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Lotka-Volterra Prizes for Best Student Presentations in Theoretical Ecology

The Theoretical Ecology Section awards the Alfred J. Lotka and Vito Volterra prizes for the best presentations given by students during the Annual Meeting of the ESA. The award is open to graduate student members of the ESA who, as sole or first author, present a talk or poster at the ESA annual meeting describing original research in theoretical ecology. All suitable approaches that yield theoretical insight to ecological phenomena will be considered. Prizes will be awarded on the basis of scientific merit, originality, and clarity of presentation. We are grateful to Sinauer and Elsevier for their continuing support of this competition.

To be considered for this award, prospective candidates must notify an officer of the Theoretical Ecology Section by July 15, 2014, providing the following information:
Applicant's name:
Talk or Poster:
Time/Date/Place of presentation/poster:
Please provide this information by email to Marissa Baskett (mlbaskett (at), and include 'Lotka-Volterra Award' in the subject line.

Current Recipients (2014)

Lotka Award for Best Poster:

Sean Hayes,
University of California, Riverside
"Dispersal network structure predicts metacommunity dynamics"
Co-author: Kurt Anderson

Volterra Award for Best Talk:

Holly Moeller,
Stanford University
"Optimal investment in a multi-mutualist system: Tree maintenance of ectomycorrhizal fungal diversity"
Co-author: Michael Neubert

Past Years' Recipients

Outstanding Ecological Theory Paper Award

The Theoretical Ecology Section sponsors an annual award for an outstanding published paper in ecological theory. Papers with a print or electronic publication date in either of the two years preceding the year of the award are eligible. (For example, papers published in years n-2 and n-1 are eligible for the award in year n.)

Nominations (including self-nominations) may be made from January 1 - March 1 for each year's award. Nominations should be sent to the chair and vice-chair, and should include a short statement by the nominator discussing the paper's merits and suitability for the award. More information about past winners and application guidelines can be found on the section's website.

Current Recipients (2014)

The winners of the 2014 award for the best paper in theoretical ecology are Jiang Jiang and Don DeAngelis, for their 2013 paper "Strong species-environment feedback shapes plant community assembly along environmental gradients," published in the journal Ecology and Evolution (3: 41194128).

In their clearly-written paper, the authors make direct linkages to problems in plant ecology, while building a general theoretical model that addresses a key issue, not just in plant ecology, of feedbacks between organisms and their environment. Through well-designed analyses of an elegant model, they found that "ecological engineers" (species that modify the environment to their own benefit) can affect the diversity of the competitive community they inhabit, and that the direction of this effect depends critically on the extent to which the community is closed to immigration and on the spatial heterogeneity of the environment. These novel results should are likely to foster further theoretical research and generate some fine hypotheses that will motivate experimental and field studies.

Please join me in congratulating Jiang and Don!

Past Years' Recipients

Last updated on: September 12, 2014
Masami Fujiwara

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