Thursday, June 21st

Session 1 (British Indian Ocean Time; GMT +6; CST +12)

Topic: Conservation

1700 Biotweeps Organising Team (@biotweeps; @thonoir; @DaniRabaiotti@ItatiVCS@KJames_IntBio@CanopyRobin@alegnacamargo29)


Welcome to #BTCon18

1715 Invited presentation - Monica Granados (@Monsauce)

Using fish feeding behaviour as an early warning tool in freshwater ecosystems 

Climate change has profoundly impacted the structure and function of ecosystems. Rising temperatures not only spur the extinction and migration of species, but also alter the structure of who-eats-whom in an ecosystem. When warming has differential effects on adjacent habitats, it can disrupt the movement of species between these habitats. In freshwater ecosystems, climate warming is rendering shallow littoral areas less habitable for some omnivores, meaning they venture and feed less in these shallow areas resulting in a loss of stability. Here, we present a novel conservation tool which tracks the movement between habitats or coupling of food webs by omnivores. Using stable isotope data, we analysed coupling in lakes along a climate gradient in Ontario. By identifying where coupling was weak we could detect which lakes are more prone to the loss of stability. We argue that food web structure is promising early warning indicator for the loss of stability and a powerful monitoring tool. 

1745 Susan Cheyne (@DrSusanCheyne), Borneo Nature Foundation

Cryptic Predators: Searching for the 5 Cats of Borneo

All 5 cat species are under threat throughout Indonesian Borneo. There is limited information on the distribution or conservation challenges facing clouded leopards and the 4 smaller cat species in Indonesian Borneo. We are surveying understudied landscapes to assess felid distribution and anthropogenic impacts to help inform conservation actions.
Keywords: felid, Borneo, conservation, camera-trap


1800 Pelf-Nyok Chen (@pelf81), Turtle Conservation Society of Malaysia

Saving the critically endangered river terrapins

River terrapins are only found in Thailand, Cambodia and Pen. Malaysia. They're critically endangered due to consumption of their eggs, fishing gears and habitat destruction. We collect and incubate their eggs, head-start the hatchlings, then release them into the river. This is the first community-based terrapin conservation project in Malaysia.
Keywords: terrapin, turtle, conservation, awareness


1815 Dave Hemprich-Bennett (@hammerheadbat), Queen Mary University of London
Tor Kemp (@Tor_85)


DNA barcoding, logging, and the diets of tropical insectivorous bats

Much of SE Asia has been selectively logged, and its important to know the conservation value of these areas. We captured insect-eating bats across Sabah, Borneo, and classed the DNA in their guano to assess their feeding ecology at each site, creating mathematical networks with the resulting data. We also took a gratuitous amount of bat-photos.
Keywords: Bats, conservation, genetics, networks


1830 Alex Evans (@alexevans91), University of Leeds
Joseph Llanos (@joe_llanos), William Kunin (NA), Sophie Evison (@Sop_Evo)


The indirect effects of pesticides on pollinator parasite prevalence

Insect pollinators are experiencing worldwide declines that are correlated with pesticide exposure and disease prevalence. By conducting pollinator surveys in agricultural sites and screening for parasites in solitary bees, we highlight the importance of understanding how the interactions between pesticides and parasites affect wild pollinators.
Keywords: pollinators, bees, pesticides, parasites


1845 Lucy Mitchell (@lucyjayneryan), University of York

Changing habitat selection of the nocturnal nightjar

What do out nocturnal nightjars need? These cryptic insectivores are hard to track down, so to understand their breeding needs better, we use tail-attached GPS units to study movement patterns and foraging locations to plan best-practice management for population growth. High individual variation indicates the need for a mosaic of habitats onsite.
Keywords: #conservation, #movement, #foraging, #ecology


1900 Tom Bradfer-Lawrence (@_EcologyTom), University of Stirling
Nick Gardner, Daisy Dent (@DaisyDent)

Canopy & Understory Bird Assemblages in Neotropical Secondary Forest

Using a novel survey method in Neotropical secondary forest we showed that, relative to understory assemblages, canopy bird assemblages: were less influenced by secondary forest age and isolation; had higher species richness; had greater variation in both dietary breadth and body mass.
Keywords: #Ornithology, #Canopy, #Conservation

Topic: Molecular/micro

1930 Invited presenter - Andrew J. Crawford (@CrawfordAJ), Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia.

Environmental history is written in the DNA of tropical frogs 

Half of all frog species in the World are found in South America. The western Amazonian rain forest has the greatest frog diversity in one spot. The Andes mountains have the greatest total number of species. This makes Brazil and Colombia the #1 and #2 most frog-rich countries in the World. To find out why, we need to know the evolutionary history of these species and the history of the South American environment. The history of any species is written in its DNA. Comparing sequences of DNA from different species or populations we can figure out who is related to whom and when they diverged from their common ancestor. The genealogical record written in the DNA of species can also provide clues about the history of the environment in which these species live. Frogs are a particularly useful study case for learning about environmental history from DNA sequence variation because frogs can’t fly, can’t survive in salt water, move relatively little, and are sensitive to environmental extremes such as lack of water.


During my #BTCon18 session, I hope to show examples of how the @CrawLab uses DNA sequences and a little evolutionary theory to answer questions such as: Why so many species? Where did they come from? Where are they found now? How old are these species? How are new species formed? How have frogs adapted to their environment? What conservation challenges do frogs face in Central and South America?


Along the way I hope to highlight the work of wonderful collaborators @vickyflechas @guarnitron @MrCulebra @jeff_streicher @andrepazv and @kwren88, among others.

2000 Kaberi Datta (@littleloonykd), University of Calcutta, India

Why do hearts fail after a heart attack?
Heart failure is a major complication after a heart attack. It happens due to cardiac remodeling. This study determined what sort of cellular networks and proteins were involved in remodeling the heart for failure. We found changes in cardiac metabolism and a unique expression of cytoskeletal proteins that may explain heart function deterioration.
Keywords: heart-failure, infarction, cardiac, remodeling


2015 Arno Fricke (@Arno_Fry), University College Cork (UCC)
@newtrients_ucc (is our project handle)


Transforming dairy wastewater into bioplastic
Degradable, microbial bioplastic could substitute petrochemical plastic in the future. My PhD project aims to: utilize dairy processing wastewater as a resource, produce bioplastics and remediate the wastewater at the same time. All of this is possible by naturally adapting bacteria to improve their performance.
Keywords: bioeconomy, bioplastics, biotechnology, bacteria,


2030 Alicia Mateos Cardenas (@AliciaMateos_), University College Cork

Microplastic pollution in freshwater environments
Microplastics (MP) are plastic particles smaller than 5 mm. These particles are widespread in oceans, rivers and lakes. The objective of my project is to explore the potential toxicological effects of MP on freshwater organisms. This will inform monitoring programmes and Irish regulatory policy.
Keywords: microplastics, plastic pollution, ecotoxicology, freshwater


2045 Sergio Nigenda-Morales (@SergioNigenda), Laboratorio Nacional de Genómica para la Biodiversidad
Matthew Gompper, David Valenzuela-Galván, Anna Lay, Karen Kapheim (@KarenKapheim), Christine Hass, Susan Booth-Binczik, Gerald Binczik, Ben Hirsch, Maureen McColgin, John Koprowski, Katherine McFadden, Robert Wayne, Klaus Peter-Koepfli


Putting the evolutionary history of the white-nosed coati (Nasua narica) upside-down
The white-nosed coati (Nausa narica) and other procyonids are thought to be of North American origin, invading South America after the rise of the Isthmus of Panama. With molecular phylogeograpic analyses we show N. narica may have evolved in SA and colonized NA before the IP closure, having important evolutionary implications for procyonids.
Keywords: phylogeography, evolution, coati, biogeography


2100 Inivited presenter - Elisabeth Bik (@MicrobiomDigest)

uBiome San Francisco

The vaginal microbiome: Women and their microbial BFFs

The human body is home to complex communities of microbes: the human microbiome. Most of these microbes are bacteria, and most of these live in our gut. But vaginas contain microbes as well. Which microbes “down there” are our friends, and which are the ones that cause bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, infertility, or cervical cancer? How can we keep vaginas healthy and happy, and what do we need to do in case of a microbial imbalance? If you are interested in science, have a vagina, or love vaginas owned by others, you do not want to miss this #BTCon18 thread. 

Session 2 (Greenwich Meridian Time; BIOT -6; CST +6)

Topic: Interdisciplinary

1700 Invited presenter - Nathali Pettorelli (@Pettorelli)

Zoological Society of London

How satellite imagery is transforming conservation science

This presentation will explore how remote sensing, and particularly satellite remote sensing, is changing our capacity to monitor biodiversity and derive an ecological understanding of the natural world. The talk will first introduce the different types of sensors currently onboard satellites, and explain how they differ in what they can do. Using case studies, the presentation will then highlight the diversity of approaches available to monitor species and ecosystems and illustrate the challenges currently hampering broader use. The talk will conclude with a discussion on current and future opportunities for satellite data to inform large scale biodiversity monitoring schemes, and a perspective on how satellite information may support a shift from compositional to functional conservation.

1730 Tuomas Aivelo (@aivelo), University of Helsinki
Anna Uitto 

Teachers’ approaches to genetics teaching
We interviewed Finnish upper secondary school biology teachers and asked how they choose contents for their genetics course. We built a tentative model with Grounded Theory and identified three distinct approaches to genetics, which mirrored teachers’ willingness to discuss controversial, societal or sensitive issues with students.
Keywords: #STEM #scienceed #teachered #genetics

1745 Purva Kulkarni (@Purva_Kulkarni), Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW)
Purva Kulkarni, Rutger Wilschut, Koen Verhoeven, Wim van der Putten, Paolina Garbeva

LAESI- MSI as a tool to differentiate the root metabolome of native and range expanding plant species
Popular mass spectrometry imaging (MSI) ionization approaches can alter biochemical status of samples. We used laser assisted electrospray ionization (LAESI) MSI to study metabolomic diversity in range-expanding & native plant roots. Results revealed clear differences in their metabolite profiles making it an ideal tool for untargeted metabolomics.
Keywords: #metabolomics #ImagingMS #LAESIMSI #untargetedMetabolomics

1800 Sheryl Hosler (@RvingNaturalist), Northern Illinois University
Nicholas A. Barber (@BarberEcology), Holly P. Jones (@DocHPJones)

Dung Beetle Functional Traits Related to Restoration Management Practices in Tallgrass Prairie
Ecosystems can be restored and evaluated using functional trait analysis. We examined dung beetle communities in restored tallgrass prairie. Bison and fire presence interact to increase dung beetle abundance in sites. We recommend that managers consider the arthropod community when making management decisions.
Keywords: restoration, ecology, prairie, beetles

1815 Natasha Klappstein (@NJKlappstein), University of Alberta
Andrew Derocher (@AEDerocher), Ron Togunov (@RTogunov)

Going against the flow: sea ice drift and polar bear population decline in western Hudson Bay (WH)
Sea ice drifts and thus increases energy costs for polar bears if they move against the ice. We examined bear movement and ice drift patterns in WH, where the population has declined. Contrary to findings in other populations, our results suggest that ice drift is not a substantial threat to WH bears and decreased foraging may be a larger concern.
Keywords: #polarbears #seaice #climatechange #animalmovement

1830 Madeline Cashion (@madforsharks), UBC Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries

What's the (shark) catch?
Effective management of marine fisheries relies on accurate, comprehensive reports of the species caught. These data are lacking for sharks and rays, a threatened group of fishes. Our study estimates which species have been caught in the Mediterranean and Black Seas from 1950-2014. We newly identify 1/2 million t of catch by species and country.
Keywords: #sharks, #fisheries, #bycatch, #BigData

1845 Zac Baynham-Herd (@ZacBaynhamHerd), University of Edinburgh
Aidan Keane (@aidank), Nils Bunnefeld (@bunnefeld), Steve Redpath, Tom Molony


Conservation conflict interventions
Conservation conflicts are widespread and framed in different ways. We identify technical, cognitive, economic, enforcement and stakeholder-based conflict intervention recommendations. We find that these interventions associate with different conflict behaviors and frames and are rarely supported by strong scientific evidence or Theories of Change
Keywords: #conservation, #humanwildlifeconflict, #behavior, #intervention


1900 Invited presenter - Timotee Poisot (@tpoi)

Cleaning up the mess: why using networks can help community ecology

Graph theory is a branch of mathematics, and ecologists usually avoid these. But because it offers a formalism to represent interactions between objects, graph theory (and the broader field of network science) is a powerful tool to describe and understand how ecological communities assemble and persist. Based on recent reviews of the literature, I will provide an illustrated introduction to the use of networks in community ecology, and discuss how we can build ambitious research projects within this framework.

Topic: Health/disease

1930 Invited presenter - Tora K. Smulders-Srinivasan (@toraks), Teesside University


Racing fruit flies to discover more about how Parkinson’s disease makes brain cells die

Parkinson’s disease affects neurons (brain cells or nerve cells) in people and causes many difficulties for them. Scientists have found out what some problems with the neurons are — and one of those is the mitochondria in the neurons. Mitochondria are the parts of our cells that convert the energy from the food we eat (carbohydrates, sugars, fats, etc.) into a form of energy that the cells can use (ATP). Neurons use a lot of energy so are very affected by mitochondrial problems and mitochondria seem to be part of what is going wrong in affected Parkinson’s disease neurons. Knowing that other researchers had figured out some really exciting details about what’s going wrong in Parkinson’s, all in fruit fly models (Drosophila melanogaster), and what they found in flies applies to what is going on in the brains of people with Parkinson’s, I decided to study the details of mitochondria in neurons affected by Parkinson’s disease in the fruit fly model system. The Parkinson’s mutant flies don’t climb as well as the normal flies — I am using that difference to see what happens when different parts of the mitochondria are defective as well. So I run races with the different flies to see if they get faster or slower depending which parts of the mitochondria are defective. I hope that understanding more about the details of the possible roles of mitochondria in Parkinson’s neurons will help us to design better treatments.

2000 Ashley Edes (@ashley_edes), The Ohio State University

Rearing history, allostatic load, and health in zoo gorillas
Early life adversity (ELA) may disrupt physiology, or allostatic load (AL), and increase morbidity and mortality risk. As capture may represent ELA in primates, I tested for differences in AL between zoo-born (ZB) and wild-caught (WC) gorillas (n=63). WC gorillas had significantly higher AL than ZB, suggesting greater risk for poor health outcomes.
Keywords: gorillas, stress, adversity, health

2015 Adam Hayward (@adhayward18), Moredun Research Institute
Jessica Leivesley (@jess_leivesley), Luc Bussiere (@luc_bussiere), Josephine Pemberton, Jill Pilkington (@soaysheep), Ken Wilson (@spodoptera007)

Survival costs of reproduction are mediated by parasites in wild Soay sheep
As any parent knows, children are costly. We found that reproduction in female wild sheep led to heavier parasite infections. Heavier infections led to reduced survival, but direct effects of reproduction on survival were weak. Our results show the key role parasites play in the trade-off between reproduction and survival faced by all animals.
Keywords: lifehistory, tradeoff, ecoimmunology, parasites

2030 Amy Sweeny (@arsweeny), University of Edinburgh
Amy Pedersen (@amybpedersen), Saudamini Venkatesan (@vsmini), Simon Babayan (@SimonAB)

Improved nutrition increases resistance to helminthes and anthelminthic efficacy in wild and laboratory mice
Nutrition plays a key role in host health, but is difficult to study in the wild. By experimentally supplementing nutrition of wild and captive wood mice, we show that improved nutrition can increase resistance to helminths and investment in immunity, suggesting that nutrition is an important consideration for parasite infections in the wild.
Keywords: nutrition, immunity, disease, ecology

2045 Maureen Williams (@modubs11), Trinity College Dublin
Celia Holland, Ian Donohue (@donohueian)

How parasites & warming impact the function of ecologically important invertebrates
The impact of parasitic infection & a warming climate is only now becoming clear. By combining host energy budgets with trials on behavioral manipulation, predation & scavenging across temperatures, we show temperature moderates physiology, infection influences feeding preferences, & both parasitism & temperature modify anti-predator behavior.
Keywords: Parasites, Climate Change, Behaviour, Function

2100 Katherine Raines (@anchorage40), University of Stirling
David Copplestone (@dcoppl), Matt Tinsley (@matt__tinsley)

Parasite exposure exacerbates the effects of radiation for bumblebees living in Chernobyl
What are the consequences for bumblebees living in Chernobyl? Using lab and field studies in Chernobyl we tested effects of radiation on bumblebees. We found greater number of parasites caused fitness loss in both lab and Chernobyl with radiation exposure. For the first time, we understand how the effects of radiation are exacerbated by other stressors in wildlife.
Keywords: bumblebee, Chernobyl, radiation, parasite

Session 3 (Central Standard Time; GMT -6; BIOT -12)


Topic: Science communication

1700 Invited presenter - Melissa Cristina Márquez (@mcmsharksxx)

Who lives, who dies, who tells their story: Sharks through various culture lenses and how policy reflects that perception

Public opinion and attitude towards wildlife can significantly affect the implementation and success of conservation initiatives. In extreme cases, negative public perception towards species of concern can result in failure of conservation efforts. A universal fear of sharks has not always been present and the portrayal of sharks has evolved over the years from worship to disdain. There are a myriad of factors that may influence attitude towards wildlife. This includes the attitude towards wildlife and perception of the value of wildlife. Understanding these factors that influence attitudes will in turn influence wildlife management decisions and their success. Numerous studies have been conducted on the ecology and biology of Chondrichthyans (sharks, skates, rays, and chimaeras), but few have highlighted peoples’ attitudes towards these species in particular. This research delves into the history, mythology, legends, and folklore around Chondrichthyans worldwide and if the portrayal of sharks in a culture (good or bad) is reflected in their policy and conservation protections. Results found that the region’s beliefs was not always reflected in policy, conservation efforts, or protection. This presentation will suggest ways to involve locals (including indigenous communities) in citizen science projects for a goal of achieving a long-term “co-existing with wildlife” mindset.


1730 Silvia Margarita Carrillo Saucedo (@maguecita7), Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Sarahi Alfaro (@sarah_alfaroo), María Haro Reyna (@Haro_Reyna), José Fernando Franco, Eduardo Avilés

From soil to cultivar
Mix the talents of a scientist in process, a visual artist, a musician and an engineer and it will be a fun way to see science. We present an animation done in an interdisciplinary way to explain the symbiosis between fungi and plants.
Keywords: mycorrhiza, symbiosis, animation, cutoff

1745 Erin Ryan (@erinatmanryan), BC SPCA
Sara Dubois (@saradubois)

In the name of conservation: Seven questions to ask before conducting wildlife control
Wildlife control – the lethal or non-lethal management of wild animal to restrict their activities – is often controversial because inhumane and ineffective strategies are used. Asking these seven questions based on international consensus principles ensures wildlife control programs are evidence-based and fully consider ethical concerns.
Keywords: wildlifecontrol, appliedbiology, animalwelfare, compassionateconservation

1800 Marcus Chua (@marcuschua), Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, NUS; George Mason University
Sheema A. Aziz

Into the light: Atypical diurnal foraging activity of Blyth’s horseshoe bat, Rhinolophus lepidus on Tioman Island, Malaysia
Diurnal flight and feeding in insectivorous bats are atypical behaviours. We present the first known observations of diurnal flight and hunting activity of the Blyth's horseshoe bat (R. lepidus) on Tioman Island, Malaysia recorded using visual and acoustic monitoring. The bats do so possibly because there are no daytime avian predators there.
Keywords: acoustic monitoring, daylight, foraging behaviour, tropical forest

1815 Adam Britton (@adambritton), Charles Darwin University

How crocodile attacks can be used to save people's lives and conserve crocodiles
Conservation of crocodiles is challenging when their recovery increases the risk of attacks on people. To find potential solutions we set up a database (CrocBITE) and used historical records of over 4,000 attacks to learn how to better prevent attacks in the future, which means people are more likely to tolerate the presence of crocodiles.
Keywords: management, conservation, wildlife, conflict

Topic: Ecology

1900 Invited presenter - Cam Houser (@camhouser), Virginia Tech, Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation

Randy Wynne, Val Thomas, Martha Anderson, Yun Yang

Using remote sensing to understand relationships between forest structure and evapotranspiration

Vegetation structure is a key ecosystem property influencing the atmosphere-land surface energy balance. The vertical structure of canopies can alter the movement of wind, heat, and moisture throughout ecosystems. Forests are of particular interest as they are highly variable and structurally complex compared to grasslands and agricultural systems. We have been working to understand relationships between forest structure and surface energy fluxes such as evapotranspiration (ET) across space and time. In this presentation, I will talk about the ways we are using remote sensing to mapping energy fluxes and characterize vegetation structure to address questions related to drought monitoring and forest management.

1930 Kathleen Farley (@WoodcockWatchNJ), Rutgers University-Newark
Claus Holzapfel (@Tafelente)

Decisions on the Fly: Why do degraded habitats attract American Woodcock?
@WoodcockwatchNJ investigates how American Woodcock (AMWO) use degraded habitat for courtship in urban NJ. 2017 data shows more birds and longer courtship seasons in urban, more degraded regions. Habitat analysis shows food more than vegetation community
Keywords: JerseyDoodles, ornithology, birds

1945 Alexa Varah (@alexa_varah), Institute of Zoology
Prof Simon Potts (@SimonGPotts), Dr Jo Smith, Dr Hannah Jones

Delivering multiple ecosystem services in UK agriculture – can agroforestry do it all?
Agricultural intensification causes trade-offs between food production and environmental quality. Could agroforestry reconcile these conflicts? Results suggest yes: production efficiency, biodiversity, pollination, and in some instances also carbon stock, were higher in agroforestry than monoculture in six UK sites studied over three years.
Keywords: agroforestry, sustainable, agriculture, EcosystemServices

2000 Ramesh Laungani (@DrRamBio), Doane University
Bret Andrew, Patrick Thimes, Ivy Banks, Erin Lahowetz, Ali Fletcher

Impact of biochar on grassland plants
Soil biochar (BC) addition fights climate change by storing carbon (C), but BCs impact on plants is unclear. We studied 1) BC impacts on grass & soil CO2 flux, 2) BC stability. We found: 1) higher % roots w/ BC, 2) soil CO2 flux changes w/ BC type, 3) high BC stability. BC may enhance C storage by shifting plant allocation, but depends on BC type.
Keywords: biochar, grasslands, climatechange

2015 Kirsty MacLeod (@kirstyjean), Pennsylvania State University
Tracy Langkilde (@TracyLangkilde),  Michael Sheriff (@SheriffLab)

Stress kills: maternal glucocorticoid treatment during gestation reduces female survival and reproductive success in eastern fence lizards
Stressful encounters elevate glucocorticoid hormone levels. Fundamental to understanding the ecological role of stress is determining the fitness effects of such elevations. We show that female eastern fence lizards treated daily with glucocorticoids experienced higher mortality, and reduced reproductive success than control females. Stress kills!
Keywords: stress, endocrinology, lizards, ecology

2030 Greg Albery (@gfalbery), University of Edinburgh
Fiona Kenyon, Daniel Nussey, Josephine Pemberton,  Rum Deer Research (@RumDeerResearch)

Reproduction and helminths in wild red deer
Reproduction in wild mammals reduces the resources available for the immune system, and as such animals that have reproduced should be less resistant to parasites. However, it is difficult to show tradeoffs between reproduction, immunity and parasitism in the wild, and then to separate costs associated with different components of reproduction. Over two years we have used a wild population of individually recognised red deer on the Isle of Rum to investigate adaptive immunity and gastrointestinal helminth parasitism and their associations with female reproduction. I will present analyses linking reproduction to reduced immunity, increased parasitism and a resultant reduction in future fitness, offering rare and compelling evidence for a life history-immune tradeoff in a wild mammal.
Keywords: ecoimmunology, parasites, tradeoff

2045 Angela Camargo-Sanabria (@alegnacamargo29), CONACYT - Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua
Eduardo Mendoza, Francisco J. Espinosa-García, Miguel Martínez-Ramos, Wolfgang Stuppy, Rodolfo Dirzo

Post-dispersal seed removal by large and small Neotropical mammals varies with seed traits and animal body size
We used a set of experimental exclosures to assess the effect of animal body size (medium-large vs. small mammals) on seed removal of tree species varying in nutrient content and defenses. Chemical defenses were more important than nutritional content. Comparatively, small mammals had a greater relative importance as removers than large mammals.
Keywords: LacandonForest, SecondaryMetabolites, SeedPredation, TropicalMammals

2100 Avery Scherer (@crabduchess), El Colegio de la Frontera Sur Chetumal
Yann Hénaut

Social learning as an ecological mechanism of invasion success in the red lionfish Pterois volitans
Researchers hypothesize the ability to learn by observing facilitates invasive species integration into new habitats. We tested the capacity of lionfish to learn to avoid novel habitat by observing distressed conspecifics in this habitat. Early results suggest lionfish learn through multiple pathways and prioritize diverse sources of information.
Keywords: invasives, lionfish, behavior, learning

Friday, June 22nd


Session 1 (British Indian Ocean Time; GMT +6; CST +12)


Topic: Ecology

1700 Invited presenter - Fernando T. Maestre (@ftmaestre)

Universidad Rey Juan Carlos

Organisms as modulators of ecosystem responses to climate change in global drylands 

Substantial research efforts are being devoted to predict how biotic attributes such as species richness, composition and diversity will respond to global environmental change (GEC) drivers like climate and land use change. However, their impact on the relationships between biotic attributes and ecosystem processes is virtually unknown. Therefore, much remains unknown on the potential effects of GEC on the processes and ecosystem services that depend on biotic communities. This is particularly true for drylands, were biotic attributes such as the cover, type and spatial pattern of vegetation and biological soil crust patches largely affect ecosystem functioning. In this lecture I will summarize the results of recent and ongoing studies evaluating how biotic attributes (species richness, evenness and composition, cover and spatial pattern) modulate multiple ecosystem functions (multifunctionality) in drylands and their response to climate and land cover changes. These studies use multiple experimental approaches (manipulative and natural experiments), biotic communities (vascular plants, microbial communities and biocrusts dominated by mosses, lichens and cyanobacteria), spatial scales (from local to global) and ecosystem processes linked to plant productivity and nutrient cycling. Overall, our results indicate that biotic attributes are key drivers of multifunctionality in drylands worldwide, and may partially buffer the negative effects of GEC on ecosystem functioning in these water-limited ecosystems. 

1730 Isabel Jones (@_Isabel_Jones), University of Stirling
Carlos Peres (@CarlosPeres_), Maira Benchimol, Lynsey Bunnefeld (@McLynsey), Daisy Dent (@DaisyDent)

Lianas (woody vines) are increasing in dominance relative to trees in a tropical forest fragmented by an Amazonian mega-dam
Lianas are adapted to disturbed conditions and compete with trees, leading to loss of tree biomass and carbon. We investigate liana abundance across a landscape fragmented by an Amazonian mega-dam: lianas dominate highly degraded islands. Increasing liana dominance will lead to additional loss of biodiversity and carbon associated with dams.
Keywords: lianas, Amazon, carbon, dams

1745 Rachel Hale (@_glitterworm), University of Southampton
Jasmin Godbold, Martin Solan (@ProfBenthos)

Role of invertebrate bioturbation and environmental heterogeneity in moderating shelf sea biogeochemistry

Continental shelf seas are dynamic and productive habitats that are key in supporting diverse faunal communities and moderating benthic biogeochemical cycling. We describe findings that highlight the dynamic nature of the biodiversity–habitat structure complex and begin to establish the generalities of how abiotic and biotic interactions will affect macronutrient and carbon exchange in shelf sea systems.

1800 Ravindra Palavalli-Nettimi (@ravindra_pn), Macquarie University
AJ Narendra (@pipilika_aj)

Unlike the Titanic: Obstacle avoidance in ants
Evolution of small body size, called miniaturisation, can affect various morphological features, and is hypothesized to result in inferior behavioural capabilities, possibly due to smaller sensory organs. We tested this by studying obstacle detection/avoidance in ants. We showed that the ants with smaller eyes can't detect obstacles from far.
Keywords: navigation, vision, ants, obstacles

1815 Paola Lombardo (@LimnoGeek1), Limno Consulting
Elisabeth M. Gross

Limited effect of gizzard sand on consumption of the aquatic plant Myriophyllum spicatum by the great pond snail Lymnaea stagnalis
Lymnaea can feed on aquatic plants, but prefers attached algae and older M. spicatum leaflets. Under food shortage, snails turned to midstem tissue but avoided polyphenol-rich apices. Presence or absence of gizzard sand did not improve performance on structurally defended midstem tissue (high mineral content), and snails exhibited stunted growth.
Keywords: lakes, plants, herbivory, snails

1830 Kirsty Graham (@kirstyegraham), University of York
Catherine Hobaiter (@NakedPrimate)

Bonobo and chimpanzee gestures share similar meanings
Bonobos and chimpanzees communicate using ~70 gestures, most of which are shared. We found that the meanings of these gestures overlap much more than expected by chance. This points toward a shared bonobo-chimp communication system that may also date back to our last common ancestor.
Keywords: Primatology, gesture, communication, bonobo

1845 Invited presenter - D. N. Lee (@DNLee5), Southern Illinois University

E Cadet, AG Ophir

Stress Coping Responses of African giant pouched rats
This study evaluated individual behavioral variation in natural populations of African giant pouched rats, Cricetomys ansorgei. The objective was to determine if consistent or variable stress coping responses were observable. Using a modified coping strategy assessment, the number of attempts and time to secure a subject plus the number of times it resisted over a 1 min period was measured. Each subject was tested twice to classify their coping strategy as passive, active or flexible. Passive referred to little energy/effort expended, active referred to a high amount of effort expended, and flexible referred to being passive in one test but active in another. Subjects demonstrated mixed responses in trial 1 with half demonstrating active responses to being secured but a passive response to handling. In trial 2 nearly all subjects intensified responses to handling resulting in half being labeled as active copers and a quarter as flexible. Past studies have shown that flexible stress response strategies may result in enhanced adaptation and resilience compared to the more rigid passive and active stress response strategies. 


Topic: Technology

1930 Invited presente - Sol Milne (@solomilne), University of Aberdeen

Using Drones and Citizen Science to Understand Orangutan Habitat Use in Human- Modified Tropical Forests

My work is based in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo, studying characteristics of tropical forest beneficial to orangutans, and how human activity is affecting their distribution. This study focuses on the Critically Endangered Bornean Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) and Strangler Fig trees (Ficus spp.), using ground based surveys and aerial surveys by drone. Previous studies have also found a positive relationship between the density of strangler figs and orangutan population density, so we are focusing on this relationship, and how it is affected by human land use. In order to study Orangutan population density we count the number of nests present in the crowns of trees. Orangutans make a new nest almost every day, and by comparing counts in different forest types, we can understand how Orangutans are affected by logging and agroforestry practices. Strangler Figs are a vital food source for Orangutans, and a large number of other mammals and birds due to their high protein, fat, sugar and calcium content. Due to their distinctive branch structure, they can be located in drone images, which allows us to survey huge areas for these trees, rather than being limited to surveys on foot. 

In order to analyse the thousands of images recorded during drone surveys we are using the help of Citizen Scientists from around the world, to help us identify Orangutan Nests and Fig trees in these images. Once images have been surveyed, the field team uses the coordinates of each to find the nests and fig trees, in order to assess accuracy of the method and get information about nesting habits of Orangutans. This method not only lets us sort through a huge volume of images, but also promotes engagement between the public about the situation Orangutans face in Borneo, whose numbers have declined by more than half since 1999 due to rapidly declining habitat as a result of human disturbance.


2000 Chris Reid (@chrisrreid1), Macquarie University
Simon Garnier (@sjmgarnier), Matthew Lutz (@matthewjlutz), Iain Couzin (@icouzin)


How ants are like Voltron: distributed self-assembly of structures in army ants and weaver ants
Some ants can join their bodies together to make superstructures (bridges, ladders, winches), allowing them to perform incredible tasks. They do this without any blueprints or leaders - each ant responds only to local information and simple rules. We will uncover these rules & use them in robot swarms for exploring dangerous or unknown environments
Keywords: self-assembly, ants, swarmrobotics, antsarelikevoltron

2015 Sam Williams (@_sam_williams_), University of Venda
Daan Loock, Kevin Emslie, Wayne Matthews, Lourens Swanepoel

High carnivore population density highlights the conservation value of industrialised sites
As the environment becomes increasingly altered by humans, the importance of understanding the impacts on wildlife is becoming clear. We used cam traps to estimate serval density at a large petrochemical plant in South Africa. Servals occurred at ?100 animals/100 km², a record high for this species, showing the potential value of industrial sites.
Keywords: Anthropocene, abundance, carnivore, felidae

2030 Stephen Long (@Stephen_D_Long), Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London
Dr Mona Fuhrmann (@MonaFuhrmann), Dr Kirsty Kemp (@kirsty_kemp)

Sustainable fishing in the Arctic: impacts of trawling on deep-sea habitats
Innovative use of low-cost camera technologies allows the collection of imagery from poorly known deep-seas habitats in the Arctic. This enables mapping of benthic habitats including identifying vulnerable marine ecosystems, such as coral and sponge communities. Impacts of trawling on these poorly known habitats are quantified for the first time.
Keywords: deepsea, benthos, fishing, impacts

2045 Chris Chandler (@chrisjchandler), University of Nottingham

Linking landscape-scale liana infestation to carbon storage using airborne hyperspectral imagery.
Increasing biomass and abundance of lianas relative to trees may reduce forest carbon storage. Using airborne hyperspectral and LiDAR imagery, we have mapped the distribution of lianas and produced a carbon storage map across Danum Valley, Malaysia. Relating these spatial patterns will help determine the impact lianas have on carbon storage.
Keywords: tropical, forest, carbon, Malaysia

2100 Invited presenter - TBC

Session 2 (Greenwich Meridian Time; BIOT -6; CST +6)


Topic: Science communication

1700 Invited presenter - Carlos Guarnizo (@guarnitron)


Science for YOU: engaging Colombians in current scientific research via a YouTube channel, social media and Science Cafés

In less than a year, a committed, independent group of scientists and students have collaborated to create a space to discuss current scientific thought – and they have found a robust audience for their content. The project is called Ciencia Café para Sumercé (“sumercé” is a much-loved idiosyncratic Colombian pronoun, translating roughly to “you” or “thee” in English.) The initiative is comprised of: 1) Interviews published in a YouTube channel intended to create a friendly space for scientists to explain recently-published research. The editing is done to create a quick, entertaining introduction to the concepts, with an eye towards showing the human side of researchers and the scientific process through short (ideally humorous) anecdotes about their work. 2) A monthly Science Café in Bogota, Colombia. This includes a panel of 4 experts from diverse fields (occasionally including non-scientists, such as experts on climate law or patents) sharing their perspectives an issue, guided by a moderator. The first five events have attracted large, enthusiastic crowds. Of course, we also have coffee, beer and a much-awaited appearance by a huge inflatable T-Rex. In this presentation we will share the challenges of starting and maintaining this space to communicate with and listen to the public. The project launched less than six months ago, and we have seen a fast growth in interest indicated through views and new followers – and this trend shows no signs of slowing down! We, the organizers, are working on this project on a volunteer basis because we believe the public would like to know more about both the process and the products of scientific research done here in Colombia – and only with increased knowledge about the value of supporting science can a strong culture of research continue to flourish and grow.

1730 Alina Fisher (@alinacfisher), University of Victoria, Environmental Studies

How do you frame the prettiest swan song?
Both facts & emotions go into decision-making but #SciComm typically communicates facts alone—overlooking the influence of emotion on engagement & dissemination, especially down #SoMe networks. My research shows SciComm framing effects audience perception of informativeness & engagement—informing better use of SoMe for SciComm to inform science-based conservation & management
Keywords: SciComm, Conservation

1745 Steve Dudley (@stevedudley_), BOU (@IBIS_journal)
Tom Finch (@tomfinch89), Nina O'Hanlon (@Nina_OHanlon)

#TheTweetingBird: its rise, relevance and impact in ornithology
Science communication is as fast moving as science itself and social media are now important for communicating science. Here we look at the rise of the use of social media, particular Twitter, within ornithology; how this online attention is measured by altmetrics; and ask, does online attention contribute to the citation of research articles?
Keywords: altmetrics, citations, ornithology, scicomm

1800 Lali DeRosier (@labcoatteacher), Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy

#SciArt for Science Education
The use of art in science education is a powerful way to engage students in the understanding and application of science content and science communication, as well as encouraging problem solving and creative expression.
Keywords: sciart, scicomm, scied, STEAM

1815 Tami Tolpa (@tolpastudios), Tolpa Studios
Picture As Portal (@pictureasportal)

Visual literacy for science communication
I’ll share my top 3 tips for effective science visuals. The tips will be applicable to data visualization, visual abstracts, figures, slides, and science posters. I’ll include a before/after image to show how to use each one. Topics may include: visual thinking, information hierarchy, design for color deficiencies, visual noise, perception, etc.
Keywords: sciart, scicomm, figure, visualabstract

1830 Caitlin Kight (@specialagentCK), University of Exeter
Duncan Sandes

Using 'sci' to do better 'comm': how our research specialisms can improve our outreach
Scicomm is increasingly mainstream, yet it's still common to hear that 'scientists aren't good communicators'. Here, I'll argue that this is a fallacy--that everyone is a good storyteller (even if they've forgotten how to be) and that we can use our own study species as muses to help us find the best way of communicating about our work.
Keywords: scicomm, sciart, storytelling, narrative


1845 Video presentation - Brit Garner (@britgarner), University of Montana


De-Natured: The breakdown of science for all

This video will entail an introduction to my YouTube video project "De-Natured" where I break down a trending article in the scientific literature. I will discuss how the article is chosen, how I select relevant information, and how graphics are used to complete the narrative. I'll conclude by showing a finished "De-Natured" episode.

Keywords: scicomm, biology, outreach, De-Natured

Topic: Palaeo

1915 Invited presenter - Darren Naish (@TetZoo), University of Southampton


Eotyrannus and the History of Tyrant Dinosaurs

Tyrannosauroids – tyrant dinosaurs – are among the most iconic of dinosaurs. In recent years, a number of new species discovered across the continents have shed light on tyrannosauroid origins and early history. Eotyrannus lengi from the Lower Cretaceous Wessex Formation – discovered on the Isle of Wight, England, in 2001 – is among these. Though initially posited as one of the most archaic members of this theropod group, it now appears deeply nested within the tyrannosauroid radiation, not at its ‘base’. Furthermore, recent study has shown that Eotyrannus is unusual and atypical in some respects, and its biology and predatory behaviour may have differed from that present in many of its relatives. Many questions remain as goes its anatomy and specialisations.


1945 Caren Shin (@caren_shin), University of Hong Kong

Where does tropical biodiversity come from? A story from the Coral Triangle
Biodiversity is dynamic in space and time. The Coral Triangle today is a incredible marine life hotspot. However, this phenomenon is geologically recent, perhaps only since 23 million years ago. Using fossils it is possible to identify potential influences on past diversity, to further our understanding of impacts on present and future communities.
Keywords: tropics, hotspot, macroevolution, biogeography

2000 Emma Dunne (@emmadnn), University of Birmingham

The latitudinal biodiversity gradient in deep time
On land today, species diversity increases towards the equator, but during the Late Triassic (235–201 million years ago) diversity was greatest at high latitudes. We explored the relationship between fossil vertebrate diversity and climate to find out what might have driven the evolution of the latitudinal biodiversity gradient through time.
Keywords: palaeontology, macroecology, fossils, biodiversity

2015 Kimberleigh Tommy (@kimtommy92), Evolutionary Studies Institute, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa and the Centre of Excellence in Palaeosciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Bernhard Zipfel, Anne Su, Kristian Carlson 

Bipedalism in Australopithecus africanus: evidence in the trabecular structure of the distal tibia
Upright walking is one of the most definitive characteristics of Homo but why did it evolve and when? Examining the internal bone structure of the ankle in modern humans, primates and extinct australopiths from South Africa have demonstrated that the internal bone structure of the ankle and can be used to answer this question.
Keywords: trabecular, human, bone, walking

2030 Liz Martin-Silverstone (@gimpasaura), University of Bristol
Colin Palmer

Pterosaurs - hollow bones and lightweight?
Extinct flying reptiles (pterosaurs) were the first vertebrates and largest animals ever to fly. This is thought to have been possible through hollow bones and lightness, but is this correct? Through x-rays and 3D modelling, I have shown that they were the most pneumatised (air-filled) animals ever, yet were not as light as some previous estimates.
Keywords: fossils, palaeontology, flight, pterosaurs

2045 Jennifer Guarini (@ecology_revised), UBO-UMR6539-LEMAR

Radical morphology: revisiting Growth & Form
I propose that 3D morphodynamic models of molluscan shells offer a new basis of comparison between collection specimens, textual descriptions, and shells gathered in diverse scientific and societal contexts. Calculated reference forms could replace museum types, thus returning the latter to their original epistemic and eco-evolutionary contexts.
Keywords: holotype, morphodynamics, morphometrics, 3D

Session 3 (Central Standard Time; GMT -6; BIOT -12)


Topic: Genetics

1700 Invited presenter - Kate Donlan (@salamander_gal), The Ohio State University

Andrew Wilk*,  William E. Peterman (* = co-presenter)

Effects of Habitat Patch Size on Urban Red-backed Salamander Populations (Plethodon cinereus
Amphibians have become one of the most imperiled taxa on the planet due to their relative sensitivity to environmental disturbance. A major cause of disturbance and fragmentation is urban sprawl. Due to an increasing human population and a more quickly rising urban population, historic forest patches are becoming more reduced and fragmented. Although it has been shown that habitat fragmentation and reduction have adverse effects upon various species, their effects on salamander populations have been understudied. In a previous study examining urban, terrestrial salamander populations (Plethodon cinereus), we found no correlation between population density and habitat patch size. Rather, abundance depended more on microhabitat conditions such as leaf litter depth, canopy cover, and slope aspect. In this study, we reexamined these same populations to investigate potential links between habitat patch size or abundance and population genetics. Population genetic theory predicts that population genetic parameters, such as allelic richness, heterozygosity, and inbreeding will be related to population size. Therefore, we hypothesized that heterozygosity and allelic richness would be reduced in small habitat patches and in low abundance populations, while levels of inbreeding would be increased. However, little to no relationship between patch size or abundance and any of these population genetic measures in urban salamander populations were found. Wooded metro parks with dense canopy cover seem to be refugia within an urban landscape for these resilient woodland creatures.


1730 Alejandro Estrella (@Alestar_93), Universidad de las Fuerzas Armadas - ESPE
María Claudia Segovia (@Mariacsegovia)

Karyotype determination of Babaco (Vasconcellea x heilbornii)
Babaco's crop has economical relevance in Ecuador. Using cytogenetic techniques babaco's karyotype was determined. This information will help to understand speciation processes of this plant, and allows thinking about genetic improvement.
Keywords: chromosomes , cytogenetics , Vasconcellea

1745 Adriana Garmendia (@moreno_lab), laboratorio nacional de genómica para la biodiversidad, cinvestav
Andrés Moreno (@morestrada), Selene L Fernandez-Valverde (@SelFdz), Adrian Cortes (@adrcort), Christopher Gignoux (@popgenepi), Alexander Mentzer NA, Genevieve Wojcik (@genandgenes), Teresa Tusié (@incmnszmx), Hortencia Moreno (@incmnszmx), Celia Alpuche (@inspmx), Lourdes Garcia (@inspmx), Mauricio Hernández (@inspmx)

Population Genomics in Latin America: The Mexican Biobank Project
We are building the 1st genomic mexican biobank through genotyping >5k ind. of diverse regions & ethnicities. We aim to: identify genetic markers correlated w/ infectious diseases & cardiometabolic traits, the ethnic composition of modern Mexicans & to establish a Roadmap for the analysis & use of large scale genome data from admixed populations.
Keywords: biobank, healthcare, humangenomics, cienciaenmexico

1800 Julie Blommaert (@julie_b92), University of Innsbruck
Claus-Peter Stelzer, David Mark-Welch

Genome Evolution in a rotifer species complex
Genome size is an important biological trait, but it's evolutionary meaning is hotly debated. The rotifer species complex, B. plicatilis, offers a unique chance to understand genome size variation at a fine evolutionary scale. It exhibits up to 8-fold variation in genome size. Here, I present the genomic basis of this variation.
Keywords: genomics, evolution, rotifers, genome size

1815 Marissa Parrott (@drmparrott), Zoos Victoria
Christine M. Hartnett, Raoul A. Mulder, Graeme Coulson, Michael J.L. Magrath

Tinder for threatened species: female mate choice improves captive breeding success of Eastern Barred Bandicoots (Perameles gunnii)
Female mate choice can significantly improve breeding success, but is not often used in zoo breeding programs. We showed that breeding outcomes and timing were improved in the mainland Eastern Barred Bandicoot, which is extinct in the wild, when females could choose their mates. This research can aid recovery for this and other threatened species.
Keywords: Conservation, Breeding, Recovery, Zoo

1830 Robyn Womack (@RobynJWomack), University of Glasgow, Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health & Comparative Medicine
Barbara Helm (@BBirdClocks), Francesco Baldini (@Baldini_Fra), Jane Robinson (@RobinsonJaneGla)

Genes around the clock: Circadian rhythms of clock and immune gene expression in great tits
Despite the importance of maintaining robust circadian rhythms for good health, clocks remain understudied in ecology. We use gene expression as a tool to investigate how clocks in a wild population of great tits (Parus major) respond to environmental change, e.g. How does exposure to light-at-night affect the clock?
Keywords: ornithology, birds, chronobiology, ecology

Topic: Conservation

1915 Invited presenter - David Steen (@AlongsideWild), Georgia Sea Turtle Center

Ecology and conservation of turtles and snakes

During my time slot I plan on highlighting a few of the studies I have conducted to better understand the ecology and conservation of snakes and turtles in North America. For example, I am interested in how snakes use and persist on landscapes, so I will discuss a series of research projects I conducted to figure out their large-scale habitat associations and then tease out how the presence of similar snakes might affect their distribution through ecological interactions, including predation and competition. I will also discuss my work on freshwater turtles emphasizing how I try to determine whether the mortality that adult turtles experience through isolated events, like road mortality and ingestion of fish hooks, adds up to mean bad news for populations.

1945 Leili Khalatbari (@LeiliKhalatbari), CIBIO/InBio - University of Porto
Gholam Hosein Yusefi, Fernando Martínez-Freiría, Houman Jowkar, José Carlos Brito

Habitat suitability of Asiatic Cheetah over time
Asiatic cheetahs are restricted to Iran. Here we quantified temporal changes in ecological requirements and availability of suitable areas for the Asiatic cheetah using ecological models. Results suggest that the fundamental niche of Asiatic cheetahs has not changed but the realized niche has changed over time due to loss of prey and Wildlands.
Keywords: Iran, Cheetah, Prey_loss Habitat_loss

2000 Howard Nelson (@hpnelsonchester), University of Chester
Ellie Devenish-Nelson (@EDevenishNels), Matt Geary (@MattGeary), Andrew Lawrence, Bonnie Rusk

Caribbean dry forests: gaps in knowledge and research needs
The insular Caribbean hosts a unique dry forest community. A review (n = 89) identified only two studies on climate change impacts on these forests. This is alarming given the value of dry forests for ecosystem services and the vulnerability of the region to climate change. Our results stress the need for long-term monitoring of these ecosystems.
Keywords: conservation, Caribbean, dryforest, climatechange

2015 John Vanek (@wild_ecology), Northern Illinois University
R.B. King, G.A. Glowacki

Dynamic Occupancy of Sympatric Salamanders in a Managed Suburban Preserve Matrix
I used multi-season occupancy models to determine the population vital rates of Blue-spotted and Tiger Salamanders in the urban suburbs of Chicago. Despite occurring at many of the same sites, each species responded differently to landscape factors. However, I found no impact of prescribed fire on either species, a common regional management tool.
Keywords: amphibian, wildlife, urban, fire

2030 Ashley Kennedy (@WhatDoBirdsEat), University of Delaware
Doug Tallamy

What do birds eat? Quantifying insect prey preferences of North American breeding birds
Many of the basic details about bird-insect food webs remain unknown. To restore viable bird habitats, we need to know which insect species birds eat, so that we can establish the host plant species of those insects. A citizen science project to crowd-source photos of birds eating arthropods is shedding light on these relationships.
Keywords: birds, insects, foodwebs, conservation

2045 Zen Faulkes (@DoctorZen), The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Laws and claws: Making pet crayfish illegal does not affect online trade
Unwanted aquarium pets, like crayfish, are often released into non-native habitats, prompting some jurisdictions to have laws against keeping pet crayfish. Online sales of crayfish in Canadian provinces with and without laws concerning crayfish showed no difference in the availability of pet crayfish, suggesting current approaches need rethinking.
Keywords: crayfish, pets, policy, aquariums


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