming a BES member to purchase the BES member-rate ticket, you can find out more information and join here. Membership starts from £23, or you can get 12 months free membership if you are an undergraduate, masters, or first year PhD student.

We understand that many people are experiencing hardship as a result of the pandemic. If you feel that you are unable to afford the full ticket price please get in touch at SIGs@britishecologicalsociety.org

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Date and Time

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Eventbrite's fee is nonrefundable.

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