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2020 Annual Meeting

1) Registration Grants: Some students may have applied this spring for travel awards.  There’s no need to travel to a virtual meeting, so ESA is bundling these awards into what are called Registration Grants.  If you applied for travel support, I suggest reapplying for a Registration Grant.  The Aquatic Ecology Section will be contributing funds that would have gone to pay for food and drinks to these Registration Grants. Deadline is June 30, 2020, and awarded on a first come, first served basis.

2) Best Paper Awards Applications:  Let’s get as many students and recent PhD’s applying for the Thomas Frost ($500) and Exceptional Promise ($250) awards as possible in 2020!  See details below.  Deadline for best paper applications is the same as the ESA meeting registration – July 23, 2020.  See below details on eligibility and how to apply.

Thomas M. Frost Award for Excellence in Graduate Research The Aquatic Section of the Ecological Society of America is pleased to sponsor the Thomas M. Frost Award for Excellence in Graduate Research.  Thomas M. Frost was the director of the University of Wisconsin Trout Lake Station from 1981 until his death in 2000.  His colleagues will remember him as a dedicated and creative scientist who brought a gentle, caring humanity to our endeavors.  This prize, founded in 2001, honors his commitment to aquatic ecology and to graduate student education.  Graduate students and recent Ph.D. recipients (within two years of receiving the Ph.D.*) are both eligible for the Frost Award. The recipient will receive a plaque and a $500 cash prize.

*Note that this deadline will be extended by one year for the birth or adoption of a child or for another  life event (e.g., major illness) that substantially impacted the ability to work.

Exceptional Promise in Graduate Research Award  Only current graduate students are eligible for the Exceptional Promise in Graduate Research Award. The recipient will receive a cash prize of $250. This award has been established through a generous gift in honor of limnologist Stuart Neff.

Eligibility and nomination for both Student Research Awards: These awards will be given to scientists in recognition of an outstanding paper resulting from research done as a graduate student. The nominee must be first author of the paper if there is more than one author.  Nominated papers must be published in a peer-reviewed journal and be in the area of aquatic ecology.  The nominee also must be a member in good standing of the ESA Aquatic Section at the time of nomination.  Self-nominations and nominations by colleagues are welcomed.  Applications will be reviewed by the Awards Committee appointed by the Officers of the Aquatic Section. Candidates will be judged based upon the paper’s contribution to the field, including its originality, study design, and impact. At the time of the nomination deadline, the paper must be published and the nominee must be a graduate student or have received the Ph.D. within two years (see additional criteria above).

Email Nominations to Chip Small ( containing the student’s full name. Nomination packets should include: 

1. A copy of the paper

2. A brief letter describing the impact of the paper on the field and stating the date of completion of the degree if the nominee is no longer a student

3. A letter of support from the major professor that also confirms eligibility of the nominee for the award

4. A CV from the nominee


3) Best Student Presentation Award:  We will be looking for judges for student presentations.  We will solicit judges closer to the meeting (when we have the list of students registered to have their presentations judged).  Students, make sure you request to be judged.  Peer feedback is one of the most important services/benefits and can give/receive as a scientific community.  The 2019 Best Aquatic Student Presentation was Sebastian Heilpern (Columbia University) for the tall titled “Community consequences of indiscriminate overharvest in large tropical rivers”!  Congratulations again, Sebastian!


4) All Mixed-Up Mixer:  Our crown jewel event – the Aquatic Ecology Section Mixer & Awards Ceremony – is just not going to be possible this year.  We had discussed a few options for a synchronous event, and it doesn’t seem like it’s possible (plus, we probably all need to spend less time sitting in front of a computer at this point).  As a way to promote learning more about one another and expanding participation and engagement among Aquatic Ecology Section members.  

We invite folks to submit a short video of themselves on Twitter answering the questions “Who are you?  What do you research?  What’s the coolest aquatic ecology paper you’ve read recently?”.  Include the hastags #ESAAquatic2020 #ESA2020 in the tweet of your video.


Lastly, we are looking for early career folks who would like to serve as vice chair and secretary starting after the 2021 meeting.  Send me an email ( if you are interested.

Stay safe and we look forward to interacting with y’all before, during, and after the meeting!

Please remember to renew your ESA membership for 2020!