CSEE Early Career Award 2020

We are thrilled to announce the 2020 recipients of the CSEE Early Career Award: Dr. Diana Rennison and Dr. Kiyoko Gotanda. 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. Gotanda is a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge whose contributions span ecology, evolution, behaviour, and conservation (http://www.kiyokogotanda.com/).

In lieu of giving plenary lectures at the annual meeting, Diana and Kiyoko will give online research talks on Friday, June 26th at 4pm EDT, and Friday July 3rd at 4pm EDT:

June 26 4pm EDT – Dr. Diana Rennison: Uncovering the genetic and ecological underpinnings of parallel adaptation

July 3rd 4pm EDT – Dr. Kiyoko Gotanda: Human influences on adaptation on the Galapagos Islands

Both talks will be streamed live to our CSEE YouTube channel and will feature a live question period: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoP8jVN1m84wvV5PQKS8ziQ .

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 26th, 4pm EDT

 Dr. Diana RennisonRennison

 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.

Early Career Award Talks: Friday July 3rd, 4pm EDT

Dr. Kiyoko GotandaGotanda

 Human influences on adaptation on the Galapagos Islands

The Galápagos Islands are renowned for their unique, endemic biodiversity which inspired Charles Darwin to develop his theory of evolution by natural selection. In particular, Darwin’s finches are an iconic example of adaptive radiation due to natural selection, where ~18 species have evolved from a single, common ancestor. Adaptive radiations can occur when exploitation of new ecological niches can lead to speciation, that is, the formation of entirely new species. Each species of Darwin’s finches is able to specialize on niche specific food items as well innovate in order to take advantage of new food sources, for example, by utilizing tools. Humans can pose major threats to such adaptive radiations by changing selection pressures on Darwin’s finches, and thus, influence their adaptation and evolution. On the Galápagos Islands, humans have direct and indirect effects on the adaptation of Darwin’s finches. My research focuses on three human influences: introduced predators, novel foods, and urbanization, and how these iconic finches are adapting to the presence of humans on the islands.