Pathway to Increase Standards and Competency of eDNA Surveys (PISCeS) International Conference

PISCeS International Conference: Thursday, May 28 – Friday, May 29, 2020
Training Workshops: Wednesday May 27 & Saturday May 30, 2020

This spring, Pathway to Increase Standards and Competency of eDNA Surveys (PISCeS) International Conference will take place at the University of Guelph, Canada.
Registration and abstract submission now open!
PISCeS 2020 International Conference is envisioned as a conference where academia, regulators, and industry will join in a discussion on Pathways to Increase Standards and competency of Environmental DNA Surveys. The intent of the conference is to explore and inform public policy, industry strategies and future research on eDNA.

eDNA Analytical Methods: Wednesday, May 27th, 2020
The eDNA Analytical Methods workshop will focus on targeted (morning) and passive metabarcoding (afternoon) approaches to detect eDNA.

eDNA Sampling: Saturday, May 30th, 2020
The eDNA Sampling workshop will explore a variety of sample collection methodologies for both professionals (e.g. using dedicated equipment) and citizen science collaborators (e.g. using inexpensive DIY kits).

• Early Bird Registration Fee – February 14th, 2020
• Regular Registration Fee – April 30th, 2020
• Late Registration Fee – During May

For conference details and key dates visit our website:



Do you want to advance the profile of ecology, evolution, and conservation in Canada? Do you want to get things done on behalf of the broader community? Do have ideas, energy and a little bit of time?  Then run for CSEE Council!

We are now seeking nominations for the positions of: Vice President (President-Elect), Regular Councillor (2 positions) and Graduate Student/Post-doctoral Councillor.  You can read about what the jobs entail in our Standing Rules, which you can find here:

To nominate yourself, email a short bio (7-10 lines) about you, what you will bring to the CSEE, and what you hope to accomplish, and a headshot to the CSEE Vice-President (Steve Heard, You can nominate someone else (if they agree).

Nominations are accepted until March 20, 2020.  Elections will take place in April.


Early Career Award 2020

Deadline for receipt of all application materials: 14 February 2020

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 Edmonton, AB, in May 2020, 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, Carissa Brown (

Time lines:  The deadline for receipt of all materials including letters of reference is 14 February 2020.  The recipients will be notified of the award in March and they will receive their award at the following annual meeting.


President’s Award for Excellence in Societal Engagement

Nominate someone for our newest award: the President’s Award for Excellence in Societal Engagement. This new award recognizes outstanding contributions to public and/or policy engagement related to ecology or evolutionary biology in Canada.

To nominate yourself or someone else, please justify the nomination in a letter not exceeding 1000 words, supported by one additional CSEE member in good standing. Nominations should submitted to the CSEE Secretary ( by 31 January 2020.

The winner gets a plaque, a monetary award, and a paid trip to the next CSEE conference to deliver a plenary.


CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: CSEE Excellence in Doctoral Research Award 2020


The Canadian Society for Ecology & Evolution (CSEE) invites Ph.D. candidates who are at an advanced stage of their dissertation (typically the final two years) to apply for the Excellence in Doctoral Research Award. Award winners will receive $500 cash, and will have an opportunity to present their doctoral research in our Graduate Student Award Symposium at the annual CSEE meeting, which will take place from May 28th-31st 2020 in beautiful Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Winners will also receive up to a $1500 travel stipend to cover travel expenses for themselves and partners/dependants to attend the meeting.


The deadline to apply is March 2nd, 2020. Results will be announced at least two weeks before the closing of the ‘early bird’ registration period.

Scope and Criteria

This award aims to showcase excellent student research from within the society. Successful applicants will have conducted high-quality research that addresses fundamental questions or is of an applied nature in the fields of ecology and/or evolution. In addition to demonstrated scholarship and merit, the selection committee aims to promote diversity in science (see the CSEE Diversity & Inclusivity Statement here), and to balance field of study and institutional representation. All eligible PhD students are encouraged to apply (see Eligibility).


Applicants must have been (i) registered in a Ph.D. program within the year of application (2020) and (ii) a member of CSEE at the time of application. There is no citizenship or residence requirement. Applicants should have advanced to candidacy but should not have completed their degree requirements as of December 31st, 2019 (these individuals are encouraged to apply for the CSEE Early Career Award). Successful applicants are expected to attend the CSEE meeting in Edmonton in May and to present their work as part of the CSEE Graduate Student Awards Symposium (exceptions will be considered on an individual basis). Applicants from last year who were not selected for the award but still meet the eligibility criteria are encouraged to re-apply.


Applications must include the following sections:

  • Thesis Summary (300 words maximum): A summary of your thesis (i.e., thesis abstract). You may use subheadings for different thesis chapters if desired. The applicant should make it clear how their research advances the state of knowledge in their field.
  • Other Relevant Activities (250 words maximum): In this section describe any professional and extracurricular activities that demonstrate your communication and leadership skills.
  • Select Awards and Contributions (1 page maximum): Using three headings, highlight (i) awards that you have received, (ii) talks or posters that you have given and (iii) papers you have published. Do not include papers that are in preparation, submitted, or being revised for a journal (including preprints)—only include manuscripts that are published or have been given final acceptance and are ‘in press’. If in press, provide the manuscript number. The applicant must remove their name from all publications and replace it with “Applicant”, in bold.
  • Letter of support (1 page maximum) from your PhD advisor or a committee member. Letters should speak to the criteria listed above and should clearly state that the applicant is close to completion of their thesis. Letters must not contain the name of the applicant but rather non-identifying terms such as “The Applicant”, or similar. For example, “The applicant has been a member of my lab…”.

Sections 1 through 3 should be submitted as a single pdf file with the filename “<lastname_firstinitial>_CSEE_PhDaward.pdf” to (e.g., Smith_J_CSEE_PhDaward.pdf). The letter of support should be submitted directly from the referee to the same email address and should have the same format as the application with “_Letter” added to the end (e.g., Smith_J_CSEE_PhDAward_Letter.pdf). All materials are due by the deadline indicated above. We will respond to each email to confirm receipt within one week.

The name (first or last) of the applicant must not appear anywhere within the application other than the file names. This anonymization is meant to reduce bias during the evaluation process. Failure to properly anonymize applications could result in disqualification.

Other Important Information

Successful applicants will give a 30-minute talk (23 minute talk and 7-minute question period and transition) in the Graduate Student Award Symposium and will not be able to give a separate talk during the conference. Awardees can present a poster if space is available. Successful applicants must respond to accept the award and confirm their registration within one week of notification. Successful applicants will be ineligible for Student/Post-doc travel awards as they are already given a stipend.


Montreal Eco-Evo Symposium

Dear all,

We are happy to announce the upcoming Montreal Eco-Evo Symposium, 2019, on Dec 2nd. The formula is the same as last year’s edition where PIs and students are encouraged to present their research project or topic.

The symposium will take place all day in the Thomson House, with lunch, coffee breaks, and drinks/nachos afterward.

Registration for presentation is now opened! See guidelines in the attached file. You have until Nov 1st to register and we will get back to you soon after for confirmation.

Visit our webpage for further details at


MEES 2019

Organizer Committee


President’s Report – Spring 2019

CSEE might have seemed to be hibernating since the last newsletter.  It was winter after all!  But the Council has been slowly chipping away at important projects to make the Society better at serving its members.

What’s new with NSERC?

In December, the Council has its annual meeting with NSERC representatives. The outlook is bright, with a promised 25% increase in NSERC funding between now and 2023. Last April, $70 million were injected into Discovery Grants, over 5 years.  Many of you saw your awards increased in the 2018 round and some of the new funding was earmarked for the first year of the Discovery Grant of Early Career Researchers. In the past few months, NSERC has engaged the research community as part of a quinquennial evaluation of its Discovery research program.  When NSERC comes knocking on your email door, please answer!  This is the most direct way to tell them what you think.  The beginning of 2019 saw another call for the Discovery Frontiers program, this one aimed at anti-microbial resistance in the environment.  This was the second call in a row with a focus relevant to CSEE members for this program.  Early career researchers were also the target of a new funding opportunity in the shape of the New Frontiers in Research program – to conduct high-risk, high-reward and interdisciplinary research.

In our meeting, we asked NSERC LOTS of questions, and they were forthcoming with answers to most of them.  Some stats on DG success rates: 69% and 47% of early career women and men, respectively, were successful in the 2018 DG competition, compared to 86% and 84% of established women and men researchers.  Established researchers not holding a grant continue to struggle to achieve success (26% success for men; data withheld for women because of sample size). The average grant of ECRs was $31k, while that of established researchers was $45k.  The success rates of applicants in the Ecology and Evolution evaluation group were in line with those of other evaluation groups.  There continues to be a distinct disadvantage for small universities, which achieved a DG success rate of 48% compared to medium (60%) and large (71%) universities.  Average grant sizes at small universities were also smaller ($31k vs $39k for large universities).

NSERC has a number of programs to support researchers who become new parents, and these apply not only to faculty but to graduate students and PDFs too.  If you’re expecting a happy event soon, look into the programs for primary caregivers, family and medical leave, and the paid maternity/parental leave for students and PDFs. The latter offers up to 6 months of paid leave to students and PDFs supported by NSERC grants. Relatively few researchers avail themselves of these programs. We don’t know if that’s a reflection of the low number of people who need them or lack of awareness.

We got interesting stats about the major NSERC awards. Over the last four years, 67% of Steacie award winners, 75% of Herzberg medal winners, and 75% of Polanyi award winners have been men. However, for these three awards, 76%, 89% and 88% of nominated researchers were also men.  The solution seems clear: we all need to nominate more women for awards.

In relation to gender and other equity issues, we pressed NSERC on the metrics of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI), which is now a consideration in the evaluation of Discovery and other grants.  This is clearly something that is important to NSERC. They are putting a lot of time and effort in developing training (e.g., about bias in peer review for peer reviewers) and tools to address the issue, but the criteria for researchers remain vague.  The best we can do right now is point you to their EDI guide for applicants (

We had lots of other questions. What’s the relative productivity of Banting and Vanier fellowship holders vs standard PDF/PhD award holders? (No data.) Can PhD awards be increased to 4 years to better reflect how long PhDs take? (No, probably not.) Are there plans to increase the number of times a person can apply for NSERC PDF? (No) Are there plans to increase the value of PDF and other awards to account for inflation? (Mmmm, maybe.)  How much of a researcher’s DG is taken up by open access fees? (No data yet.) Can you do something about the CCV? (Sigh…)

Overall, it was a productive meeting.  We truly appreciated the openness of the NSERC reps we met.

Made-in-Canada Athena Swan, aka ‘Dimensions’

Several CSEE members participate in NSERC consultations that have just wrapped up on a Canadian version of the Athena SWAN charter, which recognises good practices in UK higher education and research institutions towards the advancement of gender equality.  The Canadian charter has now been released ( and it aims to address systemic barriers to the inclusion of not just women, but also Indigenous peoples, people with disability, visible minorities, and LGBTQ2+ persons.  The national program – known as Dimensions –  applies to all members of the research community in post-secondary institutions. While the UK version was initially limited only to STEM and broadened later, the Canadian version includes all fields of study.  Adhesion to the Charter is voluntary for institutions, which stand to gain bronze, silver or gold certification using a set of clear, standardized, self-assessment criteria. Fifteen small institutions received EDI capacity-building grants, but beyond that, unfortunately, there will be no new money for chair programs for women or for ECR women, and no consequences in terms of tricouncil funding for institutions that do not adhere to the Charter or fail to improve over time.  A Letter of Intent call to join the first cohort of institutions seeking a Dimensions award will open on 3 June 2019.


I am glad to report that CSEE has signed a memorandum of agreement with the Canadian Institute for Ecology and Evolution, committing us to a funding contribution to our partner (or is it offspring?) organisation for the next 5 years.  This agreement formalises the financial relationship that we have had with CIEE since its inception, and will help to provide CIEE with some certainty of funding as it continues to grow.

New award for science engagement and policy

I am also delighted to announce the creation of a new CSEE award for science engagement and policy.  The award was suggested by CSEE member Aerin Jacobs, and CSEE Council loved the idea!  The award will recognise engagement with the public or decision-makers about science, activities that reflect two of the four objectives of the CSEE (“to raise public awareness about the importance of ecology and evolution to Canadian society” and “to facilitate communication between members of the Society and decision-makers in the public, private, and non-governmental sectors”).  We are working out the details but we envisage the award being given at our annual conference every other year, alternating with the President’s Award.  So watch this space, and put your thinking caps on to identify and nominate a worthy recipient of our newest award in 2020.

Looking forward to seeing you in Fredericton!

Isabelle Côté