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.


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!



Do you want to advance the profile of ecology, evolution, and conservation in Canada? Do you want to get things done on behalf of the broader community? Do have ideas, energy and a little bit of time?  Then run for CSEE Council!

We are now seeking nominations for the positions of: Vice President (President-Elect), Regular Councillor (2 positions) and Graduate Student/Post-doctoral Councillor.  You can read about what the jobs entail in our Standing Rules, which you can find here:

To nominate yourself, email a short bio (7-10 lines) about you, what you will bring to the CSEE, and what you hope to accomplish, and a headshot to the CSEE Vice-President (Steve Heard, You can nominate someone else (if they agree).

Nominations are accepted until April 30, 2020.  Elections will take place in May.



The local organizing committee and the Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution council executive regret to announce that we have decided to cancel the 15th Annual Meeting of the CSEE scheduled for May 28-31 in Edmonton, AB. While the risk in most parts of Canada, including Alberta, is currently low, we feel that the COVID-19 situation is changing so rapidly that the risks to the society membership and the broader community dictate that we cancel the meeting sooner rather than later. This step is aligned with many of the restrictions our institutions and local health authorities are placing on travel, hosting and participation in public events.

  • Full reimbursement of registration fees will be handled by the University of Alberta’s Conference Services. Reimbursement will include any conference registrations and optional items paid for through the CSEE-SCEE 2020 on-line registration site.
  • Membership fees – Memberships cover CSEE activities for the year and are not required to attend the conference. Membership fees will not be reimbursed.
  • Travel & accommodation costs – Lister Residences accepts cancellations without charge up to 48 hours before your planned arrival date.
  • Unfortunately, we cannot cover other travel and accommodation costs associated with disrupted travel plans by regular participants. However, the tri-council agencies have confirmed that the reimbursement of non-refundable travel fees from agency funds is acceptable considering the impacts of COVID-19.
  • If you have an agreement for travel costs to be covered by the CSEE, non-recoverable travel costs may be reimbursed on a case-by-case basis. These reimbursements will be dealt with by the Treasurer of the CSEE (Yolanda Morbey,

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 ( 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.


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.

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 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.