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2012 Theoretical Ecology Section Report

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 6, at 6:30pm at the ESA Annual Meeting in Portland, OR, USA (Room D 136, Oregon Convention Center).


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 2011 Lotka award for the best poster was Stacy Scholle from Duke University for her poster, “The effect of epidemiological dynamics on viral evolutionary rates” (coauthored by Katia Koelle) . Two winners were selected for the 2010 Volterra award for the best presentation. They were Carl Boettiger from the University of California Davis for his presentation “Limits to the detection of early warning signals of population collapse” (co-authored by Alan Hastings) . 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 2012 award is “Comparing the qualitatively different effects of rapidly evolving and rapidly induced defences have on predator-prey interactions” written by Michael Cortez. Dr Cortez was at Cornell University when he did this work and is now at the Georgia Institute of Technology. This paper appears in Ecology Letters 14:202-209 (2011).


At the 2011 ESA Annual Meeting, the Theoretical Ecology Section is pleased to co-sponsor a symposium with the Statistical Ecology Section. The symposium is: ” The Two Cultures of Statistics In Ecology: Prediction Vs. Explanation” organized by Ben Bolker and Drew Tyre. The symposium will take place on Tuesday, August 7 from 8:00 AM-11:30 AM.


Elizabeth Crone will step down as Chair at the conclusion of the Section’s business meeting in Austin, TX. Katia Koelle (the current Vice Chair) will serve as the Section Chair for 2011-12. Jennifer Nelson will continue her 2-year term as Secretary. Elections for a new vice-chair have recently closed, and the winner 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. Students interested in getting involved, or possibly volunteering for this position, should meet with Colin at the 2012 Mixer and Business Meeting.

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.