David Lodge Named President of the Ecological Society of America for 2016-2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 26, 2016
Contact: Alison Mize, 202-833-8773 ext. 205, Alison@esa.org

 

David Lodge, 2016-17 President of the Ecological Society of America. Credit Robert Barker/ Cornell University.

David Lodge, 2016-17 President of the Ecological Society of America. Credit Robert Barker/ Cornell University.

David Lodge, Director of the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, Cornell University, became President of the Ecological Society of America (ESA) on August 12, 2016.

Elected by the members of ESA for a one-year term, Lodge presides over the world’s largest professional society of ecologists. Its membership is composed of 10,000 researchers, educators, natural resource managers and students, reflecting the diverse interests and activities of the Society. As President, Lodge now chairs ESA’s governing board, which establishes the Society’s vision, goals and objectives.

“The need is greater than ever for rigorous scientific information about the dependence of humans on nature, and how we can continue to meet our needs now while protecting the natural capital necessary to provide ecosystem goods and services for future generations. The Ecological Society of America will continue to be the source for such information—from discoveries of how nature works to the application of those discoveries for the benefit of all. I am honored and humbled to serve ESA as president,” Lodge said.

Lodge brings a background of collaboration with economists, historians, theologians and philosophers, and he has partnered with such organizations as The Nature Conservancy to bring his scientific work into public policy. He has testified before Congress on numerous occasions, served on national and international policy boards, and recently completed a year as a senior science adviser to the U.S. Department of State. In 2013, he was appointed to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Science Advisory Board.

A renowned expert on invasive species, Lodge’s research focuses on freshwater ecology; invasive species biology and bioeconomics; ecological risk analysis; global changes and biodiversity; and environmental ethics and policy. He has published over 200 scientific papers and edited two books.


The Ecological Society of America, founded in 1915, is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge, committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 10,000 member Society publishes six journals and a membership bulletin and broadly shares ecological information through policy, media outreach, and education initiatives. The Society’s Annual Meeting attracts 4,000 attendees and featuresthe most recent advances in ecological science. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org

In a race for Cheetos, magpies win, but crows steal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, 11 August 2016
Contact: Liza Lester, 202-833-8773 ext. 211, LLester@esa.org

 

American crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos), with Cheeto. Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Credit, Rhea Esposito.

American crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos), with Cheeto. Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Credit, Rhea Esposito.

Black-billed magpies and American crows, both members of the clever corvid family of birds, have adapted comfortably to life in urban and suburban communities. In Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the two species often nest nearby each other in backyards and parks. Nesting near their much larger crow cousins affords magpies a margin of extra safety from a common enemy—ravens, an even larger corvid species.

“Ravens are notorious nest raiders,” said Rhea Esposito, an educational program leader at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies.

During her doctoral work at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Esposito studied how birds associate during nesting season. Smaller birds sometimes nest near larger species to benefit from their more aggressive defense against predators. Research has tended to focus on the protection side of the relationship. But what about competition? Do magpies pay a food penalty for nesting near larger rivals? Or do the smaller birds compensate with bold pursuit of new food sources?

To find out which of the two corvids were more intrepid snack scouts, Esposito presented breeding pairs with a set of Cheetos challenges. She will present her results today at the 101st Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, during a session on animal Behavior.

“Cheetos are not the healthiest food, but the birds like them a lot,” said Esposito. “And because they are bright orange, it was really easy to observe when the birds completed the task.”

Esposito set out Cheetos near nests and settled in to watch the birds fly down to investigate. Magpies moved on the unfamiliar food an average of 20 seconds faster that crows, which eyed the orange treats with more suspicion, pausing longer before picking them up. Once having identified Cheetos as food, however, crows were more apt to steal.

“Because it’s the nesting season, they are often close enough to see neighboring Cheetos piles. So crows would learn that there is food at the nearby magpie nest, as well as their own nest. Crows steal more often than magpies by a factor of three,” said Esposito.

A simple puzzle for corvids, with Cheetos. Credit, Rhea Esposito

A simple puzzle for corvids, with Cheetos. Credit, Rhea Esposito

Esposito raised the level of difficulty through several tests, ultimately hiding the Cheetos inside a hollow log. To extract the cheesy reward, the birds had to pull on a string.

“It was a really fun experiment…just a blast to watch,” said Esposito.

Magpie explores a Cheeto puzzle from Ecological Society of America on Vimeo.

 

Magpies were bolder puzzle solvers as well, earning their Cheetos about a minute faster than crows, on average.

“These puzzles were very simple for corvid abilities. They have solved much harder problems in the lab. But this was one of the first such experiments with wild birds and I was more interested in the ecological than the cognitive questions,” said Esposito.

American crow pokes a suspicious Cheeto puzzle experiment in Jackson Hole, Wyoming from Ecological Society of America on Vimeo.

 

Black-billed magpie (Pica hudsonia) , Jacksson Hole, Wyoming. Credit, Rhea Esposito.

Black-billed magpie (Pica hudsonia) , Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Credit, Rhea Esposito.

To follow up on the discovery angle, Esposito staged Cheetos between nests, placing them an equal 85 meters from the nesting crow and magpie pairs. Contrary to her expectations, crows and magpies made first discovery of the food piles at equal rates, and with equal speed. But she noted a familiar pattern. Crows appeared to use magpies as Cheetos scouts, waiting for the smaller birds to explore the food, then  landing and shooing the magpies off their prize. Over time, magpies gave up on getting anything and wouldn’t even land. Crows were braver when stealing, showing less vigilance for potential predators in the presence of others than when approaching food alone, perhaps because the magpies had already proven the area to be safe. But the crows may simply have been hustling to grab the loot.

“Crows are about twice the size as magpies—that’s why they are great as nest defenders. But there is a cost,” said Esposito. The magpies’ boldness in seeking out new foods did not, in the end, net them more meals.

Esposito has evidence that magpies do gain protection by nesting near crows, but choosing crow neighbors does not improve their overall success at producing offspring. She suspects that the cost in lost food opportunities balances the greater safety offered by the proximity of the bigger birds. Figuring out that balance is a question for future snack research.


101st Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Contributed Oral Session 64-8 –Despite lower levels of neophobia, black-billed magpies (Pica hudsonia) lose resources to kleptoparasitism by nearby American crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos)

 

The Ecological Society of America, founded in 1915, is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge, committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 10,000 member Society publishes six journals and a membership bulletin and broadly shares ecological information through policy, media outreach, and education initiatives. The Society’s Annual Meeting attracts 4,000 attendees and features the most recent advances in ecological science. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org.

Ecologists don their research in an ‘eco-fashion’ show at the 101st Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America

Details on the 2016 ESA Annual Meeting in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, 4 August 2016
Contact: Liza Lester, 202-833-8773 ext. 211, LLester@esa.org

 

Ecological scientists are not known for elevated fashion sensibilities. Many take pride in a sartorial identity rooted in a field work chic of practical hats, cargo pants, and judicious applications of duct tape. Button-downs in botanical prints and ties in tiny repeating motifs of anatomically correct fish are favored formal attire when researchers gather for the Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America (ESA) each August.

But this year, ESA’s leadership will sport designer frocks inspired by the living objects of their research, breaking out of their comfort wear comfort zones to excite curiosity about science and the natural world outside of their usual cultural niche.

They will model their eco-finery on the runway in an eco-fashion show directly following the first scientific plenary (“Ecological homogenization of Urban America”) on Monday, 8 August 2016 from 10:15–11:30 AM in the Greater Fort Lauderdale/ Broward County Convention Center, in southern Florida.

Nalini Nadkarni. Credit, Eugene Tachinni.

Nalini Nadkarni. Credit, Eugene Tachinni.

“I love it when I wear my jacket and people stop me on the street to ask me about it,” said organizer Nalini Nadkarni, a professor at the University of Utah and ESA’s vice president of education and human resources. Spangled in overlapping leaves, her jacket evokes the forest canopies of Costa Rica, where she conducts research high up in the trees.

Nadkarni will narrate the fashion show with fellow organizer and master of ceremony Doug Levey, a program director at the National Science Foundation, explaining the research connections as the scientists walk the runway.

Reporters are welcome to come for the show and stay for the 2,000 research presentations scheduled throughout the week on biodiversity, animal behavior, climate change, coastal communities, mosquito ecology & infectious disease, and more. With a theme of “Novel Ecosystems in the Anthropocene,” this year’s meeting has a wealth of presentations on the ecological communities in our urban spaces.

Designer Brenda Van der Wiel and tailor Eugene Tachinni will be on site at the fashion show to talk about translating scientific research into styles that are beautiful and compelling conversational focus points. The design team learned about ecology in order to create personalized garments for each scientist, but the learning flowed both ways; Nadkarni said she gained a new respect for the art of apparel design. A self-professed thrift store shopper, she said that before embarking on the project she did not appreciate the self-expression many people invest in their attire.

“Ecologists don’t care much about what we shlup around in in the field,” said Nadkarni. “But other people care. It’s a lesson about listening. By adopting something I had not valued, I gained a portal into new conversations.”

ESA Past-President David Inouye, University of Maryland professor emeritus, illustrates the fabric of mutualism in a pollinating hummingbird and flower. He has studied bees, birds and their temporal sync with flowers in the Rocky Mountains since 1971. Credit, Eugene Tachinni.

ESA Past-President David Inouye, University of Maryland professor emeritus, illustrates the fabric of mutualism in a pollinating hummingbird and flower. He has studied bees, birds and their temporal sync with flowers in the Rocky Mountains since 1971. Credit, Eugene Tachinni.

Nadkarni has a history of creative outreach and public engagement. She created “Treetop Barbie” to encourage girls to imagine themselves as scientists. She took nature into prisons, inviting inmates to cultivate native plants and fish. When she started thinking about connecting with people through fashion, she knew she had to build her own designs. Existing nature-inspired clothing just wasn’t very natural.

“There is nature clothing out there, but things like camo clothing are all wrong! A maple leaf on an oak branch! It just drives you crazy,” said Nadkarni.

Nadkarni reached out to Van der Wiel, head of the Preforming Arts Design Program at Utah. Then she started asking ESA’s fellows, award winners, and elected governing board members to model. If she could get the rock stars of ecology on board, she thought, other ecologists would take it seriously.

“Amazingly all of them said yes, they would like to do this! These people, who are like gods in ecology, felt as I do—that ecologists in this age need to engage people in ways we haven’t before,” she said. “In this new century of our society, we need not only stellar research but innovative education outreach and policy action as well. It’s as much a part of being an ecologist in 2016 as getting that grant out, or writing the next paper.”

By modeling the eco-fashion collection at the largest yearly gathering of professional ecologists, Nadkarni hopes to inspire her colleagues, especially those just starting their careers, to brainstorm more ideas for public engagement. And she wants them to pitch their ideas to her. She is looking for future science, technology, engineering, and mathematics ambassadors for her National Science Foundation funded STEM Ambassadors Program.

“If we stay in the ivory tower it will be too late; the problems are too big wait.”

 

###

101st Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

 

ESA Early Career Fellow Heather Lynch studies dynamics of ecological change on the Antarctic Peninsula. Credit, Eugene Tachinni.

ESA Early Career Fellow Heather Lynch studies dynamics of ecological change on the Antarctic Peninsula. Credit, Eugene Tachinni.

Special Session 1 – Ecology on the Runway: An Eco-Fashion Show and Other Non-Traditional Public Engagement Approaches

  • Monday, August 8, 2016: 10:15 AM-11:30 AM
  • Grand Floridian Ballroom B, Ft Lauderdale Convention Center

 

Organizers:

  • Nalini Nadkarni, professor of biology, University of Utah, nadkarni@utah.edu,
  • Douglas Levey, program direct, National Science Foundation, dlevey@nsf.edu

 

Ecology on the Runway program guide from the University of Utah (pdf)

 


The Ecological Society of America, founded in 1915, is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge, committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 10,000 member Society publishes six journals and a membership bulletin and broadly shares ecological information through policy, media outreach, and education initiatives. The Society’s Annual Meeting attracts 4,000 attendees and features the most recent advances in ecological science. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org.

Restoring prairie and fighting wildfire with (drone launched) fire(balls)

To restore the grasslands of the Great Plains, a Nebraska ecologist says, bring back high intensity fires

Details on the 2016 ESA Annual Meeting in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, 1 August 2016
Contact: Liza Lester, 202-833-8773 ext. 211, LLester@esa.org

 

Ecologist Dirac Twidwell wants to change the way we think about prescribed burns.

The University of Nebraska professor says he can harness extreme fire to restore grasslands on the Great Plains—and, with the help of the Nebraska Intelligent MoBile Unmanned Systems (NIMBUS) Lab, he has created a small drone that launches ping-pong balls-sized “dragon eggs” of fire to help him do it safely and cheaply. The two-pound hexacopter could be used to aid in wildfire suppression as well as to ignite prescribed burns for management of wildlands and rangeland, he says, taking on dangerous jobs currently carried out by helicopter pilots and ground crews.

In an article published today (1 August 2016) in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, Twidwell and colleagues review the use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) in fire management.

Twidwell will speak more broadly about innovations in fire management and his experiments across the Great Plains with high intensity fires during severe drought on Friday, 12 August 2016 at the 101st Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

“Nobody is really studying high intensity fire, because everyone would think you are crazy. We have always been told that high intensity fires during drought are bad. That’s the problem: we have been studying fire when we were told it is OK to ignite and control fires on landscapes. To me, it’s a job for scientists to do. If we are going to understand the role of fire in nature, we need to study a bigger range of intensities, and we need new approaches to do it,” said Twidwell.

Fire shaped the prairie ecosystem of the Great Plains. Historically, fires naturally ignited by lightning swept regularly through the grasslands, killing off the seedlings of trees and shrubs and promoting the dominance of fast-germinating native grasses, which are adapted to frequent fire. Fire releases nutrients that fuel more vibrant regrowth, a pattern recognized by native peoples who set grass fires to improve browse for buffalo. Successful fire suppression has changed that scenario, allowing woody shrubs like juniper to gain a stubborn foothold. Like grasslands and savannas around the world, the Great Plains’ grass sea is on a path to becoming a canopy of shrubs.

The UAS prototype for fire ignitions, from figure 4 of the paper. Credit, ESA.

The UAS prototype for fire ignitions, from figure 4 of the paper. Credit, ESA.

The shrub infiltration is a tricky problem for ranchers working to maintain quality grazing lands for their livestock and wildlife managers tasked with maintaining native habitat and ecosystem services. Both groups employ fire as a tool, sometimes working together to set the prairie ablaze under controlled conditions and regenerate the grasses. As in western forests, regular prescribed fires on grasslands also prevent the buildup of fuels that can enkindle large out-of-control wildfires. But typical prescribed burning conditions have disappointed land manager’s hopes for invasive species control. They have not stopped the advance of the woody shrubs, leaving some to resort to slower and more expensive removal with bulldozers and herbicide.

“It’s because we we’re not burning hot enough,” said Twidwell. His experiments with high intensity fires under drought conditions in Texas demonstrated that the resilient shrubs can be killed with fire.

 “We used to say we couldn’t kill juniper after they grew to about 6 feet. That belief really effected policy. It’s not true,” Twidwell said.

The problem, Twidwell says, is that low-intensity prescribed burns do not mimic natural fire conditions. Prescribed burns are usually undertaken under mild weather conditions when temperatures are cool, winds are gentle and steady, humidity is moderate, and soil and fuels are moist with recent rain. Concerns about plant stress, regrowth and erosion are part of this equation, as well at the safety of ground crews and fire containment. But more fires burned historically when the weather was hot, during drought or when winds were high.

“‘Extreme fire’ is a technical term used in fire science since the 1950s. It describes a fire that exhibits blowups and firestorms and other erratic and nonlinear behavior,” said Twidwell. “These are the kind of fires we get in the summer, under drought conditions – these conditions are natural and, we think, an important reason for the absence of trees in many grasslands historically.”

Graduate student Christina Bielski recorded data during a high intensity prescribed fire burning through juniper-invaded grassland on private property. Credit, Dirac Twidwell.

Graduate student Christina Bielski recorded data during a high intensity prescribed fire burning through juniper-invaded grassland on private property. Credit, Dirac Twidwell.

He conducted experimental high-intensity burns in Texas at a humid subtropical site near Corpus Christi and a semi-arid site on the Edwards Plateau, about 200 miles west of Austin, during one of the most severe droughts recorded for the region. Intense fire burned through the juniper canopy. Dry soil also favored reestablishment of fire-adapted grasses post-fire, likely limiting the capacity of the shrubs to resprout from underground buds.

Further experiments in Nebraska’s Sandhills demonstrated that grass recovers quickly after extreme fire. Two years after burning, the plots had no striking bald or eroding patches and could not be distinguished from plots that had not burned.

“In grasslands of the Great Plains, fire is a stabilizing force,” Twidwell said.

To prevent experimental fires from running wild, Twidwell and his team calculated the maximum distance  embers could jump to kindle a new fire based on ember transport models used in forest fire fighting. They created firebreaks much larger than the predicted distance, up to 450 meters (about 5 football fields) wide, downwind of their experiment. He believes his experiments could be safely replicated for conservation applications. Some ranchers with large acreages who use fire regularly and intensively are already applying the necessary principals to manage the perimeter of their land and burn the interior.

“I’m not advocating that people should do it,” Twidwell cautioned. “It is my job as a scientist to explain how the ecosystem functioned in the past and how we have changed it. If we want certain things from ecosystems, we need to understand how they worked.”

Technical innovations can lower costs and keep ground crews at a safer distance from the firefront. That’s where the drone comes in. The idea originated as joke floated over coffee with co-author Craig Allen, a researcher with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. But after laughing about it, they realized it could have real benefits.

To employ fire as a tool in conservation work or in wildfire suppression, personnel like this crew at a prescribed burn in Nebraska often must “eat smoke” near the fire line. Monitoring with unmanned aerial systems can lower the risk for ground crews and pilots. Credit, G. Steinauer.

To employ fire as a tool in conservation work or in wildfire suppression, personnel like this crew at a prescribed burn in Nebraska often must “eat smoke” near the fire line. Monitoring with unmanned aerial systems can lower the risk for ground crews and pilots. Credit, G. Steinauer.

The U.S Forest Service has already pressed UASs into service to monitor large wildfires in the West. With more than 50 percent of the Forest Service budget now committed to wildfire management, new solutions are critical. UASs save money and lower risks for personnel. Using the drone’s electo-optical camera eyes, drone pilots can peer through smoke that human eyes can’t penetrate, measure heat intensity, and locate natural fire breaks and water resources. Drones can be fitted with air quality and weather monitoring equipment and carry radio relays or cellular transmission into remote areas where service is spotty.

Round-the-clock drone monitoring of the California Rim Fire in 2013 helped firefighters map the spread of the fire, taking the load off of helicopter pilots. With the drones watching for new ignitions from flying sparks, the fire management officers had better information to efficiently distribute personnel and resources and respond quickly to changing conditions.

Unmanned aerial craft also have great potential to help scientists learn about wildfires in action by tracking fires as they burn across a landscape and collecting data that would be difficult to obtain from the ground.

“In grassland ecosystems we are really data-poor in terms of fire behavior. We need finer scale spatial data and a lot of it to understand the effects of fire on ecosystems and we just haven’t had the technology to capture it,” said Twidwell. “Understanding the spatial context and intensity of fires matters whether your goal is to protect a house or restore a grassland ecosystem.”

Twidwell and his colleagues carried out two field trials in Nebraska with the prototype, first with 60 enthusiastic volunteers from the Loess Canyon Rangeland Alliance, a landowner burning cooperative, and a second with the National Park Service at Homestead National Monument.

“They managed the boundary and let us do drops in the interior to test the technology. It was small, about 20 acres, and a nice opportunity, in a controlled setting, to work together testing the idea.”

The operators from the NIMBUS lab are licensed pilots and obtained authorization to conduct the test flights and burns. They flew the prototype within 100 meters and in sight of the pilot for the ignition experiments, in part due to Federal Aviation Administration regulations.

Twidwell says he is already fielding requests from private landowners and agency land managers who want their own drone. He believes that expanding the use of UASs in fire management, whether for monitoring or for ignitions, will require more innovation in regulation and governance than in technology. He is calling on the fire management community to question old dogmas and self-imposed constraints.

“It’s not like we have infinite people and money to throw at this challenge.”


Meeting Presentation:

Contributed Oral Session 95-3 – Extreme fire and UAV aerial ignitions: A new era of fire management in the Anthropocene

  • Friday, August 12, 2016: 8:40 AM
  • 220/221, Ft Lauderdale Convention Center
  • Dirac Twidwell, Agronomy & Horticulture, University of Nebraska-Lincoln twidwell@unl.edu

Frontiers Aug 2016 Cover_final

 

Journal Citation:

Twidwell D, Allen, CR, Carrick D, Higgins Ja, Laney C, and Elbaum S. (2016) Smokey comes of age: unmanned aerial systems for fire management. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 14(6): 333-339, doi:10.1002/fee.1299

 

Video Links


The Ecological Society of America, founded in 1915, is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge, committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 10,000 member Society publishes six journals and a membership bulletin and broadly shares ecological information through policy, media outreach, and education initiatives. The Society’s Annual Meeting attracts 4,000 attendees and features the most recent advances in ecological science. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org.

Distant volcanic eruptions foster saguaro cacti baby booms

Details on the 2016 ESA Annual Meeting in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday 25 July 2016
Contact: Liza Lester, 202-833-8773 ext. 211, LLester@esa.org

 

One hundred and thirty years ago, the volcano Krakatoa erupted in what is now Indonesia, unleashing a cataclysm locally and years of cool temperatures and rain globally. On the far side of the world, a bumper crop of saguaro cacti were getting their start in life in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert. Many of the large exemplars of the famous cacti standing spiny and tall with arms akimbo in the Southwest today started their lives in the shadow of the 1883 eruption.

Biogeographer Taly Drezner believes that distant volcanic paroxysms and the emergence of bountiful saguaro age-mate cohorts are connected. Volcanic climate perturbations that delivered disastrously cold and stormy weather to much of the Northern Hemisphere generated a combination of conditions in the Sonoran Desert that were just right for the delicate young cacti. Drezner will present her research on the first known example of regional population effects on a species from volcanic eruptions in distant parts of the world on 9 August 2016 at the 101st Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America, gathering this year in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

“The saguaro is key to the survival of many species. Almost every animal in the Sonoran uses them in some way, as a nest site, or food, or a cool refuge,” said Drezner, a professor at York University in Ontario, who studies among other things, how heat and aridity shape the community of life in the desert. Temperatures can easily exceed 40 C (104 F) every day for weeks in summer, when saguaro seedlings have just germinated.

Saguaro cacti are the tallest things standing at Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, near Yuma, Arizona. Credit, Taly Drezner.

Saguaro cacti are the tallest things standing at Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, near Yuma, Arizona. The cultural icon is a keystone species of the Sonoran Desert, serving as perch, nesting site, shelter, thermal refuge, and food for the birds and other animals in the desert ecosystem. Credit, Taly Drezner.

A keystone species of the Sonoran ecosystem and charismatic cultural emblem of the arid southwestern United States, the saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea) is sturdy in maturity but delicate in the early years of its life. Though mature individuals can top 12 meters (40 feet), new cacti grow only a few millimeters in the first year. Tiny young saguaros are susceptible to heat and cold, vulnerable to drying out or freezing in the extremes of their desert environment. For a critical two to three years, until they grow large enough to withstand cold and drought, they demand cool summers, mild winters, and sufficient rain: a combination of weather conditions at the outer edge of normal for the Sonoran in every dimension. A summer may be relatively cool, but too dry. A winter wet, but too cold. In most years, all the baby saguaros die.

Biogeographer Taly Drezner stands beside a middle-aged saguaro cactus at Kofa National Wildlife Refuge near Yuma, Arizona. Credit, Taly Drezner

Biogeographer Taly Drezner stands beside a middle-aged saguaro cactus at Kofa National Wildlife Refuge near Yuma, Arizona. Credit, Taly Drezner

In the year after Krakatoa, summer temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere fell 1.2⁰C below average. The eruption violently disgorged tons of ash and sulfur dioxide gas into the stratosphere. Dust particles and sulfuric acid droplets rode winds through the upper atmosphere, conspiring in a haze that reflected sunshine and lowered global temperatures. Though not as disruptive as the “year without a summer” that followed the eruption of Mount Tambora in 1815, Krakatoa’s influence was seen and felt around the globe in vivid sunsets and stormy weather.  Southern California experienced a “water year” of record rainfall. Sulfate aerosols in particular can hang out in the atmosphere for years, and Krakatoa released an unusual abundance of sulfur. Typical temperature and weather patterns did not recover for years. For the saguaro, the perturbations appear to have amounted to a collection of “just right” conditions for new growth.

“I started noticing that these saguaro age cohorts followed notable volcanic eruptions,” said Drezner. “I knew that volcanoes drive milder summers and winters, and typically more rainfall for an extended period—two to three years after the event, which is a perfect window of time for the saguaro to get established and have a chance to survive.”

To investigate her hunch, Drezner went to Kofa National Wildlife Refuge near Yuma, Arizona, where limited water pushes the physiological limits of the saguaro, to sample the age structure of the local cacti. Rainfall at Kofa is a third of other locations in the Sonoran. Cacti do not have rings, like trees, that make age simple to gauge. Drezner estimated the ages of 250 cacti based on meticulous calculations of local growth rates using a model she pioneered. She added data from 30 locations in the Northern Sonoran Desert and compared the generational cohorts of the cacti to climate datasets for the region and the annual Weighted Historical Dust Veil Index, an indicator of volcanism.

Saguaro boom years tracked the peaks in the dust index, particularly in the marginal environment at Kofa. High volcanic dust levels also correlated with warmer, wetter, local winters, and more rain in late spring.

“The saguaro are protected because they are a beloved symbol and icon of the desert,” Drezner said. They are not currently threatened, but the unpredictable nature of their reproduction makes some conservators nervous about how the giants will respond to a changing climate. “That a volcano elsewhere on the continent, or even the other side of the world, can so profoundly influence a local population underscores interconnectedness of ecosystems and our global climate.”

Small saguaro nestle amongst creosote bushes (Larrea tridentata) at Saguaro National Park West near Tucson, Arizona. Saguaro need the shade provided by "nurse" plants to survive the heat of summer during the vulnerable first few years of their lives. Credit, Taly Drezner.

Small saguaro cacti nestle among creosote bushes (Larrea tridentata) at Saguaro National Park West near Tucson, Arizona. “Nurse” plants, like these creosote, provide essential shade to vulnerable young saguaro cacti during first few years of their lives, when they are less than a centimeter tall (these individuals have passed the critical period). Credit, Taly Drezner.

DSC_2242_crop_autocorrectLNG 1-3 – Erupting volcanoes promote species regeneration on the other side of the world: the inter-connectedness of geology, climate and ecosystems

  • Tuesday, August 9, 2016: 8:10 AM
  • Floridian Blrm BC, Ft Lauderdale Convention Center
  • Taly Dawn Drezner, Geography, York University, Toronto, ON, Canada

Presenter Contact: drezner@yorku.ca 


The Ecological Society of America, founded in 1915, is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge, committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 10,000 member Society publishes six journals and a membership bulletin and broadly shares ecological information through policy, media outreach, and education initiatives. The Society’s Annual Meeting attracts 4,000 attendees and features the most recent advances in ecological science. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org.

Mosquito ecology and disease at the Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting

Ecological dimensions of mosquito-borne disease are on the minds of ecologists as they head to southern Florida for the 101st Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America

Details on the 2016 ESA Annual Meeting in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, 8 July 2016
Contact: Liza Lester, 202-833-8773 ext. 211, LLester@esa.org

 

The resurgence of Zika virus has raised anxieties about the spread of infectious disease by mosquitoes as the Ecological Society of America heads to southern Florida for its 101st Annual Meeting. Research on mosquito biology and disease transmission will have a strong showing at the meeting Fort Lauderdale, this 7-12 August 2016. Climate change and species invasions are strong themes among this year’s research presentations on infectious disease.

Geologists have proposed a new epoch, the Anthropocene, to describe our present time, in which the pervasive presence of humans and the products of human invention are shaping the atmosphere, oceans, and ecosystems of the world. The meeting theme “Novel Ecosystems in the Anthropocene” invites a focus on the new relationships between species arising under the influence of global change.

ESA invites press and institutional public information officers to attend for free. To apply, please contact ESA Communications Officer Liza Lester directly at llester@esa.org. Walk-in registration will be available during the meeting.

Research presentations: 

 

Is mosquito-borne disease risk heating up with a warming climate?

  • COS 6-3 -Intermediate optimal temperature for dengue, chikungunya, and Zika transmission by Aedes spp. mosquitoes
  • Monday, August 8, 2016: 2:10 PM, room 124/125, Ft Lauderdale Convention Center
  • Erin Mordecai, Stanford University

Mosquito life cycles, and those of the pathogens they host, are intimately connected to the temperature and humidity of the cities and landscapes they inhabit. Epidemiologists worry that climate change is fostering emergence and resurgence of vector-borne and zoonotic diseases such as dengue, chikungunya, Zika, and malaria. But warmer is not necessarily always better for the pathogen. Modeling transmission of viruses with attention to the physiological responses to mosquitoes to temperature, Erin Mordecai of Stanford University and colleagues in Florida concluded that warming temperatures may accelerate transmission in North America’s cooler states, but are not likely to intensify the problem in tropical and subtropical regions that already bear the heaviest burden from mosquito-borne illnesses. Her talk is part of a session on Disease Ecology (I), which will also feature hantavirus, snails, and vampire bats.

 

Organizing defense forces to hit mosquitoes where they breed

  • COS 41-7 -Control of emerging infectious diseases: How synchronicity of vector reduction efforts affect the size of Zika virus outbreaks
  • Wednesday, August 10, 2016: 10:10 AM, Floridian Blrm BC, Ft Lauderdale Convention Center
  • Samantha R. Schwab, Rutgers University

Are efforts to control mosquito breeding sites more effective when synchronized across urban areas or staggered? A mathematical model has suggestions for municipalities. Schwab will present in the Disease Ecology (III) session, featuring talks on transmission of infection, from polio to the catastrophic epidemic of the cryptid fungus Bd in amphibians.

 

Graduate student Noor Malik sets up a leaf detritus experiment in a storm drain in Paxton, Illinois. Credit, Allison Gardner.

Graduate student Noor Malik sets up a leaf detritus experiment, designed to explore mosquito egg laying behavoir and larval survival, in a storm drain in Paxton, Illinois. Malik graduated from the University of Illinois in 2015. Credit, Allison Gardner.

Luring mosquitoes into honeysuckle traps

  • COS 17-1 -Direct and indirect effects of native and invasive plants on mosquito ecology
  • Tuesday, August 9, 2016: 8:00 AM, room Palm B, Ft Lauderdale Convention Center
  • Allison M. Gardner, School of Biology and Ecology, University of Maine, Orono, ME

Beyond the blood meal, mosquitoes need sugar and safe and nurturing pools to cradle their eggs and emerging larva. Fallen leaves floating in still water (like residential stormwater drainage ditches) make appealing hatcheries for the common house mosquito (Culex pipiens), a carrier of West Nile virus. Gardner and colleagues found that the leaves of native common blackberry (Rubus allegheniensis) are attractive to gravid female mosquitoes, but inimical to their larvae. Invasive Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) both attracts females to lay eggs and favors survival to adulthood. The different communities of bacteria that live on the plants appear to play a role in the survival of mosquito larvae. The researchers experimented with honeysuckle leaf “traps” coated in unfriendly bacteria. Disease Ecology (II).

 

Stressed birds get more mosquito bites—and transmit disease

  • SYMP 8-2 -The role of stress hormones on avian host competence for West Nile virus
  • Tuesday, August 9, 2016: 2:00 PM, Grand Floridian Blrm C, Ft Lauderdale Convention Center
  • Stephanie S. Gervasi, Monell Chemical Senses Center, Philadelphia, PA

In a triple whammy for disease transmission, zebra finches with high stress hormones (corticosterone) suffered from double the number of mosquito “foragers.” The stressed birds, but not controls, had high enough loads of West Nile Virus circulating in their blood to transmit the virus to mosquitoes. Mosquito females feeding on the stressed finches laid their egg clutches more quickly. Gervasi’s presentation is part of a symposium on “Resource provisioning and wildlife-pathogen interactions in human-altered landscapes.”

 

Two adult Asian tiger mosquitoes (<i>Aedes albopictus</i>) emerge from a tree-hole in Bronx, NY. <i>Credit, Marly Katz</i>.

Two adult Asian tiger mosquitoes (Aedes albopictus) emerge from a tree-hole in Bronx, NY. Credit, Marly Katz.

The Asian tiger mosquito thrives in New York

  • PS 2-24 -The community assemblage of tree-hole mosquitoes in southern New York State
  • Monday, August 8, 2016, ESA Exhibit Hall, Ft Lauderdale Convention Center
  • Marly B. Katz, Fordham University, New York City, NY

The aggressive day-biting Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, has spread with global trade from its native home in the tropics and subtropics of Southeast Asia. First observed in Houston, Texas, in 1987, it rapidly spread through the interstate system in the the United States. Its range is pushing northward into New York and Pennsylvania. Does Ae. albopictus crowd out other mosquito species? Katz surveyed the mosquito species present at sites in southern New York State.

 

Side effects of mosquito defense: broad spectrum insecticides kill the pollinators of rare native flowers

  • PS 11-27 -Pesticides and pollination of imperiled plants in the Lower Florida Keys
  • Tuesday, August 9, 2016, ESA Exhibit Hall, Ft Lauderdale Convention Center
  • Brittany Harris, Earth and Environment, Florida International University, Miami, FL

As an example of the costs of mosquito suppression, three imperiled native plants in the Lower Florida Keys suffer indirectly from the spraying of insecticides in housing developments flanking National Key Deer Refuge. Harris will present her work in a poster session on Conservation.

A sweat bee (Dialictus sp.) collects pollen from a sand flax flower (Linum arenicola), a rare perennial found only in Dade county and the Florida Keys. Credit Brittany Harris.

A sweat bee (Dialictus sp.) collects pollen from a sand flax flower (Linum arenicola), a rare perennial found only in Dade county and the Florida Keys. Credit Brittany Harris.

Brittany Harris at a field site in the Florida Keys. Credit Brittany Harris.

Brittany Harris at a field site in the Florida Keys. Credit Brittany Harris.

 

Mosquitoes change their temperature preferences when in competition with other mosquito species

  • COS 6-8 -Larval competition modifies the thermal niche of vector mosquitoes
  • Monday, August 8, 2016: 4:00 PM, room 124/125, Ft Lauderdale Convention Center
  • Sarah E. Bowden, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Millbrook, NY

Temperature is an important factor in the success of both mosquitoes and the pathogens they harbor. Competition with other mosquito species complicates this relationship. To better model how climate change may affect mosquitoes and the transmission of disease, Bowden and John Drake of the University of Georgia investigated how competition affected optimal temperatures for larval growth.

 

A microscopic image of  A. barretti trophozoites in the midgut tissue of a native North American Aedes triseriatus mosquito. Credit, E. Biro.

A microscopic image of Ascogregarina barretti trophozoites in the midgut tissue of a native North American Aedes triseriatus mosquito. Credit, E. Biro.

An invasive mosquito helps break the spread of a parasite

  • COS 6-6 -Interactive effects of species invasion and habitat quality on parasite prevalence: Evidence of a dilution effect
  • Monday, August 8, 2016: 3:20 PM, room 124/125, Ft Lauderdale Convention Center
  • Katie M. Westby, Tyson Research Center, Washington University in St. Louis, Eureka, MO

Some species of mosquitoes spread dangerous human diseases. But mosquitoes have their own parasites, like the protozoan Ascogregarina barretti, which is related to the organisms that cause malaria and toxoplasmosis, and infects the native North American mosquito Aedes triseriatus. The invasive mosquito, Aedes japonicus, a recent arrival in North America, does not contract As. barretti. Will the presence of Ae. japonicus dilute the prevalence of the parasite in the native mosquito?

 

Life cycles, competition, and management

  • COS 100-5 -Spatial and stage-structured model testing for the effects of spatial synchrony in larval development and adult emergence on the persistence of mosquito populations
  • Friday, August 12, 2016: 9:20 AM, room 222/223, Ft Lauderdale Convention Center
  • Yehonatan Alcalay, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel

Mosquitoes have complex life cycles and live in very different environments as immature larvae than as the flying biting pests people know and love. Models that seek to optimize mosquito management must take this variable life history into account. Alcalay will present in a session on Population Dynamics and Regulation, which will also feature talks on human encounters with black bears and cycles of moth pests in Northeastern fruit orchards.

 

This composite image shows a female yellow fever mosquito (<i>Aedes aegypti</i>, left) and male Asian tiger mosquito (<i>Aedes albopictus</i>, right). Male <i>Ae. albopictus</i> will attempt to mate with females of another mosquito species with overlapping habitat, the yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti). Cross species matings may sterilize the <i>Ae. aegypti</i> females for life and contribute to rapid competitive displacements of <i>A. aegypti</i>, as observed in the areas of the southeast United States associated with tiger mosquito invasions. <i>Photos and graphics by J. Newman, Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory, University of Florida</i>.

This composite image shows a female yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti, left) and male Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus, right). Male Ae. albopictus will attempt to mate with females of another mosquito species with overlapping habitat, the yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti). Cross species matings may sterilize the Ae. aegypti females for life and contribute to rapid competitive displacements of A. aegypti, as observed in the areas of the southeast United States associated with tiger mosquito invasions. Photos and graphics by J. Newman, Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory, University of Florida.

Battle at the bloodmeal lek

  • COS 84-1 -Where vectors collide: Effects of interspecific competition on worldwide niches of invasive Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus
  • Thursday, August 11, 2016: 1:30 PM, room 209/210, Ft Lauderdale Convention Center
  • L. Philip Lounibos, Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory, University of Florida, Vero Beach, FL

Invasive Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus are the principal vectors of dengue, chikungunya, and Zika viruses in the Americas. These species often find themselves in competition for mates and resources for their young. Cross-mating between the species creates infertile eggs and permanent sterilization of A. aegypti females. Lounibos and colleague Steven Juliano of Illinois State University described the causes and consequences of coexistence in south Florida. Lounibos will speak in a session on Invasion: Species Interactions.

###

The Ecological Society of America, founded in 1915, is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge, committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 10,000 member Society publishes six journals and a membership bulletin and broadly shares ecological information through policy, media outreach, and education initiatives. The Society’s Annual Meeting attracts 4,000 attendees and features the most recent advances in ecological science. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org.

2016 ESA Regional Policy Award Recognizes Shannon Estenoz for Her Work in Everglades Restoration

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, 7 July 2016
Contact: Alison Mize, 202-833-8773 ext. 205, alison@esa.org

 

Shannon Estenoz

Shannon Estenoz

On Sunday, August 7, 2016, the Ecological Society of America (ESA) will present its ninth annual Regional Policy Award to Shannon Estenoz, Director of Everglades Restoration Initiatives for the US Department of Interior during the Society’s Annual Meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The ESA award recognizes an elected or appointed local policymaker who has an outstanding record of informing policy decisions with ecological science.

Estenoz coordinates the work of the three Department of Interior agencies that are responsible for Everglades restoration efforts: the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, and the US Geological Survey. The Everglades are recognized both nationally and internationally as one of the world’s unique natural and cultural resources. Encompassing nearly 18,000 square miles of the southern tip of the Florida peninsula, the Everglades and the greater Everglades ecosystem (spanning from the Kissimmee River basin north of Lake Okeechobee all the way south to Florida Bay) are also the focus of the world’s largest intergovernmental watershed restoration effort.

“The Society applauds Ms. Estenoz’s decades-long commitment to conservation and her work to protect and restore the Florida Everglades,” said ESA President Monica Turner. “As the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States, the Everglades functions as both a national treasure and critical habitat for a diverse array of flora and fauna. ESA celebrates her collaborative efforts with researchers, policymakers and community leaders to protect this vital ecosystem from pollution, climate change, invasive species and other threats to this cherished ecosystem.”

Estenoz’s career encompasses a spectrum of prior leadership positions: Executive Director of the Environmental and Land Use Law Center, Everglades Program Director of the World Wildlife Fund, three terms as National Co-Chair of the Everglades Coalition, and Sun Coast Regional Director of the National Parks Conservation Association. Florida Governors Lawton Chiles, Jeb Bush, and Charlie Crist tapped her for public service during their tenures.

“I am very honored to be selected for this award by the Ecological Society of America. Strengthening the nexus between science and decision-making is a high priority for me and for the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Everglades Restoration Initiatives,” said Estenoz.

Previous accolades given to her include many awards: Champion of the Everglades Award from Audubon of Florida (2010), Marjory Stoneman Douglas Environmental Award from Friends of the Everglades (2010), the National Wetland Award from the Environmental Protection Agency (2001) and Conservationist of the Year awards from the Florida Wildlife Federation (2002), the Arthur R. Marshall Foundation (2003), and Everglades Coalition (2009).

ESA President Turner will present the 2016 ESA Regional Policy Award at the start of the meeting’s Opening Plenary on Sunday, August 7 at 5 PM in the Grand Ballroom of the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina. The plenary will be open to the general public.

Everglades National Park. Credit, Julian Boed.

Everglades National Park. Credit, Julian Boed CC BY.


The Ecological Society of America, founded in 1915, is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge, committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 10,000 member Society publishes six journals and a membership bulletin and broadly shares ecological information through policy, media outreach, and education initiatives. The Society’s Annual Meeting attracts 4,000 attendees and features the most recent advances in ecological science. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org.

Thirty-one top scientific societies speak with one voice on global climate change

ESA Logo

Read the consensus letter (pdf)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 11:00 am EDT Tuesday, 28 June 2016
Media Contacts:

In a consensus letter to U.S. policymakers, a partnership of 31 leading nonpartisan scientific societies today reaffirmed the reality of human-caused climate change, noting that greenhouse gas emissions “must be substantially reduced” to minimize negative impacts on the global economy, natural resources, and human health.

“Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research concludes that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver,” the collaborative said in its 28 June letter to Members of Congress. “This conclusion is based on multiple independent lines of evidence and the vast body of peer-reviewed science.”

Climate-change impacts in the United States have already included increased threats of extreme weather events, sea-level rise, water scarcity, heat waves, wildfires, and disturbances to ecosystems and animals, the intersociety group reported. “The severity of climate change impacts is increasing and is expected to increase substantially in the coming decades,” the letter added. It cited the scientific consensus of the vast majority of individual climate scientists and virtually every leading scientific organization in the world, including the U.S. Global Change Research Program, the U.S. National Academies, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Chemical Society, the American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society, the American Statistical Association, the Ecological Society of America, and the Geological Society of America.

“To reduce the risk of the most severe impacts of climate change, greenhouse gas emissions must be substantially reduced,” the group said, adding that adaptation is also necessary to “address unavoidable consequences for human health and safety, food security, water availability, and national security, among others.”

The 28 June letter, representing a broad range of scientific disciplines, reaffirmed the key climate-change messages in a 2009 letter signed by 18 leading scientific organizations. The letter is being released again, by a larger consortium of 31 scientific organizations, to reassert the scientific consensus on climate change, and to provide objective, authoritative information to policymakers who must work toward solutions.

“Climate change is real and happening now, and the United States urgently needs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said AAAS Chief Executive Officer Rush Holt, executive publisher of the Science family of journals. “We must not delay, ignore the evidence, or be fearful of the challenge. America has provided global leadership to successfully confront many environmental problems, from acid rain to the ozone hole, and we can do it again. We owe no less to future generations.”

The 28 June letter was signed by leaders of the following organizations:

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • American Chemical Society
  • American Geophysical Union
  • American Institute of Biological Sciences
  • American Meteorological Society
  • American Public Health Association
  • American Society of Agronomy
  • American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists
  • American Society of Naturalists
  • American Society of Plant Biologists
  • American Statistical Association
  • Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography
  • Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation
  • Association of Ecosystem Research Centers
  • BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium
  • Botanical Society of America
  • Consortium for Ocean Leadership
  • Crop Science Society of America
  • Ecological Society of America
  • Entomological Society of America
  • Geological Society of America
  • National Association of Marine Laboratories
  • Natural Science Collections Alliance
  • Organization of Biological Field Stations
  • Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
  • Society for Mathematical Biology
  • Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles
  • Society of Nematologists
  • Society of Systematic Biologists
  • Soil Science Society of America
  • University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

 

Leaders of participating organizations offered the following comments:

“Climate change has far-reaching implications to everyone on our planet, as it is tied closely with national security, economics, human health, and food security. There is consensus in the scientific community – climate is changing. Now we need policymakers to act, to invest in research to understand the effects of climate change and opportunities to mitigate its drivers, and to adapt to its impacts.”

— RADM Jonathan W. White, USN (Ret.), president and CEO, Consortium for Ocean Leadership

 

“Climate change poses significant challenges to natural and managed ecosystems. Now is the time for scientists and policy-makers to work together to address the issue of climate change in order to protect agricultural productivity, global food security and environmental resources.”

— Harold van Es, president, Soil Science Society of America

 

“The environmental, social, and economic challenges posed by climate change are among the most important issues of our time. Comprehensive solutions grounded in understanding of ecological systems – our lands, waters, oceans, and atmosphere — and society are urgently needed. A sustainable future remains possible if we work together and act now.”

— Monica G. Turner, president, Ecological Society of America

 

“This letter, signed by a diverse set of scientific organizations, conveys the solid scientific consensus view that anthropogenic climate change is occurring. How climate change will manifest for specific geographic regions within the next decade and beyond is a topic of intense research. Statisticians are experts in making decisions when specifics aren’t clear and stand ready to work with decision-makers.” 

— Jessica Utts, president, American Statistical Association

 

“Geological studies have demonstrated that climate has changed repeatedly in the past and that future climate change is inevitable.  Understanding the complex processes involved in climate change is necessary for adaptation and mitigation.”
— Jonathan G. Price, Ph.D., CPG, President, Geological Society of America

 

“The reality of climate change is already upon us, and is affecting not only our lives but that of all life on earth. We must do all that we can to mitigate these effects using scientific knowledge and mobilizing society for action. It is the responsibility of our politicians to move us forward in these actions.”

—Dr. Robin L. Chazdon, executive director of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation,

 

“The phenomenon of human-mediated climate change is not a matter of opinion, but of careful evaluation of data from a vast spectrum of scientific disciplines.  What remains unclear is the degree to which climate change will cause environmental, social, and economic havoc.  Estimates range from severe to catastrophic.  We owe it to our children and to our children’s children to take bold action now so that our descendants do not pay the price for our generation’s greed.”

— Anne D. Yoder, president, Society of Systematic Biologists

 

 “Climate change is one of the most profound challenges facing our society. Consensus on this matter is evident in the diversity of organizations that have signed this letter. Science can be a powerful tool in our efforts to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change, and we stand ready to work with policymakers as they deliberate various options for action.”
— Christine McEntee, executive director/CEO of the American Geophysical Union

 

“Climate influences where plants and animals live. Rapid climate change will force species to find new habitat in hospitable conditions, but many species will not be able to and will go extinct. This isn’t good. It disrupts our ecosystems, which are the source for our food, and clean air and water.”

— Robert Gropp, Ph.D., interim co-executive director, American Institute of Biological Sciences


The Ecological Society of America, founded in 1915, is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge, committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 10,000 member Society publishes six journals and a membership bulletin and broadly shares ecological information through policy, media outreach, and education initiatives. The Society’s Annual Meeting attracts 4,000 attendees and features the most recent advances in ecological science. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org.

Ecological Society of America publications rise in Thomson Reuters Journal Citations Report

ESA LogoFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, 14 June 2016
Contact: Liza Lester, 202-833-8773 ext. 211, LLester@esa.org

 

The value and influence of research published by ecological scientists in the Ecological Society of America’s (ESA) journals was reflected today in Thomson Reuters 2015 Journal Citation Reports, as all five peer-reviewed publications receiving rankings made appreciable impact factor gains. ESA congratulates our editors, authors, and referees. We are honored to continue to host high-quality research and analysis from the ecological community

Ecological Monographs, ranked 7th in the ecology category, rose to 8.037 from its 2014 impact factor of 6.98. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, ranked 5th in ecology and 3rd in environmental sciences, also rose significantly, from an impact factor of 7.441 in 2014 to 8.504 in 2015. Ecology (4.733), Ecological Applications (4.252), and Ecosphere (2.287) all enjoyed modest gains in impact factor.

Rank: Ecology

Rank: Environmental Science

Journal Title

Impact Factor 2015

Impact Factor 2014

5/149

3/225

Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment

8.504

7.441

7/149

N/A

Ecological Monographs

8.037

6.98

20/149

N/A

Ecology

4.733

4.656

24/149

26/225

Ecological Applications

4.252

4.093

60/149

N/A

Ecosphere

2.287

2.255

Ecosystem Heath and Sustainability, a joint journal launched with the Ecological Society of China in 2015, is not yet ranked.

ESA journal impact factors are listed on ESA’s website. Learn more about ESA scholarly journals on our journal hub. Further information on the Journal Citation Reports is available at: http://www.thomsonreuters.com.


The Ecological Society of America, founded in 1915, is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge, committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 10,000 member Society publishes six journals and a membership bulletin and broadly shares ecological information through policy, media outreach, and education initiatives. The Society’s Annual Meeting attracts 4,000 attendees and features the most recent advances in ecological science. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org.

Ecological Society of America announces 2016 fellows

Details on the 2016 ESA Annual Meeting in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, 1 June 2016
Contact: Alison Mize, 202-833-8773 ext. 205, alison@esa.org

 

The Ecological Society of America (ESA) is pleased to announce its 2016 fellows. The Society’s fellows program recognizes the many ways in which our members contribute to ecological research and discovery, communication, education and pedagogy, and to management and policy.

ESA fellows and early career fellows are listed on the ESA Fellows page.

Fellows are members who have made outstanding contributions to a wide range of fields served by ESA, including, but not restricted to those that advance or apply ecological knowledge in academics, government, non-profit organizations and the broader society. They are elected for life.

Early career fellows are members who have advanced ecological knowledge and applications within 8 years of completing their doctoral training (or other terminal degree), and show promise of continuing to make outstanding contributions to a wide range of fields served by ESA. They are elected for five years.

ESA established its fellows program in 2012 with the goal to honor its members and to support their competitiveness and advancement to leadership positions in the Society, at their institutions, and in broader society.

Fellows elected in 2016 for recognition of their service as members of the ESA Governing Board and advancing the science of ecology

Sharon K. Collinge, Professor and Director of the Environmental Studies Program, University of Colorado – Boulder

Scott L. Collins, Professor, Department of Biology, University of New Mexico

Frank W. Davis, Professor, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, University of California – Santa Barbara

David M. Lodge, Director of the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, Cornell University

Margaret D. Lowman, Director of Global Initiatives, The Institute for Biodiversity Science and Sustainability, California Academy of Sciences

Nalini M. Nadkarni, Professor, Department of Ecology & Environmental Biology, University of Utah

Leslie A. Real, Asa G. Candler Professor, Department of Biology, Emory University

Fellows elected in 2016 in recognition for advancing the science of ecology

Steven R. Archer, Professor, School of Natural Resources, University of Arizona
For novel integration of ecological, remote sensing and the earth science theory to advance the conservation and management of the world’s grassland and savanna ecosystems.

Greg P. Asner, Scientist, Department of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution for Science
For leading the effort to move ecology from the local to the continental scale by developing remote sensing techniques and using them to solve fundamental questions in land use, biogeochemistry, and biological diversity.

Cherie J. Briggs, Professor, Department of Ecology Evolution and Marine Biology, University of California – Santa Barbara
For pioneering research at the interface of fundamental, applied, and theoretical ecology, including seminal contributions to the biocontrol, disease ecology, mathematical biology, and amphibian conservation literature.

Judith L. Bronstein, Professor, Ecology Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona
For seminal contributions to the understanding of mutually-beneficial interactions between species, as well as excellence in teaching and mentoring.

Carla E. Caceres, Professor, Department of Animal Biology, University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign
For research of fundamental importance that spans the fields of evolutionary ecology, population ecology, community ecology, and disease ecology, as well as extensive outreach work.

Howard V. Cornell, Professor Emeritus, Department of Environmental Science & Policy, University of California – Davis
For outstanding contributions to ecology in the areas of herbivore naturalenemy interactions, local regional relationships of species richness, and macroecology.

Andrew P. Dobson, Professor, Ecology Evolutionary Biology, Princeton Environmental Institute
For his pioneering research on the ecology of zoonotic and wildlife diseases and the role of parasites in food webs.

Stephen P. Ellner, Professor, Ecology Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University
For his numerous and innovative contributions to ecology, with fundamental works in community ecology, population ecology and eco-evolutionary dynamics.

James R. Ehleringer, Director, Stable Isotope Ratio Facility for Environmental Research, Department of Biology, University of Utah
For leadership in understanding plant physiology and its implications for climate. Working at biochemical to global scales, he has discovered fundamental relationships between photosynthetic yields, transpiration, and environmental variables.

Catherine A. Gehring, Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Northern Arizona University
For her pioneering research in the field of community genetics and the role of plant genetics in defining microbial communities.

Mark E. Hay, Teasley and Regents’ Professor, School of Biology, Georgia Institute of Technology
For seminal contributions to understanding community organization, consumer-prey interactions, and the chemical cues regulating biotic interactions in aquatic ecosystems and to transforming conservation practices for coral reefs.

Alan K. Knapp, Professor, Department of Biology and Graduate Degree Program in Ecology, Colorado State University
For his contributions to understanding the impacts of climatic variability and climate change on terrestrial ecosystems.

Richard L. Lindroth, Professor, Associate Dean for Research and Associate Director of the Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Wisconsin – Madison
For pioneering research on gene-by-environment interactions and physiological tradeoffs in plant chemistry and trophic relationships, and global-change impacts on forest ecosystems.

Karen R. Lips, Professor, Department of Biology, University of Maryland
For her groundbreaking work on understanding the causes of amphibian declines and in formulating and coordinating conservation responses.

Michelle C. Mack, Professor, Center for Ecosystem Science and Society, Northern Arizona University
For seminal research contributions in plant ecology, spanning population to ecosystem science, including invasions, nutrient cycling, disturbance, and climate forcing, with emphasis on plant ecology in the arctic and boreal regions.

Marc  Mangel, Research Profesor, Department of Mathematical Biology, University of California – Santa Cruz
For his work as an innovative researcher in mathematical biology, an influential mentor to young scientists, a tireless administrator, and a generous member of the ecological community.

Peter B. Moyle, Associate Director, Center for Watershed Science, University of California – Davis
For huge and unique contributions to our understanding and management of inland fishes and freshwaters of California.

James D. Nichols, Senior Scientist, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, U.S. Geological Survey
For his broad contributions to ecology, especially estimation of population and community parameters.

Richard J. Norby, Research Staff Member, Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
For fundamental research on the response of terrestrial organisms and ecosystems to elevated carbon dioxide atmospheres and environmental changes.

Julia K. Parrish, Professor SAFS & Associate Dean, College of the Environment, University of Washington
For innovation in developing a rigorous approach to citizen science that enhances public scientific literacy while bringing robust data to bear on a range of critical ecological questions and for leadership in addressing diversity issues in conservation a

N. LeRoy Poff, Professor, Department of Biology, Colorado State University
For pioneering research on stream ecology that has advanced ecological theory as well as playing a central role in developing solutions to critical environmental problems concerning water resources.

Paul A. Sandifer, Senior Science Advisor to the NOAA Administrator, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
For significant contributions in ecological research, natural resource management, ocean policy, the intersection of marine ecosystem health and human health, and interdisciplinary approaches to science and management.

Katriona Shea, Professor,  Department of Biology, and Alumni Professor of Biological Sciences, Eberly College of Science, the Pennsylvania State University
For developing important insights into pressing environmental problems, including reconciling conflicting empirical results about invader richness and disturbance-diversity relationships.

Whendee L. Silver, Professor and Rudy Grah Chair, Department of Environmental Science Policy & Management, University of California – Berkeley
For expanding foundational understanding of carbon, nitrogen, and iron biogeochemistry in tropical forests as well as carbon stabilization and loss from grassland soils and applying this understanding to inform policy and research decisions.

Katharine Suding, Associate Professor, Ecology Evolutionary Biology, Institute of Artic and Alphine Research, University of Colorado – Boulder
For exceptional research in the dynamics of grassland and tundra plant communities and the application of this leading-edge knowledge to the challenges of restoration, species invasion, and environmental change.

Kathleen K. Treseder,  Professor, Ecology Evolutionary Biology School of Biological Sciences, University of California – Irvine
For leadership in evaluating and communicating the importance of fungi in ecosystems, including in mediating ecosystem responses to global change.

Jackson R. Webster, Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences, Virginia Tech
For his substantial and important contributions to ecosystem ecology and pioneering the concept of nutrient spiraling in streams.

Early Career Fellows (2016–2020) for advancing the science of ecology and showing promise for continuing contributions

Jennifer K. Balch, Assistant Professor & Director of Earth Lab, Department of Geography, University of Colorado – Boulder
For her exceptional work and novel discoveries on fire risk, proliferation and consequences in both tropical and temperature ecosystems.

Michael H. Cortez, Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Utah State University
For emerging leadership in in the study of eco-evolutionary dynamics within predator-prey systems, using rigorous theory, numerical simulation, and statistical analysis to shed new light on adaptation and its consequences.

Mary I. O’Connor, Assistant Professor,  Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia
For her outstanding research at the dynamic interface between metabolic ecology, biodiversity, and climate change in the oceans.

Kabir G. Peay, Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, Stanford University
For outstanding contributions in the areas of ectomycorrhizal, fungal, and community ecology, and for his innovative use of molecular methods to address classic ecological questions.

Sasha C. Reed, Research Ecologist, U.S. Geological Survey
For exceptional contributions in the fields of ecosystem ecology and biogeochemistry.

Ann Carla Staver, Assistant Professor, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Yale University
For her elegant combination of fieldwork, analysis of remote-sensing data, and mathematical theory to understand the role of fire in savanna and forest ecosystem dynamics.

Elizabeth M. Wolkovich, Assistant Professor, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University Center for the Environment
For her pioneering work on the effects of global change on the interactions among phenology, invasion biology, and community assembly.


The Ecological Society of America, founded in 1915, is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge, committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 10,000 member Society publishes six journals and a membership bulletin and broadly shares ecological information through policy, media outreach, and education initiatives. The Society’s Annual Meeting attracts 4,000 attendees and features the most recent advances in ecological science. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org.