Division of Ecology and Evolution

Spring 2019 Newsletter

Message from the Chair, Cameron Ghalambor, Chair.DEE@sicb.org

Hello everyone, I hope those of you who attended the meeting in Tampa, Florida had a great time. As incoming DEE Chair, I’d like to make a few quick announcements and then turn your attention to our next meeting in Austin (2020) and beyond.

To begin, on behalf of the entire division, I would like to thank Bob Cox for his exceptional service as DEE Chair over the past few years. I don’t know what size shoe Bob wears, but they seem particularly large from my perspective following his leadership. As Chair-Elect, I saw firsthand Bob’s dedication and efforts to strengthen DEE’s position within SICB. Many of you no doubt participated in the DEE member survey that Bob initiated in 2018. DEE is the largest division within SICB, but little was known about our membership. Prior to completing his term as Chair, Bob went through a Herculean effort to summarize the vast amounts of data that were collected. Some interesting highlights from the survey are: 1) 45% of respondents view DEE as their primary affiliation, 2) there is almost unanimous support for continuing the Beer & Brains mixer, but that we need try to come up with better way to advertise it, 3) a slight majority are in favor of paying additional DEE dues, as other divisions do, but only for full members and not for students, and 4) that discretionary funds should not only support social events, but also travel and research support for graduate students. We will leverage the results from this survey when making future decisions about the direction of DEE.

Under Bob’s leadership we’ve seen DEE continue to grow and flourish; more than any other division we are the glue that often connects the society’s other divisions. The two signature events sponsored by the division, the Ray Huey Award for best presentation and the Beer & Brains mixer for DEE students, post-docs, and faculty, continued to be highlights under Bob’s leadership. Please join me in thanking Bob again for all of his contributions to DEE!

Tampa Convention Center (photo credit: SICB student Photographer)

As for the recent 2019 meeting in Tampa, as usual it did not disappoint in delivering all that we seek from a scientific meeting: exposure to new discoveries, an opportunity to discuss and exchange ideas, and a chance to network and catch up with our colleagues and friends. I’m continuously impressed by the quality and breadth of the science presented at SICB and always encourage my non-SICB colleagues to attend the meetings and experience it for themselves (I would encourage all DEE members to do the same). The Ray Huey Award session in particular was filled with one high quality talk after another, and the posters were no less impressive. Congratulations to this year’s winners, Anthony Gilbert (Ohio Uni­versity) for best talk and Joel Abraham (Yale University) for best poster. You can learn more about their research below. Also, a big round of thanks to all of the DEE members who served as judges for the abstracts, talks, and posters in this year’s com­petition. And students — it’s never too early to begin planning for next year’s competition in Austin! Advisors — encourage your students to submit an abstract!

This year’s Beer & Brains mixer was held at The Franklin Manor, where we had the whole place to ourselves. It was another huge success! A special thanks to Ariel Kahrl for helping to coordinate this year’s event. Over 60 students and faculty met up in a casual venue to talk science and discuss issues related to careers in science and aca­demia, with DEE picking up the tab on food and drinks. We’ve received a lot of positive feedback on this event since its inception in Austin four years ago, and we plan to return to our roots by holding Beer & Brains at the site where it all began at Banger’s Sausage House and Beer Garden in Austin! If you would like to join the organizing committee for Beer & Brains 2020, please drop me a line, and re­member that all students selected as finalists for the Huey Award are guaranteed a spot at the event.

While it may feel too early to start thinking about future meetings, planning for future meetings are well underway. The symposia for next year’s meeting in Austin are already set, and DEE is supporting some great symposia ranging from topics in Antarctic marine biology to female perspectives on reproductive biology. Now is the time to begin planning for symposia for the 2021 meetings in Washington D.C. (deadline is Aug. 23, 2019). We really want to encourage DEE members to take the lead in organizing symposia. The basics are simple: think of an exciting topic in ecology and evolution, (2) draft up a diverse “dream team” of potential speakers, (3) run your idea by the DEE program officer, and (4) submit your proposal by August 23rd, 2019. For junior investigators, this is a great way to network while impacting your field, plus it will make a lasting contribution as a special volume of Integrative & Comparative Biology. And remember that DEE officers are always happy to discuss sympo­sium ideas with you. Just drop us a line!

As for DEE itself, we continue to function because of the hard work and time of our officers, representatives, and members. So, let me begin by saying on behalf of the entire division a big round of thanks to Michael Dillon for his amazing service as Secretary. Michael served two consecutive terms as secretary from 2015–2019. Thank you again, Mike!!! Also, a big congratulations to some new faces: Fran Bonier was elected the new Chair-Elect, and Craig Marshall was appointed Student/Postdoc Representative. Welcome, Fran and Craig!! DEE will be holding an election for the position of Secretary this spring. Information on the two candidates, Drs. Christine Miller and Kimberly Sheldon, can be found in this newsletter. Please take a moment to check out each candidate and remember to vote when the polls open — we have a large and diverse membership and we would like to see this represented in our elections!

Finally, I’d like to continue to build upon the momentum started by Bob to find ways of maximizing the benefits of DEE membership while building a cul­ture of increased participation and identity within the division. Over the next several months I will be working with the DEE past and present DEE leadership to find creative ways to make DEE to be your home within a home at SICB. One new activity we will start in Austin is an opportunity for graduate students and post-docs to sign up to have lunch with a senior DEE member. So, if there is someone you’ve always wanted to meet, either to talk science or ask for advice, this is your chance. Stay tuned for more details as the meetings approach. Do you have any ideas you’d like to share? Please feel free to email me or any of the other officers or representatives. We really would love to hear from you. —Cam

Message from the Program Officer, Michele “Nish” Nishiguchi, DPO.DEE@sicb.org

Night in Tampa (photo credit: SICB student photographer)

The 2019 meeting in Tampa had amazing weather, waterfront views, an excellent number of talks and posters, and ~1800 attendees. One of the exciting contri­butions the Division of Ecology and Evolution brings to the annual meeting is its support of symposia, and it is time to start thinking about potential symposium topics for upcoming meet­ings. The call for symposium proposals for the 2021 Annual Meeting in Washington, DC is now open. DEE is especially keen this year to directly support symposia that fall under the auspices of our Division. I would encourage members to think about forward-looking topics, especially those that address broader impacts criteria for NSF. If you are interested in submitting a proposal, I ask that you submit them early. The deadline for proposals reaching the society is 23 August 2019. I invite anyone who has an idea or topic for a potential symposium to contact me by e-mail for feedback and suggestions (dpo.dee@sicb.org). A guide to preparing a symposium proposal is available on the SICB Resources page. In the meantime, for those of you who already have ideas for a symposium and would like feedback about preparing a proposal, feel free to email myself or SICB PO Susan Williams (dpo@sicb.org) or incoming PO Jake Socha for advice. Please attempt to submit preliminary proposals to me by mid-June, so I can offer suggestions to enhance support for the proposals. Proposals that emphasize emerging conceptual and integrative topics of broad interest to the members of SICB as well as our Division in particular are especially encouraged. Junior members of the division should also consider submitting proposals for a sympo­sium or contact other SICB members to organize a topic. DEE has been successful in sponsoring symposia that broaden participation by underrepresented groups. For a perspective on symposia from past meetings (since 2000) check out this link. The 2020 Annual Meeting will be in Austin, TX (3–7 January 2020), so be sure to mark your calendars! —Nish

Message from the Secretary, Martha Muñoz, secretary.DEE@sicb.org

Hello, DEE! I’m the new Secretary for the Division, and I’m excited to pick up where Michael Dillon left off. Michael served as Secretary for two terms and did a phenomenal job! So, first and foremost, I want to thank Michael for generously serving in this position twice and for taking so much time to help me learn the ropes.

Spring 2019 is an exciting time for the Division of Ecology and Evolution. We are currently running elections for Secretary-Elect. We have two excellent candidates, Dr. Christine Miller (University of Florida) and Dr. Kimberly Sheldon (UT Knoxville). You’ll see information on candidates included in this newsletter. Please vote! The lifeblood of DEE is in its membership, so please help build our future leadership!

We are always looking for strong candidates to serve as DEE officers. If you are interested in running for office or know of a great candidate, please contact any of the current officers. The more people we can get involved in DEE, the better! The time commitment to serve is minimal and being an officer provides a behind-the-scenes look at DEE and SICB. In addition, you get to work with many talented and passionate people!

One of my goals as Secretary is to increase the web presence of the division, particularly on Twitter. If you’re interested in helping DEE increase its social media presence, please let me know. We can work together to create a plan that works for you and helps DEE become more visible within the society. Our goal is to help highlight amazing work by our membership, particularly students and postdocs, and increase awareness of our big events, like the Huey Symposium and the Beer & Brains Event.

We continue to try to update the DEE Researcher Database, which is a great way to increase the visibility of our division and the research being conducting by our members. If you haven’t checked out the database, please go to learn more about the research being down by scientists in our division. To add your research profile to the DEE page, or to update an existing file, send text files (.doc, .docx or .txt), images (.tif, .jpg, .png, or .gif), or movies (.avi or .mpeg) to secretary.dee@sicb.org.

If you have any ideas for ways to improve DEE, please don’t hesitate to contact me (secretary.dee@sicb.org) so I can bring ideas before the officers and our members. Our growth comes directly from the support and motivation of our membership. —Martha

Message from the Student/Postdoctoral Affairs Committee Representative, Craig Marshall

I am very honored and excited to take on the role as your DEE SICB student representative for 2020! I would first like to thank Ariel Kahrl for doing such an incredible job as our representative since SICB 2017. Her dedication to the role has made for some really fantastic events for graduate students and post-docs. If you see Ariel, please be sure to thank her for all of her hard work over these past few years.

We are also looking forward to planning the 7th annual ‘Beer and Brains’ event in Austin, TX. For those of you that are unfamiliar, this event is an amazing networking opportunity for students seeking advice and tips from faculty about life in graduate school and beyond. Faculty attendees range from those who have been in the game quite a bit to those that are just starting out. They are employed at a variety of institutions, from large research universities to small liberal arts colleges. Therefore, there’s amazing advice to be had for everyone no matter the nature of your current status in graduate school or career trajectory. Please look out for the registration link as we get closer to the event as space is limited and spots fill up quickly!

Look out for more updates in our next newsletter! If you should have any questions or are looking for additional information about DEE and ways that you can become more involved, please do not hesitate to reach out (Craig.Marshall@colostate.edu). I look forward to hearing from you so we can work together to make SICB 2020 rewarding, memorable, and fun! —Craig

Raymond B. Huey Best Student Presentation Awards

It’s our pleasure to announce the winners of the sixth annual Raymond B. Huey Best Student Presentation Awards.


Anthony Gilbert studies thermoregulatory behavior and thermal physiology to understand how reptiles will be impact by rising temperatures

Anthony Gilbert, Ohio University: Thermoregulatory behavior and thermal physiology are evolutionarily uncoupled in phrynosomatid lizards.

“My research addresses a fundamental question in biology today—how will species respond to climate change- through the lens of macroevolutionary and microevolutionary dynamics. One specific goal I have is to re-address the co-adaptation of thermoregulatory behavior and thermal physiology as these phenotypic traits interact with and respond to altered thermal environments over a variety of spatial and temporal scales. Thermoregulation and thermal physiology are often assumed to be perfectly co-adapted, but this perspective often arises from single population or species-assessments. Phylogenetic studies of co-adaptation are rare, and even rarer are studies that also include vital environmental data to address how different phenotypic traits evolve in isolation or in tandem. For Phynosomatid lizards, thermoregulatory behavior and thermal physiology are evolutionary uncoupled: thermoregulation evolves three times faster than physiology, and these traits evolve in isolation from one another. The evolution of these traits remains dependent upon the environment, but local environments provide opportunities for behavior and physiology to evolve in unique patterns, whereas at a phylogenetic scale, co-adaptation does not follow the predicted pattern. An erosion of co-adaptation might not be attributable to climate change, but actually be the default pattern in the evolution of these traits. For more information about my research, please find me on twitter @AGilbert09.”


Joel Abraham studies how the behaviors of large herbivores are impacted by climate change

Joel Abraham, Yale University: Drought-response strategies of savanna herbivores.

“I study how herbivory influences whole-ecosystem structure and function through the lens of herbivore traits and behaviors. I am particularly interested in how herbivore reactions to climate change will moderate and likely alter ecosystem-level responses to these same changes. The first element of this is how herbivores themselves respond to various components of global change, such as elevated temperatures and increasingly widespread drought. To begin addressing this, I investigated savanna herbivore responses to a severe drought that occurred in Kruger National Park. I found that the drought-mitigating behaviors of savanna herbivores were constrained to the behaviors they exhibit during normal seasons; herbivores attempted to mitigate drought effects by amplifying behaviors they already had, rather than utilizing novel behaviors. I hope to continue building on these results, further elucidating how herbivores and their behaviors will affect ecosystem trajectories in a changing world.”

Election Information: Candidate Biographies (vote here: http://sicb.org/elections/2019.php)

Candidates for Secretary-Elect

Dr. Christine Miller

Christine Miller

Current Position: Associate Professor, Entomology & Nematology Department, University of Florida

Education: B.A. Wesleyan University; Ph.D. University of Montana (2007)

Professional Experience: Assistant Research Scientist, University of Florida (2007–2011)

SICB Activities: Member since 2007 (DAB, DEE); Judge for Best Poster Presentation; Judge for Best Student Oral Presentation.

Other Memberships: Animal Behavior Society, Society for the Study of Evolution, Entomological Society of America, European Society for Evolutionary Biology, British Ecological Society, American Society of Naturalists

Research Interests: This is a time of massive global change. What are the consequences for life on this planet? To determine the answers, we need knowledge of the factors that lead to diversification of animals and plants and the resilience of this biodiversity to further change. My research team investigates broad patterns in the evolution of morphology, function, and behavior. Most of our research is conducted with Hemipterans in the Family Coreidae, the Leaf-Footed Bugs.

Statement of Goals: From biomechanics to host-parasite relationships, the SICB annual meeting offers a thrilling array of topics and brings us together across disciplines. Ten current and former members of my lab accompanied me to the 2019 SICB meeting, and it was an excellent experience for all involved. This is a terrific annual meeting for new researchers, and one of my major goals will be to maintain and strengthen programs for undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers. Strong mentoring is a huge part of career success. Activities such as Beers & Brains connect senior scientists with early-career researchers, and I would like to expand the number and forms of such initiatives. I am currently developing a program at my university for graduate students and postdocs to develop their own mentoring skills, a program that I’d like to extend to SICB. Finally, I will be an active part of the conversation on how to best broaden the participation of members from underrepresented groups, especially in SICB’s leadership, programs, and awards. I am excited to become part of the SICB DEE team and to see what we can accomplish.

Dr. Kimberly Sheldon

Kimberly Sheldon

Current Position: Assistant Professor, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee (Knoxville, Tennessee)

Education: BS Natural Resources & Environment, University of Michigan (2000); PhD Zoology, University of Washington (2011)

Professional Experience: Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Utah (2011–2013); NSF Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Wyoming & UCLA (2014–2016)

SICB Activities: Member since 2010 (DEE & DCPB); Broadening Participation Mentor (2017, 2018); Judge for Huey Award Talks and Posters (2018); Invited speaker at two SICB symposia ( Beyond Mean Temperatures (2016) and Evolutionary Impacts of Seasonality (2017))

Other Memberships: Ecological Society of America; International Biogeography Society; Board member, Hummingbird Conservation Network

Research Interests: My research is focused on understanding the mechanisms underlying species distributions and applying this knowledge to predict the impacts of anthropogenic change on species and ecological cDEE Spring Newsletter

Statement of Goals: I remember two things about my first SICB meeting in 2010; I was impressed by the broad, integrative nature of the research being presented, and I felt so welcomed and supported even as a graduate student. These strengths are still evident, particularly in DEE which plays important roles in bridging SICB divisions and prioritizing the participation of students and postdocs. As DEE secretary, my goals would be to 1) continue to strengthen and support the role of DEE as the integrative nexus among SICB divisions and 2) to promote inclusive programs, both of which will serve to increase membership. DEE is a broadly integrative division on its own, but it also facilitates key connections across SICB divisions through a shared focus on ecology and evolution. DEE is therefore uniquely qualified to foster integration and build links across the society. I will work to highlight the division and inspire new membership by supporting co-sponsored symposia and promoting successful programs like the “Beer and Brains” mixer and the Huey Award competition. I will also consider ways to keep these events fresh and interesting for DEE members and the society at large. I am committed to programs that support inclusion, including child care services for members with young children, the Broadening Participation Mentoring Program, and networking opportunities for early career members. I will support and build on these programs to make it easier for our members to fully engage and participate. Such efforts will serve DEE well in the future; we will build a legacy of inclusion and gain continued support from our members.