ESA’s Centennial: A Swarm of Ecologists

I don’t know what the collective term is for a lot of ecologists gathered together at one time, but given my past experience with ESA Annual Meetings, a swarm seems to be an appropriate word. I’ll be attending this year’s Centennial Meeting of the Ecological Society of America in Baltimore and fully expect to be amidst a frenetic crowd of like-minded ecologists for a week. With all of the talks, symposia, posters, and other events, it should be an invigorating experience.

I know that I’ll be spoilt for choice in trying to decide which talk or session to attend – someone tweeted recently that there are 4,000 talks over the course of the meeting. This cornucopia usually results in coffee-fueled indecision leaving me twisting in the wind as I dash around looking for a room buried in the recesses of the convention center. Nevertheless, looking through the program, the following have caught my eye: 1) All three Centennial lectures are must-see events as they collectively touch on some of the most important ecological issues of the day; climate change, land fragmentation, and emerging diseases. 2) The Opening Plenary ‘Ecology’s Relevance to Earth’s Future’ will discuss the role of ecologists as planetary stewards. I expect that listening to these talks will cause me to reflect on what can I do to help planet Earth beyond research and teaching (I volunteer for a local non-profit land preservation group called Green Earth, Inc.). 3) Symposia: a couple of these are particularly relevant to research in my lab, i.e., Tuesday afternoon Symposium 7 ‘Beyond Invasional Meltdown: Implications and Impacts of Co-Occurring Invasive Species and Assessing Future Research Needs’, and Thursday morning Symposium 16 ‘100 Years of Agroecology: Pushing the Frontiers of Ecology’. 4) Organized Oral Sessions (OOS), Contributed Talks (COS) and Posters are the meat and potatoes of the meeting, and honestly, I tend to make last minute decisions on these and cruise the posters. One OOS that did catch my eye is OOS 8 Functional, Phylogenetic and Genetic Dimensions of Forest Diversity and Change’ on Tuesday afternoon. Of course, my own Tuesday morning 8:30 am talk in COS 25-2 Competition, ‘Detecting Early Onset of Intraspecific Competition through Root Visualization’ is not to be missed for those of you able to get up in time!

The British Ecological Society and the Journal of Ecology will be well represented at the ESA meeting with 15-20 Associate Editor board members in attendance, along with Bill Sutherland BES President (@Bill_Sutherland), Catherine Hill BES Head of Publishing (@CathJHill), and Hazel Norman BES Executive Director (@HazelNorman). Please feel free to track us down on the BES stand in the convention hall, or elsewhere, and ask us questions about publications, journals, or the Society. Ask me about the Associate Editor Blog Editor vacancy that we have (see previous blog post). If you can’t find me in the convention center, then I’m probably in a local coffee shop or one of Baltimore’s fine seafood restaurants. I’ll be live-tweeting on @DavidJohnGibson using #ESA100.

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