The 33rd Environmental Sciences Association of Ireland

The 33rd Environmental Sciences Association of Ireland

The 33rd Environmental Sciences Association of Ireland, Environ Researchers Colloquium took place from 3 – 5 April 2023. The focus of the conference was ‘Evidence and Plans Towards a Transitions to a Sustainable Future’. Over 200 researchers attended, with a diverse suite of talks and workshops featured over the few days. The conference was kicked off with workshops in sustainability careers, career development and a trip to Glenveagh National Park. The jam packed schedule of presentations was kicked off by plenary speaker Prof Rick Relyea who spoke on ‘Understanding, predicting, and mitigating human impacts for a sustainable future’. There were a large number of focused groups of presentations on topics such sensor technologies, outreach and public engagement, education, policy, marine, climate in balance, wetlands and energy solutions to name a few.
Katie O’Dea of the Plant Climate Lab presented a poster on how the TERRAFORM weathering experiments will contribute to climate sciences, particularly the application of silicate weathering as a negative emissions technology (NET).

The 66th Irish Geological Research Meeting - Belfast 2023

The 66th Irish Geological Research Meeting

The 66th Irish Geological Research Meeting (IGRM) took place from 3 – 5 March 2023. The event was hosted at the Ulster Museum at the Botanic Gardens in Belfast. Over 150 individuals attended the conference. Keynote talks were featured by Professor Andy Gale who discussed the reconstruction of a Cretaceous greenhouse world and Professor Adrian Jones who discussed his work on diamonds and the carbon cycle.   

Terraform’s master’s student, Ms. Bea Jackson gave a presentation on her work on estimating Devonian paleo-atmospheric COconcentrations using fossil plant traits. Team members, Dr William J. Matthaeus, Dr Christos Chondrogiannis, Ms Antonietta Knetge and Ms Catarina Barbosa also attended to present a joint team poster on how the Terraform project will employ modern trait ecology to expand the horizons of paleo-botany and further uncover the science behind biogeochemical cycles in deep time.  

The programme for the 66th Irish Geological Research Meeting is available here.  

The 12th annual TCD Botany-Zoology Post-Graduate Symposium

The 12th annual TCD Botany-Zoology Post-Graduate Symposium

The 12th annual TCD Botany-Zoology Post-Graduate Symposium took place from 2-3 March 2023. The two-day symposium gives post-graduate students within the departments of Botany and Zoology the opportunity to showcase their work. It’s an excellent opportunity for staff and students from the TCD School of Natural Sciences to engage with the varied array of research that takes place within the two departments.  

 22 post-graduates from across the two departments presented their research projects. The topics spanned from natural capital accounting to visual processing in animals, heatwave effects on parasites to the understanding of the role of urban wild spaces in maintaining mental health. Ms. Bea Jackson of the Plant-Climate lab was an organizer of the event. Bea also presented her work on estimating Devonian paleo-atmospheric COconcentrations using fossil plant traits. Ms. Antonietta Knetge gave a talk on the use of traits to uncover abiotic stress in Mesozoic flora. Congratulations to Mr. Ian Clancy of the Botany Department for winning the overall best talk for his presentation on understanding the carbon sequestering potential of Irish grasslands.  

We were delighted to host two excellent keynote speakers for the event. Dr Sandy Hetherington, a paleo-botanist, travelled from the University of Edinburgh to give an engaging talk on the origins of plant complexity. Dr Aidan O’Hanlon, an entomologist at Dublin’s Natural History Museum, gave an excellent presentation on the museum itself as well as its collections and how they can be utilized in biodiversity research. 

The book of abstracts for the 12th TCD Botany-Zoology Post-Graduate Symposium can be found here.

The Future of Ireland's Peatlands: Science, Engineering & Just Transition

iCRAG’s Future of Ireland's Peatlands: Science, Engineering & Just Transition

iCRAG’s Future of Ireland’s Peatlands: Science, Engineering & a Just Transition workshop took place on Tuesday 21st February at Abbeyleix Manor Hotel. The event was attended by over 145 and included stakeholders from research, community groups, industry, and state and semi-state agencies.

The all-day workshop explored a broad range of research related to Ireland’s peatlands from restoration and monitoring to the just transition and engineering considerations on post-peat land use. Attendees were also guided on a walk through Abbeyleix Bog by Chris Uys and other volunteers from the Abbeyleix Bog Project where they saw the very successful restoration works that have been undertaken by the local community. Dr. Sate Ahmad from PCI also attended the event.

IRC New Foundations Award to study Irish Peatlands

Dr. Sate Ahmad receives IRC New Foundations Award to study Irish peatlands


Dr Sate Ahmad has been awarded funding from the Irish Research Council’s ‘New Foundations’ program for a year-long project. The New Foundations program supports civil society organizations and government departments in developing evidence-based policies and strategies. This week, the Irish Research Council announced 67 New Foundations projects addressing various societal challenges and government policy issues. Dr Ahmad’s project, called “Dive2Store: Vegetation diversity, water balance, and carbon storage in Irish fen peatlands: Revealing spatial patterns and processes for climate mitigation,” aims to investigate crucial ecosystem processes in a degraded and drained fen and compare them to those of a near-natural fen. This information will be used to develop sustainable restoration and management strategies for fen peatlands in Irish catchments.

iCRAG 2022

iCRAG 2022

Professor Jennifer McElwain and Dr Sate Ahmad presented at the iCRAG Conference 2022 on the 1st of December 2022 at Croke Park, Dublin. Professor McElwain gave an overview of research under the Earth System Change pillar of the Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences (iCRAG) in the context of Ireland’s declaration of a climate and biodiversity crisis. Dr Ahmad talked about how elevated CO2 in the future may change ecohydrological response through changes in plant physiology. In total, 200 participants attended the event, several of whom were from the Botany Department.

EPA 5YAR Synthesis Report meeting

The Synthesis Report meeting for the EPA Five Year Assessment Report was held on 7th and 8th of November at FSTEM TCD. Authors from all four volumes on Ireland’s first climate assessment review were able to meet in-person and online. The aim of this meeting was to decide on the scope and outline of this important stage of the process, which follows a similar format to the IPCC.  


The Synthesis Report will provide an integrated overview of the key messages from all four volumes of 5YAR, and aims to provide information for the policy guidance needed as a long term assessment strategy for Ireland and climate change. It was a great meeting and great progress was made collectively on this task.  


More information on the 5YAR and the volumes provided within 


11th European Palaeobotany and Palynology Conference

11th European Palaeobotany and Palynology Conference

The 11th European Palaeobotany and Palynology Conference was held 19-22 June at the Swedish Natural History Museum and Stockholm University. Over the course of the conference, over 170 oral presentations and over 60 poster presentations were given, as well as 2 pre-conference workshops. The first plenary talk of the conference was given by Prof. Vivi Vajda, Prof. Steve McLoughlin and Dr. Olena Shevchuk on the war in Ukraine and its impact on palaeobotany, palynology, natural history collections and museums. The final plenary talk was given by Prof. Catarina Ryan on the diversity, pollination and survival of the Gnetales. Two members of the plant-climate interaction group were participants at the conference: Prof. Jennifer McElwain hosted a pre-conference workshop and gave the second plenary talk on using palaeotraits to map ecosystem function and Earth system processes in the deep past, and Bea Jackson had a poster presentation on reconstructing atmospheric CO2 concentrations during the Devonian using Sawdonia fossils.

The 11th European Palaeobotany and Palynology Conference Abstracts, Program and Proceedings Volume is available here.

Prof. Jennifer McElwain Gives Plenary Talk at EPPC 2022

iCRAG Summit Report

Annual iCRAG Summit

The annual iCRAG summit took place on the 21st and 22nd of June, in Athlone. Dr Sate Ahmad and Dr Weimu Xu, took part in the meeting. It was the first in-person iCRAG summit since the pandemic and since iCRAG 2 started, with around 70 attendants from all iCRAG-associated research institutions. It is an excellent opportunity to learn about the Centre’s recent activities, research updates, and future plans. The summit provided several workshops on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Education and Public Engagement, and Funding Opportunities. The Summit was also a great social platform for iCRAG members, including an engaging team-building session.

The 11th TCD Botany-Zoology Postgraduate Research Symposium

Botany-Zoology Postgraduate Research Symposium Report

The 11th TCD Botany-Zoology Postgraduate Research Symposium (@TcdZobo) was held in the Botany Lecture Theatre on the 9th and 10th of June. The Symposium gives postgraduate students an opportunity to present their current research.

The two keynote speakers and judges for the event were Dr. Anthony Heijenga and Dr. Katie O’Dwyer.

Two members of the plant-climate interaction group were among the 24 students presenting this year. Midori Yajima presented her work on the Trinity College Botanic Garden long term environmental monitoring program and Bea Jackson presented her work on reconstructing atmospheric CO2 concentrations during the Devonian using fossil plants.

Congratulations to this year’s symposium winners Elena Zioga, Katrin Schertenleib and Niamh Mc Cartan for their really impressive and interesting work, and thank you to the Postgraduate Symposium Committee Diego Bianchi, Kate Harrington, Richa Marwaha, Floriane O’Keeffe and Niamh Mc Cartan for organising such a fantastic event.