Fall 2015 Seminars

Ecology (ECL) 290 - UC Davis Student participatory seminars:

ECL 290- CRN 49923, 1 unit, Stock Assessments, Loo Botsford, 1064 Academic Surge, Wednesdays 1-2pm

There is considerable concern among conservation biologists regarding the state of world fisheries. One of the challenges in fishery management is that of assessing the state of a fished stock and setting sustainable catches. The stock assessments that form the basis for management decisions are the quantitative part of one of the largest natural resource management processes in the US, yet they are understood by few. We will discuss Stock Synthesis, the statistical framework commonly used for West Coast fisheries stock assessments, and the outcomes from the latest NOAA Fisheries National Stock Assessment workshops. Students may present on these subjects or on papers addressing such topics as: how the assessments are related to ecological theory of population dynamics, how models are fit to data, whether and how ecosystem effects are accounted for, and others.

ECL 290- CRN 49911, 1 unit, Plant Nutrition and Insect Pest Management, Christian Nansen & Jay Rosenheim, Organizational meeting September 22nd 3PM in 366 Briggs

Nutrition on insect populations and pest management in agricultural and natural settings. Key topics to include: 1. Plant nutrition 2. Insect nutrition 3. Ecological stoichiometry: N and P 4. Potassium and plant resistance to herbivory 5. Nutrient management in organic and conventional ag 6. Case study: Non-linear relationships between N and herbivore performance 7. Case study: potassium and mite population growth 8. Case study: plant nutrition and host plant choice by leafcutter ants 9. Case study: sulfur and plant defenses against herbivores 10. Meta-analysis: influence of fertilizer addition on pest densities At the organizational meeting we will choose a meeting time that accommodates as many people as possible. If you cannot attend the organizational meeting but wish to participate in the seminar, please email the times that you are available to meet to jarosenheim@ucdavis.edu. During the organizational meeting, students will also sign up to present a weekly topic. The instructors have selected a research article to be discussed in each of the 10 weeks, and each discussion will be led by students responsible for a brief presentation of: 1) article highlights, 2) perspectives of the findings, 3) ideas to how these findings could be studied further, and 4) other aspects identified by students. It is expected that students responsible for the presentation of an article bring 4-5 relevant and “discussion-generating” questions to the seminar.

ECL 290- CRN 49959, 1 unit, Promoting Public Education Through Scientific Videos, Eric Sanford, @ Bodega Marine Laboratory, First meeting Wednesday September 23rd 2-3 PM
Students in this seminar will each produce a short (3-5 minute) video to contribute to new public education displays at BML.  Focal topics for videos could include your dissertation research or an overview of research in your laboratory group.  During weekly meetings, we will discuss effective scientific communication and how to produce engaging and accessible videos for a general audience.  We will cover basic filmmaking and editing using iMovie software.  Students will present draft scripts and videos to the group for feedback during the development process.  No prior video experience required. 

ECL 290- CRN 73900, 1 unit, Writing Science for Ecologists, Andrea Schreier, Meyer 2154, Tuesdays 12-1pm

In Fall Quarter, I’ll be offering an ECL 290 focused on helping students improve their written communication skills so they can produce clear and interesting papers and proposals. Throughout the quarter we will be working our way through the book “Writing Science: How to write papers that get cited and proposals that get funded,” by Joshua Schimel, a microbial ecologist at UC Santa Barbara.  Schimel approaches academic writing as scientific story-telling and his book provides instruction on how to craft a paper that will hold an audience’s interest as well as clearly communicate data.  In this course, students will apply Schimel’s writing principles to either a short research summary produced for the course or another writing piece such as a proposal or paper that the students happen to be working on (e.g. GGE Fellowship). Students will be paired at the beginning of the course and asked to provide feedback on the writing piece of their partner, promoting deadline accountability as well as providing editing experience. In addition to the writing exercises, we will also analyze examples from the ecological peer reviewed literature for style, structure, and effectiveness at communicating ideas.  Each class period, a student will make a 25 minute presentation reviewing the main points of the book chapters read for that week and analyzing of a research paper of their choice. Following the presentation we will discuss the ideas presented and allow students to share and discuss particular challenges that they are facing in their writing projects.

ECL 290- CRN 49926, 2 units, Concepts in Spatial Ecology, Robert Hijmans, Tuesdays 3-5pm, PES 2004
This seminar course will focus on ideas and concepts at the forefront of the field of Spatial Ecology. Rather than being primarily quantitative in nature, the idea is to focus on the conceptual importance and challenges of investigating ecological phenomena across space, as well as different geographical tools available for us to do so. We will meet 1-2 times per week to chat about papers or book chapters, and each person will have the chance to present some aspect of the material we read. The field is broad and relevant to many of us, so the readings will be divided into several subtopics, including exploration of spatial hypotheses related to wildlife movement, behavioral interactions and population structure. We will cover ideas for both individual species as well as community dynamics. 

San Diego State University seminars:

Biology 600- The Ecology of Fear- Jeremy Long, Location TBD, Friday 2-4:40pm

Although the currency of classic ecology has been the documentation of distribution and abundance, the broad importance of fear across many systems indicates that ecologists also need to focus on evaluating how predators affect rates of critical processes (herbivory, mating, etc.), since these community regulating processes can change dramatically without a similar change in the distribution or abundance of key species. Recent research suggests that the nonlethal role of predators has not been lost on SDSU graduate students – that’s a good thing. Yet, one of our major challenges is trying to predict the role of fear on natural populations and communities. Our seminar addresses this challenge by trying to understand 1) the spatial scale at which fear is relevant and 2) temporal variation in fear and the consequences of this variation.

Students should expect to immerse themselves in the literature, write a synthetic paper, and present a talk.

Ecology and Evolution Seminar Series Spring 2015



Fall 2015

ECL 296 (CRN 49980)

Thursdays, 4:10-5:30PM; Everson 176

October 1 “Embracing historical contingency in community assembly”
Tadashi Fukami, Stanford University
Host: Micah Freedman mfreedman@ucdavis.edu

October 8 “Dynamics of Phenotypic and Genomic Evolution in a 60,000-Generation Experiment
with E. coli”
Storer Lecturer: Richard Lenski, Michigan State University
Host: Alan Hastings amhastings@ucdavis.edu

October 15 “Giants in the mist: the ecophysiology, land-sea interface, and climate change connections
for California’s Redwoods”
Todd Dawson, University of California, Berkeley
Host: James Farlin jpfarlin@ucdavis.edu

October 22 “Amphibians at the forefront of the Sixth Mass Extinction in the age of the Anthropocene”
Vance Vredenburg, San Francisco State University
Host: Sharon Lawler splawler@ucdavis.edu

October 29 “Mutualism ecology and evolution: moving beyond cheating”
Megan Frederickson, University of Toronto
Host: Marjorie Weber mgweber@ucdavis.edu

November 5 “Selfish genes and speciation in Drosophila”
Nitin Phadnis, University of Arizona
Host: Artyom Kopp akopp@ucdavis.edu

November 12 TBA
John Orrock, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Host: Rick Karban rkarban@ucdavis.edu

November 19 “Selection and gene flow fist fight in nature: studies with stickleback”
Andrew Hendry, McGill University
Host: Jaime Ashander jashander@ucdavis.edu

*Sponsored by: College of Biological Sciences, Department of Evolution and Ecology, Center for Population
Biology, Graduate Group in Ecology, Department of Environmental Science & Policy, Department of Plant
Sciences, Department of Wildlife, Fish & Conservation Biology, and Center for Theoretical Ecology


Other Departmental Seminars