Conservation Paleobiology Symposium University of Bologna, 3-4 February 2020

Using past records to provide context and guidance in a changing world

Overwhelming evidence shows that ecological, evolutionary and earth system processes have been profoundly altered by humans, and will continue to be altered for millennia to come. But, what was life like before human impacts and what processes brought us into the Anthropocene epoch?

The rapidly growing field of Conservation Paleobiology uses fossil and historical records to provide valuable context and guidance to conservation of life on Earth.

This symposium was organised by Aaron O'Dea, Daniele Scarponi, Laura Airoldi & Paolo Albano. It brought over 80 students and researchers together to provide an informal venue for lively talks and a chance to meet old and new colleagues.


Plenary speakers

Our plenary speakers, Prof. Laura Airoldi, Dr. Jeremy Jackson, and Prof. Erin Saupe gave their unique insights and viewpoints on the past, present and future of ecology and conservation.

Dr. Laura Airoldi is Professor in Ecology at the University of Bologna. She is a highly acclaimed expert in the responses of biodiversity ecosystem functioning to global and local environmental changes and a forerunner in the field of marine urban ecology, conservation and restoration.

Dr. Jeremy Jackson is Emeritus Scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute with a distinguished and celebrated career of ground-breaking research in marine ecology, paleobiology and conservation. Dr. Jackson is an engaging public speaker with a powerful message of the importance of understanding (and fixing) the detrimental changes we have brought about to our world.

Dr. Erin Saupe is Associate Professor of Earth Science at the University of Oxford. Dr. Saupe's research covers an incredible diversity of subjects that uses a wide range of technical approaches and model organisms. The cornerstone of her research is towards a better understanding of biological variation in time and space, with a special focus on the use of deep-time information to help current problems of conservation.

Asja Radja


Aaron O'Dea, Alessandro Cheli, Alessandro Paolo, Alexis Rojas, Alison Corley, Angelica Ruggeri, Anna Assumpção, Annalisa Pietrobelli , Beatrice Romagnoli, Carla Altieri, Catalina Pimiento, Chiara Vallese, Costantino Zuccari, Cussigh Alex, Danae Thivaiou, Daniela Basso, Daniele Scarponi, Danise Silvia, Denise Lenzo, Diego García-Ramos, Elina Turapova, Ellinor Michel, Emilia Jarochowska, Emily Lindsey, Erin Dillon, Erin Saupe, Fabio Franceschi , Farideh Moharrek, Federica Costantini, Filippo Castellucci, Fiorella Prada, Francesca Pilotto, Francesco Santini, Fungomeli Maria, Gabanini Gaia, Giorgio Castellan, Giulia Consuma, Giulia Tartaglia, Grasselli Ferrante, Gregor Mathes, Gregory Dietl, Helen Jenkins, Ilaria Mazzini, Irene Montanari, Ismael Garcia-Espinoza, Jenny McGuire, Jeremy Jackson, Jessica Lueders-Dumont, Jonathan Cybulski, Jonathan Todd, Katie Griswold , Ken Johnson, Kimberly Cook, Laura Airoldi, Leonardo Del Sole, Lisa Carrera, Lucilla Capotondi, Luna Girolamini, Marci Bernadi, Marco Viaretti, Marilin Profita , Marta Barberis , Martin Zuschin, Maryna , Matias Ritter, Max Titcomb, Michaela Berensmeier, Michal Kowalewski , Michele Azzarone, Mugnai Francesco, Nadia Santodomingo, Niklas Hohmann, Paolo Abondio, Paolo G. Albano, Patrick Orr, Piarulli Stefania, Piccinini Giovanni, Piero Zannini, Pierpaolo Ciuffi, Rafal Nawrot, Ran Xu, Riccardo Zubalich, RIta Falato, Sara Conti , Sara Meschiari, Sara Scapinello, Sara Silvestrini, Sharon Pittau, Simone Seghetti, Simone Toller, Stergios Zarkogiannis, Suanno Chiara, Thomas Gusmeo, Valentina Bracchi, Valentina Brandolese, Wei Shen, William Foster.


The meeting was held on the 3rd and 4th of February, 2020 at the Academy of Sciences of the Bologna Institute.

Founded in 1690, the Academy is one of the most famous scientific societies in Europe and boasts an exquisite venue for scholarly events.


The symposium was free to all. Lunch and coffee/tea and snacks was provided free of charge thanks to a generous donation and support from the University of Bologna and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

Fossil whale barnacles help reconstruct ancient whale migration patterns

Travel grants

We were able to offer support to eight students to attend the symposium. Grants covered travel and accommodation costs associated with the symposium. Priority was given to students who presented at the symposium and are interested in pursuing research in the field.

Holocene coral reef cores
Created By
Aaron O'Dea