Scientific Activities Steered and/or Supported by IUBS

During the general assembly, the IUBS members review and approve the scientific programs that will be implemented during the triennium. The Executive Committee can also establish new initiatives. Here is an overview of the activities currently supported by IUBS.

This Action Plan will be soon updated soon.


Scientific Programs

• Biological Consequences of Global Change, BCGC

Leader: Zhibin Zhang.

The aim is to address the impact of global change on biological invasion of alien species, on outbreaks of diseases, insects and rodent pests, on community structure and biodiversity of different ecosystems. Currently, over 50 scientists from 15 countries participate in the program. The program organized training workshop and symposia, 3 special issues (25 papers) were published in Integrative Zoology, 5 papers in PNAS, PRSB, GCB. The program will celebrate its 10 years during the 10th ISIZ (International Symposia on Integrative Zoology) with the 2018 World Life Science Conference (2018 WLSC) that will be held on 28-30 October 2018 in the Institute of Zoology (IOZ), Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.


• Integrated Climate Change Biology, iCCB

Leader: Jussi Eronen.

The aim is to develop methods that can be used to measure past, present and future climates, and develop modeling for trait evolution and community dynamics through time and investigate what are functional “tipping points” before ecological collapse. The mission focuses on integrating ecology, paleontology, and climate science as a baseline for assessing 21st Century responses of the Earth’s biota to climate change. 14 articles were published between 2016-2018, including Science, PNAS, Nature Ecology & Evolution, and Current Biology. Two meeting are planned in Cambridge and in Berlin in 2018.


• International Commission for Bionomenclature, ICB

Leader: Ellinor Michel.

The aim is for unifying past and future naming of organisms and bring together the communities of scientists naming organisms in order to develop a forum that will lead to agreed protocols in the registration and management of information about all types of organisms.


• AgroEcosystems: managed pollinators

Leader: Vernon Thomas.

The aim is to develop a technology for plant protection using managed pollinators to transfer all three of pollen and pest and disease control agents to the flowers of various crops.


• Unifying Biology through Informatics

Leader: David Patterson.

The aim is to develop and integrate the informatics tools, processes and skills to manage digital information across the full spectrum of biological phenomena and identify new ways to access, organize and analyze biological information. The program has made links with WDS. A draft of a short ‘policy’ paper intended for a widely read journal is in preparation.


New initiatives

The Executive Committee can decide to implement new project during the triennium.


• Science and Policy: Science for Biodiversity Forum

Leader: Lily Rodriguez

Science Forum, "Mainstreaming biodiversity for well-being: Contributions from Science” was organized on 1st and 2nd December 2016 in Mexico just before the COP 13. It was followed by a side event during the COP 13. The forum aimed to be a meeting place to share knowledge, approaches and solutions, among scientists, policy – makers, and the civil society. A new Science Forum will be organized at the COP 14 in Sharm El Sheik next November. It will be organized with several partners such as CBD, IUCN, IAI and the European Commission. Two side events are also planned: one on Digital Sequence Information (DSI), one on climate change education. We will organize a survey on DSI in order to get the feedback from scientists of different countries and disciplines on this topic. A survey to understand how climate change is tough around the globe has already been launched. The result will be used to improve the tools and the toolkits that are currently prepared. China, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Thailand agreed to be founding members, Korea likely to join


• Open Biodiversity and Health Big Data (BHBD)

Leader: Yiming Bao

The project wants to build the principles and mechanisms for global sharing of BHBD in accordance with laws and ethics of member countries and to develop a big data platform for BHBD integration, translation and sharing that is publicly accessible to worldwide communities. The aim is to build a consortium of BHBD with core members consist of countries and regions within IUBS.


• Pastoralism, a pilot project

Leader: Nils Chr. Stenseth

The project proposes to conduct a large scale comparative research program to tackle critical challenges faced by pastoral systems worldwide in relation with climate change, with a focus on three regions of the world (East Africa, Lapland and Mongolia) that, while being in different ecological settings, present large contextual variation. The project addresses environment, social and economic questions. It involves both natural and social sciences.


Taxonomy and conservation

Leaders: Regine Jahn, Alexey Kotov, Santiago Merino

After the comments published in Nature and the responses received, it was decided to set up discussions among the community. IUBS aim is to help to develop a consensus on a method of taxonomy that uses the latest knowledge and modern technology for all living organisms, across every scale of size and complexity.



A workshop was organized between IUBS and SCAR during the Polar 2018, SCAR (Scientific Committee on Arctic Research) & IASC (International Arctic Science Committee) Conference, Davos Switzerland. The aim was to discuss the interaction between IUBS programs such as BCGC and iCCB with SCAR and how IUBS could participate in the new programs implemented by SCAR.



Collaborative projects with other Unions

IUBS is involved in 2 of the 3 projects awarded by ICSU (now ISC) for a period of 3 years.



“Trans-disciplinary Research Oriented Pedagogy for Improving Climate Studies and Understanding”

Co-leaders: IUBS (LS Shashidhara) and INQUA (Allan Ashworth)


The TROP-ICSU project aims to enable positive action in adapting to and mitigating the effects of climate change through pedagogical intervention and citizen outreach. The modules are locally rooted but globally relevant. These pedagogical tools can be used to introduce one or more aspects of climate change while teaching a core concept in existing science or mathematics curriculum. The tools and toolkits that have been prepared will be tested by teachers during different workshops organized in different countries in 2018 and 2019. Some of these workshops are organized in collaboration with IAP (Inter Academy Partnership) and OCE (Office on Climate Education). The project  was presented during a side event at the COP 24 on climate in Poland in December 2018 in collaboration with IAP and WCRP. It was prenseted in a side event  at the COP14 on Biodiversity in Egypt November 2019. The TROP ICSU project was also represented at three sessions on climate education at the UN Climate Change Conference COP 25, held in Madrid in December 2019 in collaboration with OCE.

• Gender Gap

"A Global Approach to the Gender Gap in Mathematical, Computing and Natural Sciences: How to Measure It, How to Reduce It?”

Co-leaders: IMU and IUPAC


A joint global survey is carried over as well as a joint study on publication patterns will analyze comprehensive metadata sources corresponding to publications. The project will produce sound data to support the choices of interventions that ICSU (now ISC) and member unions can feasibly undertake to reduce gender gap.




Sophisticated but inexpensive experimental modules in Biology for rural schools in developing countries

Leader: Eric Warrant

Scientific disciplines traditionally rely on a significant component of costly laboratory work to teach children the basic principles of science and the scientific method. However, rural schools in many parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America are often severely under-funded. But they are surrounded by wonderful natural laboratories filled with plants and animals, many of which lend themselves directly to the creation of simple, but nonetheless sophisticated, laboratory classes in Biology. By directly having contact with their local plants and animals in school laboratory classes is a marvelous way to build a child’s appreciation – and love – of the natural world around them, and to instill a passion to protect it. 

This proposal aims to bring together biologists and educators from various parts of the world to discuss the practical issues of creating laboratory modules for use in rural high schools in developing countries.


Conference sponsoring

IUBS provides seed funding to organize conferences in IUBS member countries. During the 6 first months of 2018, the following conferences have been sponsored by IUBS.

- International Symposium on Ciliate Biology, India, 4-6 April 2018

- International Symposium on Pollination, Germany, 16-20 April 2018

- 25th International Diatom Symposium, Germany, 25-30 June 2018

- Sixth International Conference on Plants & Environmental Pollution (ICPEP-6), India, 27-30 November 2018


Young scientists grant

IUBS supports the participation of young scientists in conferences linked with IUBS activities. During the 6 first months of 2018, the active participation of young scientists in the following conference have been sponsored by IUBS.

- International Symposium on Pollination, Germany, 16-20 April 2018

- 25th International Diatom Symposium, Germany, 25-30 June 2018

- European Meeting of PhD Students in Evolutionary Biology (EMPSEB 24), Spain, 9-15 September 2018

- Sixth International Conference on Plants & Environmental Pollution (ICPEP-6), India, 27-30 November 2018



IUBS can participate in the publication of scientific reports.

 • Biology International – Special issue # 36

Disaster and Biodiversity (DAB)

Eds: Harufumi Nishida, Jun Yokoyama, Steven J. Wagstaff and Paul Callomon (2017)

This special issue summarizes the results of 3 years discussions in the workshops and symposium held by the IUBS programme Disaster and Biodiversity led by Pr. Harufumi Nishida


 • Fossils of the Urban Sanctuary

Eds: Fearghus McSweeney & John Buckeridge (2017)


 • Birds of the Rickett’s Point Marine Sanctuary

Eds: Kate Loxton & John Buckeridge (2016)