American Society of Naturalists

A membership society whose goal is to advance and to diffuse knowledge of organic evolution and other broad biological principles so as to enhance the conceptual unification of the biological sciences.

2019 Presidential Award

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The recipients of the Presidential Award for 2018 are Meike J. Wittmann and Tadashi Fukami, for their paper Eco-Evolutionary Buffering: Rapid Evolution Facilitates Regional Species Coexistence despite Local Priority Effects in the June 2018 issue. The Presidential Award is chosen by the President of the American Society of Naturalists from all of the papers published in The American Naturalist during the preceding calendar year.

This paper is a fine example of the synthetic tradition of The American Naturalist, wedding ecology and evolution. Weitmann and Fukami propose an evolutionary hypothesis to solve an ecological conundrum: how can species diversity persist with strong priority effects? They develop a metacommunity model that includes evolution of a costly resistance to interference competition from other species. With the possibility of such evolution, a species which becomes common may evolve to become more invadable by other species, thereby retaining the diversity of the system. With evolution, the regional coexistence of species is possible even with local priority effects.


Michael C. Whitlock
President, American Society of Naturalists