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Symposium #1: Evolution in small spaces: microgeographic adaptation

Monday, January 13, 2014

Local adaptation of populations in response to environmental variation is a foundational research program for evolutionary ecologists working across diverse systems. However, much of this research has focused on macro- and meso- scale variation as it has often been assumed that high rates of gene flow will overwhelm locally adapted gene pools and prevent adaptive divergence at small spatial scales – so-called microgeographic adaptation. Because researchers often select their study sites in a way that reduces or eliminates the possibility of gene flow between populations, the presumption that gene flow would overwhelm natural selection at fine spatial scales has rarely been challenged. Mounting evidence suggests that fine-scale divergence is more widespread in nature than is commonly appreciated. As a result, we are now in a position to examine critically where and to what degree adaptive divergence is occurring at microgeographic scales, and how this fine-scale adaptation can alter the way we think about fundamental processes in ecology and evolution.
Organizer: Jonathan Richardson

Confirmed Speakers: (talk titles are provisional)

Jonathan Richardson - Introduction: Evolution in small spaces: microgeographic adaptation in nature.

Sally Otto - Theoretical considerations of local adaptation on a small scale.

Luc De Meester - Local genetic adaptation of Daphnia to ecological gradients at the landscape level, and its link to population genetic as well as metacommunity structure.

Mark Urban - Microgeographic adaptation dampens top-down effects in aquatic food webs.

Daniel Bolnick - Deep matters: microgeographic clines with depth within lake populations of stickleback.

David Skelly - A roadmap for investigating microgeographic evolution in nature.

Patrik Nosil - Santa Rosalia revisited: why so much evolution at small scales, but not a separate species on each bush?

Erica Bree Rosenblum - Convergent evolution in White Sands lizards: gene flow and adaptation in response to a sharp ecotone.

Symposium #2: 21st-Century Naturalists: insights into classic ecological questions gained from phylogenetic historical approaches

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Insights into many classical ecological questions, such as the latitudinal species diversity gradient, what determines the numbers and kinds of species found in communities, and the relative importance of dispersal, abiotic or biotic factors in setting range limits, can be gained through incorporation of historical data, that is, phylogenies. Beyond character mapping and community phylogenetics, phylogenies can deepen our understanding of many underlying mechanisms shaping ecological communities, and point to the inseparable nature of ecology and evolution.
Organizer: Sharon Strauss

Confirmed Speakers: (talk titles are provisional)

Brian Tilston Smith - Insights into latitudinal species diversity gradients gained from historical analysis.

Nancy Emery - Species interactions and niche conservatism combine to determine ecological distributions in vernal pool species.

Peter Wainwright - The effect of speciation mode on niche and trait evolution in reef fishes.

Jonathan Davies - Explaining species richness in communities using historical approaches.

Sharon Strauss - Can phylogenies inform current biotic interactions? Combining experiments, ecological observations and history to understand ecological specialization.

Catherine Graham - Species distributions, niches and dispersal limitation are informed by history.

Nate Swenson - The idiosyncratic evolutionary imprint on assembly in New Zealand woody plant communities.

Dan Rabosky - Reproductive isolation, diversity-dependence, and the ecology of speciation.

Symposium #3: New perspectives on niche construction

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Niche construction is the process by which organisms, through their traits, determine the environment that they experience. A seemingly simple process, niche construction has diverse and far-reaching implications that bring together ecology, evolution, genetics and development, and are thus potentially of interest to literally everyone at the ASN meeting. Niche construction research is still hindered by lack of integration and unification. Researchers studying, for example, trait-mediated indirect interactions in ecology and genetic variation in animal habitat choice are not necessarily likely to read each other’s work; the primary impetus for this symposium is to illustrate how niche construction provides a “conceptual lynchpin” through which aspects of these diverse ecological and evolutionary processes may be considered within a common framework.
Organizer: Julia Saltz

Confirmed Speakers: (talk titles are provisional)

Kathleen Donohue - Niche construction, ontogeny, and (plant) life-cycle variation in seasonal environments.

Hopi Hoekstra - The genetics of niche construction: burrow building in wild mice.

Robert Holt and Mark McPeek - Implications of niche construction for community ecology.

Gregory Kohn - Social personality traits and niche picking: how individuals construct their social experience.

Kevin Laland - Niche construction theory: a practical guide to ecologists.

Julia Saltz - Genetic variation in social niche construction influences the development and evolution of aggression in D. melanogaster.

Emilie Snell-Rood - Behavioral niche construction: habitat and resource choice impacts environmental variability and the evolution of developmental plasticity.

Tom Whitham - Niche construction by foundation tree species: a community genetics approach

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