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Current Award Recipients

Lotka & Volterra Student Presentation Awards (2022)

Volterra Prize for the Best Theoretical Talk:
Sarah McPeek, University of Virginia
Resource evolution shapes the contemporary ecology of mutualisms in communities
Coauthors: Mark McPeek, and Judith Bronstein
Lotka Prize for the Best Theoretical Poster:
Aarshi Jain, University of California, Los Angeles
Modeling bacteria-enhanced thermal tolerance in marine phytoplankton
Coauthor: Colin Kremer
Jakob Karee-Rasmussen, University of California, Santa Barbara
Modeling food-dependent symbiosis in Exaiptasia pallida
Coauthor: Ferdinand Pfab, and Holly Moeller

Past Years’ Recipients

Outstanding Ecological Theory Paper Award (2022)

The 2021 award goes to Thomas Koffel and collaborators Tanguy Daufresne and Christopher Klausmeier.

In their Ecological Monograph paper “From competition to facilitation and mutualism: a general theory of the niche”, Koffel et al. have provided a unified theoretical framework of niche concepts. Niche has played a central concept in ecology. However, traditional theories have mostly studied and quantified species niche using negative species interactions. Koffel et al. have extended this framework to positive interactions and proposed new general niche concepts. Beyond its original ideas, this paper also synthesized a large body of work on coexistence, invasion, and environmental dynamics.

Honorable mention for an outstanding paper goes to Jody Reimer and collaborators Jorge Arroyo-Esquivel, Junjie Jiang, Henry Scharf, Elizabeth Wolkovich, Kai Zhu, and Carl Boettiger for their Theoretical Ecology paper “Noise can create or erase long transient dynamics.” They demonstrated how noise in a simple model can affect the length of transients and switch the system between alternative states. Their paper unpacked this complex subject by advanced statistical methods and presented their results in concise and elegant writing.

Finally, the Theory Section also wishes to highlight a paper by Dan Wieczynski and collaborators Pranav Singla, Adrian Doan, Alexandra Singleton, Ze-Yi Han, Samantha Votzke, Andrea Yammine, and Jean Gibert entitled “Linking species traits and demography to explain complex temperature responses across levels of organization” published in PNAS. This study uses aquatic microbes to link organismal traits with demography, confirming predictions made by the Metabolic Theory of Ecology. It’s beautifully illustrated and clearly written, and would make a great choice for graduate seminar reading.

Past Years’ Recipients
Instruction for application to the awards can be found here.