We are delighted to announce that seven of the world’s foremost specialists in their respective fields have consented to present keynote talks at this conference, on subjects ranging from island biosecurity to eradication problems, methodology and outcomes, to invasive plants and international policy. A brief biographical sketch of each speaker is given below.

Keynote talks will be distributed throughout the conference, and in most cases will be followed a session of ‘standard’ 15-minute talk slots on related topics. If the demand for spoken presentations greatly exceeds the capacity of the current single-session schedule, a decision may be made to hold some parallel sessions. In this event, further keynote speakers, covering other topics, may be added at a later date.

Elizabeth Bell

Biz Bell is Senior Ecologist with Wildlife Management International Ltd (WMIL) and has over 20 years’ experience in island restoration, invasive species control and eradication, seabird research and conservation. Beginning her conservation career under the guidance of her father, Brian D. Bell, a pioneer in conservation and island restoration, Biz has managed four successful major rodent eradications in the UK (Lundy Island, Isle of Canna, St Agnes & Gugh and the Shiant Isles) and a further 20 invasive species (rat, mouse, rabbit and hare) eradications around the world. Many of these eradications have been on islands with communities or were privately owned and all were completed with the assistance of volunteers, partner agencies and with the support of communities and landowners. The recent successful operation on St Agnes & Gugh in the Isles of Scilly was the largest community-led rat eradication in the world. In addition to directing eradications, Biz has audited rodent control and monitoring programmes and investigated the feasibility of eradicating rats from islands around the world. Biz has also undertaken large-scale research projects into the population size, abundance, distribution, home range and impact of rats (particularly in relation to seabird populations and island ecosystems) and re-incursion probabilities for islands within the UK and around the world. Biosecurity and incursion strategies are also an area of Biz’s expertise that make up an important part of her work before, during and after invasive species eradication projects on islands. Not only working on invasive species, Biz has also undertaken one of the longest (21-year) seabird monitoring and research projects in New Zealand; determining population parameters and at-sea distribution of the black petrel.

Dr Colin Clubbe

Colin Clubbe is Head of Conservation Science at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew (www.kew.org/science-conservation/research-data/science-directory/people/clubbe-colin-p). After gaining his PhD from Imperial College, London he held teaching and research posts in London, Florida and Trinidad before joining Kew in 1995. Colin is a botanist with wide-ranging interests in biodiversity conservation, especially on islands. He is particularly interested in UK Overseas Territories (UKOTs) and established the UKOTs team and programme at Kew in 2000. His research focuses on the study of plant diversity, threats, particularly the impact of invasive plant species, and developing strategies for conservation management of plant diversity. Colin leads Kew’s work on invasive plants and co-ordinates the Invasives chapter for the annual State of the World’s Plants report (https://stateoftheworldsplants.com/), an annual cutting-edge horizon-scan of global plant status. He represents Kew on the Global Partnership for Plant Conservation.

Colin currently serves on the IUCN Red List Committee and is an Honorary Research Fellow at Imperial College where he is one of the course directors for the MSc in Conservation Science. He is a Trustee for both Falklands Conservation and Chagos Conservation Trust.

Steve Cranwell

Steve has a history of invasive species and threatened species management in New Zealand and for the last 10 years among (other) Pacific Islands. Leading one of seven national projects piloted by the NZ Department of Conservation, Steve was engaged in pioneering practices for landscape scale invasive species control. Through research and adaptive management introduced browsers, predators and weed species were controlled to consistently low levels in 1000ha of forest. In addition he supported this restoration with successful translocations of nationally threatened birds including Kokako, Kiwi, NZ Robin and Saddleback. These ‘Mainland Island’ projects continue and, in the 20 years since their inception, have been a catalyst for the explosion of community led invasive species management and habitat restoration projects throughout mainland NZ today.

Based in Fiji, Steve now leads the Pacific Invasive Alien Species programme for BirdLife International which has eradicated introduced vertebrates from over 30 Pacific islands in five countries and territories. He has supported BirdLife Partners in the development of community based and national biosecurity solutions safeguarding high biodiversity sites, and similarly the control of mammalian predators for the regions globally threatened birds.

Steve is committed to pragmatic conservation action and partnership based solutions in helping protect island biodiversity.

Dr Piero Genovesi

Since 2009 Piero has been Chair of the IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group, a global network of more than 200 leading experts from over 40 countries worldwide, and Head of the Wildlife Conservation Advisory Service of ISPRA, Italy. He is principal author of the European Strategy on Invasive Alien Species and has published several papers on biological invasions including articles and commentaries for high rank journals such as Science, Nature, PNAS, PLoS, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environments, Conservation Biology.

Piero’s work has focused on bridging the gap between science and policy, and he has close collaborations with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and all other main global institutions. He is a member of the Liaison Group on Invasive Alien Species of the CBD, and of the Steering Committee of the Global Invasive Alien Species Information Partnership (GIASIP), launched by the CBD.

Piero is particularly active in IUCN and has served on the Red List Committee. He is a member of the IUCN Policy Sub-Committee and since 2013 has sat on the Steering Committee of the Species Survival Commission. He is a partner of the Biodiversity Indicator Partnership, IUCN Champion of Aichi Target 9, Research Associate with the Concordia University, Montreal, and International Science Advisor for the Centre for Invasion Biology of the University of Stellenbosch.

Gregg Howald

Gregg’s inspiration for the field of island conservation began 23 years ago, working to protect Ancient Murrelets on Langara Island off the north coast of Haida Gwaii, Canada. After completing a graduate degree in ecotoxicology, he joined Island Conservation in 1996. He led the development and implementation of the first aerial broadcast rat eradication in North America on Anacapa Island off the coast of California, fostering the foundation of partnerships for IC’s engagement into the future. Gregg has gone on to support, develop, consult, and/or implement projects and island conservation programs with a diverse group of partners in 8 countries in North and South America, Europe and Asia – from Alaska’s Aleutian Islands to Mexico and the Galapagos, from the Caribbean to the deep tropics of the Pacific, in the Mediterranean and the far east in Japan. No matter the culture or language, strong partnerships and relationships are a prerequisite to the success of conservation action on the ground, and is the major focus of Gregg’s role as Island Conservation’s Director in the North America Region. He and his team are working with a diverse array of partnerships among federal and local government agencies, private industry, research scientists and NGOs to implement conservation programs throughout North America including the US Pacific and Caribbean and Canada. His technical expertise has been applied in cooperation with industry for the development of new island eradication tools such as bait formulations, and working with government agencies to secure their legal use for island eradication purposes.

Dr Euan Kennedy

Euan has been the National Advisor for Island Biosecurity in New Zealand’s Department of Conservation (DOC) since the role was established in 2013. Work in this role aims to lift standards in every aspect of the Department’s island biosecurity policy and practice. Its many tasks draw on forty years of Euan’s hands-on experience in diverse theatres of conservation effort, many of them connected with the recovery of critically threatened species. His apprenticeship in this trade began with the New Zealand Wildlife Service (1978-87), with whom he worked on some of that era’s most formidable recovery programmes. He also led ground-breaking island eradication projects during this time. Happily, oceanic islands have been an enduring interest all along. Euan holds post-graduate degrees in the social and biological sciences. The social research reflects a recent expansion in professional focus to conservation’s human dimensions, particularly the arts and science of behaviour change. His doctoral research sprang from very close connection with the Chatham Island black robin project since its earliest days. Euan has long experience as a pioneer and commentator on citizen-led conservation. He is a co-founder and serving trustee of the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust (1987), New Zealand’s first single-species conservation trust, and is currently the Chair of the South Island Kokako Charitable Trust.

Dr James Russell

James is a Senior Lecturer in the University of Auckland School of Biological Sciences and Department of Statistics, Strategic Advisor to the Predator Free New Zealand trust, Scientific Advisor to Zero Invasive Predators, Associate Editor of the journal Biological Invasions and member of the IUCN Invasive Species Specialist Group. His work brings together diverse scientific tools to solve contemporary conservation problems on islands such as achieving and maintaining pest-free status, and restoring terrestrial communities. Results from this work have been used both for conservation and testing ecological theory, on islands around the world. In particular he has worked closely with the Department of Conservation for fifteen years developing and testing tools to detect and monitor rodents at low densities, and keep islands rodent-free. More recently his work has shifted to a focus on the human dimensions of invasive species management, including environmental attitudes to pest management and tools. He has applied social instruments to understanding conservation conflict in invasive species eradications, and considered ethical and philosophical objections. These projects contribute towards scaling the application of eradication technologies to very large and inhabited islands, such as the Predator Free New Zealand 2050 initiative.