Conference Alert/CFP: Natural History Museums and Institutions in the 21st century

From H-Museum:

Natural History Museums and Institutions in the 21st century: impact on our
common future

Paris, France
18-19 October 2007

Under the Patronage of the French Academy and in partnership with ICOM

This symposium will take place at the French Muséum National d’Histoire
Naturelle, in the Jardin des Plantes. This garden, created by King Louis
XIII, was directed by Buffon from 1739 up to his death in 1788, and
transformed by him into a National Museum of Natural History.
The main objective of this event is to stress the specific actions that
natural history museums and similar institutions can take, to underscore
their major role in the discovery and understanding of biodiversity and
their contribution to policy development in environmental issues. It also
aims to
reinforce co-operation between natural history institutions from all parts
of the world. Areas emphasised will include research and scientific
communication for raising ecological awareness in society.
Along with this second announcement, we include the programme of the
symposium, the Call for abstracts for the Poster session and the practical
information needed for registration. You can register on the symposium
website ( which also provides information on
the programme and satellite events.

(version 7 June 2007)

(Grand Amphithéâtre)

10.00-12.00 Welcome addresses
Bertrand-Pierre GALEY, Director General of the French Muséum National
d’Histoire Naturelle (MNHN)
City of Paris: Mayor or representative
Ile-de-France region: representative of the Regional Council
Inaugural address: French Minister of Higher Education and Research

12.00-13.00 Inaugural session

Tribute to Buffon and Linné
Prof. Philippe TAQUET, MNHN, Member of the French Academy of Sciences

The natural history institutions and sustainable development
Prof. Patrick BLANDIN, MNHN

Speech by the Chairman of the Buffon Symposium Steering Committee
Sir Peter CRANE

12.00-13.00 Poster session (Galerie de Minéralogie)

13.00 Lunch (Galerie de Minéralogie)

15.00-16.30 Round Table 1: Natural History institutions and Science 1
Chairman: Dr. Cristián SAMPER, Smithsonian Institution, Acting Secretary,
former Director of the National Museum of Natural History, Washington (USA)

Theme a - Biodiversity patterns and how they change, how they are related to
ecological, climatic or human processes.
Dr. John WIENS, Dept. of Ecology and Evolution, State University of New
York, Stony Brook, NY (USA)

Theme b - The role of Natural History institutions in the age of genomics.
Can they help promote a "biodiversity-omics" type of science?
Dr. Richard LANE, Director of Science, Natural History Museum, London (UK)

Theme c - How the immense number of data points available in Natural History
institutions could be used for understanding biodiversity dynamics in space
(changes in geographical ranges of species) and time (rates of change) as
well as genetic changes in space and time, and thereby help documenting
trends in the present extinction context. How this information can be used
for policymaking decisions?
Dr. Jorge SOBERON, Dept. Ecology of Biodiversity, Institute of Ecology,

16.30 Coffee break

17.00 – 18.30 Round Table 2: Natural History institutions and nature
Chairman: Prof. Stephen D. HOPPER, Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens,
Kew (UK)

Theme a – How far should or can the Natural History institutions engage with
nature today, in terms of conservation, and how should they do that? What is
the contribution of Natural History institutions to conservation, not only
as research centres but also as expertise centres for governments?
Prof. Nancy KNOWLTON, Director of Centre for Marine Biodiversity &
Conservation, University of California, San Diego (USA)

Theme b – What are the main drivers of biodiversity crisis? What Natural
History institutions have to say about these causes (climate change being
one of them)?
Prof. Georgina MACE, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Division of Biology,
Imperial College, London (UK)

Theme c – The challenges raised by the biodiversity crisis, which requires
inventories in situ for conservation purposes, i.e. free access to the
field, and the simultaneous increased awareness of indigenous people about
the economic value of natural resources: how to preserve both the freedom
needed by the researchers and the rights of these indigenous people? How
should the specificities of the Southern developing countries be taken int
account (whatever their richness in natural diversity)?
Prof. Brian HUNTLEY, ex-CEO of SANBI (South-African National Biodiversity
Institute), Dept. Environmental Affairs & Tourism, Kirtenbosch, Cape Town
19.30 Gala dinner (Grande Galerie de l’Evolution)

(Grand Amphithéâtre)

9.00 – 10.30 Round Table 3: Natural History institutions and Society
Chairman: Dr. Michael DIXON, Director of the Natural History Museum, London

Theme a – Much of our need to address issues of environment, conservation
and sustainable development is underpinned by the foundation understanding
implicit in Evolution science (evolutionary biology). The need to raise
awareness and the level of literacy around this axiom, at a time of both a
resurgence of controversy and critical concern over monumental environmental
change is unprecedented. How can Natural History institutions most
effectively engage?
Prof. CHEN Jin, Director of Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese
Academy of Sciences, Kunming, Yunnan (P.R. China)

Theme b – The place of the Natural History institutions and of their
collections at the digital age / the public value of real objects / museum
specimens, how should they be contextualized?...
Prof. Michel VAN PRAET, Conservateur général du patrimoine, Direction des
Musées de France, former Director of the Galleries, MNHN (France)

Theme c – How do other actors in the field of raising public awareness about
biodiversity and global change, for instance the director of an African
nature reserve, look at our natural history museums? How can we cooperate,
locally and internationally?
Dr. Helida OYIEKE, Director of Science, National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi

10.30 – 11.00 Coffee break

11.00 – 12.30 Final session: Synthesis of the 3 round-table discussions’
(by the three Chairmen)


Final message / Declaration

Conclusion address: Speech by Ahmed DJOGHLAF, Executive Secretary of the
Convention on Biological Diversity (to be confirmed)

Afternoon Optional excursion to Burgundy for visiting the places where
Buffon was born and lived part-time: Montbard, a small town near Dijon (TGV
train Paris - Montbard, 1h).

For more details, go to Satellite events on the symposium website.

Chairman: Professor Sir Peter CRANE, FRS, former Director of the Royal
Botanic Gardens, Kew,
presently Professor at the University of Chicago (USA)
Dr. Michael DIXON, Director of the Natural History Museum, London (UK)
Dr. Richard LANE, Director of Science, Natural History Museum, London (UK)
Prof. Stephen D. HOPPER, Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (UK)
Dr. Eimear NIC LUGHADHA, Head of Science Operations, Royal Botanic Gardens,
Kew (UK)
Dr. Cristián SAMPER, Acting Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, former
Director of the National Museum of Natural History, Washington (USA)
Dr. Hans SUES, Associate Director for Research and Collections, National
Museum of Natural History, Washington (USA)
Dr. André MENEZ, President of the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle,
Paris (France)
Bertrand-Pierre GALEY, Director general of the Muséum National d’Histoire
Naturelle, Paris (France)

Themes of communication
The poster presentations must relate to the programme of the symposium. They
should emphasize the specificity of the contribution made by the natural
history institutions to the understanding and the management of
biodiversity. The research work presented can be based on collections and/or
field studies. The results obtained can have already been published or be
under submission. Participating natural history institutions can also
present themselves through posters. In this case, the poster presentation
should emphasize the specificities of the institution and the
biodiversity-related programs developed by it.
The poster presentations will be on display in the 'Galerie de Minéralogie'
throughout the symposium. Time will be specifically devoted to the poster
session on Thursday 18th October from 12.00 to 1.00pm.

All abstracts will be reviewed by a scientific committee. The innovative
character of the methodological approach and/or of the used technologies,
the pluridisciplinarity of the research project will be taken into account
for selection. Presentations by young researchers will be favoured.
Contributions by young female researchers are particularly encouraged.
Information confirming acceptance of the abstract will be sent to the
corresponding author at the latest on 20th September 2007.

Submission of abstracts
An abstract must be submitted for all presentations.
Abstracts must not exceed 250 words, excluding the names and addresses of
authors, and the title.
The first line should contain the abstract title. The second line should
contain the names of authors(the name of the presenting author should be
marked with an asterisk). This line should be followed by a list of author
affiliations and current addresses. Each author and their corresponding
address should
be identified with numbered superscripts.

Abstracts should be submitted by mail to in Word format,
with 'Buffon symposium / poster' indicated as subject of the mail. The name
of the file should be based on the following model: name first author.doc

Deadline for abstract submission: 27th July 2007.

The organizers plan to accept up to 40 abstracts for poster presentations.
The selected scientific abstracts will be published after the symposium on
the symposium website. If you do not want your abstract to be edited in this
way, please indicate so when submitting it.

Participants must register and pay the conference fee to ensure a place in
the symposium.

Conference fees:
Full price: 55 euros
Students (proof of status required): 30 euros
Conference fees will cover attendance to all scientific sessions, coffee
breaks, lunches and the gala dinner.
The access will be limited to the first 315 registrations. Please inform us
of any cancellation.

Payment: by credit card (see Registration form on line on the symposium

How to register:
Download and complete the registration form which is on line on the
symposium website and send it by fax or email to the following contact
Annabelle DUVAL,
Relations Internationales
Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle
Fax : + 33 1 40 79 57 59

Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle
Grand Amphithéâtre
Jardin des Plantes,
57 rue Cuvier,
Paris 5ème
(A map is available on line on the symposium website)

By train or RER (Line C): Stop to « Gare d'Austerlitz ».
By subway:
- Line 5: stop to « Gare d'Austerlitz » or « Quai de la Rapée »
- Line 7: stop to « Jussieu ».

A list is provided on line on the symposium website.


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