The BoB 2018 conference presentations will be organised into the following sessions. The list of symposia below is only the first set of symposia selected from the submitted proposals. This is an evolving list, it will be finalized by February as abstracts are reviewed and assigned to symposia and other themed session. We expect the list of symposia to grow substantially by the time of the conference, with possibly two or three concurrent sessions. Also see the daily schedule of talks.

Impact of Weather Trends and Extremes on Long-term Population Dynamics. Organisers: Jens Roland and Steve Matter

Ecological Immunology in Butterflies. Organisers: Anne Duplouy and Marjo Saastamoinen

Interacting Butterflies: From Genes to Communities. Organisers: Robert Tropek and Marianne Espeland

Sensory Ecology of Butterflies and Moths. Organisers: Emilie Dion

Evolution and Diversification of Aposematism and Mimicry Systems. Organisers: Krushnamegh Kunte and Johanna Mappes

Notes from the Field: Observations and Hypotheses: Organisers: David Lohman and Djunijanti Peggie

Foraging Ecology of Butterflies. Organiser: Anuj Jain

Global citizen science monitoring of butterflies: building a globally engaged community for science, education and conservation. Organisers: Leslie Ries and Vijay Barve



This Symposium focuses on studies that have made use of long-term population monitoring to identify the impact of weather trends and weather extremes on butterfly population dynamics. The Symposium includes some of the best long-term data sets of butterfly populations which, because of their temporal and/or spatial extent, are able to assess impact of both a wide range of weather variables, and a broad range of their variability; to adequately determine the dominant factors determining dynamics. Speakers will variously consider these impacts with respect to habitat structure, habitat loss, butterfly movement and conservation.

Plenary: Marjo Saastamoinen and Aapo Kahilainen: Increased synchrony in weather conditions drives increased synchrony in metapopulation dynamics of the Glanville fritillary butterfly in Finland

Confirmed Invited Speakers:
James Fordyce, Matthew L. Forister, Chris C. Nice, Z. Gompert, J. H. Thorne, D. P. Waetjen, and Arthur M. Shapiro. Butterflies and climate: regional declines, local responses, and increasing unpredictability
Camille Turlure, Michel Baguette, and Nicolas Schtickzelle. Long-term population dynamics of fritillary butterflies and the impact of climate
Jens Roland and Steve Matter. Early-winter extreme weather dominates dynamics of alpine Parnassius smintheus butterflies in the Rocky Mountains of Canada
Tom Oliver. Butterfly population responses to extreme weather events across different European climates and land uses
Erica Henry, Elsita Kiekebusch, Tyson Wepprich, and Nick Haddad. The effects of precipitation and temperature on population dynamics of two endangered butterflies

Organisers: Jens Roland and Steve Matter


Butterflies face challenges from a wide range of organisms, from pathogenic fungi, viruses, and bacteria, to endo- and ecto-parasitoid wasps. An effective immune system is, hence, crucial. Activation of an immune response is, however, costly, and interactions with pathogens and parasites most likely have great consequences on different aspects of the biology of the butterfly hosts. Such consequences may include modifications in the hosts’ immune strategies, fecundity, behaviours or other life-history traits. This symposium will bring together researchers interested in ecological immunology in butterflies. We will present the latest research on immune reactions, and the fundamental trade-offs between the investment into immune functions and other costly life-history traits in butterflies, using tool-boxes from molecular biology to ecology.

Confirmed Invited Speakers:
Nora Braak: Immune defences in butterfly embryos
Jacobus de Roode: Host plant diet affects disease outcome in monarch butterflies
Anne Duplouy: Ecological immunology in the butterfly Melitaea cinxia
Christopher Wheat: Adaptive changes in immune genes in two butterflies, Pieris napi and Pararge aegeria

Organisers: Anne Duplouy and Marjo Saastamoinen


Plenary: Naomi Pierce: Ant-butterfly interactions: diversity, ecology and evolution

Confirmed Invited Speakers:
Niklas Janz: Butterflies' plant host range and diversification
Matt Forister: Understanding persistence on a novel host plant in the context of phytochemistry, microbes and arthropod communities
Christopher Wheat: Microevolutionary insights into butterfly host-plant coevolutionary dynamics

Organisers: Robert Tropek and Marianne Espeland


Insects have evolved a large variety of specialized sensory structures to acquire, process and respond appropriately to their environment. Butterfly and moth visual, gustatory and olfactory systems are fundamental to their survival and reproduction, and an increasing amount of studies also describe how these sensory systems are key elements in the evolution of species. This symposium aims at documenting our progress in the field of Lepidoptera sensory ecology by presenting new research on the type of inputs gathered by butterflies and moths, how they perceive, process the signals, and what role the sensory system plays in the evolution of species.

Confirmed Invited Speakers:
Astrid Groot: Title to be confirmed.
Stephen Montgomery: The role of sensory adaptation in habitat shifts
Mikael Carlsson: Processing of host-plant information in the butterfly brain

Organiser: Emilie Dion


This symposium will include talks on the evolutionary origins, diversification and contemporary selection on aposematism and mimicry. Some of the pertinent topics are: (a) predation and selection, (b) evolutionary assembly of mimicry rings, and (c) diversification, including speciation, sex-limitation and polymorphism within aposematic and mimetic clades, fueled specifically by selection on aposematism and mimicry.

Confirmed Invited Speakers:
Thomas Sherratt: Generalization and the nature of mimicry rings
Mathieu Joron: Is mimicry polymorphism in butterflies maintained by mimicry?
Violaine Llaurens: Evolution of chemical defenses in the genus Heliconius
Marianne Elias: Ecological and evolutionary consequences of mimicry in ithomiine butterflies
Johanna Mappes: Why all extraordinary cases of mimicry come from tropics? (or do they?)
Krushnamegh Kunte: Evolutionary assembly of communities in butterfly mimicry rings

Organisers: Krushnamegh Kunte and Johanna Mappes


The premise of this symposium is to bring together the many butterfly biologists who work in the tropics, where they can make a short presentation (5-10 min) about interesting observations they have made during the course of fieldwork that others might find interesting and worthy of further study. One could also give a talk about a study they’ve completed that is rooted in observation, fieldwork, and natural history. One goal of the symposium is to bring together workers from developing countries so they can meet each other.  A secondary goal is for some of the many Palearctic biologists who will be at the meeting to meet some of their tropical colleagues, possibly spurring collaboration.

Plenary: Frank Hsu

Invited Speakers:
To Quang
Alexander Monastyrskii
David Lohman
Djunijanti Peggie
Alma Mohagan
Phon Chooi Khimn

Organisers: David Lohman and Djunijanti Peggie


Feeding and dispersal ecology are critical for butterfly survival, fecundity and longevity. The distribution of larval host and adult feeding resources (nectar/fruit/carrion etc.) fundamentally influence patterns of butterfly oviposition, dispersal, emigration and immigration rates in local populations and are responsible in shaping butterfly metapopulation structures. In this symposium, we will cover a variety of topics on the feeding, herbivory and dispersal ecology of butterflies ranging from biology to conservation applications such as impacts of land use change, and habitat restoration for butterflies.

Invited Speakers:
Timothy Bonebrake: Floral resources and disturbance determine butterfly communities in Hong Kong urban parks
Melissa Whitaker: Gut bacteria and feeding ecology in lycaenid butterflies
Anuj Jain: Impacts of land use change on feeding and dispersal ecology in tropical Singapore
Phon Chooi Khim: Title TBA
Shawan Chowdhury: Title TBA
Dino Martins: Title TBA

Organiser: Anuj Jain


Citizen science has deep roots in human engagement with nature, from natural history observations and collections that go back centuries to organized networks of volunteers collecting and reporting data. Although formal programs started as long as 120 years ago (with the Christmas Bird Counts), there is also a long history of citizens engaged in the science of butterflies. All the way back to the 1930s Fred and Nora Urquhart were engaging hundreds of citizens to track the migration of the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) across North America. This gave an early indication of the potential of citizen science to allow researchers to begin answering questions on continental scales. Butterfly monitoring was also an early innovator by showing that citizen scientists can collect science-grade data by following protocols that could produce abundance values that could be compared across space and time. These protocols, developed in the 1970s by Ernie Pollard led to the establishment of the United Kingdom’s Butterfly Monitoring Scheme in 1977 where single volunteers established routes and walked the same routes repeatedly over a season. This was one of the first volunteer-based networks to deliberately collect data across seasons and thus provide detailed information about range and phenology shifts. This program has now been replicated in over 20 countries and 15 states in the United States. With the growing popularity of observation platforms like iNaturalist, we are now gathering a wealth of single observations and checklists that can help us fill in our global data gaps. Increasingly, citizen science programs are expanding globally to countries like South Africa, Australia and China. However, it is critical to engage a more diverse group of global researchers and citizens, especially in tropical zones. Pollard-based methods are often not appropriate in the tropics, so new methodologies are being developed and challenges for community engagement are evolving. This symposium will bring together a global survey of citizen science programs devoted to butterflies, including their challenges and triumphs.  

Plenary: Karen Oberhauser: An army for science and conservation: the monarch butterfly as a model for the transformative power of citizen science

Invited Speakers:
Doug Taron and Chris van Swaay: Global protocols for monitoring butterflies
David Roy, Chris van Swaay and Reto Schmuki (European butterfly monitoring schemes): Title TBA
Doug Taron and The North American Butterfly Monitoring Network: Title TBA
Krushnemegh Kunte: Butterflies of India: inspiring citizen science
Vijay Barve: MothWeek
Leslie Ries and Rob Guralnick: Distributed cyber resources to gather, share and synthesize butterfly monitoring data:  a global community does not need a global platform

Organisers: Leslie Ries and Vijay Barve

Call for symposia proposals (closed in October 2017)

The BoB conferences are usually broken into symposia and other types of themed session. Previous symposia themes have included topics such as symbiosis and co-evolution, host plant evolution, evolution and developmental genetics of butterfly wing patterns, population and community ecology, chemical ecology, biogeography, diversification and speciation, macroevolutinary patterns, and butterfly conservation.

Please submit your symposia proposals for the 2018 conference before the end of September 2017 with the following details: (a) name(s) of the organiser(s), (b) name of the proposed symposium, (c) name(s) and title of the talk of plenary speaker(s), and (d) a list of confirmed invited speakers who have also committed to attend the conference, along with the titles of talks (no more than five invited speakers per symposium. The remaining slots will be assigned from submitted abstracts). Feel free to discuss the proposals with any of the Scientific Committee members and the organisers before you submit a formal proposal. Please email your symposia proposals to the BoB 2018 organisers for pre-screening. These will then be reviewed by the Scientific Committee and finalized by the end of October.

Details and updates about the symposia will be available on this page from November 2017.

Note that the BoB conferences typically do not cover expenses for any attendees, including the keynote speakers. Further information about funding, keynote speakers, and general attendance is given on the Funding page.