Conference Lodging Information

The Brant Point Inn
The Center Board Inn
The Brass Lantern Inn
The Regatta Inn

* For Conference Presenters Only - limited housing is available on island through UMASS, please email Sarah Oktay to reserve.






5th Biennial Biodiversity Research Conference

A full weekend of conference talks, keynote speaker, and field trips exploring the biodiversity of Nantucket - come for just the one day conference or stay for all of the events!

November 1-3rd 2013, with conference talks on November 2nd.


Conference Purpose

The goal of the Nantucket Biodiversity Initiative (NBI) research program is to increase knowledge of understudied taxonomic groups and of the overall biodiversity of Nantucket, Tuckernuck, Muskeget and surrounding waters. The NBI facilitates collaboration, research and data storage and sharing between on and off-island researchers, conservation interests and the general public.

Our conference is held on Nantucket every other year and provides an opportunity to share the results of research being conducted on Nantucket and surrounding areas with other researchers and the public. This is an excellent opportunity to share your research, network with other researchers and naturalists, and to get an over view of the many different research projects on Nantucket and surrounding areas!

Conference Registration is OPEN

All participants, please register by Monday Oct 28st to reserve your field trip space and guarantee a conference lunch.


We have many conference activities planned from field trips around the island to a keynote lecture on the Ants of New England to a poster session cocktail hour to a casual morning run on Sunday!

Full Schedule of Events

Conference Day Program

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Aaron Ellison

"Ants at Sea:

Island Biogeography of the Ants of New England"

Friday November 1st

7pm, Nantucket Atheneum Great Hall

Hors d'ouevres and book signing to follow (A Field Guide to the Ants of New England)

Aaron M. Ellison is the Senior Research Fellow in Ecology at the Harvard Forest, and an Adjunct Research Professor in the departments of Biology and Environmental Conservation at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He received his B.A. in East Asian Philosophy from Yale University in 1982 and his Ph.D. in Evolutionary Ecology from Brown University in 1986. After post-doctoral positions at Cornell and with the Organization for Tropical Studies in Costa Rica, Aaron taught for a year at Swarthmore College before moving to Mount Holyoke College in 1990, where as an Assistant, Associate, and Full Professor, and then as Associate Dean for Science, he taught biology, environmental studies, and statistics until 2001. In 1992, Aaron received the National Science Foundation's Presidential Faculty Fellow award for "demonstrated excellence and continued promise both in scientific and engineering research and in teaching future generations of students to extend and apply human knowledge." Following a sabbatical year at Harvard in 2001-2002, Aaron assumed his current position at the Harvard Forest, Harvard' s 1500-hectare outdoor classroom and laboratory for ecological research. There, he studies food web dynamics and community ecology of wetlands and forests, evolutionary ecology of carnivorous plants, the response of plants and ants to global climate change, and the application of Bayesian statistical inference to ecological research and environmental decision-making. He has authored or co-authored nearly 150 scientific papers, dozens of book reviews and software reviews, and the books A Primer of Ecological Statistics (2004; 2nd edition 2012) and A Field Guide to the Ants of New England (2012). Aaron is the Editor-in-Chief of Ecological Monograph, and in 2012 he was elected a Fellow of the Ecological Society of America.


Conference Field Trips and Workshops

* Pre-registration is required for all field trips, Limit 25 people per Field Trip *

(All Friday Field Trips are Full) Friday November 1st: 3:00pm, meet at the Nantucket Hotel

(Registration for this field trip CLOSED!) Squam Swamp: Forests at Sea - Join Kelly Omand, Field Supervisor at the Nantucket Conservation Foundation, for a walk through Squam Swamp on the northeastern edge of Nantucket. The walk will visit a number of exemplary large trees with unusual growth forms off the main trail. Kelly will discuss the limitations on tree diversity in this unusual island forest where wooded swamps and upland forests intersperse and trees face special challenges of wetland hydrology, strong winds, and salt spray.

(Registration CLOSED!) Falcons and Fall Birds - Head out to 'Sconset, the southeaster portion of Nantucket to hopefully enjoy perfect late afternoon light, a chance to see numerous Lesser Black-backed Gulls, migrating waterfowl, spectacular falcons and fall migrats all while enjoying splendid scenery. Join Vern Laux, Resident Naturalist at the Linda Loring Nature Foundation, while walking along the picturesque bluff on the eastern edge of Nantucket. This is one of the best times for birding all year, so pack your binoculars!


Sunday November 3rd: 9:00am, meet at the Nantucket Hotel

The Miners Among Us - Join Charley Eiseman, Northern Naturalists and co-author of Tracks and Sign of Insects, on a walk to learn about leaf-miners, gall forming insects, and other fascinating but miniscule creatures. We will be heading out to Pout Ponds in the Middle Moors. These are kettle ponds that are relatively close to town but in a seemingly very remote location.

Folgers Marsh and Barrier Beach Exploration - Come muck about with Field Station Director Dr. Sarah Oktay as we learn about the functions, plants, and animals that live in a salt marsh and barrier beach environment. Warm waterproof waders provided for the first 20 people.



Map of Conference Locations








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Logo courtesy of Claire Dacey