Balancing Time, Real Botany, being an AE, and Diversity and Equality initiatives in New Orleans #ESA2018

New Orleans has been an exciting venue for the annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America this year (#ESA2018). Delegates were faced with the task of balancing time in sessions and sampling the culinary and musical delights of this vibrant American city. Journal of Ecology Associate Editor delegates enjoyed dinner at Tommy’s following a very productive editorial board meeting.

First off, I was excited that everyone in my research lab journeyed down from southern Illinois for the conference. After a great meal in the French Quarter on the first night, I rarely saw them again as we went our separate ways to choose sessions that interested us the most.

As my training is in botany with ecology representing the principal research area, I decided to seek out botanically-themed papers at the meeting. This need to return to my roots (pun intended) was especially poignant when I realized that my own presentation, “Manipulating phylogenetic diversity in seed mixes affects community assembly in tallgrass prairie” did not mention any plants by name. Fortunately, my graduate student David Barfknecht’s Tuesday poster “Shifts in species composition and phylogenetic diversity in acid seep springs” resulted from his plant surveys with the collection of plenty of herbarium specimens. I was excited when we accepted for publication in Journal of Ecology Meineke et al.’s paper “Herbarium specimens reveal increasing herbivory over the past century” (available online soon) and even more pleased to listen to co-author Aimée Classen’s presentation of this work in a fascinating session on “New Uses for Old Collections: Herbarium Data in an Era of Ecological Change”.

The dusty herbaria that many of us are familiar with have a very important and new lease of life as new techniques emerge to make use of them. In addition, former student Kelsey Martinez presented a poster on her recent Journal of Ecology paper “Acclimation of leaf traits in seasonal light environments: Are non‐native species more plastic? ” Overall, lots of botanically themed ecology in the meeting to keep me happy.


Two of the relatively new Journal of Ecology Associate Editors, Carla Staver and Cristina Garcia, and BES Managing Editor Emilie Aimé, each sat down with me for a few minutes to discuss their work and the ESA meeting, perspectives on being an AE (Carla and Christina), views on diversity and equality in science (all three), and BES initiatives (Emilie). Listen to these interesting interviews below.


As always, I left the meeting feeling supercharged to get on with more research!

David Gibson, Executive Editor, Journal of Ecology


I even gave a talk.

2 thoughts on “Balancing Time, Real Botany, being an AE, and Diversity and Equality initiatives in New Orleans #ESA2018

  1. Pingback: Diversity in Ecology: Introverts | Journal of Ecology Blog

  2. Pingback: Avoiding Loaded Terminology in Ecology | Journal of Ecology Blog

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