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April, 2023

We are looking for candidates for two Vegetation Section officers: Vice-Chair (2-year term) and a student representative (1-year term) by April 15. If elected, the work is light, and a nice opportunity to help the section and network with colleagues. Both terms start after the ESA Annual Meeting. Vice-Chair position progresses to Chair (also a 2 year term). To qualify for the student representative the candidate must be a graduate student ideally through the 2024 annual meeting (or willing to help with the meeting if graduating earlier in 2024). If you are interested in either of these positions, send an email to, state which position you are interested in AND include a short summary (a few sentences) by April 15. You can review the summaries by the current section officers here. Please do not hesitate to contact anyone from the current section governance team if you have any questions regarding these vacancies. Please share this call with anyone who might be interested and able to help (non-members can join ESA and the section prior to, or when, elected).

March, 2023

Alyssa Young

Congratulations to the winner of the 2023 Robert P. McIntosh Award for the best recent paper in vegetation ecology – Dr. Alyssa Young (University of North Carolina Greensboro) and colleagues for their paper on Heatwave implications for the future of longleaf pine savanna understory restoration. It is fantastic to see such wonderful engagement of so many undergraduate students in this research while producing highly relevant information for restoration of an ecosystem threatened by heat waves under our changing climate!

Marcela Terra

We would also like to highlight honorable mentions for two additional excellent papers:

Dr. Marcela C.N.S. Terra and colleagues for the paper titled The inverted forest: Aboveground and notably large belowground carbon stocks and their drivers in Brazilian savannas, and

Michelle Spicer

Dr. Michelle Spicer for her paper with Dr. Carrie Woods titled A case for studying biotic interactions in epiphyte ecology and evolution

Thanks to all the authors for submitting their work for the award and to our award review committee for their time and consideration.

You can learn more about the award and the past awardees here.

December, 2022

Happy Holidays! Please remember to renew your membership in ESA and ESA Vegetation Section ( If you are not already a member, this is a great time to join. ESA Vegetation Section members can grow their professional network, strengthen the field of vegetation ecology, and make use of the wonderful opportunities planned for 2023, described below:

Nominate yours or your friend’s/colleague’s/student’s paper for the Robert P. McIntosh Award for the best paper in vegetation ecology (all nominations must be made by a section member; self-nominations are accepted). The deadline is February 1. The details are here:

Become Vegetation Section’s Vice-Chair or Student Representative to help advance your field and learn about ESA. Nominations are due by April 15 (details forthcoming).

Go to the ESA Annual Meeting in Portland ( at a discounted rate to learn, network, and partake in Vegetation Section events such as the Social Mixer or a short course on Quantitative Community Ecology in R.

Apply for the Ton Damman award for the best oral presentation in vegetation science at the ESA Annual Meeting (grad students/recent grads only) to gain recognition and cover some of the conference costs (

Feature your plant research or favorite plant community on the web. Just send me a photo with a brief text:

Stay informed. Follow our website (, Ecolog-L listserv, or Twitter @ESAVegetation (

If you are interested in any of the above, do not wait and renew your ESA and Vegetation Section memberships today!



August, 2022

It was great to be back to an in person ESA Annual Meeting! A big thanks goes to all who helped to make the meeting a success. Many helped as reviewers for meeting abstracts, event leaders, and award judges (e.g., Ton Damman Award). Others gave fantastic presentations, and others yet supported the Section on ESA committees, task forces, the Vegetation Panel, and editorial boards throughout the year. Many thanks to all!

Here are a few specific updates related to the activities of the Section at the meeting:

To kick-off the annual meeting on Sunday morning (August 14) we once again organized a virtual short course titled Quantitative Community Ecology in R taught by Dr. Robert Smith, Data Scientist at Washington State University. The course was filled to capacity with 25 registered participants. Many thanks go to Rob for a very engaging and useful course!

The Section’s Social Mixer was in person this year (!) and included updates on sectional activities, good conversations, and networking opportunities (and free food and ‘botanical water’ to quench everyone’s thirst). We had about 25 people in attendance from different career stages and career tracks (students to university professors to NGO and agency folks). Thanks to all who were able to make it and contribute to the conversation; we hope for even more robust showing next year!

McKinley Nevins, Wash. State Univ.

One of the Section highlights at each annual meeting is giving the Ton Damman Award for the best oral presentation in vegetation science by a graduate student or recent post-graduate. This year is the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the award! We had four finalists (Anna Crofts from Université de Sherbrooke, Sera Grover from the University of Saskatchewan, McKinley Nevins from Washington State University, and Jordon Tourville from the State University of New York) – each receiving $210, and the winner receiving an additional $400. Thanks and congratulations to all four finalists for delivering interesting and worthy talks, and for the beautiful photos related to their work that we will be sharing on our website and Twitter as Photos of the Month. Based on the recommendation of the panel of four judges, the 2022 Ton Damman award goes to McKinley Nevins. Congratulations McKinley! The details of her talk are here.

Anita Thomson, Univ. of Arizona.

Finally, some of the Vegetation Section officers’ terms ended at the close of the Annual Meeting (secretary/treasurer, student rep), and new officers joined. We did not hold elections since we had only one candidate for each of the two open positions. Many thanks go to Lisa Kluesner, our secretary and treasurer of the past two years, whose term ended, as well as to Anita Thomson from the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension who replaced Lisa in this position. Many thanks also to Morgan Frost who agreed to continue as our student representative for another 1-year term. Following next year’s meeting, we will need a new Vice-Chair and a new student rep; please consider being a candidate. Reach out to any of the Section officers at any time to express your interest! It is a great opportunity to serve the Section and interact with other members and with the broader ESA community and leadership. The full information about the current Section governance team is here.

July, 2022

We are looking for candidates for two Vegetation Section officers: a secretary (2-year term) and a student representative (1-year term) by July 31. If elected, the work is light, and a nice opportunity to help the section and network with colleagues. Both terms start after the ESA annual meeting. If you are interested in either of these positions, please send an email to AND include a 2-4 line summary by July 31. You can review summaries by the current section officers here. Please share this call with other Vegetation section members who you think may be able to contribute and interested in one of these positions.

We are also looking for candidates and judges for Ton Damman Award for the best student talk in vegetation science at the ESA annual meeting by July 31.

If you are a student or recent graduate interested in this award, please follow this process: If your abstract was accepted by ESA annual meeting organizers, send an email to and include the following (all in a single attached pdf file): (1) a copy of your ESA abstract with author names and affiliations, (2) a succinct paragraph describing how the paper to be presented relates to the objectives of the Ton Damman Award, and (3) information on your section membership and status as a current graduate student or recent postgraduate (see the Damman award description for eligibility and other details). Applications should be submitted by July 31.

If you would like to help judging the abstracts and talks, please let us know too by sending an email to . Graduate students, post-docs, previous Ton Damman awardees, and other section members attending the ESA annual meeting are welcome to serve as judges. The judges will need to read the abstracts and evaluate the talks in person at the meeting. We have had ~5-6 candidates per judge in the past, so this should not be overwhelming. Many thanks to everyone who can help the section this way.

June, 2022

The Vegetation Section Social Mixer at the ESA Annual Meeting in Montreal is scheduled for Tuesday, August 16 from 6:30 to 8:00 pm. We will have good food, botanical water, and excellent company of fellow vegetation ecologists from all backgrounds and career stages–all free for registered meeting participants! Please stop by if you are at the ESA Annual Meeting!

May, 2022

The remote short course Quantitative Community Ecology in R hosted by the Vegetation Section at this year’s ESA annual meeting will take place on Sunday morning (August 14; 9-12). This is a shorter version of the course from last year’s meeting, and will be taught again by Dr. Robert Smith of Washington State University.

April, 2022

Meghna Krishnadas

Meghna Krishnadas  @MeghnaSrishti


We would like to thank to all who submitted excellent papers for consideration for this year’s McIntosh award. The competition was strong as always, and this year’s award was given to Meghna Krishnadas and Simon Maccracken Stump for their paper titled ‘Dispersal limitation and weaker stabilizing mechanisms mediate loss of diversity with edge effects in forest fragments’ (Journal of Ecology, 2021; 109: 2137–2151). Congratulations to Meghna and Simon!


February, 2022

Abstract submissions for the ESA-CSEE Annual Meeting in Montréal (August 14-19) are now rolling in! The deadline is March 3. Details are here.

Current and recent graduate students giving a talk at the meeting can apply for the Ton Damman award to offset some of the cost – the details are here.

We are looking for abstract reviewers. Any ESA member is eligible, including graduate students and postdocs, as long as they can commit to reviewing in March. If you can help, please email with your name, institution, and e-mail address by Friday, February 18th. It will be much appreciated!

January, 2022

Nominate a deserving paper for the Robert P. McIntosh Award for the best paper in vegetation ecology published in the previous year (all nominations must be made by a section member). The deadline is February 1. More details are here.

December, 2021

Happy New Year! Thank you to all who have already renewed their ESA and Vegetation Section memberships. If you are still looking to renew your membership, or join as a new member, you can do so here.

September, 2021

Rachel Reeb

Congratulations to Rachel Reeb of the University of Pittsburgh for receiving the 2021 Ton Damman Award for the best oral presentation in vegetation science at the Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America in what was an excellent and very competitive field of contenders this year. Rachel presented a paper titled ‘Phenological timing and sensitivity to climate differs between the native and introduced range of an invasive plant species’ coauthored by Mason Heberling and Sara Kuebbing. Details of the paper are here. Details of the Ton Damman award are here.

August, 2021

Thank you to all vegetation scientists who contributed to making the virtual ESA Annual Meeting a success! The Vegetation Section organized a popular full-day short course Quantitative Analysis in Plant Community Ecology using R! lead by Dr. Robert Smith, ORISE Postdoctoral Fellow at USDA Forest Service. The course was in high-demand and filled to capacity with 30 participants attending.

The Section’s virtual social mixer included a memorial for our esteemed colleagues and leaders in vegetation ecology, Michael Barbour and Eddy van der Maarel, who passed away earlier this year. We appreciate their substantial scientific and personal contributions to the development of both our field and our community of vegetation science. They will be greatly missed. Many thanks to the colleagues who shared their personal memories and stories of Michael and Eddy during the social.

The close of the annual meeting is traditionally the time for rotations in the executive committee of the Section. Kyle Palmquist completed her second year as the Chair of the Section and passed the baton to Martin Dovciak who will shift from Vice Chair to serve as the new Chair. Carissa Brown, Associate Professor at the Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador, joined the executive committee as the new Vice Chair. In the role of Section’s student representative, Sam Jordan completed his term and was replaced by Morgan Frost from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Thank you to Kyle and Sam for their leadership and contributions during their terms and welcome to Carissa and Morgan. Lisa Kluesner remains in her position as the secretary and treasurer of the Section. Information about the current members of the Vegetation Section governance is here.

May, 2021

A group prepares for a presentation at the 2018 annual meeting in New Orleans.Congratulations to the seven finalists to compete for the 2021 Ton Damman Award for the best oral presentation in vegetation science given by a graduate student at the ESA Annual Meeting. The Vegetation Section awards each finalist a $200 travel grant to support their participation at the meeting. The names and affiliations of the finalists are below; the overall winner is announced following the meeting.

  •    Hannah Assour, University of Pittsburgh
  •    Morgan Frost, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  •    Alejandra Martínez-Blancas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
  •    Lin Meng, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  •    Rachel A. Reeb, University of Pittsburgh
  •    Joanna J. Tang, University of California, Santa Barbara
  •    Verónica Zepeda, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

April, 2021

Congratulations to Nikunj Goel and colleagues for receiving the 2021 Robert P. McIntosh Award for the best nominated paper in vegetation ecology for the paper:
Nikunj Goel, Erik S. Van Vleck, Julie C. Aleman and A. Carla Staver (2020) Dispersal limitation and fire feedbacks maintain mesic savannas in Madagascar. Ecology 101(12):e03177.

April, 2020

The Vegetation Section Executive Committee is pleased to announce the winner of the 2020 (2nd annual) Robert P. McIntosh Award for best recent paper in vegetation ecology. We received several excellent papers that were deserving of this award and we thank all who submitted a paper for consideration.

The award goes to: Dr. Christina Alba, Dr. Catherine Fahey, and Dr. S. Luke Flory for their paper entitled: “Global change stressors alter resources and shift plant interactions from facilitation to competition over time.”

Alba C, Fahey C, Flory SL. 2019. Global change stressors alter resources and shift plant interactions from facilitation to competition over time. Ecology 100(12): e02859. DOI: 10.1002/ecy.2859

A short summary from the authors:

Two global change agents, drought and a non-native invasive plant (Imperata cylindrica, cogongrass), interacted to determine native longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) survival and growth in temporally dynamic and unexpected ways, ranging from strong facilitation to competitive exclusion.

Many congratulations to Dr. Alba and colleagues for this excellent paper!

February, 2020

Call for nominations for the 2nd annual Robert P. McIntosh Award for best recent paper in vegetation ecology.


  1. Excellent work that advances the theory, methods, or applications of vegetation ecology.
  2. Published in 2019.
  3. Open to any paper, by section members or not; section membership will be used as a tiebreaker.


Submit nominations to Kyle Palmquist ( by 1 March 2020.  Nominations must consist of a copy of the paper and a cover letter that explains how the paper advances the theory, methods, or applications of vegetation ecology. The nominations will be distributed among the executive committee, who will rank the papers. The paper with the lowest summed rank will be named the winner. In the event of a tie, whether the lead author is a section member will determine the winner; if that is insufficient, co-authorship will be used (i.e. whether coauthors are section members); next, the executive committee will re-vote. The combined membership list from 2019 to March 2020 will be used.

May, 2019

Many congratulations to Madelon F. Case and A. Carla Staver for receving the 1st Robert P. McIntosh Award for the best recent paper in vegetation ecology. Their paper:

Case, M.F. & A.C. Staver. Soil texture mediates tree responses to rainfall intensity in African savannas. New Phytologist 219: 1363-1372.

December, 2018

The primary news is that we are proceeding with a call for nominations for an award for best recent paper in vegetation ecology. This will be the Robert P. McIntosh Award (the attempt to name it for E.C. Pielou ran afoul of the Statistical Ecology section’s Pielou Award).

The criteria are:

  • Excellent work that advances the theory or methods of vegetation ecology
  • Published in 2017 or 2018.
  • Open to any paper, by section members or not; section membership will be used as a tiebreaker


  • Submit nominations to George Malanson by 1 February 2019. Nominations consist of a copy of the paper and a cover letter that explains how the paper advances the theory or methods of vegetation ecology.
  • The nominations will be distributed among the executive committee, who will rank order the papers. The paper with the lowest summed rank order will be named winner.

In the event of a tie, the executive committee will re-vote; if that is insufficient, whether the lead author is a section member will determine the winner; if that is insufficient, co-authorship will be used. The combined membership list from February 2019 and for 2018 will be used.

Other news:
The executive committee is planning a change in the competition for the Damman Award that will involve pre-screening of abstracts, travel awards to top competitors, and judging by the executive committee, past awardees, and volunteers. This new approach will require an earlier deadline for entry into the competition – immediately following the acceptance of abstracts by ESA.
Please send in a Photo of the Month for our web and Facebook pages!

August 2018

Congratulations to 2018 Ton Damman Award Winner Sam Jordan (Arizona State U) for his research on ecohydrological drivers of plant species richness in sagebrush ecosystems!

Congratulations to 2018 IAVS Ton Damman Award Winner Alice Streams (U of Wyoming) for her research on plant traits in multiple ecoystems in the US!

January 15, 2018

Two items that went out in email today:


The section has been awarded an ESA planning grant for $1500.  We had requested $4900, but we will make do.  We proposed, and will follow through on, promoting the section and ESA at the IAVS symposium, July 22-27 in Bozeman, MT.  This effort will include promotional material and an international edition of the Tom Damman award for best student paper at that symposium.


As part of the promotion we are going to develop a logo for the section via a student design competition.  The logo should be suitable for use in a small format on a flyer or in emails and enlarged to ~poster size.  The winning entry will be awarded $150; second place $50.  Details to follow soon.  Students – be creative!


The executive committee proposes a change to the by-laws.  You will receive a ballot through Survey Monkey.  Please vote when you get the Survey Monkey, but the voting will close on January 31.  To make it simple, the ballot will just ask:

Regarding the proposed changes to the by-laws of the ESA Vegetation Section, please vote:




The substance of the proposed changes will not be in the Survey Monkey.  They are:

The executive committee of the Vegetation Section proposes these changes to Article 4 and the addition of Article 7 to take effect in 2018.  The changes are shown in bold:

Article 4. OFFICERS AND ELECTIONS. The officers of the Section shall be a Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Immediate Past Chair, Student Representative, and Secretary. Election of officers shall be by mail or e- mail ballot.  At least two candidates will be nominated for each office by the Executive Committee.  Additional names may be placed on the ballot by petition of ten or more members.  The Student Representative must be enrolled in a degree program at the time of election.

The slate of nominees and ballots will be included in the Newsletter of the Section and results of the balloting will be announced in the following Newsletter and at the annual meeting. The terms of office of Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson shall be as follows: (1) Chairperson shall serve for two years, and (2) Vice-Chairperson shall serve for a term of two years after which time he/she will assume the office of Chairperson and serve in that capacity for two additional years. Thus, a new Vice-Chairperson shall be elected every other year in even-numbered years. The term of office of the Student Representative shall be for one year.  The term of office of the Secretary shall be two years. The election of the Secretary shall be in odd-numbered years. The official terms of office shall commence with the close of the annual meeting and shall continue until their successors assume office.

Article 7. DUTIES OF THE STUDENT REPRESENTATIVE. The Student Representative shall advise the executive committee on all matters, providing the perspective of current students as ongoing learners and future ecologists.

Thanks for your attention.


November 2, 2018

New student rep: Justin Olnes

Justin is a PhD student at the University of Alaska. His research has focused on the effects of herbivory by snowshoe hares on spruce establishment.

We look forward to having a student voice in the Section governance. And thanks to everyone who volunteered.

External awards:

The New Phytologist Tansley Medal

Calling all early-stage career scientists!

The New Phytologist Tansley Medal is awarded annually in recognition of an outstanding contribution to plant science by an early career researcher (student and post-doctoral researchers with up to five years’ experience since gaining/defending their PhD are eligible). The winner will receive a prize of £2000 (GBP) and will author a Tansley insight review that will be published in New Phytologist, accompanied by an Editorial announcing the winner and finalists. The application deadline for this year’s competition is 1 November 2017.

The Tansley Medal award is an opportunity to recognise an outstanding scientist in the early stages of their career, and supporting the next generation of plant scientists is one of the main activities of the New Phytologist Trust. Please support us in this endeavour by spreading the word to anyone you know who might be eligible to apply for the Tansley Medal award. If you have any queries regarding the medal or the submission process please do not hesitate to get in touch. More details on the Tansley Medal can be found at:


Fall Newsletter, 2017

Greetings, Vegetation Section –

As the new Chair I look forward to working with the executive committee (Kyle Palmquist, Vice-Chair; Loretta Battaglia, Secretary; Randy Balice, Past Chair) to help the section help you.  We have a few new things we will do in the coming year.  To start:

Student rep. I would like to add a student representative to the executive committee.  To do so requires a change in our by-laws, and I will work with the current executive committee to get a change in front of you for a vote.  I plan to do this by an email notification and online voting, probably using Survey Monkey (this can be anonymous and relatively secure).  MEANWHILE, I can appoint a committee.  I will create a student advisory committee of one person.  Students – please nominate yourself for this committee assignment!  Others, please encourage students to self-nominate.  If a student is not currently a member of ESA or the vegetation section it is possible to become one …. To self-nominate, please send me an email with a one-paragraph explanation of why you would be a good student rep.  Duties will be to comment on ideas that we discuss on the exec and to bring up new topics.  AND, if the next (2) item works, we will cover the cost of ESA membership and the student rep may represent us at the IAVS symposium in Bozeman next July, with ESA covering costs (but if you are committed for next July – fieldwork, anyone? – this is not obligatory).

Long range planning grant. We plan to submit a proposal to ESA for a long range planning grant.  Planning grants are meant to build capacity – as in increase numbers and diversity – in the secion.  We will aim to increase section activity and membership, and ESA membership, by promoting ourselves at the IAVS symposium.  Greater international membership – and more international contacts for you – will strengthen the section.  Items will include sending a student rep who will oversee some display material, run an international edition of the Ton Damman student paper award, and provide some other support for the symposium in return for visibility.

New awards. We will discuss adding awards from the Section.  Two that I have in mind are a distinguished career award and an outstanding recent publication award.  At the business meeting in Portland it was suggested that an award be named for Robert McIntosh.  Other luminaries would be E. Lucy Braun and Robert Whittaker.  Suggestions would be welcome.

Nominations.  It is the season to nominate colleagues for ESA awards.  You know Vegetation Section members who deserve recognition.  Be proactive!  These include the ESA Fellows program as well as the big individual awards such as Eminent Ecologist.  Visit:

Other News

Upcoming:  IAVS and ESA meetings, awards

IAVS 2018 Symposium:  SAVE THE DATE:

  • 23-27 July 2018 – Bozeman, MT

Co-Chairs are David Roberts (Montana State) and Peter Minchin (Southern Illinois).

The ESA Vegetation Section plans to be active at the Symposium.

ESA 2018 Meeting.  SAVE THE DATE:

  • 5-10 August 2018 – New Orleans, LA

Nominate someone for an award: