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IIT to host ecology meet

Guwahati, Nov. 25: The Young Ecologist Talk and Interact, the largest students’ scientific conference in the country on ecology, evolution, animal behaviour and conservation, will be held this year at IIT Guwahati from December 13 to 15.

The conference is being organised by students across the country with support from several organisations, including WWF-India, Nature Conservation Foundation, Centre for Ecological Sciences — Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment and Aaranyak.

“The idea is to encourage young minds from the Northeast to come forward and present their work. This is also a good cross-learning experience and can open up possibilities for collaborations,” Bibhab Talukdar, the secretary general of Aaranyak, said.

This year’s conference will highlight the most important bio-diversity issues from the Northeast, understanding of the social dynamics of bonnet macaque societies, and will stress the need for increased data sharing to enhance the growth of ecological studies and conservation science.

There will also be a workshop to show that simple mathematical models of ecology can be learnt by anyone with basic skills in arithmetic and algebra.

“It will be a good learning experience for many, especially students, and the Northeast is the best place to learn about wildlife,” said P.C. Bhattacharjee, the former head of the zoology department, Gauhati University.

Originating out of a student conference at the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, in 2008, the conference has grown into a national platform for student researchers.

The 2009 and 2010 editions of the conference were held at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.

“Given the commitment of IIT Guwahati, towards scientific research in India, and particularly in fostering quality research in the Northeast, the conference this year has been organised in partnership with the Centre for the Environment of IIT Guwahati. The Centre for the Environment has been supporting inter-disciplinary research in several emerging areas of environmental and ecological studies since its inception,” a release issued by the organisers said.

Besides IIT Guwahati, the conference is supported by 20 universities, 38 institutes and NGOs and 40 colleges from the Northeast, along with several independent researchers.

It said the conference provides a forum for young ecologists and conservation biologists, early in their career, to present and discuss their work, exchange ideas, and establish collaborations with their peers and contemporaries across the country.

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