Looking ahead to the ASM 2012 Graduate Student Symposium

Network News Fall 2011, Vol. 24 No. 1

In fall 2011 the graduate student co-chairs, Sally Koerner and Kim La Pierre, plan to submit a proposal for a graduate student symposium to take place the day before the 7th All Scientists Meeting (ASM) in September 2012.  Past graduate student symposiums have led to productive interactions between graduate students through career panel discussions, graduate student presentations on cross site work, and student-led and -organized working groups.  The working groups in particular provide the opportunity to network with other graduate students who are interested in similar topics but may be affiliated with different LTER sites.  A number of past working groups have produced manuscripts and resulted in important publications.  Sally and Kim hope to continue the success of past symposiums at the upcoming meeting.

The theme of the 2012 Graduate Student Symposium will be “Integrating social sciences into ecological research within the LTER network.”  The field of ecology is currently moving toward the understanding that humans and the environment are closely intertwined, and our ability to deal with complex environmental problems depends on the study and integration of both the social and ecological components of these problems. This understanding is reflected in current thinking by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and within the LTER Decadal Plan. We will address this theme of integrating social sciences into ecological research within the LTER network in four ways:

  1. A plenary talk by a distinguished LTER scientist who has incorporated a social element into his or her long term research;
  2. A panel of ecologists and sociologists involved in socio-ecological collaborations within the LTER;
  3. Presentations by graduate students who have successfully incorporated social aspects into their own research within LTER;
  4. A graduate student-led working group focused on incorporating social aspects into ecological research.

Not withstanding the theme of the day (i.e., integrating social science into ecological research), proposals for student-led working groups will be entertained from any area.  The chairs will encourage at least one working group on incorporating social ecology into graduate student research within the LTER network but would like working groups to cover a wide range of topics, from climate change in grasslands to herbivory in marine systems. 

Students interested in organizing or co-organizing a working group are encouraged to contact Sally or Kim with the names of the organizers as well as a very brief description of their topic.  This information will be useful in writing the proposal to fund the graduate student symposium.  In addition, we encourage anyone within LTER who has suggestions for panel participants or knowledge of graduate students who have successfully incorporated a social aspect into their research to contact Sally or Kim with the recommendations. Contact information: skoerne@unm.edu and kimberly.lapierre@yale.edu

Graduate students watch out for emails from the co-chairs with a call for proposals for the working groups.

Sally Koerner (KNZ), Kim LaPierre (KNZ) are Graduate Student Co-Chairs.