The Theoretical Ecology Section

About the Section

The Theoretical Ecology Section is one of the most rapidly growing organizations within the Ecological Society of America.
The Section was formed in 1993 to :

      1. Foster theoretical research in all areas of ecology;
      2. Sponsor meetings for the presentation of results;
      3. Foster communication and research collaboration between theoreticians and experimental/field ecologists;
      4. Encourage the application of ecological theory to the resolution of societal problems.

The section sponsors a mixer and best student talk and poster awards at the annual ESA meetings, as well as a best paper award, to facilitate interaction among new and established theoreticians.

To join us, you must first be a member of ESA. You can enroll online here, selecting “Theoretical Ecology” in “Section V”.

2014 Lotka & Volterra Awards

Dear Theoretical Ecology section of ESA,

I am delighted to announce this year’s winners of the Lotka and Volterra Awards for the best theoretical poster and oral presentations, respectively.  We had a very strong contestant pool this year.  Among the excellent candidates the winners are:

Holly Moeller, from Stanford University, was awarded the Volterra Prize for her talk entitled “Optimal investment in a multi-mutualist system: Tree maintenance of ectomycorrhizal fungal diversity”, co-authored with Michael Neubert.  Judges particularly praised the originality of her research in extending the theory of mutualism, her depth of understanding, and her presentation style with clear communication to both theoretical and empirical audiences.

Sean Hayes, from the University of California, Riverside, was awarded the Lotka Prize for his poster entitled “Dispersal Network Structure Predicts Metacommunity Dynamics”, co-authored with Kurt Anderson.  Judges particularly praised both his novel extension of network theory and how he placed it in the context of existing work as well as his clear and enthusiastic presentation of his work.

Congratulations to both Holly and Sean!

My best,

2015 Outstanding Ecological Theory Paper Award

Dear Theoretical Ecology Section of ESA,

The winner of the 2015 best paper in Theoretical Ecology is:

G.A. Maciel, F. Lutscher (2013) How individual movement response to habitat edges affects population persistence and spatial spread. American Naturalist 182(1): 42-52

This paper addresses a basic question motivated by ecological dynamics — how behavior at habitat edges affects population persistence and spatial spread — and comprehensively presents and analyzes a set of broadly applicable tools for incorporating edge behavior. In doing so, Maciel & Lutscher nicely balance tractable models with biological realism and clearly describe how their modeling insights fit into the existing theoretical and empirical context. In addition to advancing the long-standing theory of spatial population dynamics, the findings clearly contribute to the biological understanding of the effect of a variety of movement behaviors, such as faster movement through unfavorable habitat enhancing population persistence and an intermediate strength of patch-quality-based preference enhancing the rate of population spread, with a strong mechanistic understanding for why these dynamics arise.

We had seventeen outstanding nominees for the best paper award this year; many thanks to everyone who submitted nominations. Please join us in congratulating Gabriel Maciel and Frithjof Lutscher on their achievement.

The Theoretical Ecology section officers (Marissa Baskett, Masami Fujiwara, Emily Moberg, and David Vassuer)

Last updated on: June 8, 2015

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