Ecological and Environmental Change Research Group


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Honorary Doctor Kathy Willis

EECRG Professor II Emerita Kathy Willis from the University of Oxford and Royal Botanic Gardens Kew received an Honorary Doctorate (Æresdoktor) from the University of Bergen on 5 May 2017 in recognition of her many contributions to biodiversity research, long-term ecology, conservation, and resource stewardship internationally and for her contributions to the EECRG, the Department of Biology, and the University of Bergen.

professor Katherine Jane Willis
Thor Brødreskift


The EECRG organised a on-day symposium in honour of Kathy on 4 May. It's theme was Long-term Ecology and Future Planet Earth. Sixteen colleagues and friends from Bergen, Oxford, Tucson Arizona, St Andrews, and Southampton presented talks on Ecology in the Quaternary; Long-term Ecology and Conservation Biology;  and Conservation, Management, and Resource Stewardship. appropriately, Kathy gave the last lecture on After 100 years, what have we learnt about where, what, and when to conserve nature. This was a brilliant synthesis of her work on conservation palaeoecology within the paradigms of a Finite Earth, a Variable Earth, and a Resource Earth.

Over 50 colleagues from Europe and the US attended the symposium, bringing together palaeoecologists, neo-ecologists, conservationists, and resource stewards. It was a very stimulating and exciting day and a fitting tributte to Kathy and her work. The symposium received financial support from the University of Bergen and its Department of Biology, the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, and VISTA and its IGNEX-eco project.

In the evening, a buffet supper was served. Bergen weather was very kind and no-one was disappointed that they did not need to use their umbrellas!

Congratulations to Kathy on being awarded an Honorary Doctorate. It is a thoroughly well-deserved recognition of Kathy's work and contributions to science, science communication, and to her institutions, colleagues, and students.