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Lotka-Volterra Prizes for Best Student Presentations in Theoretical Ecology

The Theoretical Ecology Section awards the Alfred J. Lotka and Vito Volterra prizes for the best presentations given by students during the Annual Meeting of the ESA.  The award is open to graduate student members of the ESA who, as sole or first author, present a talk or poster at the ESA annual meeting describing original research in theoretical ecology.  All suitable approaches that yield theoretical insight to ecological phenomena will be considered. Prizes will be awarded on the basis of scientific merit, originality, and clarity of presentation.  We are grateful to Sinauer and Elsevier for their continuing support of this competition.  

To be considered for this award, prospective candidates must notify an officer of the Theoretical Ecology Section by July 15, 2014, providing the following information:
Applicant's name:
Talk or Poster:
Time/Date/Place of presentation/poster:
Please provide this information by email to Marissa Baskett (mlbaskett (at), and include 'Lotka-Volterra Award' in the subject line.

Current Recipients (2014)

Lotka Award for Best Poster:

Sean Hayes,
University of California, Riverside
"Dispersal network structure predicts metacommunity dynamics"
Co-author: Kurt Anderson

Volterra Award for Best Talk:

Holly Moeller,
Stanford University
"Optimal investment in a multi-mutualist system: Tree maintenance of ectomycorrhizal fungal diversity"
Co-author: Michael Neubert

Past Years' Recipients

Outstanding Ecological Theory Paper Award

The Theoretical Ecology Section sponsors an annual award for an outstanding published paper in ecological theory.  Papers with a print or electronic publication date in either of the two years preceding the year of the award are eligible.  (For example, papers published in years n-2 and n-1 are eligible for the award in year n.)  

Nominations (including self-nominations) may be made from January 1 - March 1 for each year's award. Nominations should be sent to the chair and vice-chair, and should include a short statement by the nominator discussing the paper's merits and suitability for the award.   More information about past winners and application guidelines can be found on the section's website.

Current Recipients (2015)

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.

Please join us in congratulating Gabriel Maciel and Frithjof Lutscher on their achievement.

Past Years' Recipients

Last updated on: March 25, 2015
Masami Fujiwara

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