2020: Leipzig, Germany - cancelled!

24 - 27 March 2020: Campus Augustusplatz / Leipzig University, Leipzig, Germany


Our annual conference provides an international platform for the exchange of current scientific ideas and helps promote the establishment of collaborations between members and attending guests.

NEWS regarding the cancellation of the "European Conference of Tropical Ecology" in Leipzig - Letter from the president of gtoe

Dear members and participants,

Two years ago, we met in Paris, where during the General Assembly, as newly elected President of the Society of Tropical Ecology (gtoe), it was my great pleasure and honor to announce that Professor Alexandra Müllner-Riehl and Professor Andreas Huth agreed to organize the Annual Conference of the Society of Tropical Ecology in Germany in 2020 at the University of Leipzig. Last year, the meeting was confirmed when we met together with the British Ecological Society Tropical Ecology group in the Scottish Edinburgh. Since then, the organizers, the local scientific committee, the Executive gtoe board, the chairs of sessions with continuous support of Heike Kuhlmann (KCS), our dedicated PCO, have worked intensively together during the entire year to prepare that conference and to finalize the scientific program which was released on the 27th of February 2020.

Only a few weeks ago, I was impatient to meet you all after having just returned from the Symposium on Seed Dispersal in India. Unfortunately - as you all know, following the crisis in China, Italy, and then the rest of Europe –the sudden, unexpected surge of the COVID-19 crisis on the continent, the preparation for our 2020 meeting had to come to a sudden end.

In early March, since the expected attendance was rather small compared to the German government regulations for cancellation threshold (1000 participants) that was given at that time and after discussion among the Board and consultation with a lawyer about the situation, we had still hoped to maintain the meeting in Leipzig. In addition, we had already begun to explore alternative options in case we would be obliged to cancel our annual conference.

By the 12th March, the local organizers were informed by the University of Leipzig that they were canceling all conferences of international nature, so the decision was taken out of our hands. As a consequence, KCS started to receive requests for reimbursement of the registration fees. In parallel, the society has been informed by the lawyer that in case of cancellation - for whatever reason - the registration fees are to be refunded to participants.

The Society is of course committed to reimbursement of registration fees to everyone who requests this.  But before you do that, we would like to please ask those who wish to  support the society to read this letter first.

As you can imagine  we, the entire board of the Society of Tropical Ecology, is shocked by these developments, but we immediately started seeking for solutions for the participants and the society as a whole in order to prevent a major financial crisis and to comply with our own statutes (e.g., regarding the general assembly).

There will be three major consequences of this cancellation of the 2020 meeting in Leipzig for all of us:

  1. We will have NO gtoe meeting in 2020, but will meet again in early February 2021 in Prague, our next gtoe conference venue, before coming back to Leipzig University in 2022. Because each conference has their own costs and budget, administrated by KCS PCO, it has been decided by the board NOT to offer transfer of the 2020 registration fees to Prague in 2021.
  2. We will hold an extraordinary general assembly of the gtoe in 2020, separately from the annual conference, and this event is planned to take place on the 20th July 2020 in Frankfurt. Details on this event will be circulated in the coming weeks. Given the unusual situation under COVID-19, we may also offer the opportunity to join this assembly online, so please stay tuned.
  3. Based on the up-to-date accounting information provided by KCS, the Society of Tropical Ecology actually faces an immediate financial loss of 38.278,34 Euros from the cancelled Leipzig conference which comprises unavoidable cancellation costs for catering, conference materials and PCO service. This sum poses an exceptional and unanticipated financial burden for the Society. While we plan to pay for part of these costs by means of the membership fees that we will shortly draw from all members for the last two years, we want to ask those of you who are able for help in these difficult times. We would be deeply grateful if where possible you could consider donating your registration fees for the 2020 meeting to the Society to cover part of the costs mentioned above. The society is able to provide you with a donation certificate that you could use in your tax declaration for 2020. Each donation will immediately attenuate the financial burden for the society and would be most welcome. Thank you for considering this option.

To prepare for the coming steps, please visit the conference webpage and fill out the on-line form until 30 April, so that we informed of your decision.

You can select one of the following options in the online form about how you would like to handle your registration fees:

I would like to donate my registration fees for the cancelled Leipzig gtoe conference to mitigate the financial loss of the Society of Tropical Ecology. I would like to obtain a donation certificate.

I would like to donate my registration fees for the cancelled Leipzig gtoe conference to mitigate the financial loss of the Society of Tropical Ecology. I do NOT need a donation certificate.

I would like to be fully reimbursed for the registration fees for the cancelled Leipzig gtoe conference.

Please log-in to your account to access the reimbursement_donnation form.


Needless to say that the Society of Tropical Ecology is continuing to navigate the heavy storms during the coming months. We are already planning ahead our activities for the future beyond COVID-19! I hereby want to express my gratitude and thanks to Alexandra Müllner-Riehl and Andreas Huth who renewed their invitation to all of us to come to Leipzig for a gtoe meeting between 29th March – 1st April 2022.

Meanwhile, the board will again meet physically, hopefully, in July 2020 in conjunction with the more-than-needed General Assembly. We will inform you very soon about all planned activities.

I hope that none of your relatives and friends has been affected, and I am looking forward to meeting you all next year in Prague. Further information about the preparation of the conference will be soon distributed. At the moment, my main quest is to save the Society, and I hope for your help in this endeavor.

The Society for Tropical Ecology is yours, and I’m proud to serve you as President.

Pierre-Michel Forget

President Society for Tropical Ecology-gtö



COVID-19 - Corona

The university of Leipzig has, with IMMEDIATE EFFECT, banned all meetings, conferences of international nature to slow down further spreading of the corona virus. We therefore have to cancel and postpone the conference. The new date will be announced soon.

We keep you updated.

With regret
Local Organizing Committee
Board Society for Tropical Ecology (gtö)


Dear colleagues, dear young scientists, dear students of tropical ecology,

we are pleased to announce that the “European Conference of Tropical Ecology” and the Annual Conference of the Society for Tropical Ecology (Gesellschaft für Tropenökologie, gtö) in 2020 will be hosted by Leipzig University, Germany.

The overarching topic will be "The future of tropical ecosystems – new insights and innovative methods“. The conference will take place from Tuesday 24 to Friday 27 March 2020, at the Campus Augustusplatz/Leipzig University, in Leipzig´s historic center. 

This brief note intends to provide you with the conference date and venue for your planning purposes. More detailed information (including materials concerning the submission of talks and posters, and registration information, etc.) will follow in the coming weeks. 

We are looking forward to arranging a stimulating conference and hope that you will be able to participate. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our conference office at: info@soctropecol-conference.eu . The conference website will soon provide further information.
Please share the information on the “European Conference of Tropical Ecology” with colleagues, students and all other persons who have an interest in participating. 
Please forward this email to interested colleagues, students etc. 

With best regards,
Alexandra MUELLNER-RIEHL, Professor University of Leipzig, Director LZ, 
Andreas HUTH, Professor Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Leipzig

Visit conference webpage

 Past Meeting: European Conference of Tropical Ecology 2019

Joint Meeting of the Society for Tropical Ecology (gtö) and the British Ecological Society Tropical Ecology Group (BESTEG). #UTE2019

Joint BES/gtö Symposium – Unifying Tropical Ecology: Strengthening collaborative science

The European Conference of Tropical Ecology aims to connect researchers at all levels of their career and from all disciplines relevant to tropical ecology, and to promote scientific exchanges and cooperation in a friendly atmosphere...

Visit conference webpage


NEW - Student Travel Grants of the Society for Tropical Ecology

The Society for Tropical Ecology (gtö) will grant TRAVEL GRANTS of 200 EUR to participate in the annual meetings of the gtoe. With this contribution, the society would  like to provide support to participants in need of securing their travel cost. If you would like to apply for a travel grant, please register and submit an abstract at the conference webpage and also send the abstract, a short motivation letter, a budget calculation, your CV and one brief recommendation letter to the Travel Grant Selection Committee (email: travelgrant@soctropecol.eu,).

Deadline for submissions is the 15. February 2020. As soon as your abstract has been accepted by the conference organizers, the committee will select up to 25 students that will receive a travel grant. Students eligible to apply will need to:

• be a student member (BSc, MSc or PhD) of the Society for Tropical Ecology (gtö)

• be the first author of the conference contribution (poster or talk)

• be personally present at the venue

For any questions regarding the travel grants, please contact:

Dr. Simone Pfeiffer
e-mail:  spfeiff(a)gwdg.de 

We are also very happy to announce our future conference locations for the upcoming years!

  • 2021: Prague, Czech Republic
  • 2022: Leipzig, Germany (moved from 2020 due to the Covid19 pandemic)
  • 2023: Lisbon, Portugal


Carbon Neutral Conferences

The gtö-conferences are planned as Carbon Neutral Conferences. Carbon neutrality will be achieved by sequestrating the amount of CO2 which is released in the air mainly by energy consumption and mobility of the participants of the gtö-conference. With PRIMAKLIMA e.V. we have found a reliable partner to calculate the CO2-emissions caused by the conference. PRIMAKLIMA e.V. guarantees with a fulfillment factor of five to compensate the emissions from the conference by afforestation and forest conservation projects all over the world. Participants of the conference can take their personal share and contribute to mitigate global climate change by paying a voluntary CO2-fee of 15.00 €. We think this is a good investment.