Carolyn Thomas and Bob Pohlad share the #ESA2016 Odum Award for Excellence in Ecology Education
May27

Carolyn Thomas and Bob Pohlad share the #ESA2016 Odum Award for Excellence in Ecology Education

Eugene P. Odum Award recipients demonstrate their ability to relate basic ecological principles to human affairs through teaching, outreach, and mentoring activities. Bob Pohlad and Carolyn Thomas have been a passionate and committed team of educators in the field of ecology for almost four decades. While the work of either alone would be worthy of recognition with the Odum Award, this married team represents such an outstanding example of long-term mutual support and collaboration, both professionally and personally, that their colleagues who submitted their nomination feel that a shared award is the most appropriate way to honor their legacy in ecological education. In their work as professors at Ferrum College, Drs. Thomas and Pohlad focus on integrating technology and research experiences into the ecology classroom. For decades, they have engaged students and local citizens in sophisticated, long-term, water quality monitoring projects in regional lakes, serving as pioneers in citizen science. They mentored K-12 science teachers through the School Yard Ecology Project, providing professional development for teachers to communicate ecological concepts in effective and engaging ways to younger students. They are founding members of the Collaborations through Appalachian Watersheds Project (CAWS) and the Ecological Research as Education Network (EREN), both large-scale endeavors focused on developing innovative ways for ecologists and their students at primarily undergraduate institutions to collaborate and learn through authentic, multi-site research projects. Finally, they have both served the Ecological Society of America as Chairs of the Education Section, giving generously of their time to help other ecologists educate more effectively. ESA will present the 2016 awards during the 2016 Annual Meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Fl. The awards ceremony will take place on Monday, August 8, at 8 AM in the Floridian Ballroom AB, Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center. Read about all of the 2016 award winners in the awards master...

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Etienne Laliberté, Graham Zemunik, and Benjamin L. Turner presented with the Cooper Award for an outstanding research publication in the field of geobotany
May26

Etienne Laliberté, Graham Zemunik, and Benjamin L. Turner presented with the Cooper Award for an outstanding research publication in the field of geobotany

The W.S. Cooper Award honors the authors of an outstanding publication in the field of geobotany, physiographic ecology, plant succession or the distribution of plants along environmental gradients. Etienne Laliberté, Graham Zemunik, and Benjamin L. Turner (2014) Environmental filtering explains variation in plant diversity along resource gradients. Science 345: 1602–1605. DOI: 10.1126/science.1256330 William S. Cooper was a pioneer of physiographic ecology and geobotany, with a particular interest in the influence of historical factors, such as glaciations and climate history, on the pattern of contemporary plant communities across landforms. Dr. Laliberté of the Université de Montréal (at the University of Western Australia at the time of the study), Dr. Zemunik of the University of Western Australia, and Dr. Turner of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute take a similar geobotanical angle in a study that simultaneously addresses competing hypotheses about the mechanisms that shape plant diversity along resource gradients. Specifically, they tackle an age-old question in ecology—what determines spatial variation in species diversity—using a cleverly chosen system, an ancient dune ecosystem in southwestern Australia. The end result is a rare, compelling, example of regional and historical processes being key to explaining a local-scale diversity gradient.   ESA will present the 2016 awards during the 2016 Annual Meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Fl. The awards ceremony will take place on Monday, August 8, at 8 AM in the Floridian Ballroom AB, Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center. Read about all of the 2016 award winners in the awards master...

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Jennifer Gremer and Larry Venable’s bet-hedging wins them the #ESA2016 Mercer Award
May25

Jennifer Gremer and Larry Venable’s bet-hedging wins them the #ESA2016 Mercer Award

The George Mercer Award recognizes an outstanding and recently-published ecological research paper by young scientists. Jennifer R. Gremer and D. Lawrence Venable (2014) Bet hedging in desert winter annual plants: optimal germination strategies in a variable environment. Ecology Letters 17: 380–387. DOI: 10.1111/ele.12241 Unpredictable fluctuation in environmental conditions is a ubiquitous challenge for all forms of life. “Bet-hedging” names a strategy for dealing with environmental variation by adopting physical characteristics that are not best suited to average conditions, but allow survival in a wide variety of conditions, sacrificing short-term success to minimize risk over time. In a synthesis of 30 years of data, with multiple modeling approaches, Jennifer Gremer and D. Lawrence Venable, both at the University of Arizona at the time of the study (Dr. Gremer has since moved to the University of California, Davis), present definitive evidence that delayed seed germination acts as a bet-hedging strategy in winter annual plants of the Sonoran Desert. Their elegant paper provides a test of an age-old problem, in an iconic system. As predicted, species that face more risk exhibit stronger bet-hedging. This paper is a model of how to test general, qualitative theoretical predictions by making them quantitative. It provides a convincing example in a classic system, while at the same time inspiring new questions concerning the evolution of life history strategies. ESA will present the 2016 awards during the 2016 Annual Meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Fl. The awards ceremony will take place on Monday, August 8, at 8 AM in the Floridian Ballroom AB, Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center. Read about all of the 2016 award winners in the awards master...

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ESA awards 2016 Distinguished Service Citation to Carol A. Brewer
May25

ESA awards 2016 Distinguished Service Citation to Carol A. Brewer

The Distinguished Service Citation recognizes long and distinguished volunteer service to the Ecological Society of America, the scientific community, and the larger purpose of ecology in the public welfare. Carol Brewer, a professor emeritus at the University of Montana, has a long and distinguished record of service to the society and to the broader science community, especially through her efforts in science and conservation education. She holds a B.S. in education as well as a B.A. in biology. In 1993, while still a doctoral student, the society asked her to be one of the campus leads for the new, NSF-supported “Schoolyard Ecology for Elementary School Teachers (SYEFEST) project. Shortly after receiving her Ph.D., she served on ESA’s Standing Committee on Education (1995–99) and became chair of the Education Section (1996–97). Dr. Brewer helped develop ESA’s Education Office, now the highly successful Education and Diversity Office. She served two terms as ESA’s Vice-President for Education and Human Resources (2000–2006), chaired the Education and Human Resources Committee (2000–2006), and led ESA’s survey of undergraduate ecology education. Most recently, she served as Program Chair for the society’s 2015 Centennial Meeting in Baltimore, Md. Dr. Brewer is active in the Long Term Ecological Research network and was a founding member of the board of directors of the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON). She co-founded the citizen science Project Budburst in 2007.   ESA will present the 2016 awards during the 2016 Annual Meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Fl. The awards ceremony will take place on Monday, August 8, at 8 AM in the Floridian Ballroom AB, Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center. Read about all of the 2016 award winners in the awards master...

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Anurag Agrawal receives 2016 Robert H. MacArthur Award
May24

Anurag Agrawal receives 2016 Robert H. MacArthur Award

The MacArthur Award, presented by the Ecological Society of America in alternate years, recognizes the contributions of an outstanding ecologist in mid-career. Anurag Agrawal of Cornell University has shown consistent leadership in opening up new research themes in ecology and continues to push the envelope with novel approaches to science, teaching, and community building. Like Robert H. MacArthur, Dr. Agrawal synthesizes conceptual themes within the field, drawing together topics as far ranging as the causes and consequences of variation in plant biodiversity, chemical ecology and co-evolution, trait versus density-mediated interactions, and the interdisciplinary pursuit of environmental sustainability. His research has impact outside of ecology. His early work on phenotypic plasticity is widely cited in the fields of neurobiology, systems science, molecular biology, and beyond. He seamlessly applies his amazing natural history and empirical understanding of his study systems to develop new and exciting concepts in general ecological theory, grounded in the real world. ESA will present the 2016 awards during the 2016 Annual Meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Fl. The awards ceremony will take place on Monday, August 8, at 8 AM in the Floridian Ballroom AB, Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center. Read about all of the 2016 award winners in the awards master...

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