Friday, October 19, 2018

San Sebastian Spain ESP meeting 2018

Ecosystems Services Partnership, Sept. 15th to 19th 2018
San Sebastian, Spain

Greek colleagues and myself descended on the Euro-culinary hotspot known as San Sebastian (or Donostia in Basque) - just 20 or so Kms from the French frontier in Spain's Basque Country.

Sharing some photos here so you get the feel for a fairly large meeting of scientists and practitioners in one of the top-notch groups doing globally important Ecosystems Services work, the ESP.

More about the conference

Muchas Gracias!

World-renowned marine biologist, Angel Borja, one of the local hosts of the meeting.
The taxonomic composition of the conference, by Prof. Rudolf de Groot. Many Spanish, Germans, French, Portuguese, Italians, British, Dutch. Over 50 countries. And we met our first Makedonians too. (Sadly very few Turkish delegates).

Excellent performance by Keynote Prof. Benjamin Burkhardt. Benjamin, a remarkable German geographer does a really great job and is an inspiration. 
Top-notch keynote speach by Prof. Vallia Drakou. 
The amazing KURSAAL conference building on San Sebastian's foreshore. Architect: Moneo (look it up).

With Ecuadorian colleague, Jose Caseres-Andrade, at his poster.
Vasso with Colombian colleague, Myriam Sanchez Mejia, at her poster.
Ioannis Kokkoris with ES mapping poster on the Lake Stymphalia case-study.

Vasso's talk on Cultural Ecosystem Services in Greece's protected areas.

The amazing beach of Zuriolla.
Cliffs and breakers beyond Zuriolla.

Field trip to Pagoeta Natural Park.

Field trip to Pagoeta Natural Park.

Field trip to Pagoeta Natural Park.
Pre-industrial monument: water mill: Vasso is talking with our friend Suili Xiao.

Field trip to Pagoeta Natural Park, Robin. Generally the wet secondary forests and abandonment around the hills produced very few birds. 

Field trip to Pagoeta Natural Park: the old restored farm house.

Field trip to Gaintza winery. The local wine is a white called Txakoli. It is terrible but drinkable when really cold.
Getaria village, near the winery. Known as home of Juan Sebastian Elcan, a seaman in Magellen's trip - first man to circumnavigate the Earth.
Txakoli wine was sour, fizzy and went down easy. Dizzy dizzy. 

With ESP friends Martine, Bart and Stephanos. Martine van Weelden organizes such ESP meetings with great success!

Dr. Sjerp de Vries, one of the very few psychologists doing work on Ecosystem Services. Wonderful session at this meeting.

The much awaited book on the biodiversity-health relations - soon to be free on-line in early '19. (Look for it at:

One of the PhD student's slides- excellent work.
Vasso, Yours, Panayotis, Ioannis P. Kokkoris: Dream team!
Some kind of traditional bask rowing or whaling sport in the Atlantic waves.
The fantastic waters of the Basque coast. This on a sea-wall walk around San Sebastian.

On San Sebastian's sea-wall walk: the young man on the right is physicist Charis a new PhD student of Vallia Drakou. 
Mediterranean Yellow-legged Gull, I think. (Mixted up taxonomy for many gulls and this area could be a hybrid zone).

Prof Panayotis Dimopoulos who heads the most productive Greek ES team.
The Arundo donax reed canes on the slope above our hotel. Note that here the invasion is totally outside of riparian zones, quite fascinating for us Easterners. Also in many vacant lots and also on this slope was Tripidium ravennae (Ravennagrass, something also from the East that looks like Pampas Grass). 
Our hotel: Recommended due to location - on the beach, next to the hill and sea cliffs.

Typical surf city scene. 
Thanks to the Basque Country!

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