The 11th Biannual Conference of the International Biogeography Society, held in Prague last January, drew over 400 scientists from more than 40 countries across four continents. This truly global gathering allowed participants to present and discuss groundbreaking contributions of Biogeography to major societal challenge in the plenary symposia. Topics ranged from the impact of urban environments on nature and the importance of ecosystem engineers in supporting ecosystem services, to the ways in which ecological networks can illuminate the ongoing biodiversity crisis. In addition to these discussions, the conference featured 160 presentations and two extensive poster sessions covering areas from phylogeography and paleoecology to conservation biogeography and macroecology. Concurrently, the IBS acknowledged a diverse array of colleagues for their achievements and contributions to the field of Biogeography. Importantly, the conference offered an excellent opportunity for attendees to interact with fellow scientists in person, a welcome change after the interruptions caused by COVID. Moreover, the beautiful setting of Prague and the exceptional support from our local Czech organizers made everyone feel incredibly welcome!
Professor David Nogués-Bravo, IBS Board.
Audrey Miranda Prasetya PhD Candidate at The Australian National University, Australia.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your research interests?
I am currently a final-year PhD candidate at the Ecology & Evolution Division (Research School of Biology) at ANU in Canberra, Australia. Originally from Indonesia, I have been an international student in Australia since my undergraduate and Honours degree. My particular focus is on the Indo-Australian Archipelago, driven by both my personal background and the region’s unique biodiversity that has captivated researchers and natural historians throughout history. My research centres on understanding the evolutionary history and biogeography of species in this area through broad-scale macroevolutionary analyses.
What first interested you in this field of research?
Studying the Indo-Australian region holds personal significance for me as an Indonesian. Despite the remarkable biodiversity, research in biology is uncommon in Indonesia. My fascination with biology, fueled by nature documentaries, evolved into a serious consideration of research during my Australian undergraduate course. Conducting my PhD on the historical biogeography of the Indo-Australian region feels like a meaningful contribution to the places that matter most to me. Importantly, I aim to expand knowledge of the region, providing a solid foundation for future generations to understand and preserve its unique biology.
Can you briefly explain the research you presented at IBS 2024?
I presented initial results from the final chapter of my thesis at IBS 2024. This research, a culmination of two previous works establishing the geographic dataset and phylogenetic tree, focuses on the passerine birds of the Indo-Australian Archipelago. Utilizing ancestral state estimation, I inferred the biogeographic history of passerine birds across specific island groups in the region. My IBS 2024 presentation emphasized the dispersal pathways, highlighting the significant role of islands as not just sinks but also sources.
How will you continue to build on this research?
The final version of this chapter’s analysis has recently completed after several weeks. I’m eager to extract the results, including additional hypotheses not covered in my IBS presentation. These include testing the significance of changes in paleo-distances between islands over time and variations in island emergence timing. I am delving into the details of the results, exploring where in the phylogenetic tree we find island-to-continent dispersals. Moreover, I’m investigating post island-continent dispersal radiations and comparing dispersal events over time with within-area speciation. Addressing these questions will be a key focus moving forward.