Nominees for Vice Chairperson and Secretary 2017

Southwest Chapter Members,

We have received nominees for this years officer election for Vice Chairperson and Secretary. The results of the election will determine changes to our Chapter Officers. Here, we have provided biographical sketches of the nominees. An electronic ballot will be sent in two weeks and member will have 30 days to return their vote. Officers will assume chapter responsibilities at the annual conference in Portland, OR. Thank you for your time and attention.

Akasha Faist – Nominee for Vice Chairperson

Akasha Faist is a rangeland ecologist whose research focuses on identifying and overcoming ecological constraints limiting restoration success. A key aim of her research is understanding how environmental filters in dryland systems regulate germination and establishment of both invasive and native vascular plant species. In addition, she also works to identify and test best-practices for biological soil crust restoration and to return ecosystem function to degraded drylands. Akasha obtained her Ph.D. from the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where she is also currently a postdoctoral scientist. Having worked for, and collaborated with, multiple land management agencies, Akasha is passionate about better understanding, conserving, and restoring the dynamic and important ecosystems of the U.S. Southwest and Mexico. That said, it is not only Akasha’s research locations and objectives that fall within the Southwest Chapter’s vision but it is also her strong focus on promoting effective education and outreach to cultivate and disseminate ecological knowledge. As vice-chair, Akasha would work with current officers and members to continue to develop the ESA southwest chapter and support its mission and vision.

Tara Bishop – Nominee for Secretary

I received my B.S. in Biology Composite Teaching from Brigham Young University in 2008 and went on to teach high school science classes at Timpanogos High School in Orem, Utah from 2008-2014. During that time, I earned my M.S. in General Biology from Mississippi State University in 2012. I am now working on my PhD in Wildlife and Wildlands Conservation at Brigham Young University. My research interests right now center around plant invasion ecology in deserts of North America with a focus on competitive interactions between invasive species and between invasive and native species and top-down effects by herbivores. My desert work includes investigating climate change factors and fire ecology on competitive interactions, and incorporating GIS and remote sensing using satellite and drone imagery, to quantify and qualify invasive plant dynamics in deserts of North America.I have chosen membership in the Ecological Society of America because of the action oriented commitment to high quality science and outreach to the general public. My commitment and passion for deserts of North America makes the Southwest Chapter the right fit for me to promote scientific education on invasive ecology and the future of our deserts.

In conjunction with current nominees for Secretary and Vice-Chairperson, we are still accepting nominations for these posts. You are free to nominate yourself or other members of the chapter. For more information as to the responsibilities of officers please read the by-laws of the chapter for more information.

Please note the objectives and vision of our chapter:

The objectives of this Chapter shall be to encourage education and research, and to sponsor meetings for the communication of ecological education and research activities of special interest to ecologists in the Southwestern Region of North America. The Southwestern Chapter shall be a subdivision of the Ecological Society and shall be governed in all of its operations by the Constitution and Bylaws of that Society.

The Chapter has a two-fold vision: To promote, develop and coordinate regional-to continental-scale research and education activities, and to promote ESA’s relevancy to existing and emerging ecological issues in the Southwest, including Mexico.

Aaron Rhodes