Unifying Ecology Across Scales: The role of nutrients, metabolism, and physiology [Announcement]

As some of you may know, I’ve been working with Michael Angilletta for the past year on organizing a Gordon Research Conference. I announced the mentoring program that is affiliated with the conference last week, but here is the official info on the conference itself. Please forgive a little repetition from the mentoring program post.

Application Deadline: June 22, 2014

When and Where: July 20-25 2014 at the University of New England, Biddeford Maine

Conference Topic: Many of the impacts humans have on nature affect patterns and processes at multiple spatial, temporal, or organizational scales. Thus predicting the response of nature to human impacts is challenging because changes in one scale can have profound impacts on patterns and processes at other scales of nature. Because ecology has traditionally been focused on patterns and processes at single scales, we have few approaches that allow us to understand cross-scale feedbacks that can influence the patterns and processes we are interested in predicting. The Gordon Research Conference on ‘Unifying Ecology Across Scales: the role of nutrients, metabolism, and physiology’ is a small conference focused on exploring how the availability, acquisition, and transference of energy and nutrients can link patterns and processes across spatial, organizational, and temporal scales. Our goal is to provide a venue for people interested in this topic to discuss the current state of the field and discuss how to promising avenues of future research. Research interests of participants span the diverse areas of ecology, evolution, and physiology, but are united in an interest to use energy and nutrients to unify different areas and approaches to ecology.

What is a Gordon Research Conference?: Gordon Research Conferences (GRC) are well known in some fields, but the number of ecology related GRCs is low, so many of us haven’t heard of one before. A Gordon Research Conference is a small conference ( < 200 people) focused on a specific topic. In our case, the topic is trying to link patterns and processes across scales using nutrients, metabolism, and physiology. Speakers at GRCs are by invite only, but there is a poster session almost every afternoon for attendees to present their research. The poster session is not just for the junior people to present. Well known senior people tack up posters and stand by them too.

The structure of a GRC is also pretty unique. Talks occur in the mornings and evenings, leaving the afternoons free for informal discussions, formation of collaborations, and recreational activities (our conference site has kayaking as well as other organized opportunities). Attendees all sleep in the same dorm and eat at the same cafeteria, further creating opportunities for interactions and discussions.

Applying to attend: Registration is now open.

GRC’s have a unique approach to the application process. You have to submit an application which the conference chairs (that’s me and Michael Angilletta) can then decide to accept or reject. Then you’ll get an ‘invitation’ to actually register. Don’t let the fear of rejection stop you from applying though. We have historically had space for everyone who wants to come.

Special events for graduate students and postdocs: We have a Gordon Research Seminar (GRS) associated with our conference focused on “understanding the drivers of biological systems by integrating metabolism, physiology, and macroecology”.  Gordon Research Seminars provide opportunities for graduate students and postdocs to present their research and network with their peers and a small number of senior scientists mentors before the main conference. Feedback from people who have attended these has been universally positive. In fact, when we didn’t have these one year, there was a huge outcry to bring them back. You have to apply for the GRS separately from the GRC. The conference chairs for the GRS are Sarah Supp and Sarah Diamond. The GRS registration process is also currently open. Dates for the GRS are July 19-20, 2014.

This year we are also excited to announce we have a mentoring program at the conference that graduate students and postdocs who plan on attending the conference can apply for. We have limited slots for this (approximately 20). Details can be found here.

Who is Speaking?: To (hopefully) get you even more excited about attending, here is the list of session topics, speakers, and discussion leaders for the conference. UPDATED: We’ve added a number of lightning talks (short talks). Those speakers have now been added below. If you want titles as well, the full schedule for the conference (with talk titles) is available here

Day 1:

Session Topic 1: Developing Unified Theories of Ecology

Leader Name:  Pablo Marquet

Speaker Names:  Michael Sears / John Harte

Day 2:

Session Topic 2: Macrophysiology Meets Macroecology

Leader Name:  Lauren Buckley

Speaker Names:  Piero Calosi / Amy Angert

Session Topic 3: Biogeography of Environmental Tolerance

Leader Name:  Jennifer Sunday

Speaker Names:  Sarah Diamond / Hans Otto Portner

Lightning Talks: Lacy Chick / Richard Feldman

Day 3:

 Session Topic 4: Metabolic Adaptation to Changing Environments

Leader Name:  Craig White

Speaker Names:  Daniel Naya / Carla Sgro

Session Topic 5: Mechanistic Basis of Macroecological Patterns

Leader Name:  Brian Enquist

Speaker Names:  Ethan White / Sally Keith

Lightning Talks: Nika Galic / David Harris / Xiao Xiao

Day 4:

Session Topic 6: Linking Organismal Traits to Community Dynamics

Leader Name:  Elena Litchman

Speaker Names:  Catherine Graham / Stephanie Dutkiewicz

 Session Topic 7: Using Stoichiometry to Link Organisms and Ecosystems

Leader Name:  Susan Kilham

Speaker Names:  Elizabeth Borer / Phil Taylor

Lightning Talks: Angelica Gonzalez / Catherine Hulshof

Day 5:

 Session Topic 8: Predicting Diversity across Scales

Leader Name:  Brian McGill

Speaker Names:  Maria Dornelas / Jessica Blois

 Session Topic 9: Integrating Ecological Processes at the Macroscale

Leader Name:  James Brown

Speaker Names:  Michael Kearney / James Brown

Lightning Talks: John Grady / Rebecca Trebilco / Joshua Rapp

3 Comments on “Unifying Ecology Across Scales: The role of nutrients, metabolism, and physiology [Announcement]

  1. I went to this conference/symposium in 2012. It was probably the most thought-provoking conference I have ever attended. The speakers were top-notch, but what I appreciated most was the casual and interactive atmosphere. It was unique among conferences I have attended in that it was small (about 100 people), but for its small size had a pretty broad scope. Because of this I think there were so many interesting conversations ranging from in depth to very broad in an informal, non-threatening environment among grad students, postdocs, and PIs.
    Not sure if I can make it this year, but I would highly recommend going, especially grad students and postdocs!

  2. Pingback: Organizing a Gender Balanced Conference | Jabberwocky Ecology | The Weecology Blog

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