Scientific program

Plenary talks

Charles Krebs, Population Biology (University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada)
Rick Ostfeld, Disease Ecology (Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Millbrook, NY, USA)
Simone Sommer, Conservation Genomics and EcoHealth (University of Ulm, Germany)
James Ross, Rodent Management (Lincoln University, New Zealand)
Hannu Ylönen, Behavioural Ecology (University of Jyväskylä, Finland)

Symposia

Rodent behaviour; Peter Banks (Australia)

The symposium focuses on the behavioural ecology of rodents, including personality and learning strategies, behaviour and predator-prey interaction, interspecies effects, spatio-temporal activity, olfaction and other traits that are relevant for behavioural adaptation of rodents to their niches. We will provide an overview of the current research on the behaviour and ecology of rodents globally and create discussion on regional similarities/ differences and potential management options (conservation, pest management) in the future. There is no restriction regarding species or the level of interaction within and between taxa.

Form and function; Juha Laakkonen (Finland), Jukka Jernvall (Finland)

This symposium assembles researchers who are interested in the morphological and physiological features that determine functioning of rodents in their diverse environments. This includes tooth morphology, thermoregulation, locomotion or other aspects required to cope with environmental change, which ultimately affects management of both endangered and over-abundant rodent species. The symposium will cover species-specific topics and overviews of particular rodent taxa.

Responses to human-induced (or anthropogenic) changes - (formerly urban/periurban rodents); Maria Busch (Argentina), Melanie Dammhahn (Potsdam)

Wild animals have to cope with a variety of rapid anthropogenic changes. Many rodent species are well adapted to modified landscapes and cities and therefore represent an ideal study system to illuminate responses to anthropogenic changes at different hierarchical levels. Further, the peri-urban interface is highly relevant for rodents affecting human life through home invasion, contamination of food and stored produce, and transmission of disease. However, little is known about the ecology of these species in such an environment. This symposium aims to group ecological and behavioural studies on rodent adaptations/adjustments to human-induced rapid environmental changes, including effects of light pollution, climate change, invasive species and urbanization. There is no restriction regarding species or region.

Rodent management; Otso Huitu (Finland), Grant Singleton (Philippines)

Rodent species are diverse and widespread across the world. Some species (or populations) can interfere with human interest, which lead to their designation as pests. Because some species (or populations) can interfere with human interest. This symposium includes aspects such as conservation and plant protection pre-harvest and in storage. It will also consider the suitability of management approaches regarding non-target populations as well as other environmental and social, ecological, and economical aspects. It will cover various taxa and geographical areas aiming to collate the scientific knowledge provided by international experts to identify optimal management approaches, knowledge gaps and future research objectives.

Conservation and ecosystem services; Zhang Zhibin (China)

Rodent species comprise >40% of all mammalian species. They are often perceived as pests but in fact more rodent species are endangered than there are rodent pest species. In addition, pest species or not, rodents can provide important ecosystem services but little is known about system-wide effects. In this symposium, we aim to collate the current state of knowledge regarding rodent ecosystem services and to provide quantitative assessments of eco-system services. We welcome presentations that demonstrate significant advances in conservation, provide information about ecosystem services and introduce new research approaches designed to derive rodent conservation approaches. Topics include protection of endangered and rare rodent species, re-introduction and translocation, habitat improvement, management of invasive rodents, ecosystem services of rodents at the local, regional, and ecosystem scale.

Taxonomy-genetics; Michael Kohn (USA)

Rodents are challenging for taxonomists and phylogeneticists, owing to the diversity and the relatively rapid rate of divergence. The precise taxonomic relationships are often debated. The symposium will contribute to the understanding of the taxonomy and zoogeographical history, new methods and their application in large field studies and how outcomes of recent research can be utilized for optimizing rodent conservation and management. Proper taxonomy deduced from molecular phylogenies may be complicated owing to trans-species variation due to hybridization, recent diversification, and related biological and technical phenomena. Contributions should consider genetics of speciation and taxonomy, the role of refugia for rodents, methods and application in research, conservation and management.

Population dynamics; Nigel Yoccoz (Norway)

This symposium is dedicated to fluctuations of population size in space and time and will consider classical cyclicity and irregular fluctuation. We will combine recent progress in methodology (new methods for data analysis) and recent findings regarding drivers of dynamics across the world. This can assist in detecting universal patterns and processes as well as relevant drivers. Topics include extrinsic and intrinsic drivers of rodent population dynamics, effects of climate, food and predation. Another aspect in this symposium is the need for joint international databases where time-series data are stored that are present in many countries but difficult to access for the international scientific community. Such a tool would greatly facilitate collaborative work on population dynamics to further our understanding of population regulation. Another aspect in this symposium is the need for joint international databases – in many countries there are time-series datasets that, at present, are difficult for the international scientific community to access.

Phylogeography; Petr Kotlik (Czech Republic)

There is increasing evidence that climate and environmental change contribute to the distribution and to spatio-temporal fluctuations in rodent abundance. Modern genetic datasets and analytical approaches can help to link climate change to population genetics and other genetic changes associated with the ability of rodents to adapt to changing climatic conditions. This symposium will bring together the latest research considering climate change impacts with respect to rodent phylogeography, other aspects of distribution and genetic adaptation.

Legislation; Erik Schmolz (Germany)

In most regions of the world regulations are in place for rodent management with respect to methods (lethal, non-lethal/ crop protection, health protection) and associated risk assessment, training of staff and organization of competent authorities. The same is true for food production where – at least in developed countries – rodent have to be managed by law or based on Industry regulation to prevent health risks to staff and consumers. In this symposium national and supra-national regulations will be presented and compared in an attempt to derive and utilize common patterns of pest-practice.

Future rodent control technologies; Peter Brown (Australia), Gregg Howald (USA)

Traditionally, pest rodents are managed using anticoagulant rodenticides and/or traps worldwide. However, these methods have limitations and new approaches are required to diversify and improve management and to mitigate unwanted effects of traditional methods. Alternative techniques focusing on gene drive technology will be presented and will also include other methods that minimize poison use, fertility control and new compounds. There is no restriction to rodent taxon, region or sector of use.

Workshop

Workshop rodent-borne diseases; Heikki Henttonen (Finland), Serge Morand (Thailand)

The workshop covers all aspects of rodent-borne diseases including case studies on specific diseases or parasites relating to rodents, aspects of rodent immunology, immunological fitness and measurement of health parameters.

Focus will be viral diseases caused by Hantaviruses and bacterial diseases such as leptospirosis affecting people, live-stock and companion animals worldwide. The workshop will offer a platform for networking between academia and public health institutions as well as between basic and applied research to further the transfer of recent scientific advances to the public health sector, to assist health management and to develop early warning systems.

A series of oral and poster presentations will be followed by a panel discussion.

Thursday 6 September all day including podium discussion led by Johannes Dreesman (Germany).

If you wish to attend only the workshop (dinner included), please tick the relevant box in the registration process.

Tentative schedule