Conference Information


Overview of Conference Events

Conference Day Program

word or pdf

Complete Conference Abstracts

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Conference Venue: Nantucket Hotel Ballroom


Presenter Info






Conference Registration

Pre-registration is required for ALL conference events!


Register HERE


Conference Lodging Information

The Nantucket Hotel, host of our conference is providing discounted room rates to conference attendees:

Islander Room: $195 a night

One Bedroom Suite: $245

The suite is definitely shareable! Please contact them early to reserve.


Other possible lodging options in Town:

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.






Thank you for attending and participating in the 6th Biennial Biodiversity Research Conference - please stay tuned for information on our Fall 2017 conference.


6th Biennial Biodiversity Research Conference

A full weekend of conference talks, an exciting 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 13th - 15th 2015, with conference talks on November 14th

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!

Please join us in the Ballroom of the Nantucket Hotel on Nov 14th.


All Conference Events are FREE and Open to the Public!

Conference Registration now OPEN

Please register online for any of the conference events you plan to attend. Registration is free. Pre-registration required for all field trips and workshops.

Register HERE

We have a fantastic group of speakers and poster presenters on a wide variety of biodiversity and ecology topics.


Conference Presentation Schedule


Keynote Speaker

Dr. Elizabeth Farnsworth

Senior Research Ecologist with the New England Wildflower Society

Friday November 13th, 7pm

Nantucket Atheneum Great Hall, Refreshments and Book Signing to Follow

State of New England’s Native Plants: Challenges and Opportunities for Conserving Coastal Habitats

New England Wild Flower Society recently released a comprehensive, peer-reviewed report that, for the first time, gathers together the most up-to-date data on the status of plants on the New England landscape. From these data, we can discern increases and declines in both rare and common species across all six states. We will discuss the report findings, with particular emphasis on rare and common plants of coastal sandplains and marshes in the region, and their importance in supporting other organisms and in providing ecosystem services for humans. We identify hotspots of rare plant diversity, and discuss factors that foster this diversity. We document the primary ecological and anthropogenic threats to both rare and common species. We discuss activities and initiatives by New England Wild Flower Society and its partner organizations in the New England Plant Conservation Program to conserve and manage rare plants and habitats throughout the region. We articulate a research agenda to bridge gaps in our knowledge of plant species and ecological communities and develop a framework for protecting the viability of thousands of species that together comprise our diverse and vibrant flora.

Dr. Elizabeth Farnsworth is Senior Research Ecologist with the New England Wild Flower Society, and a biologist, educator, and scientific illustrator. At the Society, she has written a major regional report “State of the Plants of New England,” and she co-led the award-winning National Science Foundation-funded project, Go Botany, to develop an on-line guide to the regional flora for teaching botany. She has illustrated and/or written seven books, including The Nature of New Hampshire, and the Peterson Field Guide to Ferns. She has taught at Smith College, Hampshire College, and the Conway School of Landscape Design. She has conducted scientific research on many ecosystems throughout the world, focusing on restoration, conservation, plant physiology, mangroves, and climate change. She obtained her Ph.D. in biology from Harvard University, M.Sc. from the University of Vermont, and a B.A. with honors in Environmental Studies from Brown University. In her spare time she sings semi-professionally and paddles her hand-built kayak.



Conference Workshop and Field Trip

* Pre-registration is required for all Events *


Friday November 13th, 2pm

Location: 56 Center St - Nantucket Community School Downtown Campus

Registration limited to 15 people

* Registration now closed for this workshop, please waitlist if interested*


Go Botany: A 21st-Century Tool for Anyone Who Loves Plants!

Imagine being able to easily identify plants and learn all about them using an innovative set of keys and search tool on your smart phone, tablet, or desktop computer. That is the vision of Go Botany: an award-winning, free, user-friendly, interactive web tool created by New England Wild Flower Society with funding from the National Science Foundation. Go Botany is the definitive on-line Flora of New England, covering more than 3,500 taxa. In this hands-on workshop, you’ll learn how to use Go Botany's many features, including multiple-access keys, a clickable dichotomous key, teaching resources, and PlantShare -- a virtual community for plant enthusiasts. Join Dr. Elizabeth Farnsworth to explore Go Botany and learn more about plant ID!


This workshop is presented in partnership with the Nantucket Community School



Sunday November 15th, 9-11am, Meeting Location TBA

Registration is limited to 25 people!


Explore the Shawkemo Hills and Middle Moors with Peter Brace, Nantucket author and naturalist.

Join Nantucket Walkabout guide Peter Brace on a fascinating two-part hike to learn how the last glacier formed Nantucket as a backdrop to the natural history of the island on a hiking experience out in two distinctly different parts of the island. We’ll explore Shawkemo Hills, the kettle-and-kame terrain of the Middle Moors along Nantucket’s portion of the terminal moraine in the north central part of the island to learn about frost bottoms, check out a kettle hole and discover the origins of Coatue, Great Point, the Haulover, Nantucket Harbor and inner harbor shores.

Switching habitats, we’ll then head over to one of Nantucket’s three outwash plains to find out about the prairie-like sandplain grassland habitat along Nantucket’s south shore, and endangered plant and bird species residing there. And we’ll talk about current land management practices used to maintain this habitat.

Estimated hike time: two-three hours.


Nantucket Walkabout is not a tour bus or van service driving from sight to sight. We get out and walk into Nantucket’s wilderness to experience life off the road in all seasons. It’s part bird walk, part botany hike, part geology and all about exploration.

Please bring water and your hiking shoes!






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Logo courtesy of Claire Dacey