16th Annual Early Career Scientists Symposium – Early Career Scientists Symposium

16th Annual Early Career Scientists Symposium

16th Annual Early Career Scientists Symposium

A virtual symposium held on five consecutive Fridays from March 5 – April 2, 2021

2021 Speakers

2021 Abstracts


The Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan is pleased to present Natural History Collections: Drivers of Innovation, an exciting virtual symposium about innovative and unconventional uses of biological collections across scientific disciplines. The symposium will take place on five consecutive Fridays from March 5 – April 2, 2021. The SCHEDULE is online. While the symposium presents the work of rising early career scientists, it is open to all (i.e., you don’t have to be in your early career to attend).

When biologists think of natural history collections, most tend to think of taxonomy and systematics, yet many are unaware of the uses of biological collections beyond those traditional fields. These studies span the breadth of the tree of life and address broad subjects that span comparative genomics to bioengineering and climate change to historical pathogen dynamics, among many, many more. As stewards of one of the largest university-based biological collections in the world, we are in an extraordinary position to leverage our holdings of biological material from the last century or more. We envision this symposium as a way to showcase the often-unrealized opportunities and non-traditional avenues of research that our collections make possible to the entire scientific community, and emphasize some of the interdisciplinary ways in which our collections are being or could be used. We hope to foster a broader understanding and expanded use of an incomparable resource that the University of Michigan has cultivated for the past two hundred years.

The symposium will feature both established and novel uses of natural history collections across a wide range of taxonomic groups, systems, and time. Our goal is to create a program with contributions from all corners of ecology and evolutionary biology. The program will include two keynote talks by senior speakers and additional talks by early-career speakers.

March 5 | Keynote: Rob Guralnick | Sizing up new uses of natural history collections for ecogeography and global change biology

March 12 | Jocelyn Colella | Connecting next-generation museum collections to public health
Kelly Speer | Determining drivers of symbiont evolution in a multi-tier hierarchical system

March 19 | Alexis Mychajliw | Conflicts in context: natural history collections as archives of human-carnivore interactions through time
Daniel Park | Herbarium collections reveal wide variation in plant phenological responses to climate
Alex White | Biogeography of fern shapes as revealed by deep learning

March 26 | Eric LoPresti | Plants and the materials that stick to them: an ecological and evolutionary investigation
Laurel Yohe | Morphological and developmental basis of olfactory evolution: evidence from museum-collected iodine-stained bat specimens and embryos

April 2 | Keynote: Pamela Soltis | Integrative research using natural history collections: examples from herbaria


ECSS 2021 Committee

Dan Rabosky, chair
Benjamin Nicholas
Teresa Pegan
Brad Ruhfel
Cody Thompson
Taylor West

Administrative support

Event coordination: Linda Garcia
Event promotion: Gail Kuhnlein
Graphic design/art: John Megahan

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