Physiological Ecology Section Newsletter, July 2003


Business Meeting and Mixer:
The mixer and business meeting of the Physiological Ecology section in Savannah will be on Wednesday, August 6, 6:30-8:00 pm, in the Hyatt Regency Savannah, Lobby Level, Atrium. We're looking forward to seeing everyone there!

Russ Monson took over as President of the Section on January 1, 2003. Russ is Professor and Chair in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (formerly Department of Environmental, Population and Organismic Biology) at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Zoe Cardon continues as Secretary of the Section until end of this year. Announcement of an election for a new Secretary will be made at the annual mixer in Savannah. Continuing thanks go to Past President and continuing Webmaster Rob Jackson for his volunteer efforts maintaining our outstanding section web site.


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.

Last August, 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, Tucson, Arizona 2002:

New booth at the annual meeting:
The Section took the initiative to help consolidate student awards programs at ESA. We will now have 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.

Judges still needed for student Physiological Ecology Awards:
We still need judges for the ESA Physiological Ecology student presentations at the Savannah meeting Aug. 3-8, 2003. Each person will be asked to judge 2-3 student presentations in her or his area of expertise. Even if you will only be at the ESA meetings for a few days, you can help us! If you are willing to judge presentations, please contact Zoe Cardon ( and include the dates you will be available, times that conflict with your own presentations at ESA, and your area of expertise. Thanks!


In 2002, the Section sponsored two symposia in Tucson. One was entitled "Integrating Molecular Insight and Ecological Research" (Rob Jackson and Randy Linder). The symposium featured both plant and animal speakers. An evening discussion session on the topic was held Monday night to examine funding opportunities in the area. The second was a symposium jointly sponsored with Paleoecology entitled "Gasping for CO2: Ecological Effects of Past Variations in Atmospheric CO2" (Jack Williams and Sharon Cowling).

This year in Savannah, the Section will sponsor one symposium entitled "Respiratory Control of the Global C Cycle in a Changing Environment: A Search for New Integrative Tools". The symposium will be held on Wednesday, August 6 from 1:30-5pm. Speakers include Joseph A Berry, Michael G. Ryan, Dave Bowling Jim Raich, Susan Trumbore, Julie Jastrow, and Evan DeLucia.

Presidential Vision:

The section continues to consider its ability to operate in a collaborative and integrative fashion with other sections and societies. The Physiological Ecology section has seen a clear shift in the research interests of its members over the past two decades; these shifts tend to track changes in the discipline itself. Whereas two decades ago the discipline might have been characterized as organismic focused, with a heavy emphasis on physiological adaptation, there have been clear trends leading to an "upscaling" in the prominent research interests. There is still a strong organismic core to the discipline; however, perspectives dealing with ecosystem ecology and biogeochemistry have become more obvious. At the same time, those interested in animal physiological ecology have, for the most part, migrated out of the Section to other societies (principally the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology). Concomitant with an increase in the ecosystem and biogeochemical interests represented in the Physiological Ecology Section, new sections have been formed in the ESA (the new Biogeosciences section) and the American Geophysical Union (the new Biogeochemistry section). Finally, there has been a recent awakening within the discipline of plant physiological ecology toward the use and integration of molecular techniques in the study of physiological adaptation and evolutionary affinity. This awakening provides the potential for stronger ties with animal physiological ecology, a discipline that has fostered strong ties to molecular biology for the past decade.

Given these shifts, the strength of the Physiological Ecology Section is in its potential for interdisciplinary collaboration and interaction. Jointly sponsored symposia and workshops will continue to be supported by the section, connecting with biogeochemical themes within the ESA and AGU, evolutionary themes in the Society for the Study of Evolution, and molecular themes in the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology and the American Society of Plant Biology. The intent behind this strategy is clear in symposia the last two years. Last year's symposium ("Integrating Molecular Insight and Ecological Research") reflected a targeted effort to stimulate integration between molecular biology and physiological ecology, and the two symposia presented last year and this year ("Gasping for CO2: Ecological Effects of Past Variations in Atmospheric CO2" and "Respiratory Control of the Global C Cycle in a Changing Environment: A Search for New Integrative Tools") reflect targeted efforts to bridge the gap between physiological ecology and biogeochemistry.

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 Savannah!

Zoe Cardon and Russ Monson

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