CSEE Early Career Award 2020

We are thrilled to announce the 2020 recipients of the CSEE Early Career Award: Dr. Diana Rennison and Dr. Denon Start. Dr. Rennison is an Assistant Professor at UC San Diego, where she uses methods from the fields of evolution, ecology, and genomics to investigate the evolution and maintenance of biodiversity (https://rennisonlab.com). Dr. Start is a Fellow in the Center for Population Biology at UC Davis, where his research currently focuses on how traits shape the responses of individuals, populations, species, and whole communities to environmental differences and shifting species interactions (https://denonstart.wordpress.com).

In lieu of giving plenary lectures at the annual meeting, Diana and Denon will give online research talks on Friday, June 5th at 4pm EDT:

Out of respect for the ongoing anti-black racism protests across Canada and the US, the CSEE has decided to postpone its Early Career Award talks to Friday, June 26th at 4pm EDT. Tune in then to see the winners of our Early Career Award give a research talk.

Dr. Denon Start: Uniting alternative models of evolutionary ecology

Dr. Diana Rennison: Uncovering the genetic and ecological underpinnings of parallel adaptation

Thank-you to the awards committee for their effort and care with this process, and for their attention to CSEE’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity. We had an incredible group of applicants for this award. While this made our deliberations difficult, it also filled us with excitement for the future of ecology and evolution research in Canada and beyond.

Early Career Award Talks: Friday June 5th, 4pm EDT

 Dr. Diana Rennison

Rennison Uncovering the genetic and ecological underpinnings of parallel adaptation.

This talk will give an overview of the integrative work I conduct to determine the mechanisms central to the origin and maintenance of the spectacular species diversity we see in the world today. The core questions I seek to address are: How do sources of selection interact to shape the course of evolution and the generation of biodiversity? & Why do organisms follow certain evolutionary trajectories when many are possible? To tackle these questions I integrate population genomics, field collections and experimental estimates of natural selection. I will give an overview of two of my studies which have shed light on these important questions. The first study uses a manipulative selection experiment to test whether evolutionary divergence between species is caused by differential predation. The second study takes a comparative approach to establish what genetic and ecological factors constrain or promote adaptive evolution.

Dr. Denon Start

StuartUniting alternative models of evolutionary ecology

My research program stems from a simple observation: variation in organismal form spans levels of organization from individuals to species. I address the multi-level nature of biological systems by investigating (1) how the processes generating trait change at different levels of organization structure ecological communities, and (2) how community structure shapes plasticity and evolution. While the eco-evolutionary reciprocity implied by my research has long been recognized, it is only one conceptual model of evolutionary ecology. As an alternative, Hutchinson viewed ecology as a rigid theater un-influenced by density or frequency dependence. Is ecology more like a rigid theater, or is it a flexible actor intertwined with the density and frequency dependence created by evolutionary change? I address this question by investigating the hardness of selection—a metric that helps us interpret how ecology and evolution are linked. I combine surveys, field experiments, literature reviews, and math to show when rather than if ecology acts more like a rigid theater versus a flexible actor.

 

 

 

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Winners of the Excellence in PhD Research Award!!

Wishing you had more science in your life?

For the month of May, CSEE will be premiering the five fantastic winners of the Excellence in PhD Research Award, with a 30-min research talk by them every Friday. Talks will streamed LIVE on Youtube starting at 4pm ET and you’ll have a chance to ask questions for a live Q/A session afterwards.

Full schedule below:
May 1, 4pm ET – Quinn Webber
May 8, 4pm ET – Anne McLeod
May 15, 4pm ET – Sarah Amundrud
May 22, 4pm ET – Ruth Rivkin
May 29, 4pm ET – Ken Thompson

Visit our Youtube channel or click here to watch: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoP8jVN1m84wvV5PQKS8ziQ?view_as=subscriber

CSEE Excellence in PhD Research Award Talk
May 1st, 4pm ET
Quinn Webber
My core narrative as a PhD student has been to link animal social behaviour and space use. Animal social behaviour, habitat selection, and movement are inherently linked through density dependence and their effects on fitness. Using caribou (Rangifer tarandus) as a model system, I empirically tested these processes across scales and contexts. First, I tested whether social network position and habitat specialization are predictors of fitness in and vary as a function of population density. Second, I tested whether social group size varies as a function of population density. Third, I tested whether collective movement affects habitat selection. I found that social network position and group size are density-dependent, while habitat specialists tend to have higher fitness than generalists, but there was no effect of sociality on fitness. I found that individuals foraged alone, but moved together, highlighting that collective movement occurs between, but not within, foraging patches. The impact of my work is the establishment of the idea that social behaviour, habitat selection, movement, and population density are inter-related aspects of caribou socioecology. While much of my research is fundamental, caribou are federally threatened in Canada and my work has potential to inform caribou management.

May 8th, 4pm ET
Anne McLeod
Natural communities are undergoing accelerated changes due to human pressures such as habitat fragmentation, over-harvesting, and species invasions.  Here, I use bioinformatics and mathematical models to examine the environmental and ecological drivers of food-web structure and dynamics. First, I use a spatially expansive food-web to examine drivers of spatial turnover in food-web interactions across an environmental gradient. I demonstrate that predicting local realizations of community structure is very difficult, but critical since environmental perturbations occur at the local scale. Then, I integrate empirical data and mathematical models to explore the consequences of different structural metrics, including omnivory, on food-web stability and persistence. I demonstrate that the importance of omnivory depends on both the type of omnivory and the food-web within which it appears. Finally, I derive a novel multi-trophic metacommunity model which demonstrate how movement is a product of both a species’ ability to move and the landscape across which it moves. Treating patch connectivity as a species’ specific property can change our conclusions about multi-patch stability. Overall, my thesis integrates data and theory to test the impacts of environmental gradients and change on food webs and provide testable predictions to guide future research in spatial food web ecology.
May 15th, 4pm ET
Sarah Amundrud
Species distributions and the composition of ecological communities result from the interplay of three constraints: physical barriers to dispersal, species-specific environmental requirements, and species interactions. While the relative importance of these factors is known to depend on spatial scale, the effects of climate change on the interplay of abiotic and biotic constraints are still poorly understood. I combined manipulative experiments, observational surveys along environmental gradients, and species distribution models to explore the relative importance of abiotic and biotic constraints on aquatic invertebrate communities inside bromeliad plants across a range of spatial scales: the geographic scale (Central and South America), the landscape scale (elevational gradients in Costa Rica), and the local scale (the bromeliad system). While species interactions were the main drivers of community change at the local scale, biotic effects were not important in driving species distributions at the large geographic scale. Notably, the relative importance of abiotic and biotic processes at the landscape scale depended on environmental context, an important insight given that environmental conditions are already shifting as a result of climate change. This hierarchical set of studies demonstrates the scale-dependence of the interplay of abiotic and biotic processes in affecting species distributions and community assemblages, as well as the potential role of environmental context at the intermediate scale of the landscape.May 22nd, 4pm ET
Ruth Rivkin
Urban habitats are more fragmented and degraded than nonurban habitats, which can impact both the ecology and evolution of species interactions. Species interaction may be particularly sensitive to urbanization because the species involved may be responding to urbanization separately, and together through effects on the strength of and direction of the interaction. We studied the effects of urbanization on a mutualistic interaction and an antagonistic interaction. We measured reproductive success of Brassica rapa plants across 30 experimental sites in Toronto, ON, and tracked within-site pollen dispersal and pollinator community variation among these sites. We found that urbanization influences plants reproductive success, but whether the effects on fitness were positive or negative depended on season and pollinator dispersal. We also studied the interaction between Darwin’s finches and Tirbulus cistoides in towns on three Galapagos Islands. We tested the effects of urbanization on seed predation rates, selection on mericarp size and defense traits, and ground finch community composition across 40 sites per island. Predation rates were elevated in urban sites, which corresponded to stronger selection on mericarp morphology and altered ground finch communities due to urbanization. Together, our results demonstrate the sensitivity of the ecology and evolution of species interactions to urbanization.

May 29th, 4pm ET
Ken Thompson
In my talk, I’ll describe the progress I made during my Ph.D. to ‘push the peanut forward’ in arriving at generalities about the mechanisms of natural and sexual selection that act on hybrids in nature. Because the phenotype of otherwise viable and fertile hybrids determines their fate, we must document patterns and test theoretical predictions to better understand the mechanisms of so-called ‘extrinsic’ post-zygotic isolation and its importance for speciation. I’ll discuss the results of a systematic literature review where I find that hybrid traits are typically more dominant than intermediate, resulting in hybrids that are often quite ‘mismatched’ for divergent parental traits. Using recombinant hybrid sunflowers grown in a common field environment, I experimentally demonstrate negative fitness consequences of trait mismatches in the field. I’ll then talk about some preliminary results from ongoing work illustrating the extent to which mismatched traits are expressed in first-generation vs. segregating (backcross and F2) hybrids. Finally, I’ll conclude with a brief summary of an ongoing field experiment in threespine stickleback testing whether parallel phenotypic evolution is an engine of speciation in nature
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The inaugural winner of The President’s Award for Excellence in Societal Engagement!!

Here’s happy news for a change…

The CSEE is delighted to announce that the inaugural winner of The President’s Award for Excellence in Societal Engagement is …. drum roll please….

Dr Justina Ray!!!!

Dr. Ray is the co-founderay_headshot2018r, president, and senior scientist of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Canada. She is an indefatigable advocate for caribou. She has played key roles in strengthening federal impact assessment and in the conceptual development and identification of Key Biodiversity Areas in Canada. She is also an exceptional mentor who is helping to train the next generation of Canadian conservation scientists.

Congratulations Dr Ray!

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Early Career Award 2020

Deadline for receipt of all application materials: 14 February 2020

Award Description:  The CSEE Early Career Awards recognize outstanding accomplishments and promising future research potential in ecology and evolution by scientists early in their career.  Awards will be given to two candidates each year.  They consist of a 10-year membership to CSEE/SCEE, $500 cash award, up to $1000 allowance for travel and accommodation to attend the CSEE meeting in Edmonton, AB, in May 2020, and an invitation to give a keynote lecture at the annual meeting.

Eligibility:  Applicants must be active researchers in the field of ecology and evolutionary biology who received their doctorate within five years of the application deadline, not including time taken for parental leave (i.e., one year of parental leave extends the eligibility period to six years post-Ph.D.).  Candidates need to be Canadian citizens, or landed immigrants, or have completed their PhD at a Canadian University, or be currently working at a Canadian University.

Application/Nomination Procedures:  Candidates may apply directly or may be nominated.  Established researchers are encouraged to nominate outstanding young scientists.  Nominations must contain all of the following supporting materials in the stated order: (1) a curriculum vitae, (2) a summary of research accomplishments (maximum 2 pages), (3) a 2-page statement of research plans for the next 5 years, (4) three recent publications, (5) names and addresses of 3 referees (including the nominating scientist where applicable) who will provide supporting letters. The 3 letters of reference should be sent separately from the candidate’s nomination package.  All nomination materials and reference letters must be sent as PDFs to the chair of the CSEE Awards committee, Carissa Brown (carissa.brown@mun.ca).

Time lines:  The deadline for receipt of all materials including letters of reference is 14 February 2020.  The recipients will be notified of the award in March and they will receive their award at the following annual meeting.

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President’s Award for Excellence in Societal Engagement

Nominate someone for our newest award: the President’s Award for Excellence in Societal Engagement. This new award recognizes outstanding contributions to public and/or policy engagement related to ecology or evolutionary biology in Canada.

To nominate yourself or someone else, please justify the nomination in a letter not exceeding 1000 words, supported by one additional CSEE member in good standing. Nominations should submitted to the CSEE Secretary (cseesecretary1@gmail.com) by 31 January 2020.

The winner gets a plaque, a monetary award, and a paid trip to the next CSEE conference to deliver a plenary.

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CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: CSEE Excellence in Doctoral Research Award 2020

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: CSEE EXCELLENCE IN DOCTORAL RESEARCH AWARD 2020

The Canadian Society for Ecology & Evolution (CSEE) invites Ph.D. candidates who are at an advanced stage of their dissertation (typically the final two years) to apply for the Excellence in Doctoral Research Award. Award winners will receive $500 cash, and will have an opportunity to present their doctoral research in our Graduate Student Award Symposium at the annual CSEE meeting, which will take place from May 28th-31st 2020 in beautiful Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Winners will also receive up to a $1500 travel stipend to cover travel expenses for themselves and partners/dependants to attend the meeting.

Deadline

The deadline to apply is March 2nd, 2020. Results will be announced at least two weeks before the closing of the ‘early bird’ registration period.

Scope and Criteria

This award aims to showcase excellent student research from within the society. Successful applicants will have conducted high-quality research that addresses fundamental questions or is of an applied nature in the fields of ecology and/or evolution. In addition to demonstrated scholarship and merit, the selection committee aims to promote diversity in science (see the CSEE Diversity & Inclusivity Statement here), and to balance field of study and institutional representation. All eligible PhD students are encouraged to apply (see Eligibility).

Eligibility

Applicants must have been (i) registered in a Ph.D. program within the year of application (2020) and (ii) a member of CSEE at the time of application. There is no citizenship or residence requirement. Applicants should have advanced to candidacy but should not have completed their degree requirements as of December 31st, 2019 (these individuals are encouraged to apply for the CSEE Early Career Award). Successful applicants are expected to attend the CSEE meeting in Edmonton in May and to present their work as part of the CSEE Graduate Student Awards Symposium (exceptions will be considered on an individual basis). Applicants from last year who were not selected for the award but still meet the eligibility criteria are encouraged to re-apply.

Materials

Applications must include the following sections:

  • Thesis Summary (300 words maximum): A summary of your thesis (i.e., thesis abstract). You may use subheadings for different thesis chapters if desired. The applicant should make it clear how their research advances the state of knowledge in their field.
  • Other Relevant Activities (250 words maximum): In this section describe any professional and extracurricular activities that demonstrate your communication and leadership skills.
  • Select Awards and Contributions (1 page maximum): Using three headings, highlight (i) awards that you have received, (ii) talks or posters that you have given and (iii) papers you have published. Do not include papers that are in preparation, submitted, or being revised for a journal (including preprints)—only include manuscripts that are published or have been given final acceptance and are ‘in press’. If in press, provide the manuscript number. The applicant must remove their name from all publications and replace it with “Applicant”, in bold.
  • Letter of support (1 page maximum) from your PhD advisor or a committee member. Letters should speak to the criteria listed above and should clearly state that the applicant is close to completion of their thesis. Letters must not contain the name of the applicant but rather non-identifying terms such as “The Applicant”, or similar. For example, “The applicant has been a member of my lab…”.

Sections 1 through 3 should be submitted as a single pdf file with the filename “<lastname_firstinitial>_CSEE_PhDaward.pdf” to cseestudent@gmail.com (e.g., Smith_J_CSEE_PhDaward.pdf). The letter of support should be submitted directly from the referee to the same email address and should have the same format as the application with “_Letter” added to the end (e.g., Smith_J_CSEE_PhDAward_Letter.pdf). All materials are due by the deadline indicated above. We will respond to each email to confirm receipt within one week.

The name (first or last) of the applicant must not appear anywhere within the application other than the file names. This anonymization is meant to reduce bias during the evaluation process. Failure to properly anonymize applications could result in disqualification.

Other Important Information

Successful applicants will give a 30-minute talk (23 minute talk and 7-minute question period and transition) in the Graduate Student Award Symposium and will not be able to give a separate talk during the conference. Awardees can present a poster if space is available. Successful applicants must respond to accept the award and confirm their registration within one week of notification. Successful applicants will be ineligible for Student/Post-doc travel awards as they are already given a stipend.

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Early Career Award 2019

We are pleased to announce this year’s Early Career Award competition. We encourage nominations of outstanding early career ecology and evolution scientists, and we highly encourage potential nominators to reflect on CSEE’s Diversity and Inclusivity Statement: http://csee-scee.ca/diversity-and-inclusivity-statement/. Self nominations are welcome.

Deadline for receipt of all application materials: 28 February 2019

Award Description:  The CSEE Early Career Awards recognize outstanding accomplishments and promising future research potential in ecology and evolution by scientists early in their career.  Awards will be given to two candidates each year.  They consist of a 10-year membership to CSEE/SCEE, $500 cash award, up to $1000 allowance for travel and accommodation to attend the CSEE meeting in Fredericton, NB, in August 2019, and an invitation to give a keynote lecture at the annual meeting.

Eligibility:  Applicants must be active researchers in the field of ecology and evolutionary biology who received their doctorate within five years of the application deadline, not including time taken for parental leave (i.e., one year of parental leave extends the eligibility period to six years post-Ph.D.).  Candidates need to be Canadian citizens, or landed immigrants, or have completed their PhD at a Canadian University, or be currently working at a Canadian University.

Application/Nomination Procedures:  Candidates may apply directly or may be nominated.  Established researchers are encouraged to nominate outstanding young scientists.  Nominations must contain all of the following supporting materials in the stated order: (1) a curriculum vitae, (2) a summary of research accomplishments (maximum 2 pages), (3) a 2-page statement of research plans for the next 5 years, (4) three recent publications, (5) names and addresses of 3 referees (including the nominating scientist where applicable) who will provide supporting letters. The 3 letters of reference should be sent separately from the candidate’s nomination package.  All nomination materials and reference letters must be sent as PDFs to the chair of the CSEE Awards committee, Carissa Brown (carissa.brown@mun.ca).

Time lines:  The deadline for receipt of all materials including letters of reference is 28 February 2019.  The recipients will be notified of the award in early April and they will receive their award at the following annual meeting.

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CSEE 2018 student award winners

Congratulations to the CSEE 2018 award winners:

First place oral ($525) – Jalina Bielaska Da Silva. Genetic mechanisms of aggressive sperm-mediated gametic isolation in Caenorhabditis nematodes.

Second place oral ($425) – Quentin Kerr. Temporal stability of genomic differentiation between seasonal spawning components in Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus).

Third place oral ($300) – Frances Stewart. Protected area networks are only as valuable as the working landscapes they conserve.

First place poster ($525) – Samuel Deakin. Spatial genetic population structure of Alberta’s bighorn sheep.

Second place poster ($425) – Katie Birchard. Circadian gene variation with latitude and breeding season in allochronic populations of two pelagic seabird species complexes.

Third place poster ($300) – Jamie Bain. The effects of agricultural intensity on stream metabolism.

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2018 EARLY CAREER AWARDS

The CSEE Early Career Awards (ECA) recognize outstanding accomplishments and promising future research potential in ecology and evolution by scientists early in their careers. The evaluation committee was extremely impressed with the overall quality of applicants for the 2018 awards, so the process was both gratifying and difficult. This year’s recipients of the ECA were Stephen de Lisle (Postdoctoral Scholar, Lund University; Ph.D. University of Toronto) and Patrick Thompson (Postdoctoral Fellow, University of British Columbia; Ph.D. McGill University). Congratulations to Stephen and Patrick!

Stephen de Lisle

Postdoctoral Scholar (Lund University); Ph.D. University of Toronto

stephen-de-lisleStephen is an evolutionary ecologist interested in understanding how ecological processes drive evolutionary change within and between species. In particular, his research focuses on organisms with separate sexes to understand how and why selection and adaptation differ between males and females of the same species, and how the resulting evolution of sex differences influences both ecological communities and the dynamics of deep-time macroevolutionary diversification. In order to connect process and pattern across these disparate timescales, his research uses a wide range of approaches including ecological field experiments and surveys of wild populations, evolutionary quantitative genetics, and phylogenetic comparative methods.

Patrick Thompson

Postdoctoral Fellow (University of British Columbia); Ph.D. McGill University

patrick-thompsonPatrick Thompson is a community ecologist who seeks to understand the processes that maintain biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in changing environments. His research integrates theory and empirical methods in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems to study how changing land scape connectivity, food-web interactions, and adaptation combine to shape current and future communities. By developing and testing theory on how these processes interactively affect how communities respond to environmental change, his work advances our understanding of how communities operate and seeks to inform strategies for preserving biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in the face of global change.

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Early Career Award 2018

Deadline for receipt of all application materials: 26 January 2018

Award Description: The CSEE Early Career Awards recognize outstanding accomplishments and promising future research potential in ecology and evolution by scientists early in their career. Awards will be given to two candidates each year. They consist of a 10-year membership to CSEE/SCEE, $500 cash award, up to $1000 allowance for travel and accommodation to attend the CSEE meeting in Guelph, ON, in July 2018, and an invitation to give a keynote lecture at the annual meeting.

Eligibility: Applicants must be active researchers in the field of ecology and evolutionary biology who received their doctorate within five years of the application deadline, not including time taken for parental leave (i.e., one year of parental leave extends the eligibility period to six years post-Ph.D.). Candidates need to be Canadian citizens, or landed immigrants, or have completed their PhD at a Canadian University, or be currently working at a Canadian University.

Application/Nomination Procedures: Candidates may apply directly or may be nominated.  Established researchers are encouraged to nominate outstanding young scientists.  Nominations must contain all of the following supporting materials in the stated order: (1) a curriculum vitae, (2) a summary of research accomplishments (maximum 2 pages), (3) a 2-page statement of research plans for the next 5 years, (4) three recent publications, (5) names and addresses of 3 referees (including the nominating scientist where applicable) who will provide supporting letters. The 3 letters of reference should be sent separately from the candidate’s nomination package. All nomination materials and reference letters must be sent as PDFs to the chair of the CSEE Awards committee, Mark Vellend (mark.vellend@usherbrooke.ca).

Time lines: The deadline for receipt of all materials including letters of reference is 26 January 2018. The recipients will be notified of the award in early March and they will receive their award at the following annual meeting.

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