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.



CSEE Council will hold the Annual General Meeting June 22 at 11 am-12:30 pm PDT (2 pm-3:30 pm EDT) over Zoom.

Our current By-Laws do not allow for an AGM by electronic means, and so CSEE council has moved two changes to the Bylaws to allow for an electronic meeting.

Please see the following items for discussion at the 2020 AGM:

1. Minutes from the 2019 AGM in Fredericton
2. Two (2) proposed changes to the By-Laws, and one change to the Standing Rules.

Agenda and Zoom invite for the 2020 AGM to follow by email.


Elections 2020

Vice President/President-Elect

Jeannette Whitton

whitton-bio-picI am a plant evolutionary biologist in the Department of Botany at the University of British Columbia. Like so many scientists, my first research experience was funded by an NSERC USRA, allowing me to see how lifelong learning could be a job description. My main research focus is on understanding the origin and establishment of novel diversity in plants.

I am running for VP of CSEE because I value the role that the society plays in bringing together and supporting Canada’s ecology and evolution community, and I believe my past leadership experience aligns well with CSEE’s mission and mandate. I served on COSEWIC (the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada) from 2007-2013, and am currently appointed to a 3-year term as Group Chair for the NSERC Evaluation Group in Ecology and Evolution, for which I had previously served as an Evaluation Group Member and co-chair.

Many aspects of our personal and professional lives will be changed by the current global pandemic. CSEE is also likely to change, and we will need to be open to new ways of exchanging ideas and supporting our membership. I will encourage CSEE to further support students, early career researchers and field researchers highly impacted by the pandemic. CSEE can respond through our own initiatives, and through our working relationships with NSERC and other academic and non-academic groups (like CIEE, for example). This crisis also underscores the critical importance of open science, public communication of science, and public trust in data and evidence, areas where I will work to support training and engagement opportunities for a broader and more diverse segment of our membership.

Chris Eckert

eckertpicRaised in the biodiversity hotspot of downtown Toronto, I got hooked on evolutionary ecology during my undergrad in zoology at Western University. Work as an itinerate field biologist, an MSc in behavioural ecology, a stint as an environmental educator, and a PhD in evolutionary botany took me to Queen’s U where my students and I investigate adaptation, with a particular focus on reproductive systems and species’ range limits. I was a CSEE councillor from 2015-2019 and editor of the CSEE Bulletin. As VP, I want to ensure that the CSEE continues to promote a sense of community among diverse researchers across Canada and sponsor annual meetings that are an inclusive scientific and social forum for researchers at all stages of their careers. But in particular, I’d like to (1) continue to develop a more flexible email communication strategy with our membership to not only deliver society news but also bring scientists together around common research and teaching interests; (2) ensure that we are on top of NSERC program developments and prepare our members, through online and conference workshops, to make the most of new and existing NSERC grant programs; (3) develop and promote workshops and funding opportunities that enhance the outreach and engagement activities of ecologists and evolutionary biologists in Canada.


Julien Martin

julien_martin-web1I am an evolutionary ecologist working with long-term data in the wild investigating the process of selection and evolution in a changing environment. I obtained a Msc in 2006 at Université du Québec à Montréal and a PhD in 2010 at Université de Sherbrooke. I then went to do a postdoc at University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA) for 2 years before moving to the University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland in 2013 as a Marie-Curie research fellow and being hired there as an assistant professor in 2015. In 2019, I moved to the University of Ottawa as an associate Professor in quantitative ecology. In times when misinformation and lack of information are exacerbated, I believe it is crucial that all efforts are made to promote the maintenance of good communication and trust in science. Consequently, I see the role of the CSEE to be more important than ever in facilitating communication between researchers but also with the public and the governments. I wish to help the society fulfill its crucial role and hope to help it develop even more.

Julie Lee-Yaw

julie_lee-yawI am an Assistant Professor at the University of Lethbridge, where I study the evolutionary ecology of species’ range limits and, more recently, the effects of wildfire on animal populations. Research in my lab integrates ecological niche modelling, genomics, observational studies, and synthesis work. My (somewhat meandering) academic path has taken me through four of our Canadian institutions (Queen’s, McGill, UBC, and now U of L), one American institution (UT Austin), and two international institutions (Université de Neuchâtel in Switzerland and CSIRO in Australia). These experiences, from several corners of our country (and beyond), have left me with an appreciation of the many contributions of Canadian scientists to ecology and evolution, and a desire to further strengthen and promote connections across our scientific community. I served as post-doc/student representative on the CSEE council from 2016 to 2018. During this time, I further developed the CSEE PhD Excellence and Diversity Award and organized a workshop focused on mental health and wellness in academia (held at the 2017 meeting in Victoria). I remain a strong advocate for diversity in science and think CSEE has an important role to play in this regard. I would also like to see our society continue to support wellness in academia. If elected, I will work to 1) enhance the membership experience; 2) further develop CSEE’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives; and 3) support synergies across the academic landscape through communication with NSERC, CIEE, and other organizations. As an early career researcher, I believe I am well-positioned to bridge communications between our more junior and senior members and am excited to serve a society that I deeply value.

Jalene LaMontagne

lamontagneI am an Associate Professor at DePaul University, in Chicago, IL. I am a population ecologist and my students and I work on questions related to emergent patterns of variability and synchrony in systems ranging from reproduction in boreal conifers to urban ecology. I received my BSc and MSc from the University of Calgary, my PhD from the University of Alberta. Before moving to Chicago, I was a founding faculty member at the Asian University for Women in Bangladesh, where I began thinking more deeply about questions in urban ecology. I am a lifetime CSEE member because the society reflects my interests and values. I went to my first CSEE meeting in 2011, attend regularly with my students, and I am always impressed by the quality of science done by CSEE members and the supportive atmosphere of our society. I would like to support the society as a CSEE Councillor, and I would bring a perspective of a member who is outside Canada. I maintain strong ties to Canada, both personally and through my research on spatial patterns in white spruce cone production, and I have worked as an academic in two countries outside Canada. I have also served as an ad hoc and panel reviewer for funding agencies from multiple countries. I enjoy supporting and being involved in leadership of organizations, and I would like to help enhance science communication endeavors and the international scope of CSEE, support our student members, and grow and support our membership both within and outside Canada.

Jasmine Janes

janesI am an evolutionary biologist with a passion for plants (but I can be swayed to work on other groups). I have worked in both Australia and Canada on a variety of genomics-based projects, including native orchids, mountain pine beetle and eucalypts. I am a recent faculty hire at Vancouver Island University, but I have been a CSEE member since I moved to Canada in 2012. Over the years, I have enjoyed contributing to the society as a student presentation judge and mentor at graduate student events discussing the pros and cons of moving abroad for positions. As a CSEE councillor I will work towards greater promotion and inclusion of, and opportunity for: 1) early career researchers, 2) undergraduate research, 3) members from smaller institutions, and 4) postdoctoral fellows.

Student/Postdoc Councillor

Andrea Wishart

andreanominationWhile pursuing my BScH, MSc, and now PhD, I have contributed to scientific discourse both through research publications, research communications, and further into the public sphere through many media interviews and outreach events. I have begun training the next generation through the University of Saskatchewan’s Teacher Scholar Doctoral Fellowship program for which I have been teaching our undergraduate evolution course as the primary instructor this term. I am a strong supporter of graduate student community and advocacy through my involvement with – and in my current role as president of – our department’s Biology Graduate Student Association. I hope to similarly serve the broader CSEE community if elected to the CSEE Council. I have greatly enjoyed connecting with CSEE members through my work on the ad-hoc steering committee that advocated for the creation of the CSEE Section for Long-Term Research (LTR) in 2018, and I continue to work for the section. In addition to helping to organize the LTR Section’s inaugural symposium in 2019, I presented the results from a survey I conducted, with consultation from a social scientist, on the perceived benefits and challenges of working as a graduate student on a long-term project. This stimulated lively discussion of issues and actions that can be taken to improve equity, diversity, and inclusion in long-term research. I believe that these values I share with CSEE as a society are critical to the future success and excellence of ecological and evolutionary research in Canada, and my desire to continue and expand my work for these values is my motivation to pursue the position of CSEE Graduate Student Councillor.

Pooja Singh

pooja-singh-cropI am a postdoctoral associate working on local adaptation to climate in conifers at the University of Calgary (Prof. Sam Yeaman’s group). I am passionate about evolutionary genetics and biodiversity and would like to get more involved in promoting ecology and evolutionary research in Canada.  If elected, I would strive to promote the integration of ecology in evolutionary research and highlight conservation issues alongside basic and applied research. The latter is more important now than ever. I would also seek to get more students, particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds, interested in evolutionary research in Canada. More importantly, I would work towards ensuring that they feel welcomed and valued as a part of the CSEE and realise how crucial their contribution is to our broader society. I could achieve this by developing a mentorship programme aimed at undergraduate and early stage graduate students, which would not only provide a forum for them to network and exchange ideas but also act as a support system. Senior members of CSEE could volunteer as mentors and lend their experience.

Regan Cross

regan-crossI am a PhD candidate at Queen’s University studying plant evolutionary ecology, and I’m so excited to be running for CSEE graduate student/post-doc rep! Getting involved in various committees at Queen’s has been so rewarding, so I can only imagine the great opportunities and fun to be had by getting involved at a larger scale. I attended my first CSEE conference last year – it was such an excellent event with a lot of positive energy – and I’d like to keep that going through the next two years.

I am currently the co-chair of the Biology Graduate Student Council at Queen’s, and have previously been the social coordinator and served on a faculty search committee, EEB seminar series committee, and Research, Tenure, and Promotion committee. In our department, I’ve strived to increase engagement from grad students by organizing a variety of diverse events, and to amplify our voices within the department and the university.

If I were elected CSEE rep, I think it would be great to introduce an award for best post-doc talk that could perhaps be evaluated (using clear and quantitative feedback forms) by interested graduate students. This could increase engagement of grad students, and give them an opportunity to better understand what makes a great talk (of course, post-docs would also benefit from award opportunities at such a critical stage of their careers). I think it could also be cool to introduce a buddy program where early-stage students are paired with later-stage students to help them navigate their first big conference. Overall, I would be honoured to serve as your CSEE student/post-doc rep and would work hard to ensure your voices are heard and your concerns are acted upon.

Charles Cong Xu

charles-cong-xuI am a 4th year PhD candidate in Rowan Barrett’s lab at the Redpath Museum & Department of Biology at McGill University. My research interests revolve around eDNA, metabarcoding, and metagenomics, especially how these methods can benefit conservation or natural resource management. I was born in Wuhan, China and moved to the Midwest of the U.S. and have lived in Iowa, Minnesota, and Indiana where I did my undergrad in environmental sciences at the University of Notre Dame. During my undergrad I also did research at Harvard University and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. I then did my masters in evolutionary biology in the MEME Erasmus Mundus Master Programme where I spent a semester each at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, University of Montpellier in France, University of California – Berkeley, Uppsala University in Sweden, and the Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. I believe I can bring an international perspective to CSEE and I hope to make CSEE as exciting and fun as possible! For example, I would like to create a yearly contest to design various CSEE conference swag that will be available for sale to the CSEE community.  https://charlescongxu.weebly.com/


President’s Report – Spring 2019

CSEE might have seemed to be hibernating since the last newsletter.  It was winter after all!  But the Council has been slowly chipping away at important projects to make the Society better at serving its members.

What’s new with NSERC?

In December, the Council has its annual meeting with NSERC representatives. The outlook is bright, with a promised 25% increase in NSERC funding between now and 2023. Last April, $70 million were injected into Discovery Grants, over 5 years.  Many of you saw your awards increased in the 2018 round and some of the new funding was earmarked for the first year of the Discovery Grant of Early Career Researchers. In the past few months, NSERC has engaged the research community as part of a quinquennial evaluation of its Discovery research program.  When NSERC comes knocking on your email door, please answer!  This is the most direct way to tell them what you think.  The beginning of 2019 saw another call for the Discovery Frontiers program, this one aimed at anti-microbial resistance in the environment.  This was the second call in a row with a focus relevant to CSEE members for this program.  Early career researchers were also the target of a new funding opportunity in the shape of the New Frontiers in Research program – to conduct high-risk, high-reward and interdisciplinary research.

In our meeting, we asked NSERC LOTS of questions, and they were forthcoming with answers to most of them.  Some stats on DG success rates: 69% and 47% of early career women and men, respectively, were successful in the 2018 DG competition, compared to 86% and 84% of established women and men researchers.  Established researchers not holding a grant continue to struggle to achieve success (26% success for men; data withheld for women because of sample size). The average grant of ECRs was $31k, while that of established researchers was $45k.  The success rates of applicants in the Ecology and Evolution evaluation group were in line with those of other evaluation groups.  There continues to be a distinct disadvantage for small universities, which achieved a DG success rate of 48% compared to medium (60%) and large (71%) universities.  Average grant sizes at small universities were also smaller ($31k vs $39k for large universities).

NSERC has a number of programs to support researchers who become new parents, and these apply not only to faculty but to graduate students and PDFs too.  If you’re expecting a happy event soon, look into the programs for primary caregivers, family and medical leave, and the paid maternity/parental leave for students and PDFs. The latter offers up to 6 months of paid leave to students and PDFs supported by NSERC grants. Relatively few researchers avail themselves of these programs. We don’t know if that’s a reflection of the low number of people who need them or lack of awareness.

We got interesting stats about the major NSERC awards. Over the last four years, 67% of Steacie award winners, 75% of Herzberg medal winners, and 75% of Polanyi award winners have been men. However, for these three awards, 76%, 89% and 88% of nominated researchers were also men.  The solution seems clear: we all need to nominate more women for awards.

In relation to gender and other equity issues, we pressed NSERC on the metrics of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI), which is now a consideration in the evaluation of Discovery and other grants.  This is clearly something that is important to NSERC. They are putting a lot of time and effort in developing training (e.g., about bias in peer review for peer reviewers) and tools to address the issue, but the criteria for researchers remain vague.  The best we can do right now is point you to their EDI guide for applicants (http://www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca/_doc/EDI/Guide_for_Applicants_EN.pdf).

We had lots of other questions. What’s the relative productivity of Banting and Vanier fellowship holders vs standard PDF/PhD award holders? (No data.) Can PhD awards be increased to 4 years to better reflect how long PhDs take? (No, probably not.) Are there plans to increase the number of times a person can apply for NSERC PDF? (No) Are there plans to increase the value of PDF and other awards to account for inflation? (Mmmm, maybe.)  How much of a researcher’s DG is taken up by open access fees? (No data yet.) Can you do something about the CCV? (Sigh…)

Overall, it was a productive meeting.  We truly appreciated the openness of the NSERC reps we met.

Made-in-Canada Athena Swan, aka ‘Dimensions’

Several CSEE members participate in NSERC consultations that have just wrapped up on a Canadian version of the Athena SWAN charter, which recognises good practices in UK higher education and research institutions towards the advancement of gender equality.  The Canadian charter has now been released (http://www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca/NSERC-CRSNG/EDI-EDI/Dimensions_Dimensions_eng.asp) and it aims to address systemic barriers to the inclusion of not just women, but also Indigenous peoples, people with disability, visible minorities, and LGBTQ2+ persons.  The national program – known as Dimensions –  applies to all members of the research community in post-secondary institutions. While the UK version was initially limited only to STEM and broadened later, the Canadian version includes all fields of study.  Adhesion to the Charter is voluntary for institutions, which stand to gain bronze, silver or gold certification using a set of clear, standardized, self-assessment criteria. Fifteen small institutions received EDI capacity-building grants, but beyond that, unfortunately, there will be no new money for chair programs for women or for ECR women, and no consequences in terms of tricouncil funding for institutions that do not adhere to the Charter or fail to improve over time.  A Letter of Intent call to join the first cohort of institutions seeking a Dimensions award will open on 3 June 2019.


I am glad to report that CSEE has signed a memorandum of agreement with the Canadian Institute for Ecology and Evolution, committing us to a funding contribution to our partner (or is it offspring?) organisation for the next 5 years.  This agreement formalises the financial relationship that we have had with CIEE since its inception, and will help to provide CIEE with some certainty of funding as it continues to grow.

New award for science engagement and policy

I am also delighted to announce the creation of a new CSEE award for science engagement and policy.  The award was suggested by CSEE member Aerin Jacobs, and CSEE Council loved the idea!  The award will recognise engagement with the public or decision-makers about science, activities that reflect two of the four objectives of the CSEE (“to raise public awareness about the importance of ecology and evolution to Canadian society” and “to facilitate communication between members of the Society and decision-makers in the public, private, and non-governmental sectors”).  We are working out the details but we envisage the award being given at our annual conference every other year, alternating with the President’s Award.  So watch this space, and put your thinking caps on to identify and nominate a worthy recipient of our newest award in 2020.

Looking forward to seeing you in Fredericton!

Isabelle Côté



CSEE Elections 2019

Student/Postdoc Councilor (1 position)

Hannah Brazbrazeaueau

I am a first-year MSc student in the biology department at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, studying how competition for pollinators impacts the evolution of flowers. I completed my undergraduate studies at Algoma University in Sault Ste. Marie in 2018 and presented my undergraduate research at the 2018 CSEE meeting in Guelph.

Attending a small, undergraduate-focused university and presenting undergraduate research at a CSEE meeting showed me how valuable an organization like CSEE can be to undergraduate students and early career researchers. If elected as graduate student councilor, I will seek to create initiatives within CSEE that will boost undergraduate student membership and engagement.  https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Hannah_Brazeau

Emilie Champagne

champagneI’m currently a postdoctoral researcher in ecology, specializing in plant-herbivore relationships, mostly in forest ecosystems. I finished my PhD relatively recently (2017) and I completed all my graduate degrees in my hometown, at Université Laval. However, I’ve had the chance to visit several Canadian provinces, mostly for CSEE meetings. I’ve always felt at home at CSEE meetings and that’s what I would like to bring as a post-doctoral councillor. A first big conference can be intimidating for a student, especially if you’re the only one of your lab going. I would like the CSEE to remain the welcoming place it already is for all students, and I’d like also to reduce potential barriers, for example those involving language or accessibility. The culture and systems of science are changing and we have done a lot as a society. I want to help us continue to improve.

Martin Leclerc

My name isleclerc Martin Leclerc and I am running for the CSEE council to be your Graduate Student/Post-doctoral representative! Why should you vote for me? That is a very good question! First, I would like to give back to this society. I enjoy attending and presenting in annual meetings and I now want to give my time year-round to this organization. Second, my work is at the intersection of ecology, evolution, and conservation which fits perfectly the CSEE mandate. I have done a MSc (Rimouski, Qc) looking at the impacts of human activities on woodland caribou calf survival. I further did a PhD (Sherbrooke, QC) where I worked on the ecological and evolutionary impacts of harvesting on the Scandinavian brown bear. I then migrated on the West Coast (Victoria, BC) where I now investigate how predator-prey dynamics could better inform harvest management. Vote for me and I’ll be happy to be your Graduate Student/Post-doctoral representative!

Kirsten Reid

reidI am a PhD candidate at Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland. My research is based at the other end of the continent in northern Yukon and Northwest Territories, where I am focused on understanding the role of cross-scale (latitudinal to local) biodiversity patterns and abiotic gradients as non-climatic drivers of tree range expansion. My main motivation for serving on CSEE council is to continue to promote diversity within the CSEE community as well as the larger Canadian scientific community. Through annual events such as SWEEET (or SWEEEET 2019), I think we can push to diversify and increase the equity of science in Canada. In addition, I see the society as an opportunity to provide important networking opportunities for early career scientists to make connections with researchers across the country, resulting in future collaborations or mentorship opportunities – something I would aim to promote within the society.

Sharon Wang

Sharon graduated with her BSc and MSc from the University of Guelph where she has remained while pursuing her PhD in Ecology. In addition to co-authoring academic articles and presenting at national and international conferences, Sharon has worked tirelessly towards the betterment of her community. Sharon was invaluable in organizing the CSEE 2018 Meeting in Guelph and took a leading role in organizing the Symposium for Women Entering Ecology & Evolution Today (SWEEET) for both 2018 and 2019. Not only is Sharon helping to support women in ecology and evolution today, but she is helping to usher in the next generation of female scientists through her role with the Society for Canadian Women in Science & Technology as an e-mentor for high-school students. For two consecutive years (2017, 2018) Sharon has helped to organize a Careers in Biology Day aimed at advancing the professional development of graduate students at the University of Guelph. Locally, she has served as the graduate representative on curriculum committees, organized numerous departmental events (often >150 attendees), and developed and executed activities designed to help foster a positive, collaborative culture within University of Guelph’s Department of Integrative Biology (many of which are now being piloted at the college level). Sharon hopes to continue to serve her community by scaling up the initiatives she piloted at home to the national level through a position on the CSEE Council.

Regular Councilor (2 positions)

Jasmine Janes

janesI am an evolutionary biologist with a passion for plants (but I can be swayed to work on other groups). I have worked in both Australia and Canada on a variety of genomics-based projects, including native orchids, mountain pine beetle and eucalypts. I am a recent faculty hire at Vancouver Island University, but I have been a CSEE member since I moved to Canada in 2012. Over the years I have enjoyed contributing to the society as a student presentation judge and mentor at graduate student events discussing the pro’s and con’s of moving abroad for positions. As a CSEE councillor I will work towards greater promotion and inclusion of, and opportunity for: 1) early career researchers, 2) undergraduate research, 3) members from smaller institutions, and 4) postdoctoral fellows.

Justine Karst

karstI am an Assistant Professor and NSERC Industrial Research Chair of Terrestrial Restoration Ecology at the University of Alberta. My research program is broad and can be framed under three main themes: 1) belowground ecology of boreal forests, 2) plant-fungal interactions, and 3) carbon flow through ecosystems. Linking plant-fungal interactions to ecosystem processes, and more recently macroecology, is a particularly novel component to my research program. As I have no experience as a society councilor, I bring to CSEE a deep well of enthusiasm.

Daniel Kraus

krausI have expertise in Canadian biodiversity, conservation and landscape ecology with over twenty-five years of professional and field experience. I am currently the Senior Conservation Biologist at the National Office at the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and I’m also researching extinction risk, evolutionary distinctiveness and species at risk recovery in a part-time PhD program in the School of Environment, Resources, & Sustainability at the University of Waterloo. My current projects at NCC include an analysis of endemic species, and a landscape assessment of biodiversity, threats and conservation responses across southern Canada.

I hope my experiences can serve CSEE is two ways: conservation and science literacy. I’d be very interested in supporting the Biodiversity & Conservation Committee, and in outreach that mobilizes the collective knowledge of the CSEE to foster a public that better understands ecology. I want Canadians to be fascinated by the natural world, and inspired to protect it.

In addition, I have significant committee experience including the Committee on Species at Risk in Ontario (currently Acting Chair), and was also a founding board member of the Ontario Invasive Plant Council.

Jalene LaMontagne

lamontagneI am an Associate Professor at DePaul University, in Chicago, IL, where my students and I work on a variety of topics including reproductive synchrony in boreal conifers, links between life-history and population dynamics, and urban ecology. I am also an Adjunct Scientist at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. I received my BSc and MSc from the University of Calgary, my PhD at the University of Alberta, and prior to my current position, I was a founding faculty member at the Asian University for Women in Bangladesh. While living in one of the most densely populated countries in the world I began thinking deeply about urban ecology questions. I am a regular reviewer for a variety of journals, and I have served as an ad-hoc and panel reviewer for international funding agencies including the National Science Foundation. I went to my first CSEE meeting in 2011 and I attend regularly with my students. I am continually impressed by the quality of science done by CSEE members and the supportive atmosphere of the society, and because the society reflects my interests and values I recently became a lifetime member. I would like to support the society as a CSEE Councillor, and I would bring a perspective of a member who is outside Canada. I have a long history of supporting and being involved in leadership of organizations I am a part of and I would like to enhance science communication endeavors and the international scope of CSEE, and grow and support our members both within and outside Canada.

Julia Mlynarek

mlynarekI’m an entomology research scientist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Harrow, Ontario. Much of my current work involves finding a balance between managing agricultural pests and keeping agro-ecosystems healthy. Even though my current work is applied, my academic background from McGill University (BSc, MSc), Carleton University (PhD) and University of New Brunswick (PDF) has spanned evolutionary ecology, systematics, natural history and insect biodiversity.

CSEE is a vibrant Society and I have enjoyed the positive CSEE vibe since the first meeting I attended in Banff (2011) as a graduate student. Being part of the Local Organizing Committee and Program Chair for this years’ Eco-Evo-Ento 2019 meeting in Fredericton made me realize how proactive the CSEE is in sharing knowledge, diversity, and inclusiveness. However, one of the gaps that is noticeable is the lack of non-academics on the council. As a government scientist, I could fill that gap and help the CSEE grow by encouraging participation of non-academics because we all know that researchers work towards similar goals: increase ecological and evolutionary knowledge.

Arne Mooers

mooersMy name is Arne Mooers, and I would like to serve on the CSEE (which I pronounce as “see-see”) Council.  I am currently a professor of biodiversity at Simon Fraser University here on the West Coast, where I have been on faculty since 2001 (!)  I am from the Maritimes, and did my evolutionary ecology training in Quebec (BSc., McGill), England (DPhil., Oxford) and BC and The Netherlands (PDFs).  My current research concerns how evolutionary biology can inform conservation approaches and strategy, with a focus on how and why we might consider some species as more worthy of conservation concern than others. I currently sit on COSEWIC and also contribute to provincial attempts to enact species at risk legislation.  I was elected to Council once before, in 2009, when I served as the second-ever Chair of CSEE’s Biodiversity and Conservation committee. Then, I was interested in systematic conservation planning, having CSEE contribute to Federal initiatives like reporting out on the CBD, and on the (still hot) topic of barriers to incorporating science in federal policy.  One less-successful initiative was to have CSEE push NSERC faster and further towards true open science.  I would take up these initiatives again in a new term.

Treasurer (1 position)

Yolanda Morbey

morbeyI am seeking re-election as CSEE Treasurer. During my first term of three years, I have been managing the books for CSEE and serving on the CSEE Executive and Council. My responsibilities as Treasurer include developing the budget, managing funds, tracking expenditures and revenues, compiling annual financial statements, ensuring compliance with the Canada Revenue Agency, and other issues related to our finances. As part of the CSEE Executive and Council, I also contribute to higher-level discussions regarding our activities and policies to help promote and develop ecological and evolutionary research in Canada. I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Biology at Western University. I teach ecology and quantitative methods, and my research is in the area of behavioural ecology – the study of evolutionary explanations for individual variation in behaviour and life history. While I have broad taxonomic interests, current research in my lab focuses on migratory movement strategies in songbirds. I believe my research and experience make me ideally suited to continue in my role as CSEE Treasurer for another term.


CSEE response to US executive order on immigration

Friday, February 3, 2017

CSEE response to US executive order on immigration


The Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution (CSEE) expresses its deep concern over the recent Presidential Executive Order that prevents citizens from seven predominantly Muslim nations from travelling through or to the United States.

Scientific progress depends on the open exchange of ideas and transfer of knowledge through international research collaboration, field work, conferences, and workshops. The ban imperils these activities for many researchers, including those working in or working with colleagues in Canada, whether they are students, professors, or practicing scientists in industry, government, and non-governmental sectors.

CSEE embraces principles of diversity and tolerance that are vital to the success of Canadian science and society, but intolerance can create real threats. Recent events reconfirm the truth of Nobel Laureate Lester B. Pearson’s words, “Misunderstanding… arising from ignorance breeds fear, and fear remains the greatest enemy of peace.”

We support calls from organizations, like the Royal Society of Canada and Ecological Society of America, that this travel ban should be ended. CSEE suggests that our members work with their home institutions and in their communities to accommodate those who have been, or will be, displaced by this order.


Jeremy Kerr, President

Isabelle Côté, Vice President

Miriam Richards, Secretary

Yolanda Morbey, Treasurer

Melanie Jean, Graduate Councillor

Alison Derry, Councillor

Julie Lee-Yaw, PDF Councillor

Chris Eckert, Councillor

Jill Johnstone, Councillor

Andrew Simons, Councillor

Mark Vellend, Councillor

Jeannette Whitton, Councillor

Jeffrey Hutchings, Past President

Judy Myers, Past President

Spencer Barrett, Past President

Doug Morris, Past President


About CSEE: The Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution (CSEE) is a non-partisan group of practicing ecologists and evolutionary biologists at all career stages throughout Canada.


Science review panel must tackle barriers to funding, encourage diversity

Policy commentary in “The Hill Times”, the newspaper for Parliamentarians
There is more work to do to reverse a decade of erosion of scholarship and grant support for Canadian researchers and progress toward achieving diversity in academic institutions is unacceptably slow. The fundamental scienc review panel has an opportunity to provide strong advice around improving this situation.
Posted by Jeremy Kerr, current CSEE President

Monarch Butterflies: Symbol or symptom?

Policy advice in “The Hill Times”, the newspaper for Parliamentarians
The decline of monarch butterflies represents more than just a fading symbol of international cooperation, it is a symptom of broader challenges confronting biological diversity. Evidence-based decisions will be critical to recovering this and other species at risk.
Posted by CSEE president Jeremy Kerr