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2011 Theoretical Ecology Section Report   August 8, 2011

Kevin Gross

The Theoretical Ecology Section of the ESA was formed in 1993 to (1) foster theoretical research in all areas of ecology; (2) sponsor meetings for the presentation of results; (3) foster communication and research collaboration between theoreticians and experimental/field ecologists; (4) encourage the application of ecological theory to the resolution of societal problems.

Mixer and Business Meeting
The Section will host its annual Mixer and Business Meeting on Monday, August 8, at 6:30pm at the ESA Annual Meeting in Austin, TX, USA.

The Theoretical Ecology Section awards the Alfred J. Lotka and Vito Volterra prizes for the best presentations given by students during the Annual Meeting of the ESA. The award is open to graduate or undergraduate student members of the ESA who, as sole or first author, present a talk or poster at the ESA Annual Meeting on original research in theoretical ecology. Prizes are awarded on the basis of merit, originality, and clarity of presentation. The winner of the 2010 Lotka award for the best poster was Yun Tao of the University of California, Davis, for his poster “Information ecology: A theoretical analysis of seasonality, movement behavior, and population dynamics”. Two winners were selected for the 2010 Volterra award for the best presentation. They were Ben Nolting, of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, for his presentation “The role of environmental stochasticity in reducing the amplitude of population fluctuations” (co-authored with Chad Brassil), and György Barabas, of the University of Michigan, for his presentation “How should temporal niche segregation be defined?” (co-authored with Aaron King, Geza Meszena and Annette Ostling). Thank you to all section members who evaluated presentations for this competition.

The Section also sponsors an annual award for an outstanding recent published paper in ecological theory. The recipient of the 2011 award is “Turbulent dispersal promotes species coexistence”, written by Heather Berkley, of the University of California, Santa Barbara, and co-authors Bruce Kendall, Satoshi Mitarai, and David Siegel. The paper appears in Ecology Letters, v. 13, pp. 360-371 (2010).


The Section is pleased to sponsor two symposia at the 2011 ESA Annual Meeting. They are “Theory and Dynamics of Savanna Systems”, organized by Brian Beckage and Louis Gross, and “The Ecological Consequences of Intraspecific Variation”, organized by Mark Novak and Daniel Bolnick.


Kevin Gross will step down as Chair at the conclusion of the Section’s business meeting in Austin, TX. Elizabeth Crone (the current Vice Chair) will serve as the Section Chair for 2011-12. Colin Kremer will also step down as Secretary at the conclusion of the business meeting. Elections for a new vice-chair and a new secretary are currently in progress, and the winners will be announced at the business meeting.
Colin Kremer is also currently serving as the Section’s liaison to the Student Section of the ESA, and will continue to do so for 2011-12.
The Section thanks Springer for assisting with funding for the mixer, and Elsevier and Sinauer for donating journal subscriptions and books as prizes for the Lotka and Volterra awards.