Plenary Speakers

Monday, 22 July
Plastic Solutions: What's Good for the Environment is Good for Business

Session description: Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Center ("OLC") - description of session coming soon

Sponsored by a marine resource conservation Foundation

Biography: Deep Ocean Explorer and Environmentally-conscious Business Strategist, Grandson of the Legendary Explorer Jacques Cousteau, Fabien Cousteau challenges you to develop innovative solutions to environmental problems by cultivating your own spirit of curiosity and adventure. This grandson of legendary explorer Jacque-Yves Cousteau, Fabien continues to fulfill his family’s legacy of protecting and preserving the planet’s extensive and endangered marine inhabitants and habitats. As an accomplished aquanaut, business strategist and documentary filmmaker, Fabien draws from his experiences and knowledge to promote environmental discipline as a viable basis for cutting-edge solutions that strike a balance between regional and global environmental problems and the realities of market economies. On stage, Fabien exudes enthusiasm as he combines tales from his underwater voyages with stories from his nonprofit work to demonstrate the need for bold and innovative thinking among individuals and corporations to progress conservation efforts worldwide. Audiences come away inspired and empowered to unleash their own curiosity and push beyond known boundaries to do their part in making a better future.

Tuesday, 22 July
Faith and Conservation in Dialogue

Session description: On what common grounds can faith traditions and conservation science converge to protect life on Earth? Faith groups have been protecting nature long before the formal conservation movement came into being. What can be learned from leaders of faith communities about their beliefs, values and activities related to the protection of biodiversity? Join us during this unique plenary with four prominent leaders of Malaysian indigenous spirituality, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam engaged in environmental conservation. Bring your frank questions to ask and your concerns to voice as we explore how faith and science can collaborate to achieve mutual goals.

Biography: Rev. Joshtrom Isaac Kureethadam is Coordinator of the Sector on Ecology and Creation at the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development in Vatican City. He also serves as Chairperson of the Philosophy of Science and Director of the Institute of Social and Political Sciences at the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome. His double passion is to pass on to younger generations not only a sense of awe and wonder before the grandeur and majesty of the universe, but also a deep sense of concern for the increasingly precarious state of our common planetary home. For nearly a quarter of a century, he has been particularly engaged with ecological issues, teaching courses, conducting workshops for young people and committed grassroots activists, and publishing articles and books in this area. He has been particularly associated with the study and diffusion of Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter on Care for Our Common Home.

Biography: Dr. Hayu Prabowo, Chairman of the Environmental and Natural Resources Board of the Indonesian Council of Ulema (MUI), has spearheaded and advanced environmental initiatives on eco-mosques, Muslim-friendly ecotourism, clean water and sanitation education in Islamic schools, and the passage of environmental fatwas (Islamic law rulings) on mining, the protection of threatened species, and burning forests and peatlands. He also chairs the Siaga Bumi (Standby Earth) Multi-faith Environment Forum, the only gathering of diverse religious communities in Indonesia that is dedicated to identifying and implementing ways to care about other species and the natural environment. 

Biography: Angelica Sinimis Suimin is a Kadazandusun indigenous from Sabah, Malaysia, the recipient of a Master’s degree in Environment Management and Social Development from the University of Malaysia in Sarawak, and an independent researcher on indigenous spirituality, arts and cultural heritage focusing on the sustainability of the natural environment. After having served for more than thirty years as a rural sociologist focusing on indigenous community development programs, she currently works as a freelance consultant, technical expert, and auditor for social forestry related industries and serves as the Secretary General of the North Borneo Herbal Growers and Alternative Traditional Medicine Practitioners. She traces her direct lineage to the Kadazandusun Chief Priestess Bobohizan through her late mother who tutored her on the values of indigenous spirituality. When working with indigenous communities, she emphasises traditional knowledge and the values of sustainability and conservation.

Wednesday, 23 July
Rarefaction and Extrapolation: Standardizing Samples to Make Fair Comparisons of Biodiversity among Multiple Assemblages

Session description: The goal in many biodiversity analyses is to make a fair comparison and assessment of diversity measures (e.g., species richness, taxonomic diversity, phylogenetic diversity and functional diversity) among multiple assemblages. For most measures, it is well known that the empirical diversities in a sample are dependent on sample size or sampling efforts. When samples are incomplete, standardization via rarefaction and extrapolation is needed; rarefaction and extrapolation methods allow for fair and meaningful comparison of diversity estimates for standardized samples on the basis of sample size or sample completeness. In this talk, two types of standardization methods are reviewed: (1) Sample-size-based rarefaction and extrapolation methods aim to compare diversity estimates for equally-large samples determined by samplers. (2) Coverage-based rarefaction and extrapolation methods aim to compare diversity estimates for equally-complete samples; the sample completeness in this method is measured by sample coverage (the proportion of the total number of individuals that belong to the species detected in the sample), a concept originally developed by Alan Turing and I. J. Good in their cryptographic analysis during World War II. Contrary to intuition, sample coverage for the observed sample, rarefied samples, and extrapolated samples can be accurately estimated by the observed data themselves. These two types of standardization methods allow researchers to efficiently use all available data to make robust and detailed inferences about the sampled assemblages, and also to make objective comparisons among multiple assemblages. Hypothetical and real examples are presented for illustrating the use of the online software iNEXT (iNterpolation/EXTrapolation) to compute and plot seamless rarefaction/extrapolation sampling curves based on several diversity measures.

Biography: Anne Chao is 60% statistician, 30% mathematician and 10% ecologist. She received her BS in mathematics from National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan, in 1973, and her PhD in statistics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1977. Since 1978, she has been with the Institute of Statistics, National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan, where she is currently a TsingHua Distinguished Chair Professor. She is a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, and held a Taiwan National Chair Professorship. Chao has long been fascinated with mathematical and statistical issues arising in ecology and related sciences; her major research interests include ecological statistics, statistical inferences of biodiversity measures, and statistical analysis of ecological/environmental survey data. She and her collaborators have published more than 130 papers with citations > 20400 in Google Scholar. Their papers have (i) developed several biodiversity measures/estimators including Chao1, Chao2, ACE, and ICE for species richness, as well as some novel methods to infer entropy, diversity and related similarity/differentiation measures, (ii) established a unified mathematical/statistical framework for taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional diversities, and (iii) generalized the classic sample-size-based rarefaction method to sample-coverage-based rarefaction and extrapolation, to standardize biodiversity samples. To implement their methodologies, Chao and her colleagues/students have also developed statistical software including CARE (CApture-REcapture), ##### (Species-richness Prediction And Diversity Estimation), iNEXT (iNterpolation/EXTrapolation), PhD (Phylogenetic Diversity) and FunD (Functional Diversity. For the past 20 years, Chao served in the editorial boards of four major statistical journals, and currently serves as an Associate Editor for Methods in Ecology and Evolution.