Social Stuff

We have a range of social activities planned in order to stimulate interactions and facilitate discussion over some of Tasmania’s fine food and beverages. All information on how to get to these places will be contained within the handbook supplied to you before the commencement of the conference.

Sunday Night (3rd of December)

For those of you travelling down to Hobart on the weekend we have organised somewhere on the Sunday night where like minded Evolutionary Biologists can get together over a beer and some food. You can also get the registration processes over and done with at this time, buying you that 5 – 10 minutes extra sleep on Monday morning… The venue will be the Metz Bar in Sandy Bay (217 Sandy Bay Road). We will be there from 5pm – 8pm with some food being provided throughout the evening as well as some drinks available.

Opening Night (4th of December)

We have a fantastic opening night planned for AES2017.

First up we will have the AES poster afternoon/evening on the lawns outside the School of Biological Sciences. This will provide an opportunity for AES poster presenters to present and chat about their research as well as an opportunity for people to mingle in the sun (hopefully) over a beer or a glass of wine and some food after a long day of presentations.

The poster session will be followed by a very special screening of the internationally acclaimed movie documentary “Sixteen Legs”. Shot in and around Tasmania’s subterranean caverns, this is a truly magical documentary which focuses on the ecology and evolution of Tasmania’s pre-historic cave spiders. Importantly, these cave spiders represent an ancient evolutionary lineage that anchors much of our current understanding of multiple aspects of spider evolution. The documentary is beautifully shot and strikes a fantastic balance between being fundamentally informative as well as extremely entertaining (with starring roles by Neil Gaiman, Stephen Fry, Tara Moss, Adam Hills, amongst others) . The documentary is about to do the rounds of theatres across Australia so we are very fortunate to have the opportunity to see it early as part of AES2017. If you need any more convincing then please check out the trailer here (

Sixteen Legs is the product of the Bookend Trust, a non-for-profit education initiative whose core principal is to inspire students and their communities to have a positive impact on their environment. The Bookend Trust originated in Tasmania, but now runs education and environmental initiatives right across Australia, with participating schools and communities from Darwin to Geraldton. They are continually seeking to build on-ground connections to other locations, projects and researchers so please check out their website and get in contact with them if you have a project/initiative that you think may be of interest.

Final Dinner (6th of December)

Ever wondered why Tasmania is known as the Apple Isle? Probably not… Either way you will get an opportunity to find out as part of the final dinner. The dinner will be held at the Willie Smith’s Apple Shed in the picturesque Huon Valley. The Apple Shed itself is a piece of Tasmanian cultural history, providing the basis for the burgeoning apple industry which made the area famous in the 1800s. Now it is the home of Willie Smith’s, a cider brewing company that is almost as old as the shed itself. What can I say, these guys make fantastic cider. The venue is also spectacular and we have a fun night of drinks, food, entertainment and chat planned. For those of you not into cider, dont worry the apple shed also offers the opportunity to sample some of the states fine wine and beers.

Extra-Curricular Activities

While we have not organised any specific excursions related to this conference the School of Biological Sciences at UTAS has a wide range of research interests and an active faculty and post-graduate community who would be happy to facilitate potential short trips to show off their research. For example, for people around on the Sunday, Associate Professor Greg Jordan has offered to take a bus or two up to Mount Field to walk through some of Tasmania’s Gondwanan botanical relics. Mount Field also happens to be a great place to see a lot of Tasmania’s native Fauna. If you are interested in this trip please contact Greg ( Similarly, there are possible opportunities to talk to people working on some of our charismatic macro-fauna. One of the major research focuses of the School is the Devil and its Transmissible Cancer. There will be devil trapping trips occurring throughout the week of the conference close to Hobart that may have space for one or two people to tag along. If you are interested in this then please contact Dr Rodrigo Hamede ( If anyone is interested in heading out and seeing some of our herpetofauna on the Sunday morning before the conference begins then the BEER Group would be happy to head out and show you some of our facilities as well as our long-term field sites for both our Egernia and snow skink systems. Contact Geoff ( if you are interested in this. Finally, for those of you interested in Tasmania’s feathered reptiles, Cat Young has kindly offered to take people birding on Sunday morning. Cat has established bird monitoring sites at various places around Hobart and would be more than happy to show people some of Tasmania’s native bird species. Contact Cat ( if you are interested.

All these field trips have limited numbers and will be on a first come first serve basis so please email the relevant people if you are interested. There may be small costs associated with each trip to cover the costs associated with travel.