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.

ASN Election, 2024

Posted on by ASN

The ASN 2024 Election will open on March 18th for the offices of President, Vice President, and Secretary. The election will run until the end of March. The election website randomizes the order for each person voting. The names below are in alphabetical order.


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.

Rebecca (Becky) Fuller, University of Illinois

I am an evolutionary biologist who studies fishes with an emphasis on non-model systems. Much of my work has focused on the evolution of color patterns and color vision across diverse aquatic lighting environments from a sensory drive framework. My lab also studies speciation and seeks to determine the roles of adaption versus genomic rearrangements on reproductive isolation, as well as the cascading effects of reinforcement between species in behavioral isolation among populations within species.

I obtained a BS at the University of Nebraska, an MS from Michigan State University, where I studied at Kellogg Biological Station, and a PhD at Florida State University. I joined the faculty at the University of Illinois in 2005 in the Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior, where I am now a Professor and Department Head. I have received various awards from the University of Illinois for Teaching, Mentorship, and Leadership During the COVID-19 crisis, as well as awards for Scholarship and Research. I am a fellow of AAAS, and many years ago, I was an ASN Young Investigator (now called the ‘ASN Early Career Investigator Award’) and a Fulbright Fellow.

Beyond my involvement with ASN, I have served on the council for the Society for the Study of Evolution (2016–1018), the SSE Rosemary Grant Award Committee (2016, 2018), the SSE Hamilton Award Committee (2012–2015), and the SSE Education Committee (2017–2020). I have served as an associate editor at Evolution (2011–2014, 2019–2022) and Current Zoology (2015–22). I have also led multiple teacher workshops to promote the teaching of evolution, developed K-12 curricula in relation to evolution and phenotypic plasticity, and created online resources and hands-on displays regarding the underappreciated fish diversity in central Illinois.

I have been actively involved with ASN in various capacities. My roles have included serving as an Associate Editor at The American Naturalist (2014–present), participating as a member of the Student Research Awards Committee (2012–2014, chair 2014), contributing to the Asilomar Stand Alone Meeting Committee (2014), representing ASN on the Joint Meeting Committee for the Tri-Society Meeting (2014–2017), holding the position of ASN Treasurer (2020–2022), and currently serving as ASN Past Treasurer (2023–present). Additionally, I have organized two ASN sessions at the Tri-Society Meeting: the ASN Education Symposium: Natural History in the Classroom (Portland, 2017) and ASN Spotlight Session: 25 Years of Sensory Drive (Portland, 2017).

The primary goals of science are to create new knowledge, to communicate that knowledge to our fellow scientists and the public, and to cultivate the next generation of scientists to carry forward this mission. The American Society of Naturalists supports these endeavors through our journal, our meetings, our support of early career scientists, and our recognition of excellence at all career stages. As president, I would work to ensure that ASN maintains its identity as the home for broad, conceptually driven biology. While evolution informs much of what we do, ASN spans a wider domain, including ecology, behavior, sensory ecology, biomechanics, conservation, and an appreciation of natural history; these relationships need constant nurturing. I am also keen to increase our support of regional (and perhaps virtual) meetings, which are less expensive to attend, have a smaller carbon footprint, and can provide good opportunities for early career scientists to network. I am committed to fostering inclusivity, ensuring equitable access for individuals from all backgrounds, particularly those historically marginalized, and amplifying the visibility of diverse voices within our scientific community. Central to this vision is the cultivation of a vibrant, diverse community where there is free discussion of issues involving science and life in general. Finally, I am committed to maintaining the good governance of the ASN and to maximizing the benefits derived from our resources.

Mark Urban, University of Connecticut

It would be my highest honor to serve as the President of the American Society of Naturalists. I was a naturalist from my earliest days—watching birds, collecting insects for my home natural history collection, stalking deer to record their behavior, and of course, knowing where every salamander lived. Over the subsequent years, I found the American Society of Naturalists to be my natural academic home—a gathering of top-notch scientists where theory, experimentation, and natural history are equally valued.

In my research, I strive to fulfill the goals of the American Society of Naturalists through the conceptual unification of ecology and evolution, integrating across their many subfields, and throwing some applied global change ecology into the pot. I study eco-evo in space, where I seek to explain ecological patterns across landscapes through the joint dynamics of ecology and evolution. I am equally at home developing theory, collecting observations in the wild, and performing careful experiments, and often my hope is to integrate all of them into a (longish) American Naturalist paper.

I received my B.S. in Environmental Science from Muhlenberg College, a small liberal arts school near my hometown in Pennsylvania in the shadow of the Appalachians. I received my M.E.Sc. and my Ph.D. from the Yale School of the Environment and then became a postdoctoral fellow at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, where I honed my skills at unification. I received a tenure-track position in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Connecticut where I currently hold the Arden Chair and Professorship. I am also the founder and director of the Center of Biological Risk, director of an NSF NRT graduate training program called Team TERRA, co-leader of the GEO BON modeling working group named Eco Code, and co-leader of a newly funded Biology Integration Institute. I have been one of the longest serving editors at Ecology and Ecological Monographs. I have helped organize several working groups and workshops on eco-evolution and predictive modeling. At UConn, I helped develop faculty search procedures that were blind to gender and race to limit implicit bias.

I was twice honored by the American Society of Naturalists, first with a Young Investigator’s Award and second with a Presidential Award. I have also been an ISI Most Cited Researcher and was recently elected a fellow of the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering. My paper on extinction risks from climate change was named one of 2015’s most important discoveries by Discover Magazine as well as serving as a basis for IPCC and IPBES reports on the subject.

I chaired and was a member of the committee that chooses the recipient of the ASN Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Conceptual Unification of the Biological Sciences. I have also organized ASN conference symposia and reviewed many articles for The American Naturalist over the years. My long-term goal has always been to become even more involved in the Society, and this nomination would jump-start that extended service.

As President, I would defend and expand the progress that ASN has made in facilitating both innovative and inclusive science. I also want to share the great things about ASN with the rest of the world and provide the opportunity to learn from underrepresented geographic groups. Therefore, I would work to broaden the participation in ASN meetings of early career and diverse scientists from outside the U.S. and Canada. I would do this through fundraising, creating a special international symposium, and working with partners to identify and invite participants from these countries. I also want to make biology integration and theory more accessible to students through early career skills workshops and events that share the often circuitous paths that scientists take in developing mathematical, statistical, and modeling skills.

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, including one year as Vice-President Elect and one year as a Past Vice President.

Erol Akçay, University of Pennsylvania

I am a theoretical biologist, and work on questions at the intersection of ecology, evolution, and social dynamics. Over the years, these questions ranged from evolutionary ecology of symbioses to social network dynamics of animals and cultural evolution in humans.

My undergraduate training was in Physics and Biology at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey, graduating in 2004. I received my PhD in 2008 at Stanford, followed by postdoctoral stints at National Institute of Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) at the University of Tennessee and Princeton University. Since 2014, I have been at the University of Pennsylvania where I am currently an Associate Professor, and am affiliated with various interdisciplinary centers here including MindCORE, Warren Center for Network and Data Sciences, and the Center for Mathematical Biology. I received the Samual Karlin Award in Mathematical Biology from Stanford University in 2008 and the Junior Faculty award from the Turkish American Scholars and Scientists Association in 2016.

I have previously served at ASN in various capacities, including the Student Awards committee for ASN (2014–2017), and have been on the editorial board of The American Naturalist, first as Associate Editor (2017–2020). Since 2020, I have been one of the Editors of the journal. I also serve on the editorial board of Biology and Philosophy. I have also served in various capacities in the Turkish Society for Ecology and Evolutionary Biology since 2016.

Reading The American Naturalist in the library as an undergraduate (torn between theoretical astrophysics and field ecology) was a life-changing experience and turned me on to the intellectual path I have followed ever since. Although my career often takes me to different fields, the ASN and The American Naturalist have always been the intellectual home I came back to. ASN to my mind has always been a model for how a scientific society can combine intellectual rigor with inclusivity and supportive environment.

This is why I am extremely honored and excited to be nominated for the VP position at ASN! My goal would be to continuing the mission of the ASN in driving towards conceptual unification. I think the next frontier in this conceptual unification is the accelerating recognition that natural systems and human societies are both evolutionary systems that share basic processes. I would therefore prioritize supporting new generation of researchers that can operate at the interface of unified biological and social sciences. I think such conceptual integration is crucial to realizing our scientific discipline’s potential to contribute to the welfare of human societies and nature.

To that end, I’d propose a VP symposium focused on the integration of ecology, evolution, and behavior with social sciences, specifically how insights from ecology and evolution apply to social and socio-ecological systems.

Renée Duckworth, University of Arizona

I am truly honored to be nominated for the office of Vice President of the ASN. As an integrative evolutionary biologist, this society has always occupied a special place for me with its emphasis in conceptual unification of the biological sciences, particularly evolution, ecology and behavior. My research integrates all three by using ecological and evolutionary concepts to understand the historical origin and current maintenance of adaptation, focusing on complex behaviors. Central to my approach is the view that organisms and environments are complex systems in which feedbacks, nonlinear dynamics, and networks of interactions across scales drive ecological and evolutionary change. To investigate these dynamics, I use field experiments, empirical measures of lifetime fitness, laboratory studies of neuroendocrine response to stressors, molecular multi-generational pedigree reconstruction, and, most recently, genomic approaches. Much of my work has focused on the dynamics of trait evolution in the context of successional cycles and species coexistence in passerine birds.

After receiving my Ph.D. in the Biology Department at Duke University in 2006, I went on to complete two back-to-back postdocs, first at Edinburgh University’s Institute of Evolutionary Biology and then at Harvard University’s Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology. I started a faculty position at the University of Arizona Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in 2010 and have been there ever since. Just prior to starting my faculty position, I received the American Society of Naturalists’ Young Investigator Prize and the American Ornithologist Union’s Ned K. Johnson Young Investigator Award. In 2014, I received an NSF CAREER Award and I am currently a Fellow of the American Ornithological Society.

I have received many benefits from ASN over the years and I am happy to serve and give back to the society whenever possible. I have been an Associate Editor for The American Naturalist since 2018, have served on several important society committees (e.g. Young Investigator Prize committee and the Regional Society Liaison committee). I have also served in leadership roles in other societies and scientific organizations, e.g. as a past Associate Editor for both Evolutionary Ecology and Ornithological Applications, on the board of directors and council for the American Ornithological Societies (before and after a large merger), and as a co-organizer of annual society conferences. In these roles, I have championed initiatives to broaden participation, and to increase society benefits for students and early career professionals. These past editorial and organizational roles have prepared me well for the duties of the ASN Vice President’s office.

I participated in my first Vice Presidential Symposium in 2007, at the annual meeting in Christchurch, New Zealand. I was a postdoc at the time and it was a highly impactful experience. It showed me the power of bringing together a diverse group of scientists to focus on a single topic. I would use my own opportunity to organize a symposium to bring together a similarly diverse group of scientists from all career stages, including many early career researchers.

If elected for this position, I would be excited to organize a symposium on the topic of dynamic stability in evolutionary systems. The goal of this symposium will be to integrate our understanding of how ecological systems maintain stability over time and ask whether these same mechanisms might help us to understand patterns of stasis and change on evolutionary timescales. I envision a symposium that brings together scientists from diverse fields that investigate dynamics of biological systems across scales (from developmental biology and physiology to eco- and macroevolutionary change) with the ultimate goal of searching for unifying principles that regulate phenotypic change and stability.


The SECRETARY records and publishes the minutes of the annual meeting of the Executive Committee and ensures that elections for Society offices are conducted in a timely manner. In addition, the Secretary works closely with the President with respect to the normal running of the Society, documents the Executive Committee’s actions, sees that the ASN Officer’s handbook and website are up to date, and coordinates communication between the Executive Committee, other societies’ Executive Committees, the University of Chicago Press and ASN membership. The Secretary serves for a three-year term, and then three years as Past Secretary. For both terms, the Secretary is a member of the ASN Executive Committee.

Katie Lotterhos, Northeastern University

I am thrilled to be nominated as Secretary of the Executive Committee for ASN. I am an Associate Professor at Northeastern University who seeks to understand how the past has shaped current patterns of biodiversity and how a now rapidly changing climate will affect biodiversity in the future. My lab's research uses theory and experiment to inform each other and develops novel statistical methodology to integrate data across biological, spatial, and temporal scales. To address pressing issues in biological science, we use a combination of field surveys, experiments, mathematical modeling, genomics, and bioinformatics. Current study systems in the lab include oysters, eelgrass, and marine fish.

I received a BA in Physics with a Biology Minor from Binghamton University and a PhD in Biology from Florida State University, where my dissertation focused on population genetics of a long-lived marine fish. I am the Principal Investigator for the Research Coordination Network for Evolution in Changing Seas, a Fulbright Scholar, and a recipient of the CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation.

Diversity and inclusion are central in my lab’s work. We reach high schoolers from environmental justice communities via a few different outreach programs in the Boston area. For undergraduate and graduate students, I spearheaded a Virtual Lab Meeting Program that matched students from diverse backgrounds with labs in another geographic area that matched their interests. This program helped to expand the student's professional networks and open them to new opportunities. Elsewhere, I have organized and taught in several workshops that covered topics in statistical genomics, coding, and building apps for data collection. As PI of a Research Coordination Network, I have experience coordinating many teams of people that will serve me well in the position of Secretary.

I am a lifetime member of ASN. I have served as an Associate Editor to The American Naturalist for a few years now and I am currently leading a Special Feature for the journal on Genomic Forecasting. As an interdisciplinary scientist who integrates evolution, genomics, ecology, biostatistics, and data science, I often look toward the "conceptual unification" mission of The American Naturalist as a guiding compass for my research.

As Secretary of the ASN, I will serve as a point person for committees, DEI efforts, graduate students, and affiliated societies. I aim to be approachable, to ensure that the records are well organized, and to run fair and equitable elections. I would be interested in organizing cross-society workshops on interdisciplinary science and data interoperability. These workshops would cover how to formulate interdisciplinary scientific questions, manage collaborations, and collect data from multiple levels of biological organization (e.g. genotypes to phenotypes) in a way that allows efficient data synthesis and analysis.

Matthew Schrader, University of the South

I am excited and honored to be nominated as a candidate for Secretary for the American Society of Naturalists. I am an evolutionary ecologist and my research seeks to understand how interactions among family members influence the evolution of parental care. In particular, I study how cooperation and conflict among family members generate natural selection and how populations adapt and diversify in response to this selection. My current research focuses on Nicrophorusbeetles, but I have also worked on poeciliid fish and (long ago) birds.

I received my BS from the University of Florida and attended graduate school at Florida State University where I worked with Fran James (MS) and Joe Travis (PhD). I completed post-docs at the University of Illinois with Becky Fuller and Carla Cáceres, and at the University of Cambridge with Rebecca Kilner. I have been a faculty member (currently Associate Professor) at the University of the South (Sewanee) since 2015.

I have been a member of ASN and SSE for nearly 20 years and have served as an Associate Editor at The American Naturalist since 2019. If elected, I look forward to working with the executive committee to ensure the society is working efficiently and effectively towards its goals. As a faculty member at a primarily undergraduate institution, I am especially excited about society initiatives to support and mentor undergraduates from underrepresented groups.