Workshops at ESA2021

The conference program this year has allocated Wednesday 24 November as a day for workshops. Please note that all times are Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST).

Participation fee for each online workshop is AUD$5.00 (inc GST).

If you would like to host a workshop at ESA2021, please complete the proposal form below, and forward to esa@kaigi.com.au


Writing for publication

Wednesday 24 November, 0900-1600

Facilitated by Nigel Andrew (nigel.andrew@une.edu.au)

This one day workshop will be primarily focussed towards researchers who are at the beginning of the publication treadmill. However, there will be plenty of tips for those who have been through the publication process a few times. This workshop will include ample time for Q&A.

Topics covered include:

  • What to publish
  • Constructing a paper
  • Effective science writing
  • The publication pipeline
  • Authorship
  • Publication ethics
  • Which journal?
  • Promoting your research

A beginners guide to Data Analysis and Visualisation in R for Ecologists in the EcoCommons’ cloud

Wednesday 24 November 2021, 0930-1130

Facilitated by: Dr Emilia Decker (e.decker@griffith.edu.au), Dr Jenna Wraith (j.wraith@griffith.edu.au) and Dr Jessica Fenker (jessica.fenker@csiro.au)

EcoCommons is the platform of choice to analyse and model ecological and environmental problems while also increasing researcher’s digital literacy. This workshop will focus on increasing computational skills by showing how the statistical program R can be used for data analysis and visualisation in Ecology. By the end of the workshop participants will have an overview of how to run their R code in the EcoCommons cloud environment and how to use the R package {tidyverse} to manipulate and visualise their data.

This includes:

  • demonstrate how to use the functions ‘select’ and ‘filter’ to manipulate your data and how to use the ‘pipe operator’ for more complex data manipulation such as ‘summarise’, ‘group_by’ and ‘count’ for basic summary statistics.
  • show how to visualise your data using different plots in the R package {ggplot2}.

This workshop is suitable for:

  • early career researchers, undergraduates and ecologists who have a keen interest to learn how to code in R while harnessing the power of cloud computing to solve environmental challenges
  • researchers and practitioners who have some basic R experience and coding skills and have the desire to learn how to use code within the cloud-computing resources of EcoCommons.
  • people who would like to refresh their coding skills in R.

For participants to get the most out of this workshop, it is recommended to have some basic R experience including using RStudio, setting up a working directory, loading data and basic analysis. Workshop participants will also require a laptop with RStudio to run their own code.

This workshop is brought to you by EcoCommons Australia. EcoCommons is a partnership of nine institutions including NCRIS-funded Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC), the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA), CEBRA at the University of Melbourne, CSIRO’s Land and Water unit, Griffith University, Macquarie University, QCIF, TERN, and the University of NSW. It also involves investment from the Queensland Government’s Research Infrastructure Co-investment Fund (RICF).


Long live ecology – the case for an Australian long-term ecological research (LTER) Community of Practice

Wednesday 24 November 2021, 1100-1600

Facilitated by : John Morgan (j.morgan@latrobe.edu.au); John Hunter (jhunter8@bigpond.com), Glenda Wardle (glenda.wardle@sydney.edu.au) and Bek Christensen (president@ecolsoc.org.au)

This workshop is aimed at a broad range of ecologists and practitioners who are interested in supporting an Australian Community of Practice for long-term ecology and management.
The inspiration for this workshop comes from discussions that stem from the ESA survey of long-term ecology, the Ecosystem Science Council document “Foundations for the future” and specifically the key direction of supporting long-term ecology identified from a broad consultative process, and the AusLTER discussion at ESA 2018 in Brisbane.

Present your story of long-term ecology in a speed talk (anyone can submit), share knowledge about successes and challenges for long-term ecology, galvanise a set of priority actions to take forward as a Community of Practice.

This workshop will be structures into 3 sections.

  1. Long term ecology stories. Participants are invited to submit and share the story of their LTER work (pre-recorded 4 minute speed talks)
  2. Moving forward together. A town hall meeting for the Community of Practice.
  3. Listening and Learning. Small group discussions to focus on priorities and perspectives.

Using the EcoCommons platform to run species distribution models and make climate projections

Wednesday 24 November 2021, 1400-1600

Facilitated by: Dr Emilia Decker (e.decker@griffith.edu.au), Dr Jenna Wraith (j.wraith@griffith@edu.au) and Dr Jessica Fenker (jessica.fenker@csiro.au)

Recent technologies have enabled consistent and continuous collection of ecological data at high resolutions across large spatial scales. A big challenge that all ecologists and practitioners face is to find the best available data and then to apply appropriate methods to that data. EcoCommons is building a platform where an increasing number of datasets are accessible at the click of a button. It includes a huge upgrade of the functions that have been available in the Biodiversity & Climate Change Virtual Laboratory (BCCVL) and the ecocloud platform which together, over the years, have been used by more than 7000 people based at over 400 different organisations in more than 35 countries worldwide.

The EcoCommons platform provides a Virtual Laboratory where you can run species distribution models, make climate projections, do ensemble modelling, and run species trait models with only a few clicks of your mouse. EcoCommons also provides an easy and streamlined access to species occurrence records and environmental predictors. It saves users time by offering large environmental raster datasets in formats that can easily be overlayed with the same extent, resolution and projection. These time saving steps give you more time to focus on the most important and hardest part: your Science.


In this workshop we will:

  • present an overview of the pre-leased EcoCommons platform
  • introduce workshop participants to species distribution modeling (SDM), which can be used to understand the potential distribution of a species based on available species occurrence records and environmental variables
  • demonstrate how to construct an SDM with freely available data, and show the ease with which a variety of SDM algorithms can be trialled
  • demonstrate how to predict the possible shift of those distributions under different Climate Change emission scenarios.

This course is most suited to undergraduate students, early career researchers, ecologists and practitioners who would like to trial advanced modelling tools for species distribution models, climate projections, or species trait models but have limited coding experience.

This workshop is brought to you by EcoCommons Australia. EcoCommons is a partnership of nine institutions including NCRIS-funded Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC), the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA), CEBRA at the University of Melbourne, CSIRO’s Land and Water unit, Griffith University, Macquarie University, QCIF, TERN, and the University of NSW. It also involves investment from the Queensland Government’s Research Infrastructure Co-investment Fund (RICF)


Selection Criteria and the hidden job market: removing the invisibility cloak

Wednesday 24 November 2021, 1300-1600

Facilitated by the ESA Early Career Ecologists Working Group

Steph Courtney Jones (stephanie.courtneyjones@anu.edu.au); Leanda Mason (leanda.mason@curtin.edu.au); Sara Ryding (sryding@deakin.edu.au) and Caragh Threlfall (caragh.threlfall@usyd.edu.au)

A career in ecology is challenging and rewarding; and the ESA community is fostering the development and progression of people through diverse, ecologically aligned career pathways. However, it can be difficult to get on the first rung of the career ladder and navigating a career outside the traditional avenues of ecology can be even tougher. This is a perennial problem for early career ecologists, with the first hurdle being the application process and capturing the attention of would-be employers.

The Early Career Ecologists working group is working to help you feel supported and provide a space to discuss any concerns for the future, while also providing some practical assistance for the current job market. This workshop will be an inclusive, networking opportunity and we openly encourage everyone to attend and contribute regardless of career stage or career path.

As a follow up on last year’s cover letters workshop, we have sourced examples of successful selection criteria for various career paths for ecologists to look at the structure, content, and differences and similarities, helping ECEs to find their ‘voice’ and develop a strong application. In addition, we will cover the ‘invisible’ job market , using group discussion and short activities on how to make yourself ‘visible’ to prospective employers.

This workshop will consist of three components. Firstly, to build and develop a supportive community through discussion of shared challenges and concerns during this stage of our careers. Second, we take a close look at example selection criteria and requirements for different career pathways in ecology. Using a group discussion format, we will discuss the ways to develop an engaging selection criteria, using examples from successful applications. Third, we discuss tips for finding “invisible jobs”, using group discussion and short activities for increasing your visibility in the ecological job market. We hope that from this workshop, that participants will feel confident to develop a strong application to show your motivation, with the skills to do the job.


Empowering Indigenous land managers to use digital technologies to help monitor and manage Country

Wednesday 24 November 2021, 0930-1130

Facilitated by Jennifer Macdonald, Cathy Robinson, Justin Perry, Ricky Archer, Andrew Hoskins, Taryn Kong, Kadeem May, Feach Moyle, Renee Bartolo, Matt Tunstill, Andrew Jansen, Steve Van Bodegraven, Alyson Stobo-Wilson, Indigenous Rangers, Traditional Owners and land management staff from Kakadu National Park, the Njanjma Rangers and Cape York from collaborative projects that are using digital technologies to adaptively manage country.

Across Australia, Indigenous Rangers are increasingly using digital technologies, artificial intelligence (AI) and data analysis to make faster decisions to care for their lands. For many people, learning to use digital technologies for environmental decision-making can improve peoples’ digital literacy, empower them to access other job opportunities, and build capacity for local data collection, reporting and decision-making.
This workshop will bring together Indigenous Rangers, Traditional Owners, land management practitioners, and researchers to share how they are using digital tools to monitor complex environmental issues on their lands and the challenges and opportunities they are facing in accessing and using digital technologies. We will share experiences of how digital inclusion is being enabled through the culturally safe co-design and use of digital tools to adaptively manage country, taking into consideration peoples’ digital literacy and challenges with remote connectivity.

The objective of the session is for Indigenous Rangers, Traditional Owners, land management organisations, and their research partners to share ways in which they are using digital technologies to collect data to make decisions to manage and monitor important places and species, including how this is improving peoples’ digital literacy. This will build a community of practice who can support and learn from each other. As threats to country increase across Australia, including impacts from weeds and feral animals, and as the digital divide gets larger, this is of vital importance.

This workshop will be run collaboratively between researcher partnerships from CSIRO, CDU, NAILSMA, UWA, and Indigenous and non-Indigenous Rangers and Staff from Kakadu National Park, the Njanjma Rangers, and Cape York who are working on numerous Indigenous-led, collaborative projects to co-design and use digital technologies to adaptively manage country across northern Australia. Rangers and researchers will share stories together of how they are using and applying digital technologies to collect data for environmental decision-making. The group will workshop solutions to challenges, share practices, and build knowledge to accessing and using digital technologies to help to monitor and care for country.

Image: Angus McNab