I 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.
Raised 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.
I 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.
I 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.
I 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.
I 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.
While 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.
I 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.
I 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
I 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/