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Past Outstanding Paper Award Recipients


The Theoretical Ecology Section is pleased to award the 2012 prize for an outstanding paper to "Comparing the qualitatively different effects of rapidly evolving and rapidly induced defences have on predator-prey interactions" by Michael Cortez, published in Ecology Letters (2011) 14:202-209. This paper unifies models of the ecological impacts of plasticity and rapid evolution, and extends these models to acheive general insights about similarities and differences between heritable and non-heritable trait variation. The results were not intuitive; induced defences stabilize or syncrhonize fluctuations (depending on the rate of induction), whereas rapid evolution can lead to a broader range of dynamics. These results were obtained through mathematical innovation, specifically, application of slow-fast theory to make a general analysis tractable.

Congratulations to the authors!


The recipients of the 2011 award are Heather Berkley, Bruce Kendall, Satoshi Mitarai, and David Siegel for their paper entitled "Turbulent dispersal promotes species coexistence", published in Ecology Letters 13:360-371.   This paper uses spatially explicit simulations and analytical approximations to demonstrate that, for species with dispersed larvae and sessile adults, stochastic larval dispersal driven by environmental turbulence can result in decorrelated settlement patterns that enable long-term coexistence of competing species.  The paper demonstrates how the nuanced interplay between species traits and their abiotic environment can drive population-scale processes, and illustrates how multiple sources of variation contribute differently to long-term community dynamics.

Congratulations to the authors!


James O'Dwyer and Jessica Green (2009), for their paper entitled "Field theory for biogeography: A spatially explicit model for predicting patterns of biodiversity," found in Ecology Letters 13: 87-95. Using mathematical methods more commonly found in quantum physics, the authors derive the species-area relationship for a spatially explicit neutral model that includes dispersal and generalizes a previous prediction about beta diversity.

Congratulations to the authors!

Last updated on: July 14, 2013
Jennifer A. Nelson

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