Confirmed Symposia

  Friday 06/26 Saturday 06/27 Sunday 06/28 Monday 06/29 Tuesday 06/30
8:30-10:00 joint ASN/SSE/SSB
SSE -The multiple dimensions of biodiversity SSB -Prokaryote comparative genomics, phylogenetics, and evolution   ASN Temperate
SSE Education
SSE - When Gene Flow Really
SSE - Epigenetics and Evolutionary Processes SSB -Frontiers in Parametric Biogeography
10:30 - 12:00 ASN,SSE and SSB
separate meetings
SSE -The multiple dimensions of biodiversity SSB-Prokaryote
comparative genomics, phylogenetics, and evolution
Women in Science
ASN Temperate
SSE Education
SSE - When Gene Flow Really
SSE -Epigenetics and Evolutionary Processes SSB -Frontiers in Parametric Biogeography
12:00 - 13:00 Lunch ASN,SSE and SSB   Lunch WiS   SSE Education
13:00 - 14:30 ASN,SSE and SSB
separate meetings
Ernst Mayr Symposium ASN Jasper Loftus-Hills Young
Investigators Award
ASN Dengue Research Exemplifies the Interface of Basic and Applied Population Biology SSB -Breaking Barriers: Empirical, Theoretical, and Gender Issues in Phylogenetics
15:00 - 16:30   Ernst Mayr Award Dobzhansky Prize Address ASN Dengue Research Exemplifies the Interface of Basic and Applied Population Biology SSB -Breaking Barriers: Empirical, Theoretical, and Gender Issues in Phylogenetics
16:30 - 17:00 SJ Gould Awards SSE Mixer ASN Mixer Evolat  
17:00 - 18:00 SJ Gould Awards SSE Presidential Address ASN Presidential Address SSB Presidential Address  
19:00 - 21:00 Opening Reception Posters Film Festival   Posters Posters Final Banquet

Symposia and Special Addresses

American Society of Naturalists

ASN Jasper Loftus-Hills Young Investigators Award Symposium

The Jasper Loftus-Hills Young Investigators Award was established in 1984 to recognize outstanding and promising work by investigators who received their doctorates in the three years preceding the application deadline or who are in their final year of graduate school. Jasper Loftus-Hills (1946-1974) was an Australian biologist of exceptional promise, who had published 16 articles in the three years after receiving his degree. He was killed by a hit-and-run driver while tape-recording frog calls along a Texas highway. After his death, a frog was named in his honor, Eleutherodactylus jasperi. The award includes presentation of a research paper at the annual meeting of the American Society of Naturalists, an award of $500, a travel allowance of $700, the cost of registration at the meetings, and a supplement of $500 in case of intercontinental travel.

This year's recipient of the Young Investigator award is Dr. Mary Caswell Stoddard from Harvard University, who will present the following lecture:

Mimicry, Recognition and the Evolution of New Phenotypes

Dr. Mary Caswell Stoddard, Harvard University

Coevolutionary arms races are a powerful force in evolution, and brood parasite-host dynamics provide a key example. Different host-races of the Common Cuckoo, Cuculus canorus, lay eggs — which are often mimetic — in the nests of other species. Most studies of egg mimicry focus on subjective human assessments, which fail to account for avian vision. Here, my colleagues and I develop new techniques for quantifying egg pattern and color mimicry by Cuckoos, revealing that mimicry is better when hosts show strong rejection. Once Cuckoos evolve mimicry, can their hosts fight back by evolving highly recognizable signatures on their own eggs? We introduce a new computer program, NATUREPATTERNMATCH, which approximates visual and cognitive processes involved in recognition tasks. Hosts subjected to the best Cuckoo mimicry have evolved highly recognizable egg pattern signatures as a defense. Overall, these findings reveal new insights into the complex coevolutionary interactions between Cuckoos and their hosts. Our approach combines behavioral ecology with new tools from sensory biology and computer vision and can be applied to diverse studies of visual signaling and recognition in the animal world.

ASN Vice Presidential Symposium: Temperate Assumptions (Organizer: Marlene Zuk)

How have our ideas about ecology, evolution and behavior have been shaped, and perhaps biased, by the places many scientists have tended to work, namely the temperate regions of the world, particularly Europe and North America? Speakers in the symposium will re-examine the assumptions and the examples that have used as model systems for general principles about topics ranging from sexual selection to the role of competition in communities. Drawing from research on both plant and animal taxa, the participants will discuss whether our ideas and theory would be altered through a consideration of non-temperate zone systems.

ASN Solicited Symposium: Dengue Research Exemplifies the Interface of Basic and Applied Population Biology (Organizers: Alex Perkins and Louis Lambrechts)

Dengue is caused by mosquito-borne RNA viruses that are estimated to infect 390 million people each year and pose a risk to approximately half the world’s population. The goal of this symposium is to draw attention from evolutionary biologists and other naturalists to the global health problem that dengue poses and the spectrum of scientific effort that is ongoing to understand the evolution and ecology of dengue viruses. In addition to applied interest, the symposium will showcase research that is breaking new ground conceptually and methodologically and will therefore be of general interest to a broad scientific audience. Time at the end of the symposium will be allotted for a capstone discussion about how naturalists have contributed to our understanding of dengue and our ability to control it, and what contributions naturalists and other scientists could make in the future.

ASN Presidential Address: What evolution, ecology and behavior have in common:  the organism in the middle (Ellen Ketterson) 

Life-long study of a single organism in the lab and in the field provides rich opportunities to engage in multiple disciplines, as one wonders, why did that animal just do that?  This presentation will describe how a backyard songbird has contributed to the mission of the American Society of Naturalists, which is to foster the conceptual unification of the biological sciences.  The dark-eyed junco, a new world sparrow, has intrigued biologists for more than a century, serving as a model for studies of speciation and seasonality.  More recently it has been the subject of long-term field studies in which investigators have asked why females migrate farther than females, why males care for offspring, whether hormonally-mediated trade-offs in life histories act as adaptations or constraints, and how colonizing populations respond to urban environments.  We are currently asking whether geographic variation in migratory timing plays a critical role in population divergence by assessing the role of plasticity in neuroendocrine systems in permitting flexibility in the timing of reproduction.  The focus is on closely related populations that co-exist during the non-breeding season but are allopatric when breeding, and are thus heteropatric in distribution and allochronic in timing.  New tools and old are building a continent-wide understanding of how a highly adaptable bird responds to environmental change on multiple scales. These are issues that matter to ecological and evolutionary theory, and they are also important for managing biological resources in a changing world.


Society for Systematic Biologists

SSB Symposium: Frontiers in Parametric Biogeography (Organizers: James Albert and Alexandre Antonelli)

A major challenge to the fields of Systematic Biology and Evolution in the 21st Century is to explain distributional patterns of species and whole biotas at large spatial scales. This symposium will bring together leaders in the emerging area of parametric biogeography, with the goal of designing new tools for the study biological diversification at large (continental and oceanic) spatial scales. Parametric biogeography describes a strategy at the interface of Macroevolution and Historical Biogeography, that seeks to model the history of geographic range evolution within explicitly phylogenetic and spatial contexts. Parametric biogeography allows us to quantify the contributions of biotic and Earth history process in the diversification of clades and biotas. The goals of this symposium are to coordinate research efforts among software developers, theoreticians, and empirical-oriented biodiversity investigators, to evaluate strengths and shortcomings of existing methodological approaches, and to develop new conceptual strategies for the next generation of models in parametric biogeography. The challenge is to develop quantitative methods for studying and explaining organismal diversification at continental or oceanic scales in a spatially explicit context.

SSB Symposium: Breaking Barriers: Empirical, Theoretical, and Gender Issues in Phylogenetics (Organizers: Corrie S. Moreau, Brian C. O’Meara, Susan L. Perkins, and Tracy A. Heath)

Phylogenetics has revolutionized the study of evolution and provided a framework to develop theoretical and empirical research programs for scientists around the world. Empirical studies have provided the lens through which theoretical studies have sought to find more realistic ways to explain observed data, while theoretical studies have guided data gathering in empirical studies to evaluate theoretical predictions. Although empirical and theoretical studies have informed each other, symposia on these topics are not usually presented together. By integrating/pairing theoretical and empirical talks around three timely and diverse themes (macroevolution, gene tree/species tree, and phylogenetic methods) we hope to highlight the connections between empirical and theoretical research.

SSB Symposium: Prokaryote comparative genomics, phylogenetics, and evolution (Organizers: José S. L. Patané and João Carlos Setubal)

Unveiling evolutionary aspects in Archaea and Bacteria has many implications in our everyday life. Many bacterial lineages are important pathogens in humans, crops and cattle worldwide, and by understanding their biochemical arsenal and the way it evolves, such information can be used for the development of new forms of disease control. Archaeal lineages are widespread in oceans and other environments, potentially playing important roles in the carbon and nitrogen cycles, and helping in digestion in animal lineages, among other roles. Furthermore, important insights regarding evolutionary processes in general can be achieved from the study of Prokaryotes: differential codon usage biases, the amount of lateral gene transfer in different lineages, rates of mutation and recombination, and levels of selection across different parts of the genome and across lineages, to name a few. Finally, by understanding prokaryote evolution, we can infer important parameters associated with the origin and diversification of the Tree of Life itself. ` and how did Eukaryotes evolve? Who is their sister group? How frequent is (and was) horizontal transmission among prokaryotes and eukaryotes, and how is that related with the evolution in both groups? Although many questions are still unanswered, progress due to next-generation sequencing has uncovered many processes and patterns in this widespread, and evolutionary relevant, group of organisms. The aim of this symposium is to spread the state-of-the-art knowledge concerning prokaryote evolution, and the best available methods to infer its associated parameters, to a broader scientific audience.

SSB Ernst Mayr Symposium

The Ernst Mayr Award is given to the presenter of the outstanding student talk in the field of systematics at the annual meetings of the Society of Systematic Biologists (SSB). This is SSB’s premier award, and is judged by the quality and creativity of the research completed over the course of the student’s Ph.D. program. The award consists of $1000, a certificate of distinction, and a two-year subscription to the journal Systematic Biology.  Shortlisted candidates will present their research at the Ernst Mayr Award Symposium.

SSB Presidential Address: Lizards, Speciation, and Species Delimitation – A Personal Narrative (Jack Sites)

Lizards have been used as model organisms for many kinds of studies in behavior, ecology, and evolutionary biology, and these studies have yielded insights of broad general interest in organismal biology. Lizards have been the focus of speciation studies ranging from the origins of unisexual species (via parthenogenesis or spontaneous origins), to contributions of chromosomal changes, niche shifts, and rock-sissors-paper dynamics to population divergence, and more recently lizards have figured prominently in species delimitation and integrative taxonomic studies. I will summarize some of the “high points” of this history as it has developed over the past four decades.

Society for the Study of Evolution

Stephen Jay Gould Award Lecture: Prof. Dr. Francisco J. Ayala, UC Irvine

The Stephen Jay Gould Prize is awarded annually by the Society for the Study of Evolution to recognize individuals whose sustained and exemplary efforts have advanced public understanding of evolutionary science and its importance in biology, education, and everyday life in the spirit of Stephen Jay Gould.

We are pleased to announce that this year`s recipient of the Stephen Jay Gould Award is Dr. Francisco J. Ayala, from University of California Irvine, who will present the lecture entitled:

Copernicus and Darwin: Two Revolutions

            Historians of science speak of two revolutions: the Copernican and the Darwinian. Copernicus, they say, removed Earth from the center of the known universe to become one more planet. Darwin removed Homo sapiens from the center of life, to become one more animal species. What that narrative says is correct, but it misses what is most important about the two revolutions; namely, that jointly they represent the beginning of science in the modern sense, the Scientific Revolution with two stages, the Copernican and the Darwinian.

Dobzhansky Prize Address

The Theodosius Dobzhansky Prize is awarded annually by the Society for the Study of Evolution to recognize the accomplishments and future promise of an outstanding young evolutionary biologist. The prize was established in memory of Professor Dobzhansky by his friends and colleagues, and reflects his lifelong commitment to fostering the research careers of young scientists.

SSE Education Symposium:  Iconic Brazilian ecosystems as case studies for teaching evolution (Organizers: Thomas R Meagher, Eimear Nic Lughadha and Louise Mead)

Brazil is home to a diverse array of iconic ecosystems, from the tropical rainforests of Amazonia and Mata Atlantica to the savannahs of the Cerrado and the seasonally dry tropical forests of the Caatinga.  Research in these rich ecologically and biologically diverse regions provides many opportunities for evolution-based case studies.  This symposium will showcase teachable examples of evolutionary processes taking place in these iconic ecosystems.

SSE Symposium: Epigenetics and Evolutionary Processes (Organizers: Joshua Banta and Christina Richards)

Scientists have abundant information on sequences for a variety of organisms, but have made little progress in understanding how the genome actually functions in creating complex traits that are adaptive in complex environments. One area that may contribute to this understanding is ecological and evolutionary epigenetics, which focuses the relationships between epigenetic variation and the axes of phenotypic variation that fuel evolutionary change. Epigenetic mechanisms can alter gene expression and organismal function without any alterations in DNA sequences, leading to variation in diverse phenotypes. Furthermore, epigenetic modifications can vary among individuals and populations. Epigenetic modifications can even be heritable and the phenotypic consequences of epigenetic changes have been observed in diverse taxa. Thus, epigenetic mechanisms are a potentially important mechanism of phenotypic change. The study of epigenetic variation is already providing insights at both ecological and evolutionary time scales. Recent experimental screening for changes in methylation patterns has shown that epimutations can be induced by environmental stress, affect phenotype, and occur more rapidly than DNA sequence mutations. For this reason epigenetic effects could offer an alternative to genetic variation for rapid response to environmental challenges, but so far few studies have begun to explore this possibility. While most of the work in ecological epigenetics to date has been done in plants, there are an increasing number of animal studies. This symposium highlights different approaches across systems that are making progress to understand the importance of epigenetics in evolutionary processes.

SSE Symposium: The multiple dimensions of biodiversity science (Organizers: Ana Carnaval and Christopher Dick)

Understanding and predicting spatial patterns of biodiversity and turnover in space and time has been a central topic in ecology and evolutionary biology over the past decade. Exciting recent advances in the fields of biodiversity genomics, tied to an increased ability to monitor and document present and past environmental shifts, make this just the right time to merge fields of geology, atmospheric sciences, evolution and ecology and advance biodiversity prediction, discovery, and protection. The next generation of biodiversity scientists will undoubtedly be highly integrative. Building on funding opportunities in the US and partner biodiverse countries such as Brazil and China, we gather a team of evolutionary biologists working on the multiple dimensions of biodiversity to present and discuss how cross‐disciplinary work is advancing what we know about biodiversity at local, regional, and global scales. Capitalizing on their experiences, we use this opportunity to brainstorm and discuss the very best strategies to educate and train the next generation of cross‐disciplinary, international scientists: our own students. This symposium hence seeks to identify and broadcast new ways to overcome the challenge of effectively uniting the fields of earth sciences, evolution and ecology. In the face of the new and exciting advances in these fields, and the appeal of broadly integrative research programs, what is our vision of biodiversity science and biodiversity science education for the five to ten years to come?

SSE Symposium: When Gene Flow Really Matters: Gene Flow and Applied Plant Evolutionary Biology (Organizers: Norman C. Ellstrand)

Gene flow in plants is known to be highly variable and frequently evolutionarily significant. In addition, gene flow has become an important consideration in applied evolutionary biology. The magnitude and variation of gene flow in plants has led to the re-evaluation of the importance of gene flow in applied evolutionary biology. Gene flow is a concern in a remarkable variety of applied situations. Crop breeders have had their selection progress frustrated by pollen contamination from conspecifics and congeners growing within cross-pollination distance. Gene flow from common species has put rare species at increased risk of extinction by genetic swamping and/or by outcrossing depression. Both intra- and interspecific introgression are also known to have led to the evolution of novel weeds and invasives. Intentional anthropogenic gene flow is an integral part of genetic rescue, restoration and sometimes assisted migration. A symposium on the topic is due, and the field is ripe for synthesis. The roster of speakers for the symposium presents the breadth of the field, including descriptive, experimental, and theoretical approaches. Two talks involve research on the evolutionary dynamics of transgenes; the rest address applied gene flow topics from the paleo to the current. Both single-locus dynamics are reported as well as genome-wide analysis.

SSE Presidential Address. On the Shoulders of Giants: Seven decades of the SSE and Evolution (Daphne J. Fairbairn)

The Society for the Study of Evolution was founded in March 1946. The objective of the fledgling society was “the promotion of the study of organic evolution and integration of the various fields of science concerned with evolution.” To that end, the Society published the first volume of its journal Evolution, International Journal of Organic Evolution in 1947. The Information for Contributors of that first volume invites papers “in the fields of genetics, cytology, plant and animal taxonomy, paleontology, ecology, anthropology, bacteriology, or any other field of biology, provided that the facts and conclusions are of primary interest to the student of evolution.” The subtitle of the journal and the breadth of subject areas listed indicate a strong commitment to integrate across all fields of evolutionary biology and across international boundaries. Now, almost seven decades after those seminal events, I look back on the SSE and its journal to see how well it has fulfilled the lofty mission of its founders. I examine temporal trends in the numbers and types of papers published, the national affiliations of the authors and the topics emphasized. I also review the changing structure and composition of the Society leadership (the Officers and Councilors) and of the editorial board, with particular attention to gender and national affiliation. My own history as a researcher is woven into this grander story and serves to illustrate how the questions we ask and the techniques we use have changed as the field of evolutionary biology has itself evolved. The data will show that the SSE and Evolution have also changed over the seven decades, building substantially on the legacy of the 1946 founders and reflecting the astounding breadth and diversity of modern research in evolutionary biology.


Other Awards

The W. D. Hamilton Award

The Hamilton Award will be given to a student who has presented an outstanding talk at the annual meeting, as judged by a committee of SSE members. Applicants will present their papers during regular sessions of the meeting, appropriate for their topic. The most competitive talks will be those that can convey a complete story. Such talks are most likely to be given by students who are close to completing their dissertations or by former students who wish to present results from a dissertation defended within the past year. The winner of the award will receive $1,000 and a one year membership to the Society for the Study of Evolution, which includes a one year subscription to the journal Evolution. Up to two Honorable Mentions will each receive a one-year membership to the Society for the Study of Evolution, including a subscription to Evolution.

The Ruth Patrick Student Poster Award

The Ruth Patrick Student Poster Award was established in 2012 to recognize a student who has presented an outstanding poster at the annual meeting of the American Society of Naturalists. Ruth Patrick was a renowned limnologist, past president of the American Society of Naturalists (1975), and Lifetime Honorary Member of the ASN.
The winner of the award receives $1,000 and a one year membership to the ASN, which includes a one year subscription to the American Naturalist. The senior author and presenter of the poster must be enrolled as an undergraduate or graduate student at the time of the annual meeting or have received her or his degree within twelve months and must be a member of the ASN.