2017 Early Career Awards

The CSEE Early Career Awards recognize outstanding accomplishments and promising future research potential in ecology and evolution by scientists early in their careers. We are delighted to announce that the recipients for the 2017 awards are Dr. Emily Darling, from the University of Toronto and the Wildlife Conservation Society, and Dr. Sean Anderson, from the University of Washington. We look forward to hearing their plenary talks at the CSEE meeting in Victoria.

Congratulations to both recipients, and hats off to all candidates for the very high calibre of their submissions.

Dr Emily Darlingedarling

Emily is a community ecologist and conservation biologist who is motivated to understand how human activities are altering coastal and marine ecosystems. Her research focuses on three interrelated themes: quantifying interactions between multiple stressors and the prevalence of ecological synergies, coral life histories and trajectories of community change on coral reefs, and managing marine ecosystems for resilience to climate change. Her work integrates multiple approaches, ranging from literature reviews, meta-analyses, and statistical analyses of long-term monitoring data, to quantitative field experiments and socio-economic surveys to understand the complex ecological dynamics of coastal systems.


sandersonDr Sean Anderson

Sean is a quantitative population biologist who links theory with data through statistical and simulation models to improve predictions about ecological systems and inform management and policy decisions. In particular, he is interested in how we can estimate population status with limited data and in the role of variance, risk, and extreme events in population dynamics. Because these problems are complex, a large part of his research involves method and software development and is often highly collaborative. His work spans across taxa (e.g. birds, moths, grizzly bears, sea cucumbers, salmon), ecosystems (marine, freshwater, terrestrial), methods (empirical, simulation, theoretical), spatial scale (regional, national, global), and time periods (modern, historical, paleontological).




Early Career Awards 2017 – call for applications

Deadline for receipt of all application materials: 13 January 2017

Award Description: The CSEE Early Career Awards recognize outstanding accomplishments and promising future research potential in ecology and evolution by scientists early in their career. Awards will be given to two candidates each year. They consist of a 10-year membership to CSEE/SCEE, $500 cash award, up to $1000 allowance for travel and accommodation to attend the CSEE meeting in Victoria, B.C., and an invitation to give a keynote lecture at the annual meeting.

Eligibility: Applicants must be active researchers in the field of ecology and evolutionary biology who received their doctorate within five years of the application deadline, not including time taken for parental leave (i.e., one year of parental leave extends the eligibility period to six years post-Ph.D.). Candidates need to be Canadian citizens, or landed immigrants, or have completed their PhD at a Canadian University, or be currently working at a Canadian University.

Application/Nomination Procedures: Candidates may apply directly or may be nominated.  Established researchers are encouraged to nominate outstanding young scientists.  Nominations must contain all of the following supporting materials in the stated order: (1) a curriculum vitae, (2) a summary of research accomplishments (maximum 2 pages), (3) a 2-page statement of research plans for the next 5 years, (4) three recent publications, (5) names and addresses of 3 referees (including the nominating scientist where applicable) who will provide supporting letters. The 3 letters of reference should be sent separately from the candidate’s nomination package. All nomination materials and reference letters must be sent as PDFs to the chair of the CSEE Awards committee, Mark Vellend (mark.vellend@usherbrooke.ca).

Time lines: The deadline for receipt of all materials including letters of reference is 13 January 2017. The recipients will be notified of the award in February and they will receive their award at the following annual meeting.

Download this information as a PDF document: csee-early-career-award-en-2017

2016 Early Career Awards

The CSEE Early Career Awards recognize outstanding accomplishments and promising future research potential in ecology and evolution by scientists early in their careers. There were many excellent nominees for the ECAs this year, and the selection committee had a hard time picking just two. The recipients for this year’s competition were Dr. Isla Myers-Smith, currently at the University of Edinburgh, and Dr. Njal Rollinson from the University of Toronto. The 2016 award consisted of a ten-year membership to CSEE, a $500 cash award, up to $1000 allowance for travel and accommodation to attend the CSEE meeting in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and an invitation to give a keynote lecture there. Dr. Rollinson presented an ECA talk entitled “Maternal effects and the evolution of body size.” Dr. Myers-Smith was unable to physically attend the meeting but she sent a video presentation entitled “The greening of the Arctic: climate as a driver of tundra vegetation change.”

Congratulations again to both recipients, and thanks to the adjudicators for their hard work (Mélanie Jean, Jeremy Kerr, Locke Rowe, Mark Vellend and Jeannette Whitton).

2015 Early Career Award winner

Dr. Sam Yeaman (University of Calgary) received the 2015 Early Career Award. This award recognizes exceptional accomplishments and promising future research potential in ecology/evolution by scientists early in their careers. As this year’s recipient of the CSEE Early Career Award, Sam Yeaman gave a talk in Saskatoon exploring how local adaptation evolves at the genetic and genomic level:

The genetic and genomic architecture of local adaptation

Species that inhabit heterogeneous environments often respond by genetic specialization to local conditions, with populations evolving phenotypes that confer high fitness in their home environment, but have trade-offs in other non-local environments. Some well-known examples of local adaptation have been found in patterns of colouration in mice inhabiting light vs. dark sands and armour plating in stickleback that colonize freshwater lakes. The research presented by Dr. Yeaman illustrates how population genetic theory can be used to build intuition and generate testable hypotheses about how local adaptation shapes patterns in the genome.

For more information, see Yeaman 2013, PNAS, 110:E1743-E1751.

2014 Early Career Award Winners

Jennifer Sunday photo

Jennifer Sunday, a Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the University of British Columbia, studies how marine and terrestrial organisms are responding to warming by shifting their distributions to cooler latitudes. First she considers a central and age-old question in ecology – What determines an animal’s global distribution in the first place? Dr. Sunday finds that temperature likely has a big role, but understanding the precise factors that limit species’ distributions is necessary in order to make useful predictions about when and where animals will shift their ranges.

By studying species’ tolerances to different temperatures and comparing them to their global distributions, Dr. Sunday has shown that marine animals have distributions more closely linked to their thermal physiology compared to terrestrial species. According to Sunday, reptiles, amphibians, and insects have the physiological capacity to live closer to the equator, but they are restricted by factors other than warm-season daytime temperatures.


Rowan Barrett photoRowan Barrett is an Assistant Professor in the Redpath Museum at McGill University. He studies the ways in which organisms respond to environmental changes through adaptive evolution. His research looks at ways in which ecological sources of selection and the complexity of the genetic basis of adaptation interact.

“Our research combines a variety of approaches and study systems to help understand this complexity. We generate and test hypotheses about the predictability of evolution through a combination of ecological field transplant experiments, molecular biology, genomics, and computational biology. Our main study systems are threespine stickleback fish (Gasterosteus aculeatus), deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus), and anolis lizards (A. sagrei and A. carolinensis), but we sometimes work with other organisms too (such as bacteria or Heliconius butterflies). We aim to quantify the contributions of genome-wide genetic variation to fitness, and to understand the ecological and evolutionary forces that have shaped these patterns of variation between individuals, populations, and closely related species.”


2012 Early Career Awards

Dominique Gravel, Université du Québec à Rimouski

Dr. Gravel is a community ecologist with a strong interest in modeling and theoretical ecology. His work combines theoretical models with experimental and field data in order to explore the complex interaction between species distributions, community structure, and ecosystem function. He has applied this approach to such disparate systems as temperate forests, bacterial communities and the rocky intertidal. He completed his PhD in 2007 and has published 17 peer-reviewed papers in journals that include the highest-impact ones in the field. 

Marc Johnson, University of Toronto – Mississauga

Dr. Johnson’s research bridges evolution, ecology and genetics to the evolutionary consequences of sexual reproduction in plants, the evolution of plant defences against herbivores and pathogens, and the ecological consequences of genetic variation. He completed his PhD in 2007, has published 26 peer-reviewed papers, and has also been recognized by the American Society of Naturalists with their Young Investigator’s Prize.