ATBC-AP Pre Conference Workshops

All workshops are open to any interested individual but participants are required to register through the official registration portal . Please read the ‘Registration guide’. before starting the registration process.

If interested, please buy a half-day workshop registration (1500 LKR or 8 USD), one-day workshop registration (3000 LKR or 17 USD) or two-day workshop registration (5500 LKR or 30 USD) through our registration portal. For free workshops, please indicate your preference only to complete workshop registration (no payment is required) for recording purpose as they are fully supported by a sponsor..No additional payments are required to attending these workshops. Unless otherwise specified, the registration fees for workshops do not include accommodation and lodging, which should be covered by the participants. There is ample accommodation available in the MAS Athena at a range of prices.

All applicants are advised not to book flights or accommodation until the organizing committee confirm that a particular workshop has at least 75% of its seats filled otherwise it may not be offered. The committee will confirm this decision to all registered individuals within 24 hours after a deadline is closed. If a workshop is canceled, the paid registration fee will be refunded.


WORKSHOP 1

An Introduction to Biogeography and Biogeographical Analysis

Organizers Aniruddha Datta Roy (School of Biological Sciences, National Institute of Science Education & Research, India)
Maitreya Sil & Chinta Sidharthan (Centre for Ecological Sciences Indian Institute of Science, India)
Background Life on this planet is incredibly diverse not just in terms of number of species but also with respect to where they are distributed. Biogeography is a field of science that attempts to understand patterns of spatial and temporal distribution of biological diversity. In the past decade or so, there have been various methods proposed that deal with understanding these distribution patterns using a phylogenetic and statistical framework. This workshop would deal with an introduction to biogeography followed by hands-on session on different methods that are currently being applied in order to understand biogeographical patterns. We will discuss the advantages and limitations of the currently used biogeographical methods and the participants would be encouraged to work their way through a dataset that we will provide for the hands-on session. Participants are also encouraged to bring along their own datasets if they have attempted to perform any biogeographic analyses in the past.
Registration fee per participant One-day workshop registration (3000 LKR or 17 USD, includes one snack, lunch and logistics at the venue)
Maximum number of seats available 20
Dates and time 8.30 am – 12.30 pm on 10 September 2019.
Tentative schedule The workshop will last for about four hours wherein we will start with an introduction to biogeography. This would be followed by installation of programs and a detailed hands-on computer session on different biogeographic analyses.
Location MAS Athena (Site map will be emailed to registered participants)
Registration Deadline 25 Aug 2019 or until all seats are filled.

WORKSHOP 2

An Introduction to Molecular Phylogenetics and Its Applications

Organizers Kunal Arekar (Wildlife Institute of India)
Ananya Jana & Sanjaya Weerakkody(Centre for Ecological Sciences Indian Institute of Science, India & Faculty of Science, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka)
Background There has been an enormous increase in the DNA sequence data in recent times, as a consequence of advances in sequencing techniques. The amount of data generated in the past few decades is colossal and it is bound to increase further, with the advent of cheaper sequencing facilities. This has led to a surge in phylogenetic studies around the world. However, the knowledge of how to analyse this data has not kept pace with the data generation, largely owing to inadequate training in molecular phylogenetics. This workshop will impart basic knowledge about how to initiate a molecular phylogenetic study, what are the different tree building methods and what are the applications of molecular phylogenetics. During the hands-on sessions, participants will be taught DNA sequence alignment, data partitioning, phylogenetic tree building using maximum likelihood and bayesian methods, divergence dating analysis and species tree estimation analysis. Different softwares that will be used are MEGA, PartitionFinder, RAxML, MrBayes, BEAST and *BEAST. We will also discuss the limitations of these methods. Participants will be provided with an example dataset to work with. They are also encouraged to bring their own dataset, if any, for discussion purpose. Participants are requested to bring their laptops for the hand on training.
Registration fee per participant Two-day workshop registration (5500 LKR or 30 USD, includes two snacks, two lunches and logistics at the venue for two days. Excludes – accommodation, dinner and breakfast)
Maximum number of seats available 25
Dates and time 8.30 am – 6.30 pm on 9 September 2019 and 8.30 am – 2.30 pm on 10 September 2019.
Tentative schedule The workshop will span for two days.
  • First day will start with an introduction to molecular phylogenetics and basics of tree building methods. This will be followed by software installation and hands-on session for sequence alignment, data partitioning and selection of substitution model and then finally tree building using maximum likelihood method.
  • Second day will start with an introduction to Bayesian method and applications of molecular phylogenetics followed by practical session on tree building using Bayesian method, molecular dating and species tree analysis.
Location MAS Athena (Site map will be emailed to registered participants)
Registration Deadline 25 Aug 2019 or until all seats are filled.

WORKSHOP 3

Spatial Analysis of Ecological Data in R

Organizers Nilanjan Chatterjee (Wildlife Institute of India)
Background Environmental heterogeneity across space and time is the key to biodiversity patterns across the living world. A major challenge for researchers and managers is the measurement and prediction of patterns to across spatial scales. Maps enable the successful illustration of change in patterns over time, facilitating comparison of trends between past and present processes allowing predictions for future with a high degree of confidence. Spatial analysis holds promising avenues for decision making as it provides targeted visualization with immediate perspective allowing to build strategies for instantaneous action. Thus, spatial analysis facilitates in solving complex site-specific problems. Moreover, multiple factors interact on ground to produce patterns which are beyond the scope of simple exploratory analysis. Ecological modelling aids in approximating real situations accounting for species interactions with biotic and abiotic parameters. Given all the advantages of spatial analysis, the major drawback for researchers and managers is the access of proprietary platforms for data analysis, as they pose a financial constraint on them. In such scenarios, open source platforms like R can provide a powerful substitute for data analysis. Independent developers working on such platforms, offer customization and updated features for tailor-made applications.
Registration fee per participant One-day workshop registration (3000 LKR or 17 USD, includes two snacks, lunch and logistics at the venue for one day)
Maximum number of seats available 50
Dates and time 8.30 am – 4.30 pm on 9 September 2019.
Location MAS Athena (Site map will be emailed to registered participants)
Registration Deadline 25 Aug 2019 or until all seats are filled.

WORKSHOP 4

Identification of Non-lichenized Fungi and Mushrooms

Organizers Samantha Karunarathna (Key Laboratory for Plant Diversity and Biogeography of East Asia, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Science)
Nalin Wijayawardene (Center for Yunnan Plateau Biological Resources Protection and Utilization, Qujing Normal University, Qujing City, Yunnan Province, China)
Yong Wang (Department of Plant Pathology, Agriculture College, Guizhou University, China)
Li-Wei Zhou (Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences)
Background Traditional taxonomical approaches in mycology were mainly based on morphological characteristics. However, molecular methods i.e. phylogenetic methods based on DNA sequences are becoming very popular among mycologists. These phylogenetic analyses help to understand the phylogenetic placements and relationships among taxa (such as sexual-asexual relationships). Further, resolving species complexes, delimiting or establishing generic boundaries (specially for polyphyletic genera and the genera with similar morphological characteristics), and proposing one name for pleomorphic genera are also common practices among mycologists. Since the mycobiota in Sri Lanka are not well documented or updated, there is a high possibility to discover new taxa. Further, recollecting old/ historical taxa is also an interesting practice which helps to epitypify them. Hence, it is necessary to update recent advances in mycology as some of the changes are quite important in nomenclature. Further, the common techniques use in field and laboratory need to be updated. This is important as most of the mycologists are working on DNA based phylogenetic methods. Hence, preserving cultures and herbarium materials, depositing them in reputed culture collections and herbaria, and maintaining them properly are essential.
Registration fee per participant Half-day workshop registration (1500 LKR or 8 USD includes four snacks, two lunches and logistics at the venue for two days. Excludes – accommodation, dinner and breakfast). This workshop is sponsored by Royal Botanic Gardens, Peradeniya. Purchasing a half-day workshop registration is sufficient for organizers to cover the remaining costs.
Maximum number of seats available 15
Dates and time 9.00 am – 5.00 pm on 14 – 15 September 2019.
Location Royal Botanic Gardens, Peradeniya (Site map will be emailed to registered participants)
Registration Deadline 31 Aug 2019 or until all seats are filled.

WORKSHOP 5

Lichens in the Asia Pacific Region – Their Components, Diversity and Conservation.

Organizers Gothamie Weerakoon & Patricia Anne Wolseley (Natural History Museum, London, UK)
Siril Wijesundara (National Institute of Fundamental Studies, Sri Lanka)
Udeni Jayalal (Department of Natural Recourses, Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka)
Background Recent work on lichens of tropical forests of Sri Lanka has resulted in the description of species new to science and to many new records for the Country demonstrating the richness of lichens of all forms in tropical forests of the region. This workshop will allow us to introduce participants to aspects of tropical forest ecology and taxonomy that are applicable throughout the region. Participants will be introduced to the collection and preservation of lichens and the maintenance of a herbarium, as well as field and microscopic observation of specialized morphological characters using a dissecting microscope. A compound microscope will be available to investigate structural aspects of thallus and reproductive features. But each particiant should bring a 10× hand lens for personal use. Identification and taxonomy will be covered using keys that are available in literature and on-line. Their use as environmental indicators for air quality and environmental alteration and their use in culinary and medicinal applications will be included.
Registration fee per participant FREE workshop registration includes snacks, lunches and logistics at the venue for five days. Excludes - accommodation, dinner and breakfast in Peradeniya). This workshop is sponsored by Dilmah Conservation of Dilmah Ceylon Tea Company. A free copy of ‘Fascinating Lichens of Sri Lanka’ authored by Gothamie Weerakoon will be given to every participant.
Maximum number of seats available 10
Dates and time 16 – 20 September 2019.
Tentative schedule
  • (Day 1) Inauguration and welcome addresses at the botanic gardens in the morning.
  • (Day 2) Field visit at Queensberry Estate, Nawalapitiya and return to Kandy & Peradeniya in the evening.
  • (Day 3) Lichen identification and use of lichen key.
  • (Day 4) TLC, lichen chemistry and (Day 5) Importance of lichens.
Location Royal Botanic Gardens, Peradeniya and the Dilmah Climate Change Research Centre at Nawalapitiya (Site maps will be emailed to registered participants)
Registration Deadline 31 Aug 2019 or until all seats are filled.

WORKSHOP 6

Tell Your Story Right: DOs, Don’ts and (FREE) Tools in Science Communication for Researchers

Principle Organizer Ruchira Somaweera (CSIRO, Australia)
Co-Organizer Arun Dayanandan (Concordia University, Montreal, Canada)
Background Today, more than ever before, researchers are required to communicate their research to the media and end users, including policymakers, industry, and the public. Effectively taking your message across to these parties not only increases the on-ground implications and impact of your research, but also affects future funding opportunities. This workshop discusses strategies for developing and delivering effective visual, written and oral science communications in an engaging manner. It also introduces you to several free and innovative tools available for science communication. The program comprises discussions, small-group work, and practical sessions, and is intensive and highly interactive. To get full benefits of the workshop, you would need a smart phone and a laptop.
Registration fee per participant One-day workshop registration (3000 LKR or 17 USD, includes two snacks, lunch and logistics at the venue for one day)
Maximum number of seats available 30
Dates and time 8.30 am – 5.00 pm on 9 September 2019.
Location MAS Athena (Site map will be emailed to registered participants)
Registration Deadline 25 Aug 2019 or until all seats are filled.

WORKSHOP 7

Boot Camp on Ecological Data Analysis.

Organizers Mike Meredith (BCSS and WCS Malaysia)
Shyamala Ratnayake (Sunway University, Malaysia)
Voon Mu Feng (Sarawak Forestry Corporation, Malaysia)
Background Wildlife field studies differ from experiments in that
  1. Our results are relevant to conservation management
  2. We deal directly with complex ecological systems.
  3. We collect binary data (present/absent, alive/dead, caught/not caught) and count data.
  4. We don't detect all the individuals or species present and need to adjust for probability of detection.
In this workshop, we make no reference to significance tests and move directly to Bayesian analysis, modelling and model selection. We deal specifically with occupancy estimation and mark- recapture methods for density and survival. No prior knowledge of statistics is needed, but participants should have a background in field biology.
Registration fee per participant 55,000 LKR or 310 USD (includes snacks, lunches and logistics at the venue for 10 days. Excludes - accommodation, dinner and breakfast)
Maximum number of seats available 24
Dates and time 8.00 am to 6.00 pm through 29 August – 9 September 2019.
Tentative schedule This intensive workshop will last 10 days. Please visit the schedule here
Location MAS Athena (Site map will be emailed to registered participants)
Registration Deadline 10 Aug 2019

WORKSHOP 8

Plastic Debris and Marine Fauna: Media, Education and Social Change in Coastal Communities

Organizers Rupika Rajakaruna (Department of Zoology, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka)
Lesley Henderson (Department of Social and Political Sciences, Institute for the Environment, Health and Societies, Brunel University London, United Kingdom)
Background Plastic pollution is an extreme problem that Sri Lanka is currently facing. The country has been ranked number five among the top 20 countries that mismanage plastic waste and pump plastic waste into the sea. Recently, the Sri Lankan government imposed a deposit refund policy, a tax on plastics and a drive to recycling. However, the mass consumption of plastics has outpaced recycling efforts. Increase in plastic consumption is also driven by an unprecedented tourism boom following the cessation of nearly three decades of civil war in 2009. The workshop will target the importance of media as a crucial site of information in educating the public, mediating messages and sharing knowledge that can shape public perceptions of plastic pollution. This workshop will explore issues of marine conservation with a special focus on marine turtles; address public awareness of plastic waste in general; and develop effective local and culturally appropriate solutions to minimise plastic usage. A special focus on the coastal communities including the sea turtle hatchery keepers to educate them on plastic pollution and microplastic debris and to establish values and attitudes and how these might be shaped to develop more ‘plastic eco-friendly’ practices especially targeting the foreign and local tourists.
Registration fee per participant FREE workshop registration (includes two snacks, lunch and logistics at the venue for one day). This workshop is sponsored by Unilever Sri Lanka.
Maximum number of seats available 30
Dates and time 10 September 2019.
Tentative schedule Half day workshop.
Location MAS Athena (Site maps will be emailed to registered participants)
Registration Deadline 25 August 2019 or until all seats are filled
Payment Free (Sponsored by Unilever)

WORKSHOP 9

Economics of Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity: Valuing, Protecting, and Restoring Nature

Organizers Sahan T. M. Dissanayake (Institute for Sustainable Solutions, Portland State University)
Prasanthi Gunawardena (University of Sri Jayawardhanapura)
Shamen Vidanage (IUCN Sri Lanka)
Background The benefits we get from nature, formally referred to as ecosystem services, face growing threats and the loss affects human welfare. This workshop introduces the economics of valuing, protecting and restoring ecosystem services and biodiversity. The course starts with an overview of ecosystem services and biodiversity and introduces international frameworks (MEA and TEEB) used to study and classify ecosystem services. The participants then learn the methods used to value ecosystem services and guide and incentivize restoration and protection of ecosystem services at the landscape level. The course focuses on choice experiment surveys and land use optimization models as tools to guide policy decisions and ends with a discussion of payment for ecosystem programs, green accounting and win-win-outcomes through green infrastructure. The workshop is designed to enable the participants to:
  1. Becomes aware of the international frameworks focused on conserving nature
  2. Learn the methods used to value and understand preferences for ecosystem services and conservation.
  3. Be introduced to land-use optimization models and tools.
  4. Understand the concepts of payment for ecosystem programs, green accounting, and green.
  5. Become familiar with the current applications and case studies
The concepts in this workshop will be taught using a combination of lectures, journal articles, discussions, and active learning exercises.
Registration fee per participant Two-day workshop registration (5500 LKR or 30 USD, includes two snacks, lunch and logistics at the venue for one day - Excludes – accommodation, dinner and breakfast)
Maximum number of seats available 25
Dates and time 9 September 2019
Tentative schedule
  • Check in on 9 September early afternoon.
  • Then have 4 hours teaching from 2 p.m - 6.30 pm with a 30-minute evening tea break.
  • Continue 10th morning till lunch, from 9 am to 12 noon with 30-minute tea break.
Location MAS Athena (Site maps will be emailed to registered participants)
Registration Deadline 25 Aug 2019 or until all seats are filled.

WORKSHOP 10

Introduction to mobile data collection using SMART and Cybertracker

Organizers Antony Lynam (Wildlife Conservation Society and SMART Partnership)
Background Ensuring accuracy and precision of field data collection is important for field research and threats monitoring in the tropics. In this workshop participants will learn how to use technology for digital data collection (Cybertracker) in conjunction with Android-powered smartphones or tablets, and be introduced to a tool for managing threats data (Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool – SMART). They will learn how to configure devices to collect data with customized user defined data models, and how to upload data for visualization of tracklogs and waypoints. SMART and Cybertracker are being used across >800 sites around the world including 29 National Parks in Sri Lanka. Participants will receive a free package of training materials and resources and have the opportunity to join a global community of SMART users.
Registration fee per participant One-day workshop registration (3000 LKR or 17 USD, includes one snack, lunch and logistics at the venue)
Maximum number of seats available 20
Dates and time 8.30 am – 12.30 pm on 9 September 2019.
Tentative schedule This is a half day session and click here for more details.
Location MAS Athena (Site map will be emailed to registered participants)
Registration Deadline 31 Aug 2019 or until all seats are filled.

WORKSHOP 11

Key Skills for Upcoming Conservation Biologists

Organizers Alice C. Hughes. ATBC AP Chair. Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Background Early Career conservation Biologists face an increasingly competitive future. To be successful as a conservationist or a scientist requires key skills to enable them to communicate effectively, to negotiate and to discuss their work with diverse audiences. In this workshop we will focus on those skills. Initially we will focus on communication skills, presenting to scientific audiences, elevator pitches and other audiences. We will then practice different forms of writing including scientific blogs, and policy briefs, and discuss how structure and language varies for these different audiences. On the theme of communication, we will also cover negotiation and interview skills, as well as how to structure your CV to maximize success. Other key skills will also be covered in the workshop, based on the participants but may include experimental design, and project development.
Registration fee per participant Two day workshop registration (5500 LKR or 30 USD including three snacks, two lunch and logistics at the venue - Excludes – accommodation, dinner and breakfast)
Maximum number of seats available 25
Dates and time 1.00 pm – 5.00 pm on 8th Sept , 9.00 am – 5.00 pm on 9the Sept.
Tentative schedule This workshop runs through three days as mentioned above.
Location MAS Athena (Site map will be emailed to registered participants)
Registration Deadline 31 Aug 2019 or until all seats are filled.




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