Taking learning online in ecology and evolution

Guest Editors: Christopher Lortie, Sehoya Cotner, Marcus Lashley


To provide a rapid outlet to share timely innovations and discoveries for online teaching and learning in ecology and evolution.


Dear Colleagues,

These are challenging times. Uncertainty and adaptation is key in ecology and evolution, including how we teach, communicate, and do research. The current global crisis, sparked by COVID-19, has highlighted this uncertainty and demanded we adapt. At Ecology and Evolution, we want to provide the community with an opportunity to discuss and capture the challenges, but also celebrate the successes of online teaching, communication, and collaboration in our discipline.

We welcome submission for a Special Issue entitled ‘Taking learning online in ecology and evolution’. We envision articles that describe tools, techniques, strategies, engagement plans, technology development and use, challenges, and successes. We are particularly interested in contributions that address mechanisms to promote equity, diversity and inclusion through online teaching and distributed learning, and examples of technology and distributed approaches that promote engagement within one another and natural systems. Papers can include research articles, case studies, and perspectives that address these contemporary challenges and solutions. Short and concise contributions are welcome and encouraged.

Warm regards,

Drs Chris Lortie, Sehoya Cotner and Marcus Lashley

Contribution Ideas

Suitable topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Meetings in the COVID era. How can conferences in ecology and evolution change and adapt to balance the needs of early-career researchers to connect, present, and develop their careers but also mitigate the risks and ecological costs of travel?
  2. Online scientific products. How can online and distributed teaching and learning promote a reset in how we value online contributions to learning?
  3. Open science. How can online and distributed teaching promote open science?
  4. Changes in pedagogy. New teaching and learning strategies that work/do not work.
  5. Tips, tools, and tricks. Github, Moodle, Blackboard, Google, etc. What works? How can educators best leverage these tools? For these articles, please provide resources for speedy adoption–links, worksheets, grading rubrics, etc.
  6. Equity. How best to deliver online teaching to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion.
  7. Strategies for adapting field courses or field exercises for online instruction. Using virtual field spaces, databases, etc.
  8. Backyard ecology and citizen science. Please ensure suggested strategies allow for appropriate social distancing.
  9. Other tools and strategies. Tools and strategies that can be used to promote online science communication to general audiences.
Questions? Please contact:

Dr. Gareth Jenkins ( or Dr. Chris Foote (

Follow this link for manuscript submission, and please specify in your cover letter that you are submitting to this Special IssueThe deadline for submissions is 30th June.

We look forward to reading your contributions!

Ecology and Evolution

Ecology and Evolution is a journal with a difference. Our overriding philosophy is to be “author friendly” and our editing practice is to “looks for reasons to publish”. Ecology and Evolution is one of the fastest growing journals in ecology and evolution, publishing a diverse-range of articles in these broad disciplines of biology, as well as a special and highly popular category established in 2017 called Academic Practice. Academic Practice articles relate to the application of scholarly approaches to the myriad roles we undertake in our professions as ecologists and evolutionary biologists – including taking learning online.