Vote! ASN Elections February 13 to March 13

Posted on by ASN

The ASN 2017 Elections are underway for tha offices of President, Vice President, and Treasurer. The election website randomizes the order for each person voting, but the names below are in alphabetical order.

President

The PRESIDENT leads the ASN Executive Council and selects the membership of the award and officer nomination committees. The President selects the President’s Award for the “best” paper in The American Naturalist in the past year, gives the ASN Presidential Address and presents the Society’s awards at the annual meeting, and represents the ASN in multiple other ways through the year. The President serves on the Executive Council for five years, including one year as President-Elect and three years as a Past-President.

Allen J. Moore, University of Georgia

The first semester of graduate school, sometime in another century, my advisor told all of us that we should join a professional society. In trying to decide what defined me, I joined the American Society of Naturalists. After all, I was interested in evolutionary theory, behavior, and genetics, and I wanted to apply all of these in an attempt to understand how and why social interactions evolve. In particular, I wanted to investigate social evolution in natural populations. I have been a member ever since, and ASN with its integrative and broad approach continues to define my work and my professional life. I was one of the recipients of the ASN Young Investigator Prize. My first editorial appointment was as an associate editor of The American Naturalist, which I held for over 10 years, and I currently serve on an outreach committee, the workshop committee, of ASN. My allegiance to ASN has been consistent despite my many changes in academic appointments and country of residence.

I have been a professor in a Department of Entomology in the University of Kentucky (USA), held chairs in evolutionary biology in the Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Manchester (UK) and evolutionary genetics in the Centre for Ecology and Conservation at the University of Exeter (UK), and I am currently head of the Department of Genetics at the University of Georgia (USA). These diverse experiences reinforce my enthusiasm for social and scientific diversity and the varied approach I adopt in my own research. Conceptual unification remains my goal and my reason for identifying with ASN. In addition, I am staunchly international and pro-diversity in my outlook, as it is my opinion that categories and boundaries do nothing to enhance our understanding of the natural world.

If elected president, my agenda would be to promote the principles of ASN to the wider public. The climate today presents many challenges, but this also offers an opportunity for ASN to provide a positive influence on policy and education. First, research funding is shrinking nearly everywhere, and I believe that officers from allied societies can join forces to provide a strong voice for the value of the research we perform. We should seek audiences with public and private funders. Society officers have a platform, and we should use it to help explain the value of our research. Second, we need to ensure the demography of researchers remains stable, and support early and mid-career researchers by recognizing and highlighting the accomplishments and importance of the contributions of our members as often as possible. Third, we need to promote open science, so that facts and data are available to anyone, while protecting the intellectual property of our members. Finally, ASN should be vocally supportive of diversity of our members, and public in our support and our actions.

Michael Whitlock, University of British Columbia

The American Society of Naturalists has been a very important part of my life, through its formative meetings, its outstanding journal, and its extraordinary encouragement of broad community. The role of the ASN (and indeed many other scientific societies) in producing a scientific journal with high standards and a science–first mentality is ever more crucial with the current challenges to the integrity of science and science publishing; and ASN’s role in connecting ecology, evolution and behavior is vital in today’s world of ever more isolated academic silos. The ASN needs to continue its efforts to be inclusive of all scientists in our fields, increasing its international reach and encouraging input from members at all career stages (especially students).

I’ve been extremely lucky to be able to contribute to the ASN in a number of ways: as Editor and then Editor-in-Chief of The American Naturalist; as ASN’s representative to Dryad (and as chair of Dryad’s Executive Committee); as members and chairs of the Regional Meetings Liaison committee and the Sewall Wright Award committee; and most recently as Vice President.

Aside from my roles at the ASN, I’m a Professor at the University of British Columbia. I’ve written about 100 articles and chapters, co-authored (with Dolph Schluter) the biostatistics text The Analysis of Biological Data, and co-edited The Princeton Guide To Evolution. I’ve been on the editorial boards of 9 journals, and I’ve reviewed for well over 100 journals and funding agencies. I am a big fan of the benefits of good conferences, having attended 25 Evolution meetings in a row and founded the Pacific Northwest regional meeting EVO-WIBO. I’m a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Science and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.


Vice President

The VICE-PRESIDENT organizes the Vice-President’s Symposium for the annual meeting and edits the special supplement to The American Naturalist that contains the papers derived from the VP Symposium. The Vice-President is also the Society’s liaison for the organizers of the annual meeting. The Vice-President serves as a member of the Executive Council for three years, two as a regular member and one as ex officio member. 

Douglas J Emlen, University of Montana

I am an evolutionary biologist and professor of biology at the University of Montana. My research provides insights into the development and evolution of exaggerated animal weaponry, such as the horns found in scarab beetles. My lab's current research leverages population genetics, genomics, and "muddy-boots" behavioral ecology to explore how and why the horns of Japanese rhinoceros beetles have changed rapidly and recently in size. From my earliest exposure to science, shadowing my father as he conducted field research on birds in Kenya, to years spent studying dung beetles in Panamanian tropical forests, to mentoring students as they spent long nights watching rhino beetles fighting and mating on the trunks of Asian trees or followed leaf-footed bugs on heliconius inflorescences or frog-legged leaf beetles on kudzu, everything I have done has been grounded firmly in natural history. As my research questions grew increasingly mechanistic, I discovered that there is a natural history to development too - a thrill of discovering how traits grow, how they take shape within the mini milieu of signals and stimuli and other traits that is the body of a developing insect. Exploring development in non-model species turned out to be every bit as adventurous as observing, for the first time, the behavior of previously unstudied species.

In addition to my research and mentoring, I am committed to communicating the excitement, importance, and relevance of basic research, especially evolution, to audiences outside of biology. At a time when science literacy is at a frightening nadir and "anti-intellectualism" is rampant, I have found I can make as meaningful a contribution explaining science as I can actually doing science. To that end, I teamed up with Carl Zimmer to craft an undergraduate-level textbook in evolution that we hoped would be vibrant, accessible, colorful, and relevant - a book that students would read because they wanted to, not because they had to. I also explored parallels between arms races in animal and military weapons - parallels that started out merely as vehicles for articulating basic concepts of biology to broad audiences, but which soon turned out to be so real, and so alarming, that they now shape many aspects of my research. This work resulted in a book (Animal Weapons: The Evolution of Battle), which won the 2015 Phi Beta Kappa Prize in Science, and led to a young adult narrative non-fiction book, which is presently in revision. I have now conducted dozens of interviews for radio (e.g., Science Friday, Fresh Air), Science Blogs, and YouTube outlets like Hank Green's SciShow, and I just finished filming with BBC Natural History and NOVA on a documentary showcasing extreme animal weapons and parallels with military technology. All of this is motivated by a desire to "spread the word" that basic research in ecology and evolution is vital, exciting, and relevant.

I like to think that everything I do embodies the spirit of the American Society of Naturalists, and I am proud to have been awarded two of its accolades, a Jasper Loftus-Hills Young Investigator Award (1997), and the E. O. Wilson Naturalist Award (2013). I have served on the ASN YIA selection committee (2009-2011), and as an elected council member of the Society for the Study of Evolution (2007-2009) and the International Society for Behavioral Ecology (2015-present).

Kelly Zamudio, Cornell University

I am an evolutionary biologist with interests in the evolutionary processes leading to the origin and maintenance of phenotypic and genetic diversification in vertebrates (especially New World reptiles and amphibians). I integrate field research in population biology, demography, and landscape/habitat change with laboratory research on the genetic underpinnings of population diversification, speciation, and conservation genetics. My most recent work, carried out with US and international collaborators, has focused on diversification in Atlantic Coastal Forest and Cerrado frogs of Brazil, comparative population genomics of New World lineages of the amphibian-killing fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), and the evolution of genetic immunity to Bd in amphibian hosts. My goal, if elected as Vice President of ASN, is to enhance the visibility of the natural history mission of the society. My planned symposium will integrate field natural history, cutting edge genomic methods, and the threats facing biodiversity on a global basis.


Treasurer

The TREASURER manages the accounts of the ASN, tracks all revenues and expenses, arranges for official annual financial reviews and tax return preparation, files tax returns, makes payments for all annual awards and travel reimbursements related to the annual meeting, keeps track of revisions to the award amounts and reimbursement policies, and prepares the annual Treasurer’s Report. The Treasurer also convenes a Finance Committee comprised of two other members of the Executive Council, for making investment decisions as needed. The Treasurer serves on the Executive Council for six years, three as a regular member and three as Past Treasurer.

Charles Baer, University of Florida

I am a comparative evolutionary geneticist whose research is motivated by theoretical population genetics. My primary research interest is in how and why genetic variation differs between populations, species, and higher taxa, and between traits within a group. By trade, I count worms. If elected as Treasurer of the ASN, the care and husbandry of the resources of the society will be my highest professional priority. As an officer of the ASN, I will advocate for a broad view of what constitutes a "Naturalist", recognizing that RNA folding is no more or less relevant to the workings of Nature than is the mating behavior of polychaete worms.

Christina M. (Chris) Caruso, University of Guelph

I was inspired to become a biologist after taking an ecology class as a senior in high school. I went on to receive a B.A. from Oberlin College and a Ph.D from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. After graduating from the University of Illinois, I was a postdoc at Grinnell College and Duke University. I then took a faculty position at the University of Guelph, where I am currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Integrative Biology. My research interests are in evolutionary ecology, including the causes of selection on floral traits, the mechanisms that maintain the sexual polymorphism gynodioecy, and the microevolution of photosynthetic traits. I have served on the editorial boards of Oecologia (2008-2014), Evolutionary Ecology (2010-2013), International Journal of Plant Sciences (2013-present), and The American Naturalist (2014-present). I am interested in serving as Treasurer because I value ASN’s unique niche as a society that promotes discussion between ecologists and evolutionary biologists.