ASN Election

Posted on by ASN

The ASN 2018 Elections are underway for tha offices of President, Vice President, and Secretary. The election website randomizes the order for each person voting, but 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.

Susan Kalisz, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

My interests are in evolutionary biology and ecology.  My research focuses on the evolution of  mating system and the role of mating system shifts in speciation in plants, mutualism and mutualism disruption by invasive species, and demographic and population modeling. These research projects intersect in my interest in deeper questions about the effects of human’s actions across the globe in altering the tempo and mode of evolution, and the sustainability and conservation of biodiversity. I received my Bachelor’s of Science degree from the University of Michigan, where I was inspired by the dazzling diversity, forms and functions of plants. I received my Masters and PhD degrees from the University of Chicago, where I learned how the interaction of ecology and evolutionary forces shaped those dazzling forms. Directly from Chicago, I took a faculty position at Michigan State University where I became a tenured associate professor, then moved to the University of Pittsburgh where I became a full professor in 2001. I joined the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) in 2015 as Professor and Head of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. I was invited to serve as program director in the Division of Environmental Biology at the National Science Foundation (2009-2010) and I currently serve on the Faculty of 1000.

I co-led two National Evolution Synthesis Center (NESCent) Working Groups, and served as a member of the NSF microMORPH: Microevolutionary Molecular and Organismic Research in Plant History Research Coordination Network Steering Committee 2010-2017, the Botanical Society of America Merit Awards Committee 2011-2014, and as associate editor for the journals Evolution, Journal of Ecology and The American Naturalist. As a graduate student, I joined ASN (loved to discuss graphs with unlabeled axes), and while serving as one of three Editors for The American Naturalist (2012-2015), I advocated for instating the double blind manuscript review process that the journal now employs. My experiences in a faculty mentoring matrix program at UTK and graduate student mentoring and diversity programs at U Pittsburgh and UTK, in working groups, and my life experiences, reinforce my belief in the power of human networks to increase individual and group success and happiness. I would work to develop of new mentoring opportunities for ASN scientists at all career levels that foster their professional and personal goals and help to build a stronger, more inclusive community within ASN.

Mark Kirkpatrick, University of Texas at Austin

My work uses genetics to study classic topics in evolution (e.g. speciation, local adaptation, chromosome evolution), ecology (e.g. species ranges), and behavior (e.g. mate choice, sexual antagonism). My background is in population genetics theory, but recently the lab has moved strongly into genomics.  I was an undergraduate at Harvard and received a PhD from the University of Washington.  I have several of the accoutrements of aging academics:  fellowships in the AAAS (both of them), a Guggenheim, and (best yet) the Sewall Wright Award from the ASN.  Service to our community includes the editorial boards of a half dozen journals and conservation work in Central Texas.  I have served on the ASN’s Editorial Board, Editor Search Committee, Officer Nomination Committee, Sewall Wright Award Committee, and also contributed innumerable reviews

As ASN President, my first priority will be to “Make the American Naturalist Great Again”.  (Embroidered caps will be available in all colors but red.)  In recent years, the Society has made major progress in key directions:  membership is growing, for example, and the stand-alone meetings are a great success.  But the Naturalist is at risk of losing its hallowed status as a pillar of the field.  I will work closely with the Editor to expand the journal’s visibility and impact.  We need to make the journal more relevant to growth points such as genomics and climate change biology.  Second, I will work to make the Society more diverse.  The current Executive Council is gender balanced (indeed, female biased), but it and the ASN as a whole is still very largely the domain of white scientists.  Last, I will put an equation in every pot.

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. 

Meghan Duffy, University of Michigan

My research focuses on the ecology and evolution of infectious diseases, particularly in aquatic systems. I have studied the causes and consequences of rapid evolution of hosts in response to disease outbreaks, as well as the effects of food webs on disease. More recently, my work has begun to focus on the impacts of global change on infectious diseases, as well as on multihost-multipathogen interactions. I received my PhD from Michigan State University and did a postdoc at the University of Wisconsin before beginning my first faculty position at Georgia Tech; I am now an Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan. I received the President’s Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from President Obama and the Ecological Society of America’s Mercer Award (for a paper published in AmNat!), and am currently a Public Engagement Fellow with AAAS.

I have been an Associate Editor for the American Naturalist since 2015 and served on the American Naturalist Editor-in-Chief Selection committee in 2016. I was the Vice-Chair and then Chair of the Ecological Society of America’s (ESA) Aquatic Ecology Section, was a member of ESA’s Grants and Fellowships committee, and am currently the chair of ESA’s Mercer Award subcommittee. I am a co-creator of DiversifyEEB (which aims to highlight ecologists and evolutionary biologists who are women and/or underrepresented minorities) and of EEBMentorMatch (which aims to provide grad school and fellowship applicants with feedback on their application materials). I also serve on the Advisory Board of 500 Women Scientists, which aims to transform leadership, diversity, and public engagement in science.

The ASN website notes that the “American Society of Naturalists emphasizes the value of interdisciplinary research and collaborations between diverse biologists to achieve conceptual unification across the biological sciences.” This is exactly why I want to serve the ASN – there is much to be gained by integrating across ecology, evolutionary biology, and behavior, and it is imperative that we work to make science more diverse and inclusive. My planned symposium would focus on insights gained from system-based research, including work on well-established systems as well as on more recently established systems, integrating across ecology, evolution, and behavior.

Scott L Nuismer, University of Idaho

I am an evolutionary ecologist with a passion for developing mathematical models that inform our understanding of the natural world.  My research focuses on species interactions and coevolution, and touches on a range of topics including the impact of ploidy on species interactions, the role coevolution plays in local adaptation and diversification, and coevolution’s contribution to community structure and function. Most recently, my lab is developing statistical methodologies for measuring the strength and intensity of coevolution in the wild and using mathematical models to solve evolutionary challenges arising from rapid advances in genetic engineering.

In addition to my research on species interactions and coevolution, I have a keen interest in making mathematical modeling accessible and understandable to biologists. Although great strides have been made since I started graduate school twenty years ago, in many areas of evolution and ecology we still fail to prepare students to understand or develop even the simplest mathematical models. My efforts to address this include integrating basic model building and analysis in my introductory ecology course, individually mentoring biology students, and most recently, publishing a new book: Introduction to coevolutionary theory. By beginning each chapter with a description of the natural history of a well-studied species interaction, and then developing and analyzing a relevant mathematical model one step at a time, I hope this book will make mathematical modeling less intimidating and more approachable for the next generation of coevolutionary biologists.

My formal connection with ASN began in 2013 when I became an associate editor for The American Naturalist. Long before this, however, the society and journal had a lasting impact on the trajectory of my career. One pivotal example was reading Mark Kirkpatrick and Nick Barton’s 1997 paper on the evolution of species’ ranges early in graduate school. This paper cemented my interest in mathematical modeling and led me to pursue a postdoctoral position in Mark’s lab. The American Naturalist remains one of the few journals I manage to read regularly and one where I always send my best research. My goal, if elected, is to highlight the insights that can be gained by integrating mathematical modeling with a deep understanding of natural history. To this end, I envision developing a VP symposium featuring collaborations between theoreticians and empiricists that test existing and emerging theories for the role species interactions and coevolution play in biological diversification.


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.

Erol Akçay, University of Pennsylvania

My research focuses on the theory of social evolution, broadly construed to include the evolution of animal and human behavior as well as species interactions. I am particularly interested in the evolutionary and proximate mechanisms of cooperation, social structure, and mutualistic interactions. I have undergraduate degrees in Physics and Biology from Middle East Technical University in Turkey and a PhD in Biology from Stanford University. I then did postdoctoral research at NIMBioS (University of Tennessee) and Princeton University before starting as Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania in 2014. I received the Samuel Karlin Prize in Mathematical Biology (2008) from Stanford University Department of Biology and the Young Investigator award from the Turkish-American Scientists and Scholars Association (2016).

One of the things I am proudest of in my past service is helping to start an informal group of researchers from Turkey that eventually became the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Society of Turkey ( I also co-organized a workshop and served in the scientific committee for the Society's annual symposia. I have also been active in the past with the ASN, serving for three years on the student research award committee (2014-2017) and more recently, as an Associate Editor for the American Naturalist. For some time now, ASN and the American Naturalist have been my intellectual home in science, representing a truly integrative approach to biology and affiliated sciences. I am proud to be part of this community and to have contributed a little to the mission of the ASN. I would very much welcome the chance to continue doing so as Secretary.

Tadashi Fukami, Stanford University

I study ecological and evolutionary community assembly, with a focus on understanding when and why the structure and function of communities are contingent on the history of species immigration. Over the past 15 years, I have used experimental, theoretical, and observational methods, involving bacteria, protists, fungi, plants, and animals. Currently, microbes that inhabit floral nectar are my primary study system. I earned a bachelor's degree from Waseda University in 1996, a master's degree from the University of Tokyo in 1998, and a PhD from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in 2003. I was a postdoc at Landcare Research, New Zealand (2003-2005) and an Assistant Professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa (2006-2008) before joining the Stanford University faculty in 2008. I received NSF CAREER, OPUS, and Dimensions of Biodiversity awards, and a Science Prize for Inquiry-Based Instruction from AAAS.

I have served as a handling editor (Ecology Letters, Oikos, and PLoS ONE), a symposium organizer (ESA), a review panel member (NSF), and a graduate student representative (University of Tennessee EEB Dept; though a long time ago!). I attended two of the past stand-alone ASN conferences and have published three papers in the American Naturalist (Wittmann and Fukami, forthcoming; Fukami et al. 2017; Olito and Fukami 2009), served as the external reviewer for manuscripts submitted to the journal, and had my graduate student (Devin Leopold) receive an ASN Student Research Award. Serving as ASN Secretary would be a great opportunity to contribute to the society that has published many of the papers that inspired and influenced my research deeply. The stimulating, friendly, and informal atmosphere at the ASN stand-alone conferences that I attended has reinforced my feeling that this is the society that I would like to consider my intellectual home, and I would be excited to help the society continue to thrive.