Physiological Ecology Section Newsletter, July 2005


Business Meeting and Mixer:
The mixer and business meeting of the Physiological Ecology section in Montréal will be on Monday, August 8, from 6:30-8:00 PM, in the Palais des Congrès de Montréal, Room 517 C, Level 5. There will be a cash bar in the lobby to be shared with the Vegetation Section, holding its business meeting and mixer in Room 517A. The refreshments will include a smoked seafood bar, antipasto display, seasonal crudités and dip, and a seasonal fruit display. Because of the fact that (1) our finite budget did not allow us to order a large quantity of food, and (2) we have tended to quickly run out the past several years, we would like to request that section members view the food this year as appetizers only and thus plan on obtaining dinner at another venue Monday evening. That should allow all attendees to get at least a few food items this year. Everyone's cooperation is greatly appreciated, and we're looking forward to seeing everyone there!

Stan Smith took over as Chair of the Section on January 1, 2005. Stan is a Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Gretchen North continues as Secretary of the Section until the end of this year. Announcement of an election for a new Secretary will be made at the annual meeting this year in Montréal (see nominations announcement below). Thanks go to Russ Monson, 2003-04 Section Chair, for his efforts and advice in getting Stan up to speed on Chair duties. Also thanks to Rob Jackson, our current Webmaster, for maintaining our outstanding section website.

Support for the Section Web Site:
The Physiological Ecology Section was awarded funds from the ESA to improve the Section's web site with regard to pedagogy. Russ Monson, as past Chair of the Section, and Rob Jackson, as current Section Web Guru, teamed for a proposal that was awarded and provided funds for Rob to hire a staff person to contribute to the web site course and teaching sections. Congratulations to Russ and Rob for their efforts to improve this important function of our Section's 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 a book award from Elsevier.

In August 2002, the Section arranged with Charles Crumly of Academic Press (Elsevier) for Elsevier to make available a free book of each student's choice to the winners of the Billings and Best Poster Awards, as well as to the students receiving Honorable Mentions in these contests. We are grateful to Elsevier for this continuing commitment to honor the efforts and support the education of outstanding graduate 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 goal of the non-profit Trust is to promote education and research in plant sciences. More information and links to the journal New Phytologist can be found at

Student award winners, Portland 2004:

Congratulations to Maggie Prater, winner of the 2004 Billings Award, for her talk "Evapotranspiration and energy balance of post-fire and native sagebrush communities in the Great Basin Desert" with Evan DeLucia, coauthor. Maggie's work was conducted at the University of Illinois.

Honorable mention went to Will Cornwell for his talk "Quantifying functional diversity: A new analytical method" with coauthors D.W. Schwilk and David Ackerly. Will's work was conducted at Stanford University.

Congratulations to Tracy Gartner, winner of the 2004 Best Poster Award, for her poster "Arrangement of litter types can influence mass and N dynamics in mixed-species litter decomposition experiments" with coauthor Zoe Cardon. Tracy's work was conducted at the University of Connecticut.

Honorable mention went to Catarina Moura for her poster "Differential gene expression when loblolly pine trees FACE a rise in CO2" with coauthor Rob Jackson. Catarina's work was conducted through Duke University.

Judging for student Physiological Ecology Awards:
Thanks to all of you (over 25 this year!) who volunteered to judge student oral and poster presentations at the Montréal meeting. The enthusiasm shown by both entrants and judges attests to the continued vigor of the Section.

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.


In 2004, the Section Symposium was organized by Bill Bowman (University of Colorado, Boulder) and was entitled "Functional Significance of Mountain Biodiversity". The symposium brought 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 was part of a series of thematic workshops supported by the Global Mountain Biodiversity Assessment, a program within DIVERSITAS and GCTE. Contributors included R. Bardgett (University of Lancaster), S. Schmidt (University of Colorado), C. Rixen (Swiss Federal Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research), Ch. Körner (University of Basel), W. Bowman (University of Colorado), M. Smith (University of California, Berkeley), and R. Kaufmann (University of Innsbruck).

This year, the Physiological Ecology Section is sponsoring two Organized Oral Sessions:

OOS-1 is organized by Howard Neufeld (Appalachian State University) and Nancy Grulke (U.S. Forest Service), and is entitled "Appreciating the Impacts of Oxidative Stress: From Genes to Ecosystems". It will be Monday morning, August 8, from 8:00 to 11:30 a.m. in Rooms 510a and 510c, Level 5.
OOS-38 is organized by Stan Wullschleger (Oak Ridge National Lab), Rob Jackson (Duke University), and Todd Dawson (University of California, Berkeley), and is entitled "Sensors and Sensor Networks in Ecology". It will be Wednesday afternoon from 1:30 to 5:00 p.m. in Rooms 516a and 516b, Level 5.

We would also like to alert the Section membership to the following Symposia, which should have broad appeal to our group:

Symposium 1: The boreal forest and global change
Symposium 21: Resource pulses in space and time: Linking species, communities, and ecosystems
Symposium 23: Comparative plant ecology as a tool for integrating across scales

And the following Organized Oral Sessions:

OOS-7: Ecological effects of the Chernobyl disaster: Genes to ecosystems
OOS-11: Hydraulic limitations in plants
OOS-13: Gas exchange and global change in peatlands: From soil to satellite
OOS-16: Allelopathy: Biochemical interactions among plants affecting community structure, exotic invasions, and evolutionary theory
OOS-20: Disease in ecosystems: Reciprocal interactions between pathogens and ecosystems
OOS-21: Implications of disturbance on boreal peatland carbon cycling: From sites to landscape-scale carbon budgets
OOS-22: Comparative ecology of tropical trees: Linking physiology to dynamics and distribution
OOS-25: Dynamics of invasive plants: Individuals to ecosystems
OOS-26: From microbes to ecosystems: How do we really make the connections?
OOS-27: Emerging ecoinformatic tools and accomplishments for synthetic ecological research across scales
OOS-31: Structure and function of tropical rainforest canopies
OOS-41: Ecological responses to precipitation: Scaling patterns and processes from the genome to the ecosystem
OOS-49: Scaling species abundance, distribution, and diversity: From pattern to process
OOS-52: Casting light on nocturnal stomatal and canopy conductance

While we realize that we have undoubtedly omitted several Symposia and OOS's, and apologize accordingly, these represent the primary ones that we felt embodied a strong Ecophysiology theme or framework. Please consult the meeting directories for the times and places for these symposia and oral sessions.

Already time to organize for next year's symposium and organized oral sessions!

The Ecological Society of America will be holding its 91st Annual Meeting in Memphis, Tennessee from August 6 through August 11, 2006. The Calls for Symposium Proposals and Organized Oral Session Proposals, as well as information about the meeting, the theme, the meeting venue and the city of Memphis are included on the ESA meeting website:

If you want to put together a proposal for a Symposium or Organized Oral Session and you would like to be considered for sponsorship by the Physiological Ecology Section at the 2006 ESA meeting, you will need to e-mail the proposal (1-2 pages) as an attachment to Stan Smith and Gretchen North by September 1, 2005. You will then need to submit the proposal to the ESA Program Committee through the web site listed above by Thursday, 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 for section sponsorship prior to the official submission date to the ESA Program Committee. We will need to convene an ad-hoc review committee for this process at the Montréal business meeting - if you would like to serve in this review process and know that you will not be an organizer or speaker on any symposium or OOS proposal, please let us know at the business meeting or via email.

Symposium/OOS proposals should include a description of the symposium topic or theme as well as a list of tentative speakers and an indication of the status (i.e. confirmed, probable, or not yet contacted) of each of the potential speakers with regard to their intention to participate. The overall theme of the meeting will be "Icons and Upstarts in Ecology". The ad-hoc review team will be especially interested to see symposium proposals that span multiple scales (molecular to ecosystem), and potentially include plant, animal and microbial systems.


Russ Monson did not pass along any "burning issues" to be discussed at this year's Business Meeting (many thanks to Russ!). Therefore, our agenda is relatively open. If anyone has an item that they would like to bring up for discussion, please send to Stan and Gretchen (see email addresses above) at your earliest convenience and we will try and get it on the agenda.

One business item we would like to move forward on is an election for a new Secretary for the 2006-2007 calendar years. To expedite this process, we would like to solicit nominations from the Section membership. Please send nominations to Stan or Gretchen prior to the Business meeting on Monday, August 8. If you send in a nomination, please confirm that the nominee is willing to serve for a full 2-year term. Self-nominations are also encouraged. The duties of Secretary are primarily to (1) coordinate judging for the Billings and Best Poster Awards at each year's ESA meeting, and (2) assist the Chair with the annual Business Meeting, annual report to the ESA, and this pre-meeting newsletter, plus occasional newsletters during the year.

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 Montréal!

Stan Smith and Gretchen North

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