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Physiological Ecology Section Newsletter, July 2004

Will Cook cwcook at duke.edu
Tue Jul 20 14:54:02 EST 2004

Here's the latest newsletter, just posted on the Physiological Ecology 
Section website (http://www.biology.duke.edu/jackson/ecophys/)


Physiological Ecology Section Newsletter, July 2004


Business Meeting and Mixer:
The mixer and business meeting of the Physiological Ecology section in 
Portland will be on Monday, August 2, from 6:30-8:00 PM, in the Oregon 
Conference Center, Portland Ballroom, Room 257. There will be a cash 
bar in the lobby to be shared among sections holding mixers at that 
time. The refreshments will be highlighted by chilled prawns with 
citrus vodka cocktail sauce, tomato-basil and Oregon bleu cheese tarts, 
bruschetta with roasted tomato and basil, and assorted smoked seafood. 
We're looking forward to seeing everyone there!

At the Mixer and Business Meeting I would like to set aside a few 
minutes for open discussion of some of the issues raised by the survey 
results that Gretchen and I sent out earlier this year. We won't have 
time to go too deeply into the issues, but I would like to get your 
response to some ideas about a couple of new initiatives.

Gretchen North took over as Secretary of the Section on January 1, 
2004. Gretchen is Associate Professor of Biology at Occidental College 
in Los Angeles. Russ Monson continues as President of the Section until 
the end of this year. Announcement of an election for a new President 
will be made at the annual mixer in Portland. Continuing thanks go to 
Past Secretary and continuing invaluable consultant Zoe Cardon for her 
volunteer efforts in getting Gretchen up to speed and in serving as a 
great advisor on certain key issues. Also, thanks to former section 
president and current webmaster, Rob Jackson, for maintaining our 
outstanding section website.


The Billings award (for the outstanding oral presentation by a student 
member of the Physiological Ecology Section) and the Best Poster Award 
(for the outstanding poster presentation) seek to recognize significant 
advancements in physiological ecology, with entrants judged on the 
rigor, creativity, importance, and presentation of the research. Each 
award carries a prize of $500, and, new as of last year, a book award.

In August 2002, the Section arranged with Charles Crumly of Academic 
Press (Elsevier) for AP to make available a free book of student's 
choice to the winners of the Best Poster and the Billings Awards, as 
well as to the students receiving Honorable Mentions in these contests. 
We are grateful to Academic Press for this new commitment to honor the 
efforts and support the education of outstanding students.

The New Phytologist Trust continues its commitment begun in 2000 to 
contribute $500 annually towards the Billings Award. New Phytologist, a 
broad-spectrum plant science journal, was established in 1902 by the 
pioneer ecologist Arthur Tansley. The goals of the non-profit Trust are 
to promote education and research in plant sciences. More information 
and links to the journal New Phytologist can be found at 

Student award winners, Savannah 2003:

Congratulations to Katherine McCulloh, winner of the 2003 Billings 
Award, for her talk "The application of Murray's law to Psilotum nudum, 
an analogue of an ancestral vascular plant" with John Sperry, coauthor. 
Kate's work was conducted at University of Utah.

Honorable mention went to Jennifer Funk for her talk "Variation in 
isoprene emission from Quercus rubra: sources, causes, and consequences 
for estimating fluxes" with coauthors Clive G. Jones, Manuel T. Lerdau, 
Dennis W. Gray, Heather L. Throop, and Laura A. Hyatt. Jennifer's work 
was conducted at SUNY Stonybrook.

Congratulations to Patrick Herron, winner of the 2003 Best Poster 
Award, for his poster "Divining Rods: Pseudomonas putida as a 
microbiosensor of fine-scale osmotic potentials in soil" with coauthors 
Daniel J. Gage and Zoe G. Cardon. Patrick's work was conducted at 
University of Connecticut.

Honorable mention went to Will Bowman for his poster "Influences of 
sapflow and sapwood respiratory activity on CO2 efflux from woody stems 
in a New Zealand Podocarp forest" with coauthors Margaret M. Barbour, 
David T. Tissue, Matthew H. Turnbull, David Whitehead, and Kevin L. 
Griffin. Will's work was conducted through Columbia University.

Section booth at the annual meeting:
The Section took the initiative a few years ago to help consolidate 
student awards programs at ESA. We will continue to sponsor a dedicated 
student awards booth each year, with winning posters shown from the 
previous year, and with boxes for ballots (and judging information). 
This helps us highlight the excellent research that students are doing 
across ESA.

Judging for student Physiological Ecology Awards:
Thanks to all of you who volunteered to judge student oral and poster 
presentations at the Portland meeting. Each person will be asked to 
judge 2-3 student presentations in her or his area of expertise. 
Gretchen is completing a spreadsheet with the names of the presenters, 
the times of their presentations, and the titles, and she will send 
this out soon so that you can sign up for those that you would like to 


In 2003, the Section sponsored a symposium organized by Miquel Gonzalez-
Meler (University of Illinois, Chicago) and entitled "Respiratory 
Control of the Global C Cycle in a Changing Environment: A Search for 
New Integrative Tools". The symposium included very enlightening talks 
by Joe Berry, Mike Ryan, Dave Bowling, Jim Raich, Sue Trumbore, Julie 
Jastrow and Evan DeLucia.

This summer, the Section Symposium was organized by Bill Bowman 
(University of Colorado, Boulder) and is entitled "Functional 
Significance of Mountain Biodiversity". The symposium will bring 
together scientists working in a variety of ecological disciplines to 
present their research linking the role of biodiversity to the 
functioning of mountain ecosystems. The symposium is part of a series 
of thematic workshops supported by the Global Mountain Biodiversity 
Assessment, a program within DIVERSITAS and GCTE. Contributors include 
Steve Schmidt (University of Colorado), Richard Bardgett (University of 
Lancaster), Christian Rixen (Swiss Federal Institute for Snow and 
Avalanche Research), Christian Körner (University of Basel), Bill 
Bowman (University of Colorado), Molly Smith (University of California, 
Berkeley), and Rüdiger Kaufmann (University of Innsbruk).

Already time to organize for next year's symposium and organized oral 
The Ecological Society of America and the International Association for 
Ecology will be holding a joint Annual meeting and International 
Congress in Montreal, Canada from August 7 through August 12, 2005. The 
Calls for Symposium Proposals and Organized Oral Session Proposals, as 
well as information about the joint meeting, the theme, the Palais des 
Congres (the Montreal Convention Center) and the city of Montreal are 
included on the ESA meeting website.

If you want to put together a proposal for consideration of section 
sponsorship at the 2005 ESA meeting, you will need to e-mail the 
proposal (1-2 pages) as an attachment to me or Gretchen North by 
September 1, 2004. You will then need to submit the proposal to the ESA 
Program Committee through the web-site listed above by Wednesday, 
September 15, 2005 at 5 PM Eastern Daylight Time. Gretchen and I need 
to see the proposal by September 1, so that we can organize a review 
and selection process prior to the official submission date to the ESA 
Program Committee.

Your proposal should include a description of the proposed theme for 
the symposium as well as a list of tentative speakers and an indication 
as to whether any of the potential speakers has already signaled their 
intention to participate. The overall theme of the meeting will be 
"Ecology at Multiple Scales". As I state below, the Section leaders 
will be especially interested to see symposium proposals that reach 
down to the molecular and organismic levels, and potentially include 
both plant and animal systems.
Report on Physiological Ecology Survey

Last winter Gretchen and Russ solicited comments from section members 
in the form of a questionnaire. The aim of the questionnaire was to 
gain greater insight into the composition and opinions of the section 
membership, and to lay the foundation for future initiatives within the 
section. We received 55 completed questionnaires. It was difficult to 
collate all the varied responses into summary form. However, I have 
tried to capture some of the more obvious trends below:

1. The Section continues to be populated primarily by people who 
identify themselves as plant physiological ecologists. Of the 
respondents, 58% consider themselves plant physiological ecologists; 
22% consider themselves animal physiological ecologists; 16% consider 
themselves ecosystem ecologists; 4% consider themselves a type of 
ecologist other than these three.

2. Most of the membership depends on the ESA annual meeting as their 
primary professional meeting venue. Of the respondents, 76% attend the 
ESA annual meeting as their primary meeting; 11% attend the SICB annual 
meeting as their primary meeting; 5% attend the AGU meeting as their 
primary meeting; 8% attend meetings other than these three as their 
primary meeting.

3. Most people think the field of physiological ecology will continue 
to diverge in two directions: down toward molecular connections, and up 
toward ecosystem and global connections. Of the respondents, 33% 
described this as the current trend and one that is likely to continue; 
16% of the respondents expect evolutionary connections, particularly 
those involving phylogenetic analysis to become more important in 
physiological ecology; 20% expect connections to molecular biology and 
genomics to become more important, including 90% of the animal 
physiological ecologists who responded.

4. Most of the respondents thought that maintenance of the section web 
site was the most critical component of the section to maintain. Over 
50% of the respondents mentioned the web site as one of the most 
valuable aspects of the section; 22% of the respondents would like to 
see the web page enhanced to provide better interconnectedness among 
section members; 20% of the respondents mentioned the possibility of 
using the web site to post information about courses (e.g., syllabi, 
reading lists, etc.) that could be used by others to enhance their 
physiological ecology courses. Several respondents mentioned the need 
to expand section activities at the national meetings to include small 
section-sponsored workshops on education or experimental techniques.

How do we use this information?

1. It was no surprise that most of the respondents recognized the trend 
in physiological ecology toward divergent directions - up and down in 
scale. Russ and Gretchen have identified two questions that should be 
asked concerning this recognition. Is the trend detrimental to section 
cohesiveness? Is there anything we can do about the trend?

2. Clearly, one of the priorities for the section should be to further 
develop and stabilize the financial support for the web site. This will 
continue to be one of our priorities and one that Russ will pass on to 
the next section president.

3. We still have members interested in (albeit a diminishing interest) 
animal physiological ecology. We should identify a strategy to foster 
this part of the section and rebuild it. This is most likely to come 
through continued efforts to strengthen the organismic core of the 
section. Toward that end, we would like to encourage symposium 
proposals for next year's meeting that will emphasize connections 
between animal and plant physiological ecology.

4. There is a need for section-sponsored workshops, especially those 
focused on pedagogic issues and specialized research techniques and 
approaches. We will initiate discussions with ESA Central to see if we 
can get something scheduled for next year's annual meeting in Montreal.

At the Section Mixer this year, we would like to take a few minutes to 
allow for some discussion of these issues. Furthermore, we would like 
to encourage the formation of a couple of "committees" to explore 
further some of these issues. In particular, it might be good to have a 
few people noodling about issue #1 above, and maybe a couple of 
volunteers to organize a workshop for the Montreal meeting. We will 
gather information before the mixer on the feasibility of adding at 
least one workshop to the Montreal agenda.

Please let us know your ideas and your willingness to contribute in any 
area to the section. Your input and efforts are important. Thanks, and 
see you in Portland!

Gretchen North and Russ Monson


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