Student Conference on Conservation Science

Program - 2015


SCCS Hungary - Connecting Eastern and Western Europe in conservation biology

„But the world is as delicate and as complicated as a spider's web. If you touch one thread you send shudders running through all the other threads. We are not just touching the web, we are tearing great holes in it." Gerald Durrell 1925-1995

What do we know about conservation science in different regions of Europe, e.g. about Russia or Portugal? Conservationists have the same goals: to slow down and stop the decrease of biodiversity and fragmentation of natural habitats, and provide research or other evidence for conservation interventions; but such interventions are embedded into socio-economic context, which have to be considered. There is a lack of platforms where young scientists, especially students can share their recent findings and learn about the ecological, economical and sociological challenges of conservation and the range of available knowledges (academic, traditional) from the different approaches that Europe provide.

Do we see the potentiality in different disciplines like ecological economy, sociology? Or what kind of traditional knowledge still exists in extensive parts of Europe, e.g. in Romania? How can we gain with this knowledge and integrate in conservation science?

We aim to connect conservation biologists from all over Europe and beyond, offering them a platform to go deep in getting know the situations, projects, specialities in conservation science of the attending countries focusing on their unique natural values, methods, problems and solutions. To achieve a successful conservational project, scientists have to consider many aspects from the planning phase to the final one, discuss with stakeholders and have to make important decisions. Students and scientist at the early career need to get an insight of these processes and try out how to represent their acquired knowledge.

We aim to give the students the possibility to improve their skills in managing their research, broaden their view on conservation in practice and meet with organisations in conservation science to enrich their contact network. 




Date of conference: 1 - 5 September 2015

3 days conference, optional field trip on the 4th day

Invited keynote speakers will offer plenary lectures every day, which is followed by student talks, workshops, poster session, lunch and coffee breaks, discussion session on conservational problems, special dinners and field trips. The conference programme offered at this special venue will not only give a chance to participants to present their work and get an insight to what is the stand in other countries in conservation science, but will also enable to have free talks, discussions with experts to learn and expand their contact network.


Courses and field trips:


Field trip: On the 3rd day afternoon (4th September) as a part of the program a field trip will be organised to Tihany including a 3-4 hour walk, visiting the surrounding area of the venue as it offers many impressive touristic sights. We plan to visit the Benedictine Abbey of Tihany, the Lavender House, the visitor centre of the BalatonUplands National Park, the InnerLake with a restoration of Hungarian grey cattle and European ground squirrel populations and the Golden House geyser cone. The fee of the excursion is included in the conference registration. Recommended clothing: comfortable urban clothes and shoes for walking, rainy weather may occur.

During the conference days on participants demand early morning bird watching will be organized.


Field trip (optional): On the 4th day (5th Sept) we offer a field trip to the impressive area of the Kis Balaton on the area of the Balaton Uplands National Park, where a wetland reconstruction was conducted and led to a rich avifauna. As an alternative program for rainy days guests can visit a traditional Hungarian farm.

Recommended clothing: comfortable urban clothes and shoes for walking, rainy weather may occur.

Homepage of the BalatonUplandsNational Park:

Details about the Kis Balaton:

Image film of the BalatonUplandsNational Park with English subtitle:


The trip (5th Sept) starts after breakfast from Tihany and ends around 3 PM also in Tihany. Another possibility to take the shuttle bus and end the tour in Budapest, around 6 PM

The costs are: 1) with arrival to Tihany at 3 PM: 30 Euro; 2) with arrival to Budapest at 6 PM. 45 Euro. Please tick the appropriate option on the registration form.





Workshops led by policy experts and conservation scientists with different background will take place to enrich students and young scientists in skills like statistics, network analyses, social and economic approaches used in conservation researches, and policy. Workshops aim to motivate students to think about and discuss the actual problems in conservation science and to familiarize themselves with the role of different disciplines and knowledge systems (e.g. traditional ecological knowledge) in conservation.


Four workshops will be held simultaneously, four on the first day and again four on the second day, participants can choose which one they want to take part in.


1st day (02 September)


Rhys Green - Planning research on endangered species 

The workshop is about the design of endangered species research when a species is declining rapidly, there is little available information and something has to be done quickly.


William Sutherland - How to carry out a thesis or conservation project?

Some conservation research programmes are unsuccessful due to unpredictable circumstances such as illness, unusual weather or unforeseeable political problems. Many others could never be successful as they were poorly planned. A small amount of sensible planning can make considerable differences. In this workshop we will use a series of exercises to demonstrate a process called reverse planning.

Tibor Hartel - The importance of traditional and modern knowledge types in managing high cultural and natural value landscapes.


2nd day (03 September)


Julia Marton-Lefevre and Miklós Persányi - Communicating Science to Influence Policy


William Sutherland - Evidence-based conservation

Evidence-based conservation provides a means of evaluating, reviewing and disseminating global information to improve conservation practice. In this workshop we will describe the principles of evidence-based conservation, how it can be used to improve practice and how you can participate.


Ágnes Kalóczkai and Barbara Mihók - Conservation and society - how to grab the social side of conservation

Conservation biologists need to acquire knowledge and skills to explore the social context of biodiversity conservation issues in order to contribute to a socially accepted (or at least manageable) conservation agenda. However, students in conservation programs rarely meet social science concepts and methodologies during their studies, not to mention research experience in these areas. In this workshop participants receive a short and pragmatic introduction regarding the different approaches of natural and social science. Following the conceptual and theoretical considerations, a toolbox for further orientation in qualitative and quantitative methods will be presented to help research orientation of the participants.


Ferenc Jordán - Network analysis: tools for system-based conservation

In this workshop, I overview the state-of-the-art applications of network analysis in studying animal social networks, food webs and landscape graphs. The most important techniques of network analysis will be illustrated and their applications will be discussed. From database management to network construction and from network analysis to visualization we will see the key issues and the most important advancements in the field. The participants will be actively involved in finding solutions for a concrete problem.