Using tree-fall patterns to calculate tornado wind speed

103rd Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America: 
Extreme events, ecosystem resilience and human well-being
5–10 August 2018

 

June 22, 2018
For Immediate Release

Contact: Zoe Gentes, 202-833-8773 ext. 211, zgentes@esa.org

Tornadoes, hurricanes, and other extreme windstorm events cause millions of dollars in structural damage and related losses each year. They can also significantly damage ecosystems systems, driving efforts to study resilience in the face of these events. For any resilience study involving severe wind storms, an accurate estimate of wind speed is an essential. The initial damage inflicted on trees (or any ecosystem) changes for different wind speeds. These are difficult to ascertain, both in-situ or by radar measurements, during a severe windstorm event. A promising method using tree-fall patterns (i.e., the falling direction of trees) has been developed to estimate these speeds.

Tornado wind speed can be estimated by simulating a tornado using the Rankine Vortex model. The trees are assumed to fall if the wind speed generated by the tornado is greater than the critical wind speed of tree-fall, which creates distinctive tree-fall pattern. The critical wind speed of the tree-fall correlates with the thickness and height of the trees. Researchers ultimately try to simulate a pattern that closely matches the real life tornado tree-fall pattern.

Daniel M. Rhee, a PhD student at University of Illinois specializing in Structures in Civil Engineering, focuses his research on modeling tornadoes and near-surface wind speeds using tree-fall and damage patterns. With this method, Rhee and his research advisor, Franklin T. Lombardo, estimated the near-surface wind speeds of an actual tornado event in Naplate, IL. Rhee will present this research at the Ecological Society of America’s 2018 Annual Meeting in New Orleans, LA.

Lombardo (left) and Rhee (right) investigating trees and residential debris after a tornado tore through central Illinois in February 2017. Photo credit: Justin Nevill.

Tornadoes are rated by their intensity and the damage they cause to vegetation and structures. The Enhanced Fujita scale (EF-Scale) is a tornado scale that was originally introduced in 1971 (and later updated) by Tetsuya Fujita and Allen Pearson. Fujita researched windstorm destruction and also used tree-fall patterns to estimate near-surface wind speeds.

In the Naplate event, a number of fallen and standing trees were sampled and their thickness and height were documented. Rhee then estimated a maximum wind speed corresponding to an EF-2 tornado (113-157 mph). The result was compared to wind speed estimated from residential houses and other damaged infrastructure such as street signs. He also applied other methods such as estimating EF rating based on the tree-fallen percentage for comparison. An EF-2 tornado inflicts “major damage” including blowing roofs off homes, damaging small structures, and snapping or uprooting large trees.

Scientists from the Wind Engineering Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois in Ottowa, Illinois, 2017. Photo credit: Justin Nevill.

Rhee has an MS and BS in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois. Rhee has also applied this tree-fall method to crops damaged in both residential and agricultural areas struck by tornadoes.

Rhee’s talk is part of a session on the Ecological Impacts of Tornados on Eastern Deciduous Forest: Short- and Long-Term Case Studies from the Eastern United States. This session consists of 10 presentations, including the selections below:


OOS 12-1 – Identification and characterization of wind storm events using tree-fall patterns

  • Tuesday, August 7, 2018: 1:30 PM
  • 343, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center
  • Daniel Rhee, University of Illinois
  • Presentation abstract

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2018 Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana

Extreme events, ecosystem resilience and human well-being

5–10 August 2018

 

Ecologists from 50 U.S. states, U.S. territories, and countries around the world will converge on New Orleans, Louisiana this August for the 103nd Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America. Up to 4,000 attendees are expected to gather for thousands of scientific presentations on breaking research and new ecological concepts at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on August 5 – 10, 2018.

ESA invites press and institutional public information officers to attend for free. To apply, please contact ESA Public Information Manager Zoe Gentes directly at zgentes@esa.org. Walk-in registration will be available during the meeting.

 

 

 

 

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The Ecological Society of America (ESA), founded in 1915, is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge, committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 9,000 member Society publishes five journals and a membership bulletin and broadly shares ecological information through policy, media outreach, and education initiatives. The Society’s Annual Meeting attracts 4,000 attendees and features the most recent advances in the science of ecology. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org.

ESA announces the recipients of the 2017 Student Awards

Awards recognize students for exceptional research and outstanding presentations at the 2017 Annual Meeting

June 19, 2018
For Immediate Release

Contact: Zoe Gentes, 202-833-8773 ext. 211, zgentes@esa.org

The Ecological Society of America recognizes Michael T. Kohl, Benjamin J. Wilson, and Emily E. Ernst for awards for outstanding student research. The Murray F. Buell and E. Lucy Braun awards are given for exceptional presentations at the 102nd Annual Meeting of the Society in Portland, Oregon in August 2017. The Forest Shreve Research Fund award supports graduate or undergraduate student ecological research in the hot deserts of North America. 

 

2017 Buell Award winner Michel T. Kohl. Photo courtesy of Kohl.

Murray F. Buell Award: Michel T. Kohl

Murray F. Buell had a long and distinguished record of service and accomplishment in the Ecological Society of America. Among other things, he ascribed great importance to the participation of students in meetings and to excellence in the presentation of papers. To honor his selfless dedication to the younger generation of ecologists, the Murray F. Buell Award for Excellence in Ecology is given to a student for the outstanding oral paper presented at the ESA Annual Meeting.

Award panel members honored Michel T. Kohl with the 2017 Murray F. Buell award. Kohl is now a postdoctoral fellow in the Jack H. Berryman Institute at Utah State University after receiving his PhD this past year. His oral paper investigated whether elk in Yellowstone National park selected their habitat based on the activity schedules and space use of their predators, cougars and wolves. He found that elk frequented open areas at night when wolves were not as active, but selected forested areas in the day when cougars were not as active. Together, this allowed elk to avoid both predators simultaneously while still providing access to high quality forage. Judges were impressed my Michel’s thorough background information, his compelling analyses, and great answers to post-presentation questions.

2017 Buell Honorable Mention Hayley R. Tumas. Photo courtesy of Tumas.

A Buell award honorable mention is awarded to Hayley R. Tumas, who received her PhD last month at the University of Georgia. Tumas used microsatellite markers to investigate genetic diversity and population connectivity in Juncus roemerianus, a dominant foundational plant species in Gulf coast salt marshes. Her results could inform coastal restoration and management to conserve natural levels of diversity in Juncus populations. Judges enjoyed her clear and engaging style, her careful pacing, and her thorough knowledge of the study ecosystem.

 

Lucy Braun Award: Benjamin J. Wilson

2017 Braun Award winner Benjamin J. Wilson in the wetland field. Photo courtesy of Wilson.

Lucy Braun, an eminent plant ecologist and one of the charter members of the Society, studied and mapped the deciduous forest regions of eastern North America and described them in her classic book, The Deciduous Forests of Eastern North America. To honor her, the E. Lucy Braun Award for Excellence in Ecology is given to a student for the outstanding poster presentation at the ESA Annual Meeting. Papers and posters are judged on the significance of ideas, creativity, quality of methodology, validity of conclusions drawn from results, and clarity of presentation.

The 2017 E. Lucy Braun award was won by Benjamin J. Wilson, a postdoctoral researcher at Florida International University, who recently defended his dissertation entitled, “Drivers and Mechanisms of Peat Collapse in Coastal Wetlands.” Wilson’s poster presented research findings centered around exploring if the negative impacts of saltwater intrusion in the Everglades could be offset by the increase in phosphorus load that accompanies such events. He found that gross and net ecosystem productivity both increased with saltwater influx, possibly due to the associated increases in phosphorus. However, salt negatively impacted root growth and led to an overall decrease in elevation. Judges were impressed by Benjamin’s clear explanations, great visualizations, and careful execution of his experiments.

 

2017 Forest Shreve Research Award winner Emily E. Ernst. Photo courtesy of Ernst.

Forest Shreve Research Award: Emily E. Ernst

Dr. Shreve was an internationally known American botanist devoted to the study of the distribution of vegetation as determined by soil and climate conditions, with a focus on desert vegetation. The Forest Shreve award supplies $1,000-2,000 to support ecological research by graduate or undergraduate student members of ESA in the hot deserts of North America (Sonora, Mohave, Chihuahua, and Vizcaino). 

ESA awards Emily E. Ernst with the Forest Shreve Research award. Ernst is a PhD candidate studying Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at Iowa State University working under the mentorship of Dr. Kirk Moloney. She is studying two problematic exotic grasses of the Sonoran and Mojave deserts, Schismus arabicus and Bromus rubens, and how the microhabitats beneath creosote bush may affect the distributions of these invaders. She is also investigating how their invasion may affect the pathways for potential desert fires to spread. She will use her award to better characterize microhabitat soil nutrient and water availability. 

 

2018 Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana
5–10 August 2018

Ecologists from 50 U.S. states, U.S. territories, and countries around the world will converge on New Orleans, Louisiana this August for the 103nd Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America. Up to 4,000 attendees are expected to gather for thousands of scientific presentations on breaking research and new ecological concepts at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on August 5th through 10th, 2018.

ESA invites press and institutional public information officers to attend for free. To apply, please contact ESA Public Information Manager Zoe Gentes directly at zgentes@esa.org. Walk-in registration will be available during the meeting.

 

 

 

 

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The Ecological Society of America (ESA), founded in 1915, is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge, committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 9,000 member Society publishes five journals and a membership bulletin and broadly shares ecological information through policy, media outreach, and education initiatives. The Society’s Annual Meeting attracts 4,000 attendees and features the most recent advances in ecological science. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org.

103rd Annual Meeting: Preview and Highlights

Extreme Events, Ecosystem Resilience and Human Well-being

June 12, 2018
For Immediate Release

Contact: Zoe Gentes, 202-833-8773 ext. 211, zgentes@esa.org

Extreme events – such as heat waves, droughts, floods, fires and storms – are made worse by human activities. For example, past civilizations, such as the Maya and Mesopotamians, apparently exacerbated the droughts that caused their demise through deforestation and agricultural practices similar to our own. These events challenge populations, communities, and ecosystems, as well as our human health and living conditions. The ability of ecosystems to respond depends on how resilient they are, a characteristic also undermined by land-use practices that increase effects of extreme conditions. Clearly, the sustainability of ecosystem services – the benefits that people derive from nature and natural capital – and human well-being depends on ecosystem resilience to extreme events. The following selected sessions and events at the Annual Meeting delve into this year’s meeting theme.

 

Organized Oral Sessions

Pastoralism in the 21st Century: Assessing Climate Change Impacts and Adaptations (OOS 4)

Monday, August 6: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM; Room 344

Pastoralism (the practice of raising of livestock) occupies 30% of Earth’s land area and contributes to the livelihoods of 2 billion people. Pastoral systems typically exist on lands characterized by scarce and varying resources– conditions that are likely to be intensified by warmer temperatures and altered precipitation associated with climate change. The session will discuss climate change as the ‘breaking point’ for the pastoral lifestyle, fundamental plant resource responses to climate change, strategies that are being employed to adapt to climate change, and how previous pastoral activities have impacted current and future sustainability.

 

Ecophysiology of Drought Resilience and Recovery (OOS 16)

Wednesday, August 8: 8:00 AM-11:30 AM; Room 346-347

Drought events present opportunities to study how plants respond to and recover from climate extremes. A key to forecasting these dynamic effects on plant communities is understanding their mechanistic (physical) responses to both sustained and sudden or severe stressors. However, major uncertainties remain in how and when plants may experience reversible versus irreversible shifts in resilience. This session seeks a better understanding of drought constraints on future terrestrial ecosystems. Topics include technology and methods, drought ecophysiology, hydraulic safety, phloem transport, photosynthesis gain versus hydraulic risk, tree-ring based mortality warning signals, and plant water uptake.

 

Symposia

Exploring Links between Cities and Surrounding Landscapes: Can Cities Enhance Regional Resilience and Biodiversity in an Era of Climate Change and Extreme Events? (SYMP 6)

Tuesday, August 7: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM; Room 350-351

The ecological and evolutionary dynamics – as well as conservation, planning, and stewardship activities – that occur in cities can influence biodiversity in the surrounding ecosystems. This discussion will address how unique conditions in cities may bolster regional resilience and facilitate recovery from extreme events. It will address five main themes: urban evolutionary dynamics and adaptation, population dynamics, landscape heterogeneity, socio-ecological linkages, and ecological design and planning. Topics include biodiversity and ecological resilience in Silicon Valley, urban green spaces, gene flow in urban infrastructure and socioeconomics, environmental stewardship practices and networks, and modeling extreme event scenarios in US and Latin Cities.

 

Advancing Coastal Ecological Resilience and Climate Change Adaptation (SYMP 15)

Thursday, August 9: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM; Room 350-351

Coastal areas are increasingly vulnerable to climate change impacts of storm surge flooding, erosion, and sea level rise. There is demand for new strategies for greater climate resilience and coastal process management amidst new urban development in low-lying coastal areas. Advancing the resiliency and stewardship of these areas requires critical involvement from ecologists and extensive research into design and planning. Coastal cities and towns like New Orleans, with their heavily populated, low-lying waterfront settlements, are ideal sites for exploring climate change adaptation strategies that incorporate management for wetland hydrology, deposition, and erosion and other critical functions. This symposium brings together an interdisciplinary group of coastal and wetland ecologists, land planners, and landscape architectsto discuss the strategies and challenges of land development for climate change adaptation of coastal systems.

 

Field Trips

How is Ecological Understanding Informing Protected Area Management in the Rapidly Subsiding Freshwater Wetland Landscape of the Mississippi Delta? (FT 5)

Sunday, August 5: 8:00 AM-4:30 PM; Lobby E, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center

Expert ecologists will provide an orientation to this New Orleans’ major river delta landscape, its geological and human management history, and the major challenges in protecting and conserving essential ecological and environmental values in these predominantly freshwater coastal wetland ecosystems. Following an introduction at the Barataria Preserve Visitor Center, the trip will visit the estuarine edge of the Preserve via swamp tour boat. Participants may be able to get out onto a floating peat marsh and (later) walk to the edge of a bald cypress swamp. After lunch at a picnic area on the natural levee ridge of the Mississippi River distributary, the trip will explore bottomland hardwood forests growing on higher elevation terrain and bald cypress swamps inhabiting natural levee backslopes. Ecologists with long-term research programs in the park will lead these trail walks. In addition to enjoying these lush wetland ecosystems and their abundant biota, the trip will visit one of the park’s elevation and hydrology dynamics monitoring stations, and will learn about other ongoing research and monitoring programs.

 

Green Infrastructure and Extreme Events in the New Orleans Urban Ecosystem (FT 6)

Monday, August 6: 8:35 AM-12:30 PM; Lobby E, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center

Since its founding 300 years ago, New Orleans has constantly negotiated its relationship to water through the use of pumps, canals, and levees – grey and blue infrastructure that work to move rain and floodwater out of the city’s unique topography. Since the catastrophic flooding during 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, city officials have slowly begun designing and implementing large-scale green infrastructure projects. These initiatives are intended to capture precipitation during intense rainfall, relieving pressure on the city’s aging and problem-prone municipal drainage system. Retaining water on the landscape may also decrease soil subsidence, a critical problem for a city that is largely below sea level. Further, these interventions are slated for implementation on large tracts of vacant urban land, abandoned in Katrina’s aftermath. Public health concerns over mosquitos, rodents, and invasive vegetation represent serious challenges in the design and maintenance of the projects. This fieldtrip brings ESA members to multiple urban sites where major green infrastructure projects have been implemented or are under construction. Led by local urban ecologists engaged in the design and monitoring of the projects, participants will also meet with city officials and project designers working toward an understanding of the promise and limits of green infrastructure in a city known for its water management dilemmas.

 

Special Sessions

Two Sides of the Coin: Conversations on Resilience between Planners, Designers, and Ecologists in Louisiana (SS 20)

Monday, August 6: 10:15 AM-11:30 AM; Room 346-347

This Louisiana-centric special session will discuss the difficult questions about how ecosystem services can be delivered at the scales of the region/watershed, the city, and the site of the state’s coasts. Researchers and policy-makers or managers can sometimes talk past one another due to the different goals, timeframes, and terminology across practice and research. This session is designed to straddle these divides and provide a space to compare and contrast experiences working on urban development projects and to discuss potential integration. Examples from coastal Louisiana will not only serve as focal points of conversation but also demonstrate the national relevance of key challenges in this area at regional, city, and site scales.

 

Inspire Sessions

The Role of Ecologists in Disaster Management (INS 20)

Wednesday, August 8: 3:30 PM-5:00 PM; Room 244

Ecological communities are often structured by the variability and predictability of key environmental drivers. Although disturbance regimes (extreme events that disturb the ecosystem) are key subjects for nearly every ecological sub-discipline, ecologists tend to play an indirect role in the management of natural hazards and disasters. It is unsurprising that ecological study is of secondary priority in the immediate aftermath of life-threatening disasters; yet, failure to learn from exceptional events may subject communities to greater risks from future occurrences. This session explores the current and potential roles of ecological knowledge in response to a diversity of natural disturbances (e.g., flood, fire, drought). Case studies are presented from investigators working in ecologically, geographically, and socio-politically diverse systems to create contrast in the approaches and experiences of disaster management. 

 

2018 Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana
5–10 August 2018

Ecologists from 50 U.S. states, U.S. territories, and countries around the world will converge on New Orleans, Louisiana this August for the 103nd Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America. Up to 4,000 attendees are expected to gather for thousands of scientific presentations on breaking research and new ecological concepts at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center  August 5th – 10th, 2018.

ESA invites press and institutional public information officers to attend for free. To apply, please contact ESA Public Information Manager Zoe Gentes directly at zgentes@esa.org. Walk-in registration will be available during the meeting.

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The Ecological Society of America (ESA), founded in 1915, is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge, committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 9,000 member Society publishes five journals and a membership bulletin and broadly shares ecological information through policy, media outreach, and education initiatives. The Society’s Annual Meeting attracts 4,000 attendees and features the most recent advances in the science of ecology. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org.

 

Ecological Society of America announces 2018 award recipients

ESA LogoFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, 16 March 2018
Contact: Liza Lester, 202-833-8773 ext. 211, LLester@esa.org

 

 

The Ecological Society of America (ESA) will present the 2018 awards recognizing outstanding contributions to ecology in new discoveries, teaching, sustainability, diversity, and lifelong commitment to the profession during the Society’s Annual Meeting in New Orleans, La. The awards ceremony will take place during the Scientific Plenary on Monday, August 6, at 8 AM in the La Nouvelle Orleans Ballroom, at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Learn more about ESA awards on our home website.

 

Eminent Ecologist Award: F. Stuart Chapin III

The Eminent Ecologist Award honors a senior ecologist for an outstanding body of ecological work or sustained ecological contributions of extraordinary merit.

F. Stuart Chapin III, professor emeritus of ecology at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, transformed our understanding of terrestrial ecosystems over his 50-year career. He has been an intellectual leader in tackling questions about how humans shape ecosystems and how human well-being depends on those ecosystems, driving projects on sustainability for communities in Alaska, and engaging these communities to seek solutions to declining livelihoods caused by climate change. He has also been an international leader in developing solutions to our many environmental challenges.

His early work linked plant physiology to nutrient limitation and allocation in plants, demonstrating how these processes affect nutrient cycling in ecosystems and shape the types of plant defenses deployed against herbivores. He synthesized diverse ideas into a working model for the feedbacks between ecosystem functioning and plant growth and defense strategies, showing how these physiological processes can drive broad ecosystem processes at both local and global scales. Through a lifetime of study in tundra ecosystems, he broke ground in research into the influence of elevated carbon dioxide on boreal ecosystems, demonstrating critical feedbacks between vegetation changes and climate dynamics. His work on the dynamics of plant succession at Glacier Bay, Alaska, is a classic of the ecological literature.

Chapin has served the scientific community as a past president of the Ecological Society of America and on many editorial boards. He directed the Bonanza Creek Long Term Ecological Research site and the Resilience and Adaptation Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program, and served on advisory boards for numerous government and scientific organizations, particularly on issues of climate policy. He has been praised as strong mentor and advisor to students, friends, and colleagues throughout his career—generous with his time, ideas, and encouragement in support of great science.

 

MacArthur Award: Katharine N. Suding

The Robert H. MacArthur Award honors an established ecologist in mid-career for meritorious contributions to ecology, in the expectation of continued outstanding ecological research. Award winners generally are within 25 years from the completion of their PhD.

Katharine Suding, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, is a leader in community ecology. She applies empirical and theoretical approaches to address fundamental and applied problems faced by ecological communities in today’s changing world. She has impacted the field of ecology not only through her numerous publications, but also through the students and postdocs she has mentored, and through her leadership in interdisciplinary collaborations.

Suding’s work in grassland ecosystems demonstrated how species’ traits affect the persistence and abundance of species in response to environmental stressors, many of which are related to human activities such as nitrogen deposition, grazing, and changes in rainfall. Her work in alpine systems has revealed the mechanisms by which alpine communities respond to climate change, particularly the role of plant-soil feedbacks. Her research focuses on community assembly and response to environmental perturbations, and the implications for restoration and management. She has taken many leadership roles in interdisciplinary collaborations to investigate patterns and processes within and among ecosystems. She addresses both fundamental and applied problems in ecology, using empirical and theoretical approaches to understand how communities work.

Suding received her PhD from the University of Michigan in 1999. She has since mentored many graduate students and postdocs who now have successful careers in academic institutions, and in agencies and NGOs doing practical work in restoration and landscape management. She has contributed to over 120 articles and co-edited two books, and has been an active leader in the National Science Foundation’s-Long Term Ecological Research network. She has spread the curiosity that feeds her own research to students and collaborators, emphasizing the need to combine basic and applied research in our changing world.

 

Distinguished Service Citation: Scott L. Collins

The Distinguished Service Citation recognizes long and distinguished volunteer service to ESA, the scientific community, and the larger purpose of ecology in the public welfare.

Scott Collins, distinguished professor of biology at the University of New Mexico, has brought extraordinary vision and leadership to advancing the science of ecology, to developing and communicating the need for long-term and broad-scale research infrastructure that enables advancement of ecological knowledge, to the education of young ecologists, and to the Ecological Society of America. He has long recognized the importance of scientists’ active participation in their professional communities, which is well illustrated by decades of service to the ESA and the broader scientific community.

Collins has served in nearly all possible roles within the Society, including vice president of Public Affairs and ESA president in 2013. He served on the editorial boards of two of the Society’s journals, Ecosphere and Ecology, and has chaired or has been a member of eight committees and sections. During his tenure as chair of the Publications Committee, he led two intensive editor-in-chief reviews. He cares deeply about training the next generation of ecologists and has been very active in ESA’s Strategies for Ecology Education, Diversity and Sustainability (SEEDS) program for undergraduates.

Scott has served the broader ecological community for more than 25 years as a faculty member, educator and mentor, and leader within the scientific community. He teaches both undergrad and graduate student classes at the University of New Mexico and actively promotes research activities for students through his leadership role in a National Science Foundation-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates program and in SEEDS. While a program officer at the National Science Foundation, he was instrumental in developing and supporting many large-scale ecological initiatives, including the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), the Long Term Ecological Research program, the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), and the Integrated Research Challenges.

As a researcher, Collins helped transform the field of community ecology by identifying the mechanisms that control species diversity in grasslands. The framework he developed to explain the effects of disturbance on plant communities is a significant contribution to ecological theory.

Collins has dedicated significant amounts of time to engaging with national policy makers and federal agency personnel. In his briefings to Congress, he has emphasized the importance of long-term and broad-scale ecological research, long-term data sets, and research infrastructure needs for the biological and environmental sciences.

 

Eugene P. Odum Award for Excellence in Ecology Education: Diane Ebert-May

Odum Award recipients demonstrate their ability to relate basic ecological principles to human affairs through teaching, outreach, and mentoring activities. 

Diane Ebert-May is a true pioneer in ecology education. For decades, she has encouraged ecologists to develop their teaching based on the principles developed through pedagogical research that reveal the best practices to facilitate student learning of complex ideas in science. Her development program, Faculty Institutes for Reforming Science Teaching (FIRST), introduces young faculty and postdoctoral fellows to evidence-based teaching practices early in their careers, while collecting data on the effectiveness of these practices as they are implemented. This innovative faculty development program has received multiple rounds of funding from the National Science Foundation and trained hundreds of today’s ecology faculty. Many of the techniques promoted by FIRST are now routine in ecological classrooms.

Ebert-May’s substantial body of published work on teaching and assessment methods helped legitimize educational research as a valid pursuit in the discipline of ecology. She has inspired ecological educators through her publications on science pedagogy, her leadership of the Education Section of the ESA, and her energetic and passionate presentations. Ebert-May practices what she preaches, teaching with engaging, inquiry-based, active-learning techniques that inspire students to think, ask questions of the material, form hypotheses, make connections, and become scientists.

 

Commitment to Human Diversity in Ecology Award: Zakiya Holmes Leggett

ESA’s Commitment to Human Diversity in Ecology award recognizes long-standing contributions of an individual towards increasing the diversity of future ecologists through mentoring, teaching, or outreach.

Zakiya Holmes Leggett, assistant professor of forestry and environment at North Carolina State University, has been proactive throughout her career in mentoring and recruiting students from diverse ethnic backgrounds into the field of ecology. As a vanguard for African American women in soil and forest ecology and sustainability studies, she is a notable mentor for student populations that are significantly underrepresented in the field.

Leggett participated in one of the first cohorts of ESA’s SEEDS program as a student at Tuskegee University. She has remained actively involved with SEEDS as a mentor and member of the Advisory Board, helping to grow this diversity program at ESA in the last 16 years, and is active on the Advisory Board of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at Tuskegee.

She serves as NCSU’s campus director for the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars (DDCS) Program,  which trains undergraduate students that are interested in research experiences in conservation issues as well as encouraging human diversity in those fields. She has been equally as involved in helping career development programs for minority students in the Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) professional society. In a short time, her ability to recruit minority students into the workforce, in non-academic research positions and for academic graduate programs, has made an impact in enhancing human diversity of ecologists throughout the United States.

During her decade as a sustainability scientist at the Weyerhaeuser Company, she involved students from diverse ethnic backgrounds in her work designing and executing multidisciplinary research studies to address environmental sustainability for a global forest products company. She continues this mentoring work as an invited speaker at schools, national conferences, and universities, sharing her passion for environmental education and stewardship.

 

Robert H. Whittaker Distinguished Ecologist Award: David B. Lindenmayer

The Whittaker Award recognizes an ecologist with an earned doctorate and an outstanding record of contributions in ecology who is not a U.S. citizen and who resides outside the United States.

David Lindenmayer, Australian Research Council Laureate Professor at the Australian National University in Canberra, is a world leader in landscape-scale conservation ecology, contributing significantly to the understanding of biodiversity both within Australia and around the world. He specializes in establishing large-scale, long-term research programs that are underpinned by rigorous experimental design, detailed sampling, and innovative statistical analyses. He is a prodigious author of more than 650 scientific, peer-reviewed publications, 111 book chapters, and 44 scholarly books, including 5 well-known textbooks. His work has been influential in developing ways to conserve biodiversity across a range of wild and urban landscapes, including reserves, national parks, wood production forests, and farmland.

 

W.S. Cooper Award: Jonas J. Lembrechts, Aníbal Pauchard, Jonathan Lenoir, Martin A. Nuñez, Charly Géron, Arne Ven, Pablo Bravo-Monasterio, Ernesto Teneb, Ivan  Nijs, and Ann Milbau.

The 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. 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.

Cold places are notable for their comparative lack of non-native plants. But figuring out why this is the case is difficult given that high-elevation and high-latitude habitats tend to be not only cold, but also relatively undisturbed, remote, and nutrient-poor. In an ambitious set of experiments, Jonas Lembrechts and colleagues experimentally manipulated disturbance, nutrients, and seed input along elevational gradients in southern South America and northern Scandinavia. They found that disturbance had the strongest effect at all sites, allowing non-native species to establish well above their current elevational limits. The results have clear implications for the future of cold-climate ecosystems affected by warming and increased rates of disturbance.

 

George Mercer Award: Rachel M. Germain, Sharon Y. Strauss and Benjamin Gilbert

The Mercer Award recognizes an outstanding, recently-published, ecological research paper by young scientists.

Rachel Germain, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia, and colleagues evaluated how dispersal limitation and environmental filtering influence local-scale diversity across a range of spatial scales. Using a clever experimental approach adopted from restoration ecology, they vacuumed seeds off field plots and used the collected seeds to create homogenous propagule pools across a range of scales. They found a striking effect of dispersal limitation: local communities harbored roughly half as many species as they could in the absence of dispersal limitation. Their findings advance the understanding of a fundamental ecological problem and give insight into how to better manage biodiversity in a global biodiversity hotspot.

 

Sustainability Science Award: Seema Jayachandran, Joost de Laat, Eric F. Lambin, Charlotte Y. Stanton, Robin Audy, Nancy E. Thomas

The Sustainability Science Award recognizes the authors of the scholarly work that makes the greatest contribution to the emerging science of ecosystem and regional sustainability through the integration of ecological and social sciences.

Many international programs seek to motivate landowners to change their behavior and take up practices that would reduce land degradation and offset carbon emissions. The award-winning study by Seema Jayachandran and colleagues is notable for its methodology, which avoided several of the pitfalls that have limited the reliability of prior efforts to assess the value of payments for ecosystem services (PES) to motivate landowners.

The authors applied the ‘gold standard’ of experimental research to sustainability science by randomly assigning 121 Ugandan villages to groups that did or did not receive PES to motivate changing forestry practice. They monitored results using high-quality remote sensing data, and demonstrated that PES groups reduced deforestation to half that of the control group. The research demonstrates the value of interdisciplinary collaboration in evaluating questions in sustainability science. It relies on the expertise of economists, remote sensing specialists, and a local NGO, which led the project. The government of Uganda and international organizations also played important roles in identifying participating villages and assuring compliance. The study represents a major step forward in the evaluation of PES for global conservation interventions.

  • Jayachandran, S., J. de Laat, E. Lambin, C. Stanton, R. Audy and N. Thomas. Cash for Carbon: A randomized trial of payments for ecosystem services to reduce deforestation. Science 357: 267-273.

 

Innovation in Sustainability Science Award: Laura E. Dee, Michel De Lara, Christopher Costello, Steven D. Gaines

The Innovation in Sustainability Science Award recognizes the authors of a peer-reviewed paper published in the past five years exemplifying leading-edge work on solution pathways to sustainability challenges.

Many conservation organizations have shifted their stated objectives from preserving biodiversity to protecting nature for the benefits it provides to society—known as ecosystem services. Laura Dee and colleagues addressed the question, if conservation decisions were based solely on optimizing ecosystem services, how much protection of biodiversity could arise? Although biodiversity contributes to ecosystem services, the details of which species are critical, and whether they will be lost in the future, are fraught with uncertainty. Explicitly considering this uncertainty, they integrated ecology and economics to develop a new theoretical framework that addresses this question. They found that protecting more species than are presumed critical is optimal due to uncertainty, and define conditions when the optimal protection strategy is to protect all species, no species, and cases in between. Their analysis provides criteria to evaluate when managing for particular ecosystem services could warrant protecting all species, given uncertainty. Evaluating this criterion with empirical estimates from different ecosystems suggests that optimizing some services will be more likely to protect most species than others. Therefore, these results also define when managing for ecosystem services alone could leave significant biodiversity unprotected, and other strategies will be needed to also preserve biodiversity.

 

Learn more about the August 7–12, 2017 ESA Annual Meeting on the meeting website: http://esa.org/neworleans/

 

ESA welcomes attendance from members of the press and waives registration fees for reporters and public information officers. To apply, please contact ESA Communications Officer Liza Lester directly at llester@esa.org.

###

The Ecological Society of America (ESA), founded in 1915, is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge, committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 9,000 member Society publishes five journals and a membership bulletin and broadly shares ecological information through policy, media outreach, and education initiatives. The Society’s Annual Meeting attracts 4,000 attendees and features the most recent advances in ecological science. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org.

Sustainable Northwest receives environmental offsets from the Ecological Society of America

2017 Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America:
Linking biodiversity, material cycling and ecosystem services in a changing world
6–11 August 2017

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, 8 August 2017
Contact: Liza Lester, 206-553-9964, LLester@esa.org

 

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Ecological Society of America (ESA) will donate over $22,000 to local non-profit Sustainable Northwest’s Forest Program, to offset the environmental costs of travel to the society’s Annual Meeting, held this year in Portland, Oregon, on August 6th through 11th, 2017. More than 4,500 environmental researchers, students, educators, managers, practitioners, and policy makers traveled from across the United States and the globe this week to discuss the latest in ecological knowledge. The energy required to transport, house, and host these environmentally-minded participants exacts a toll on the very ecosystems that conference participants have come together to celebrate.

To offset environmental costs associated with the Annual Meeting, the ESA contributes $5 for every meeting registrant to a local organization in the city in which the conference meets. Portland-based Sustainable Northwest has taken on a challenging role of bringing together disparate interests to form solutions to natural resource issues at the nexus of the environment, the economy, and the community.

“Sustainable Northwest strives to work across the aisle with folks who might have been in opposing conservation corners in the past, to create successful collaborative and community-oriented restoration projects on forested lands,” said Marion Dresner, a professor at Portland State University. As the local host chair for the 2017 meeting, Dresner nominated the organization to receive the offsets fund.

Looking towards Arch Cape, Oregon from Ecola State Park, large clear cuts are visible on the hillside above town. This year’s offset donation for travel to the Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting in Portland will be awarded directly to the Forest Program to support the Arch Cape and Rockaway Beach Pilot Projects, both community-driven efforts to acquire and manage the local drinking water source for the coastal towns. Credit, Sustainable Northwest.

Over the last twenty years, Sustainable Northwest has pioneered solutions to some of the most vexing natural resources management challenges in the American West. The organization was instrumental in negotiating the Klamath River Agreements, the largest headwaters-to-sea restoration project in the nation. It is responsible for establishing the Western Juniper Alliance, which brought together ranchers, conservationists, and public land managers to restore rangeland for sage grouse, by creating markets for western juniper wood, a restoration by-product.

This year’s offset donation will be awarded directly to the Forest Program to support the Arch Cape and Rockaway Beach Pilot Projects, both community-driven efforts to acquire and manage the local drinking water source for the coastal towns.

“Drinking water source areas on Oregon’s coast are primarily managed for timber values, resulting in communities that face significant challenges securing safe, clean drinking water,” said Forest Program Director Andrew Spaeth. In the town of Arch Cape, there are 150 permanent and 900 seasonal residents whom rely on a water source that under industrial ownership, has been clear cut and sprayed with pesticides and herbicides. Rockaway Beach, a small town of 1500 just south of Arch Cape on the Oregon coast, has experienced similar issues.

“These communities approached Sustainable Northwest asking for help,” Spaeth said. “With the support of the ESA, we will develop a locally-supported governance framework that ensures community engagement in management decisions and develop a forest and conservation management plan that will improve species diversity and stocking levels over time. Creating community-owned forests ensures permanent protection of conservation values and management activities that will directly serve the local people.”

Sustainable Northwest has recently executed a Memorandum of Understanding to support the acquisition and management of an approximately 1250-acre drinking water source area for Arch Cape. Spaeth explained that securing tenure of forestlands increases the amount of carbon sequestered through improved forest management practices, amid a host of other benefits. “Local ownership of the forested drinking water source areas will improve the quality of water supplied by the forest, enhance wildlife habitat connectivity to adjacent public lands, create locally-based restoration jobs, and increase watershed resilience in the face of a changing climate.”

“It’s a unique project that brings together critical issues — public health, rural economic development, and climate change — and it wouldn’t be possible without the support of ESA!”


 

2017 ESA Annual Meeting in Portland Oregon
6–11 August 2017
Oregon Convention Center

ESA invites press and institutional public information officers to attend for free. To apply, please contact ESA Public Information Manager Liza Lester directly at llester@esa.org. Walk-in registration will be available during the meeting.


The Ecological Society of America, founded in 1915, is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge, committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 10,000 member Society publishes five journals and a membership bulletin and broadly shares ecological information through policy, media outreach, and education initiatives. The Society’s Annual Meeting attracts 4,000 attendees and features the most recent advances in ecological science. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org. 

Weighing the benefits of incidental habitat protection

2017 Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America:
Linking biodiversity, material cycling and ecosystem services in a changing world
6–11 August 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, 2 August 2017
Contact: Liza Lester, 202-833-8773 ext. 211, LLester@esa.org

 

 

Regulations on land use that have been put in place to protect water quality, human lives, and property, may also protect plants and animals, by limiting the development of natural areas. To avert erosion and landslides, for example, landowners may be prohibited from building on or clearing trees from steep slopes. Trees flanking streams may be preserved to protect water quality.

How well does habitat provided by the second-hand protection of regulations stack up to habitat explicitly protected for conservation?

Joshua Lawler, a professor at the University of Washington, will present his research into this question at the Ecological Society of America’s 2017 Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon.

Lawler, Michael Case, and a team from the University of Washington compared land that had come under incidental protection through regulations, to land acquired for conservation during the same 25-year span (1990-2015), in Washington State. Preliminary results indicate that land protected by regulation is not configured well to provide habitat for animals that need space to range.

Dabob Bay Natural Area, established in 1984 to protect rare examples of intact salt marsh and sand spit plant communities within one of Washington State’s highest functioning coastal spit and tidal wetland systems. Credit, Washington Department of Natural Resources (CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Lawler’s talk, on Wednesday, August 9, is part of a session on Conservation Planning, Policy, and Theory. This session includes presentations on:

 


COS 107-10 – Weighing the relative benefits of land-use regulation and land acquisition for protecting biodiversity

  • Wednesday, August 9, 2017: 4:40 PM
  • B110-111, Oregon Convention Center
  • Joshua J. Lawler and Michael Case, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
  • Presentation abstract
  • Contact: jlawler@uw.edu

 

2017 Annual Meeting in Portland Oregon
6–11 August 2017

Environmental scientists from 50 U.S. states, U.S. territories, and countries around the world will converge on Portland, Oregon this August for the 102nd Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America. Five thousand attendees are expected to gather for nearly four thousand scientific presentations on breaking research and new ecological concepts at the Oregon Convention Center on August 6th through 11th, 2017.

ESA invites press and institutional public information officers to attend for free. To apply, please contact ESA Public Information Manager Liza Lester directly at llester@esa.org. Walk-in registration will be available during the meeting.

###

The Ecological Society of America, founded in 1915, is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge, committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 10,000 member Society publishes five journals and a membership bulletin and broadly shares ecological information through policy, media outreach, and education initiatives. The Society’s Annual Meeting attracts 4,000 attendees and features the most recent advances in ecological science. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org

Adorable alpine animal acclimates behavior to a changing climate

2017 Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America:
Linking biodiversity, material cycling and ecosystem services in a changing world
6–11 August 2017

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, 1 August 2017
Contact: Liza Lester, 202-833-8773 ext. 211, LLester@esa.org

 

As climate change brings new pressures to bear on wildlife, species must “move, adapt, acclimate, or die.” Erik Beever and colleagues review the literature on acclimation through behavioral flexibility, identifying patterns in examples from invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, and fishes, in the cover article for the August issue of the Ecological Society of America’s (ESA) journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. The authors focus on the American pika (Ochotona princeps) as a case study in behavioral adaptation.

Beever will explore factors that define the pika’s distribution on Tuesday, August 8 at the ESA’s 2017 Annual Meeting, held this year in Portland, Oregon.

“Pikas inhabit a vast and diverse geographic range,” said Beever, a researcher for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Rocky Mountain Science Center in Bozeman, Montana. “However, they usually don’t like to travel far.”

Puff and lounge thermoregulation. American pikas can their moderate body temperature through posture (to some degree), squeezing into a fluffy ball, a body posture with minimum surface area, to hold in heat in winter (left), or stretching out the surface area of their bodies to cool down in summer (right). In recent years, pikas have been observed modifying their foraging habits in ways that may be behavioral adaptations to a changing climate.  Credit, J. Jacobson, from figure 4 of EA Beever et al (2017) Front Ecol Environ doi: 10.1002/fee.1502.

Puff and lounge thermoregulation. American pikas can their moderate body temperature through posture (to some degree), squeezing into a fluffy ball, a body posture with minimum surface area, to hold in heat in winter (left), or stretching out the surface area of their bodies to cool down in summer (right). In recent years, pikas have been observed modifying their foraging habits in ways that may be behavioral adaptations to a changing climate.
Credit, J. Jacobson, from figure 4 of EA Beever et al (2017) Front Ecol Environ doi: 10.1002/fee.1502.

American pikas typically live high on the damp, rocky slopes of North America’s western mountains, from the dry peaks of Nevada and New Mexico to the wet coastal mountains of the Pacific Northwest. Yet pikas are homebodies, rarely traveling a kilometer from their rocky abode. As a consequence, pika populations are often inbred to an unusually high degree.

The combination of expansive range and frequently distinct populations makes the pika a good model species for the study of localized, idiosyncratic responses to diverse and changing environmental conditions, Beever said.

Behavioral responses, which can be rapid compared to shifts in range, may serve as early warnings of climate impacts on species. Shifting mating seasons or migrations are common behavioral adaptations to the temperature, precipitation, humidity, wind, and other changes encompassed by climate change. Animals also adjust strategies for feeding, foraging, avoiding predators, and sheltering from inclement weather. Behavioral solutions, however, are limited by physiology, and sometimes incur costly trade-offs with other essential activities. An animal that spends the day in a rock crevice, sheltering from the sun, does not have enough time to forage. So changes in behavior alone are unlikely to be sufficient to adapt successfully to the predicted changes in climate over the next century.

The pika typically inhabits high alpine rock piles at the bases of cliffs or chutes, known as talus. Although it looks a bit like a hamster, the pika is most closely related to rabbits and hares. In the summer, this tiny, tailless mammal stocks its rock home with grasses and flowers, creating, and assiduously defending, a “haypile” to eat during the long winter. The pika can moderate its body temperature by squeezing into a fluffy ball to hold in heat, or stretching out to cool down. In California and Nevada, pikas often spend the hottest hours of a summer day resting beneath rocks, out of the sun.

Patterns of behavioral responses represented in the literature. Studies in the literature search that documented behavioral response to climate variability (n = 186) were classified with respect to: (a) the class of behavior modified in response to climate, (b) the climatic stimulus apparently eliciting a response, (c) the taxonomic classification of organisms exhibiting behavioral responses, (d) the average lifespan of species with responses, and (e) the timescale over which the climatic stimulus caused the animal to change its behavior. In (a), the gray wedge comprises all studies in which the behavior was an aspect of phenology; these behaviors are more-finely parsed and classified in the smaller pie chart. Figure 1 of EA Beever et al (2017) Front Ecol Environ doi: 10.1002/fee.1502. Credit, ESA.

In recent years, pikas have been observed caching haypiles in downed logs and dead snags, and visiting lake shores, more than 100 meters from their typical talus slopes. In the Columbia River Gorge, which lies at an unusually low altitude for the species, pikas make much greater use of the dense forest neighboring their talus patches than do their brethren higher on the slopes of nearby Mt. Hood. On hot days there, the pikas may prefer the refuge of the shady forest to the open talus slopes. Columbia residents also eat large amounts of moss, which is abundant year-round in the wet, relatively warm river gorge.

Pikas living in the Great Basin have not shown this level of flexibility in their habitat, which may be a factor in the observed shrinking distribution of the pika in that part of its range.

At the ESA’s 2017 Annual Meeting, Beever will talk about factors that define the pika’s distribution in different parts of its geographic range, which encompasses substantially different ecosystems. Local climate is an important constraint on where the pika can survive and thrive. The relative influence of different climatic factors in shaping species distributions and range edges, varies over small distances, such as the upper and lower altitude bounds of a species’ niche. Beever and his colleagues are working to understand and model these localized effects on animals like the pika, with the aim of providing information on a fine-grained scale applicable to wildlife management.


COS 35-1 – Do climatic constraints on American-pika distribution vary spatially, and if so, how? Tests of common SDM assumptions, and novel approaches to improve modeling

  • Tuesday, August 8, 2017: 8:00 AM
  • D131, Oregon Convention Center
  • Erik A. Beever U.S. Geological Survey Rocky Mountain Science Center, & Ecology Dept., Montana State University, Bozeman, MT
  • Presentation abstract in the online program
  • Contact: ebeever@usgs.gov

 

Behavioral flexibility as a mechanism for coping with climate change (2017). Erik A Beever, L Embere Hall, Johanna Varner, Anne E Loosen, Jason B Dunham, Megan K Gahl, Felisa A Smith, Joshua J Lawler. Front Ecol Environ 15(6): 299-308; doi:10.1002/fee.1502

 

2017 Annual Meeting in Portland Oregon
6–11 August 2017

Environmental scientists from 50 U.S. states, U.S. territories, and countries around the world will converge on Portland, Oregon this August for the 102nd Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America. Five thousand attendees are expected to gather for nearly four thousand scientific presentations on breaking research and new ecological concepts at the Oregon Convention Center on August 6th through 11th, 2017.

ESA invites press and institutional public information officers to attend for free. To apply, please contact ESA Public Information Manager Liza Lester directly at llester@esa.org. Walk-in registration will be available during the meeting.

###

The Ecological Society of America, founded in 1915, is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge, committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 10,000 member Society publishes five journals and a membership bulletin and broadly shares ecological information through policy, media outreach, and education initiatives. The Society’s Annual Meeting attracts 4,000 attendees and features the most recent advances in ecological science. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org

Art inspiring ecological science, inspiring art

2017 Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America:
Linking biodiversity, material cycling and ecosystem services in a changing world
6–11 August 2017

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, 20 July 2017
Contact: Liza Lester, 202-833-8773 ext. 211, LLester@esa.org

 

 

 

ESA2017 Art:Sci

Ecologists and artists will explore the intersection of their craft in two back-to-back Ignite-style sessions on Tuesday, August 8, at the Ecological Society of America’s 2017 Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon.

 “When a scientist sees their work through an artist’s eyes, they learn something,” said ecologist Kim Landsbergen, an associate professor at Antioch College and organizer ofIGN 5 – Art and Science Collaboration: Disciplinary Diversity as a Means of Exploring Ecological Systems and Value Structures.” “In this session, we focus on collaborative projects that fuse contemporary art and ecological science to make new work that’s not possible within each discipline alone.”

In the fast-paced Ignite-style sessions, speakers explore new ideas and introduce new research tools within a strict format: five minutes for 20 slides, which advance automatically every 15 seconds. An informal discussion follows a set of ten presentations, linked by topic.

Landsbergen’s session, co-organized with Emily Bosanquet from the Pacific Northwest College of Art, places a unique focus on the contemporary art process, with collaborations that strive to go beyond the representational.

Aaron Ellison, organizer of “IGN 7 – Ecological Art-Science Collaborations” and a senior research fellow in Ecology at the Harvard Forest, expressed similar goals.

“We hope to use this session to turn the one-way street that art serves only to communicate science, into a two-way interaction where art and science inform, improve, and enhance one another. Scientists can learn as much from art, and artists, as artists can learn from science, and scientists,” said Ellison.  

<b>Reassemblage #3, by Mark Dorf.</b>  a compilation of many landscape image features, reassembled by Mark Dorf into a new landscape. The assemblage appears to depict a natural and idyllic mountain, but, on close examination, the mountain is wrong in many ways: the geology is impossible, the patterns of snow cover are nonsensical, and the plants grow in unnatural ways. This image is a result of Dorf’s fascination with how scientists tend to fracture large questions into smaller pieces, and then seek an understanding of the whole by some reassembly of the pieces. Explore the ESA2017 Art:Sci Gallery.

Reassemblage #3, by Mark Dorf. A compilation of many landscape image features, reassembled by Mark Dorf into a new landscape, the assemblage appears to depict a natural and idyllic mountain, but, on close examination, the mountain is wrong in many ways: the geology is impossible, the patterns of snow cover are nonsensical, and the plants grow in unnatural ways. This image is a result of Dorf’s fascination with how scientists tend to fracture large questions into smaller pieces, and then seek an understanding of the whole by some reassembly of the pieces. Explore the ESA2017 Art:Sci Gallery.

Ecologists should keep in mind the difference between commissioning art for communication purposes versus embarking on a new collaborative project, which requires both parties listening, working, contributing, and compromising together, Landsbergen said. She was struck by a comment from artist Ardis Defreese, a professor at the Pacific Northwest College of Art: art is not in service to science. A collaboration is work done among equals, Defreese told her.

During Landsbergen’s session, Defreese will discuss her installation “Curiosity,” inspired by climate change, copepods, and research she observed as an artist-in-residence at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Newport, Oregon, in 2016.

Ellison will present his collaboration with artist and designer David Buckley Borden, “Hemlock Hospice.” The field-based installation was inspired by one of the most iconic trees in the United States, the Eastern Hemlock, and its slow death under the depredations of the invasive hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae).

The process of making art is remarkably similar to the process of scientific inquiry, said Ellison’s session co-organizer, Carri LeRoy, an insight she gained by teaching in collaboration with artists. Both disciplines ground work in extensive research and experimental repetition, asking questions and working to place results into a broader context.

Ellison connected with LeRoy on Twitter, when he broadcast a request for examples of how art changes the way scientists do science. LeRoy sent him notes from a collaborative art-science class she had taught at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, where she is a member of the faculty specializing in freshwater ecology. The exchange launched an ongoing correspondence and the pair eventually met in Oregon last summer, while Ellison was visiting on a month-long stint as a writer-in-residence at the H.J. Andrews Long Term Ecological Research site outside of Eugene.

LeRoy has co-taught a class called “River Reciprocity” with watercolor/book artist Lucia Harrison, and a class on “Scientific and Artistic Inquiry” with intaglio printmaker Lisa Sweet. Both courses asked students to make art that would help them to collect their scientific data, and, conversely to use the science to give the art meaning. She will describe the outcome in her presentation, “Art that gathers data, science that makes meaning.”

“Like scientists, contemporary artists work in their own professional bubble, making art for one another,” said Landsbergen. Some art is extremely abstract, communicating subtle ideas that, like the revelations of scientific publications, are not readily understandable to outsiders.

And cross-disciplinary projects are not without risk, Landsbergen said. Within the scientific community, artistic collaborations may be appreciated, but do not garner the same respect as a high-profile research publication. Likewise, in contemporary art, meditations on scientific concepts are not as respected as works in dialog with contemporary art itself. But Landsbergen and her fellow session organizers believe the benefits are worth the effort. In working together, artists and scientists have the opportunity to create bodies of work that speak to both groups.

Landsbergen has been collaborating with artists and designers on teaching and grant-funded projects for over seven years. Prior to joining the faculty at Antioch, she was an “embedded scientist” at an art college for four years, introducing art students to ecological science, biomimicry, and sustainable design. Through a courtesy visiting scholar appointment at Ohio State University, she is a member of STEAM Factory, a flexible workspace where people from different disciplines can meet, work, and talk.

 “New grants and powerful Greater Impacts projects have grown out of the shared space at the STEAM Factory, so the University is very supportive,” said Landsbergen.


⇒ Explore artwork created by the session speakers in the Art:Sci Gallery

IGN 5 – Art and Science Collaboration: Disciplinary Diversity as a Means of Exploring Ecological Systems and Value Structures

  • Tuesday, August 8, 2017: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
  • C123, Oregon Convention Center
  • Organizer: Kim J. Landsbergen, Antioch College
  • Co-organizers: Emily Bosanquet, Pacific Northwest College of Art; and Elizabeth Demaray, Rutgers University
  • Moderator: Kim J. Landsbergen, Antioch College
  • Session summary

 

Starlings in Central Park, by Robert Crystal-Ornelas

Starlings in Central Park, by Robert Crystal-Ornelas. In 2011, Crystal-Ornelas began creating fiber art that explored the stories behind the invasive and threatened species that he studies in his research.

IGN 5-1 NOAA fisheries and Pacific Northwest College of Art partnership: Where art and science evolve and turn into change
Emily Bosanquet, Pacific Northwest College of Art

IGN 5-2 Curiosity: An installation inspired by NOAA, climate change, and copepods
Ardis DeFreece, Pacific Northwest College of Art

IGN 5-3 Benefits of art: Sci practice as a an ecology graduate student
Robert C. Ornelas, Rutgers University

IGN 5-4 In the field with weeds: Artisanal strategies for art and ecology
Ellie Irons, http://ellieirons.com

IGN 5-5 Forest discovery: An arts, humanities, and environmental science experience of place
Lissy Goralnik, Michigan State University; Mark Schulze, HJ Andrews Experimental Forest; Kari E. B. O’Connell, Oregon State University

IGN 5-6 Art, community and ecology
Linda Wysong, Pacific Northwest College of Art

 

 

IGN 7 – Ecological Art-Science Collaborations

  • Tuesday, August 8, 2017: 10:00 AM-11:30 AM
  • C123, Oregon Convention Center
  • Organizer: Aaron M. Ellison, Harvard University
  • Co-organizer: Carri J. LeRoy, The Evergreen State College
  • Moderator: Matthew Lau, Harvard University
  • Session summary

 

<b>Cave Wall 2, by John Pastor.</b> He has created a number of abstract paintings, inspired by the textures of rock and wall paintings found in a cave, known as Chauvet, in Southern France. About thirty thousand years ago, in the limestone region of the Ardèches Valley, people entered the cave and painted images of animals on the walls. These people were exceptional observers of the natural history of these animals. They pushed the limits of their art in the mixing of ochre pigments with fats to make durable paints, in the accuracy and elegance of the composition of their paintings, and in their apparent ability to learn and improve.

Cave Wall 2, by John Pastor. Pastor’s abstract paintings are inspired by the textures of rock and wall paintings created 30,000 years ago in the limestone region of the Ardèches Valley, in southern France. The ancient artists were exceptional observers of the natural history of the animals they depicted.

IGN 7-1 Transformation, abstraction, and reassembly of information: An art-science exchange informs perceptions of nature
Paul CaraDonna, Chicago Botanic Garden

IGN 7-2 Art that gathers data, science that makes meaning
Carri J. LeRoy, The Evergreen State College

IGN 7-3 Scientists with pencils: Drawing as a tool for observation
Michael Kaspari, University of Oklahoma; Debby Kaspari, University of Oklahoma

IGN 7-4 Art and science collaborations: Teaching students to visualize
Gerri Ondrizek, Reed College; Leila Pyle, Reed

IGN 7-5 Making bed sheets out of biodiversity
Clint Penick, North Carolina State University; Robert R. Dunn, North Carolina State University; Adrian A. Smith, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

IGN 7-6 An art-music performance mash-up
Nicholas J. Gotelli, University of Vermont

IGN 7-7 Cave paintings and the origin of natural history
John Pastor, University of Minnesota Duluth

IGN 7-8 The Waterviz: A real time confluence of science, art and music
Lindsey E. Rustad, USDA Forest Service; Mary E. Martin, University of New Hampshire; Xavier Cortada, Florida International University; Marty Quinn, Plymouth State University; Michael Casey, Dartmouth University; Sarah R. Garlick, Hubbard Brook Research Foundation; Jussi Rasinmäk, Simisol; Mark B. Green, Plymouth State University

IGN 7-9 Hemlock Hospice: Art and science for declining hemlocks and the researchers who study them
Aaron M. Ellison, Harvard University; David Buckley Borden, Harvard University

IGN 7-10 Drawn to science: Exploring historical and contemporary synergies between drawing, creativity, and science
Bethann G. Merkle, University of Wyoming

 

 

2017 Annual Meeting in Portland Oregon
6–11 August 2017

Environmental scientists from 50 U.S. states, U.S. territories, and countries around the world will converge on Portland, Oregon this August for the 102nd Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America. Five thousand attendees are expected to gather for nearly four thousand scientific presentations on breaking research and new ecological concepts at the Oregon Convention Center on August 6th through 11th, 2017.

ESA invites press and institutional public information officers to attend for free. To apply, please contact ESA Public Information Manager Liza Lester directly at llester@esa.org. Walk-in registration will be available during the meeting.

###

The Ecological Society of America, founded in 1915, is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge, committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 10,000 member Society publishes five journals and a membership bulletin and broadly shares ecological information through policy, media outreach, and education initiatives. The Society’s Annual Meeting attracts 4,000 attendees and features the most recent advances in ecological science. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org

Getting to the roots of Sahara mustard invasion in the American Southwest

2017 Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America:
Linking biodiversity, material cycling and ecosystem services in a changing world
6–11 August 2017

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, 12 July 2017
Contact: Liza Lester, 202-833-8773 ext. 211, LLester@esa.org

 

Daniel Winkler collects plant tissue samples for genomic analyses to uncover the spread of the invasive Sahara mustard in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, California in February 2015. Credit: Susan Gilliland.

Daniel Winkler collects plant tissue samples for genomic analyses to uncover the spread of the invasive Sahara mustard in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, California in February 2015. Credit: Susan Gilliland.

In 2015, a rural community in southeastern California approached Daniel Winkler and his doctoral advisor, Travis Huxman, for help with an invader that was hurting their local economy. An Old World annual plant called Sahara mustard (Brassica tournefortii) was spreading rapidly through the deserts of the southwestern U.S., carpeting the local Anza-Borrego Desert in spring, and smothering the native wildflowers that draw tourists to the region. Loss of native plants put the animals that depend on them for food and shelter at risk. The mustard was disrupting the entire desert ecosystem.

The Tubb Canyon Nature Conservancy asked Winkler to take on a project to learn what enabled Sahara mustard to adapt so successfully — and, hopefully, gain insight into how to stop it. Winkler will report his findings on August 11, at the Ecological Society of America’s 2017 Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon.

“In 2015 I went on the greatest American road trip — 5000 miles of highway, dirt roads, and trails — to visit over 50 sites in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, and Nevada, the current range of Sahara mustard in the U.S.,” said Winkler. He collected 2,000 leaf samples and up to a million seeds.

The project was a good fit for Winkler, who was already studying native flowers in the Sonoran. It also benefited from his years working at the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the Fish and Wildlife Service prior to pursuing a doctoral degree in ecology. His collection road trip included stops at ten national parks and monuments. He collaborated with park managers, citizen scientist programs, and volunteer groups to obtain samples.

“It’s usually a challenge to get permits to work in these parks, but in this case I got immediate calls back. The land managers have no idea how to stop the spread of Sahara mustard. It grows fast, self-fertilizes, and each plant can produce up to 10,000 seeds. It’s a real problem,” said Winkler.

Back in the lab, Winkler investigated the plant’s adaptation to local conditions through multigenerational garden experiments with seeds from ten representative locations selected from his collecting road trip, spanning the Sahara mustard’s range. He found that the timing of seed germination, leaf growth, and flowering had shifted to take advantage of temperature and precipitation patterns in the landscapes it invaded. Sahara mustard grows very fast in response to variable winter rains.

Sahara mustard’s native range is southern Europe, northern Africa, and most of the Middle East. It is believed to have been introduced into California’s Coachella Valley in the 1920s, and began spreading notably in the Southwest in the ‘80s and ‘90s, with explosive growth only in the last 20 years or so. The relatively recent establishment lends hope that it can be eradicated, said Winkler. His next step is to collect samples in the native range to compare to plants in the U.S. to learn more about the original introduction of the plant in North America.

Winkler, a Ph.D. student at the University of California, Irvine, was a recipient of a 2016 award from the Ecological Society’s Forrest Shreve Student Fund, which supplies $1,000-2,000 to support ecological research by graduate or undergraduate student members of ESA in the hot deserts of North America (Sonora, Mohave, Chihuahua, and Vizcaino). Support from the award will fund rapid “next generation” DNA sequencing to uncover unique genetic signatures for each plant. By comparing the genetic signatures, he will learn how similar plants growing across the U.S. southwest are to each other, and to populations in Sahara mustard’s native range. Identifying the source location, or locations, of the U.S. invasion, he said, could aid in finding biological control agents.

 

COS 183-5 – Local adaptation during the rapid expansion of the invasive Sahara mustard in the southwestESA2017 portland logo

 

 

2017 Annual Meeting in Portland Oregon
6–11 August 2017

Environmental scientists from 50 U.S. states, U.S. territories, and countries around the world will converge on Portland, Oregon this August for the 102nd Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America. Five thousand attendees are expected to gather for nearly four thousand scientific presentations on breaking research and new ecological concepts at the Oregon Convention Center on August 6th through 11th, 2017.

ESA invites press and institutional public information officers to attend for free.To apply, please contact ESA Public Information Manager Liza Lester directly at llester@esa.org. Walk-in registration will be available during the meeting.

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The Ecological Society of America, founded in 1915, is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge, committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 10,000 member Society publishes five journals and a membership bulletin and broadly shares ecological information through policy, media outreach, and education initiatives. The Society’s Annual Meeting attracts 4,000 attendees and features the most recent advances in ecological science. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org

ESA announces the recipients of the 2016 Murray F. Buell and E. Lucy Braun Student Awards

Awards recognize students for outstanding research presented at the 2016 Annual Meeting

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, 22 May 2017
Contact: Liza Lester, 202-833-8773 ext. 211, LLester@esa.org

 

Julienne NeSmith removes exotic cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica) to test effects of the invader on pine tree performance across an environmental gradient at an experimental site near Archer, Florida, in October 2014. Credit: Luke Flory.

Julienne NeSmith removes exotic cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica) to test effects of the invader on pine tree performance across an environmental gradient at an experimental site near Archer, Florida, in October 2014. Credit: Luke Flory.

The Ecological Society of America recognizes Michael J.M. McTavish and Julienne E. NeSmith for outstanding student research presentations at the 101st Annual Meeting of the Society in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in August 2016. ESA will present the awards during the 2017 Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon. The awards ceremony will take place on Monday, August 7, at 8 AM in the Oregon Ballroom at the Oregon Convention Center.

Murray F. Buell had a long and distinguished record of service and accomplishment in the Ecological Society of America. Among other things, he ascribed great importance to the participation of students in meetings and to excellence in the presentation of papers. To honor his selfless dedication to the younger generation of ecologists, the Murray F. Buell Award for Excellence in Ecology is given to a student for the outstanding oral paper presented at the ESA Annual Meeting.

Lucy Braun, an eminent plant ecologist and one of the charter members of the Society, studied and mapped the deciduous forest regions of eastern North America and described them in her classic book, The Deciduous Forests of Eastern North America. To honor her, the E. Lucy Braun Award for Excellence in Ecology is given to a student for the outstanding poster presentation at the ESA Annual Meeting. Papers and posters are judged on the significance of ideas, creativity, quality of methodology, validity of conclusions drawn from results, and clarity of presentation.

Award panel members honored Michael J.M. McTavish with the Buell Award for his presentation “Selective granivory of exotic earthworms within commercial grass seed mixes: Implications for seeding-based restoration in invaded ecosystems.” McTavish is a doctoral candidate working with Professor Stephen D. Murphy in the School of Environment, Resources & Sustainability at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada.

The invasion of earthworms into previously earthworm-free soils is instigating sweeping change in the ecosystems of eastern North America. This has brought interest in the earthworms’ appetite for seeds and how they may impact ecological restoration projects that add seeds to soil. McTavish investigated the characteristics of commercial grass seeds favored by the exotic earthworm Lumbricus terrestris. He observed how earthworm activity affected the biomass of different types of grass in outdoor, enclosed experiments called mesocosms, which simulate natural environments under controlled conditions.  He found that earthworms preferred smaller seeds that had been coated to increase water uptake, resulting in decreased grass biomass in mesocosms planted with coated seeds. The judges felt that McTavish showed excellence in presenting and answering his experimental questions, particularly praising his distribution of text and pictures. His experimental results formed a comprehensive and important story.

Michael McTavish sets up mulch plots to assess earthworm interactions with soil amendment at Glenorchy Conservation Area, Ontario, Canada, in November 2014. Credit: Heather Cray.

Michael McTavish sets up mulch plots to assess earthworm interactions with soil amendment at Glenorchy Conservation Area, Ontario, Canada, in November 2014. Credit: Heather Cray.

Panel members honored Julienne E. NeSmith with the Braun Award for her poster “Interactive effects of soil moisture and plant invasion on pine tree survival.” NeSmith is a graduate student working with Associate Professor of Agronomy S. Luke Flory in the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

NeSmith investigated the separate and combined effects of drought and exotic grass invasion on the survival of native loblolly (Pinus teada) and slash (Pinus elliottii) pine in central Florida by manipulating environmental conditions in experimental garden plots. Cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica) is an aggressively invasive, highly flammable perennial grass which arrived in the southeastern United States in the early twentieth century. Drought and cogongrass invasion each separately decreased survival of both pine species, but invasion only exacerbated the effects of drought on the survival of loblolly pine. The presence of cogongrass offset the effects of drought on slash pine survival in the experimental garden plots. NeSmith attributed the greater survival of slash pine under drought conditions to higher soil moisture and humidity in invaded plots than non-invaded plots. Judges recognized NeSmith’s ability to explain the experimental details and the management implications of her results and enjoyed her enthusiasm for the project.

2017 Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon

Environmental scientists from 50 U.S. states, U. S. territories, and countries around the world will converge on Portland, Oregon this August for the 102nd Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America. Five thousand attendees are expected to gather for nearly four thousand scientific presentations on breaking research and new ecological concepts at the Oregon Convention Center on August 6th through 11th, 2017.

ESA invites reporters and institutional public information officers to attend the Annual Meeting for free. To apply, please contact ESA Communications Officer Liza Lester directly at llester@esa.org.ESA2017 portland logo

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The Ecological Society of America, founded in 1915, is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge, committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 10,000 member Society publishes five journals and a membership bulletin and broadly shares ecological information through policy, media outreach, and education initiatives. The Society’s Annual Meeting attracts 4,000 attendees and features the most recent advances in ecological science. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org