Nov 26: Workshops and pre-conference mixer

Nov 27-29: Main conference meetings

Nov 30: Post conference field trip


Planned symposia include the following. At this stage, titles are meant to be indicative, not restrictive.

  • Meeting the challenge of the Decadal Plan: How can we describe the Australian biota within a generation?
  • Genomics of Australian Plants Initiative
  • Systematics of hyperdiverse taxa 
  • Taxonomy in support of conservation and biosecurity
  • Exploring the dark taxa: linking DNA sequences to species 
  • Contributions of citizen science to taxonomy and systematics
  • Communicating taxonomy and systematics beyond the scientific community
  • History and future of ASBS
  • Celebrating 50 years of ABRS – transforming documentation of Australia’s biodiversity
  • Beyond the silos: taxonomy, biosystematics and biotic interactions
  • General papers, e.g., studies documenting biodiversity

Keynote Speakers

the following keynote speakers are confirmed. Additional keynote and plenary speakers will be announced shortly.

Dr Olwen Grace | Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh

Dr Olwen Grace is Deputy Director of Science at Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh. Until recently she led the Accelerated Taxonomy program at Royal Botanic Gardens Kew.

Prof. Doug Hilton | Incoming CEO, CSIRO

Prof. Doug Hilton AO commences as Chief Executive Officer of CSIRO in September 2023. He is a molecular and cellular biologist and currently Director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI) and Head of the Department of Medical Biology, The University of Melbourne. In his spare time, he also pursues a passion for moth taxonomy, evolution and biology and is President of Moths and Butterflies Australasia. As CEO of CSIRO, key national collections and programs in systematics and taxonomy (among many other things!) will sit under his organisational leadership.

Prof. Rudolf Meier | Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin

Prof. Rudolf Meier is the head of the Center for Integrative Biodiversity Discovery at the Museum für Naturkunde where he and his lab are at the forefront of novel methods to accelerate biodiversity discovery and monitoring using robotics, machine learning imaging and nanopore sequencing. The main foci of this work are the hyper-diverse invertebrate groups that are traditionally extremely difficult to sort, identify and describe – “dark taxa”, groups for which <10% of all species are described and the estimated diversity exceeds 1000 species.

Prof. Simon Ho | The University of Sydney


We will run two pre-conference workshops on Sunday Nov 26 at the Australian National Botanic Gardens, and a third workshop on BEAST 2 is now scheduled for Thursday 30 November. Details of the workshops are given below. Those wanting to attend will need to buy separate tickets for the workshops as part of the registration process. Places will be limited, so register early if you are keen. Times of the two workshops will overlap, so participants can only attend one, not both of them.

The taxonomic process: How to describe new animal taxa and not break the rules of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature

Leader: Mark Harvey, Western Australian Museum

Description: The International Code of Zoological Nomenclature provides the regulations that underpin the formal scientific naming of animals. In particular, the Code regulates how names are formed and applied, how type specimens are designated, and which names take precedence in the case of synonymy. This workshop provides guidance through the most important regulations and advice on how to name new species and genera.

Duration: 3 hours (Sunday afternoon)

Image classification models for species identification

Leaders: Alexander Schmidt-Lebuhn (pictured) and Nunzio Knerr, CSIRO

Description: This workshop will provide an introduction into the use of computer vision with a focus on image classification models for species identification. It will demonstrate a workflow that includes the annotation of photos of herbarium sheets to extract an identifying character and use of a proprietary cloud service for model training. At the end of the workshop, you will have created a model that identifies species in a small genus by their leaf shapes. Although the example case will be botanical, the approach could transfer to other use cases e.g., in entomology


Duration: all day Sunday, commencing at 10 am.

BEAST 2 workshop

Leaders: Remco Bouckaert & Jordan Douglas

This BEAST workshop is focused on BEAST2, an open-source software package for Bayesian phylogenetic analyses of molecular sequences.  The workshop consists of lectures and hands-on tutorials by leading experts in the field with a focus on dating and species delimitation.  The aim of the workshop is to equip participants with the skills and core knowledge to confidently perform phylogenetic analyses of their own.  It is open to graduate students and scientists interested in the analysis of genomic data and molecular evolution.  Participants will need to bring their own laptops and have particular software pre-installed.

Fore more information and required pre-reading, see here.

Duration: All day Thursday 30 November (will overlap with the field trip)

Field Trips – Thursday 30 Nov

Option 1: Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve and Corin Forest

This will be a day trip by bus from ANU to Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve and the alpine area at Corin Forest. It will be a chance to see some local nature and to mix with colleagues, immersed in the biodiversity we love. More details will be added here soon. Places will be limited, so register early.

Option 2: Guided walk at Australian National Botanic Gardens

These will be short walks (45 min) run by guides at ANBG. The number of tours and their starting times will depend on the number of participants. There will be an option to do the tour on a small accessible bus.

Conference Dinner

The conference dinner will be held at Kambri Cultutal Centre on the evening of Tues Nov 28. We’re planning some pretty special entertainment!

Society AGMs

SASB and ASBS will both hold their Annual General Meetings as part of the conference. Details of times and venues will be announced soon.

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