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...

Read More
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...

Read More
Jerry Franklin named the Ecological Society of America’s 2016 Eminent Ecologist
May20

Jerry Franklin named the Ecological Society of America’s 2016 Eminent Ecologist

ESA honors Jerry Franklin, professor of ecosystem analysis in the College of Forest Resources at the University of Washington in Seattle, with the 2016 Eminent Ecologist Award. The Eminent Ecologist Award honors a senior ecologist for an outstanding body of ecological work or sustained ecological contributions of extraordinary merit. Jerry Franklin is renowned in the field of ecology for applying forestry research to management, challenging clear-cutting practices to mold a “new forestry” in the later 20th century attuned to healthy forest ecosystems. He taught foresters to value snags, fallen trees, and woody debris and urged forest managers to learn from natural patterns of disturbance and regeneration in forests. His emphasis that old growth forest is not “decadent wasteful stands” just needing a thorough clear-cutting, but instead a vital component of a healthy mosaic of forest types in managed landscapes, was revolutionary in forestry. He was instrumental in linking early landscape ecology to forestry, helping to develop landscape ecology as a discipline. Dr. Franklin’s strong record of ecological scholarship on the old-growth and regenerating conifer forests of the Pacific Northwest stretches back to 1961. His work on the role of coarse woody debris in forest dynamics, and on articulating landscape and site-specific characteristics of successional dynamics, has been very influential, with implications ranging from biodiversity maintenance to carbon storage. Several of his papers have been cited thousands of times. He has been a leader in analyzing of the return of plant life to Mt. St. Helens following the 1980 eruption, developing influential ideas of “ecological memory” or biological legacies in ecosystem recovery from natural catastrophe. Born in a small town on the coast of Oregon, an early love for the woods led Dr. Franklin to forestry and a lifetime study of ecology, starting with the USDA Forest Service in 1959. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in forest management from Oregon State University in 1959 and 1961, going on to complete a doctorate in botany and soils at Washington State University in 1966. He has mentored the careers of a wide range of professionals, both in and out of the academy, as a teacher at Oregon State University and at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he has been a professor of ecosystem analysis in the College of Forest Resources since 1986. He served as President of the Ecological Society of America in 1993–4. Dr. Franklin has played a highly significant role in developing major, multi-institutional programs aimed at forest ecology at the broadest scale, including the International Biological Program (IBP) in the 1960s and early 1970s, and later the Long-term Ecological Research Program (LTER). As the first program officer for...

Read More
Ecological science communication at the frontier: an #ESA100 workshop
Aug05

Ecological science communication at the frontier: an #ESA100 workshop

How about adding science communication to your meeting preparations? It’s as simple as signing up for Workshop 10854: Communicating Science Vividly.

Read More
Pikas act as ‘climate indicators’
Aug01

Pikas act as ‘climate indicators’

The Oscar-winning Disney movie “Frozen” includes a living snowman character named Olaf that would melt and die under the 70 degree temperatures humans and many other animals prefer. Of course, there are a number of species in the animal kingdom sensitive to heat conditions humans generally find preferable. Some of these are fellow mammals , but not all, are limited to the extreme cold Arctic and Antarctic climates. At home in loose rock areas in alpine and subalpine mountain regions, American pikas are one such species. Though they bear a resemblance to rodents, pikas are actually members of the lagomorpha order, which includes rabbits and hares. Their North American range includes British Columbia in Canada and the US states of California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. Much like the Disney’s Olaf, pikas cannot endure the mid-to-upper 70s temperatures we humans deem comfortably warm for more than a short period.  In fact, pikas would die if exposed to temperatures above 77 degrees for longer than six hours. Alas, the thick-furry coats that keep them snug through a cold-mountain winter prevent them from ever taking in the rays on a warm summer day at the beach. This heat intolerance largely prevents their existence below 8,202 feet in the regions of New Mexico, Nevada and southern California. And yet, this distinct temperature sensitivity makes them interesting specimens for studying the profound impacts of climate change on ecosystems. During the most recent edition of the Ecologist Goes to Washington podcast, 2014 Ecological Society of America Graduate Student Policy Award winner Johanna Varner (University of Utah) discusses her research into pikas and their importance as climate indicators. A recent study found that extinction rates for American pikas have increased five-fold in the last 10 years while the rate at which the pikas are moving up mountain slopes has increased 11-fold. The US Fish and Wildlife Service ruled in 2010 that the American pika does not warrant Endangered Species Act protection, but this could change if this population decline significantly worsens. Luckily, some pikas have proven to be adaptable in their foraging mannerisms. One population of pikas in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge have adapted to warming temperatures by increasingly eating (and re-ingesting) moss.  Eating moss, which grows in the shadier parts of the animal’s habitat, helps the pikas avoid the blistering (deadly in their case) summer sun while also helping minimize their becoming a victim of predation. Aside from their obvious appeal as “charismatic fauna”, deserving of Disney characterizations in their own right, some might question why research into preserving pikas is important. As Varner notes in the podcast,...

Read More
3 Reasons Why We Should Tell Stories about Scientists, Not Just Science
Jun23

3 Reasons Why We Should Tell Stories about Scientists, Not Just Science

Guest post by Bethann Merkle, a member of the “Eco Comm Crew” behind the upcoming “Beyond the Written Word” science communication workshop (#15) at ESA’s Annual Meeting in Sacramento.

Read More
Why I did a Science Cafe – a guest post by Lisa Schulte Moore
Dec12

Why I did a Science Cafe – a guest post by Lisa Schulte Moore

“Being a native of Wisconsin – land of beer, brats, and polkas – I’ve always dreamed of delivering a science presentation with a drink in my hand.” — Lisa Schulte Moore writes about her new adventures in public outreach at the Science Cafe, and as a fellow in the Leopold Leadership program.

Read More
Crowdsourcing the ESA2014 opening plenary
Aug01

Crowdsourcing the ESA2014 opening plenary

ESA’s 2013 annual meeting in Minneapolis is drawing near, but we are already planning for Sacramento in 2014! The public affairs committee wants to know what you would like to hear at the Sunday evening opening plenary next year. What topic would fire you up? Who would you get on a plane early to see? Because Sacramento is in the middle of California’s Central Valley, one of the most productive and intensely farmed agricultural areas in the world, the committee floated several themes related to intensive agriculture. Don’t like any of these topics? Leave us a comment or email llester@esa.org with your suggestion. Take Our Poll   ESA members often suggest speakers like Micheal Pollan and Jared Diamond. We would love to see those guys too — but keep in mind that speakers of Pollan-level popularity cost big $$. It’s okay to dream, but we challenge you: who is the next Michael Pollen? Consider people in your own subfield who can beautifully communicate concepts across disciplines. Which of your peers are amazing...

Read More