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”.

2015 Lotka & Volterra Awards

Dear members of ESA’s Theory Section,

I am delighted to announce this year’s winners of the Lotka and Volterra Awards for the best theoretical poster and oral presentations.

Geoffrey Legault, from the University of Colorado at Boulder, was awarded the Volterra Prize for his poster entitled “The distribution of birth and death in Daphnia magna: Implications for stochastic models”. Geoffrey’s coauthors were Caroline Tucker and Brett Melbourne.

Po-Ju Ke, from Stanford University, was awarded the Lotka Prize for his oral presentation entitled “Herbivory-pollination coupling mediated by ontogenetic change in interaction type stabilizes community dynamics”. His coauthor on this work was Takefumi Nakazawa.

Honorable mention from the judges goes to Andrea Giometto, Serj Danielian, Daniel Becker and Zachary Cohen.

Congratulations to all those named above for clearly presenting interesting and original research. I also wish to thank the numerous section members who assisted as judges and Marie Scavotto at Sinauer and Danielle Descoteaux at Elsevier for providing excellent prizes for our awardees.


David Vasseur

ESA Theory Section Chair

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: October 7, 2015

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