On December 5-6, 2018, the American Institute of Biological Science (AIBS) held discussions on the challenges facing scientists who work within an international platform. The conference, titled "Next Gen International Biology," had participants from multiple countries, and included people involved in various branches of science, publishing, museums, and political representatives. SSE funded a representative from our Public Policy Committee, Amanda Moehring, to attend. Continue reading to hear more about her experience.
We’re excited to announce plans for a new SSE blog to begin in February. This blog is intended to serve as both a resource and a platform for our diverse community of evolutionary biologists. Captaining this endeavor is our new Blog Editor Fellow, Dr. Sasha Mushegian. Sasha is a postdoctoral fellow at Georgetown University, where she’s working on a project on population genomics of invasive mosquitoes. She has previous experience doing editorial and communications work for nonprofit scientific societies in the Washington, DC area. She says: “I was drawn to the ecology and evolution field in part because it has a long tradition of great writing; my formative years reading Rachel Carson and Stephen Jay Gould started a lifelong interest in hearing what scientists had to say. I’m looking forward to hearing from all of you!” Welcome to the team, Sasha!
As 2018 draws to a close, we can reflect on all that SSE has accomplished this year. Here are a few highlights. Most notably, we co-sponsored the largest Evolution meeting on record—the Joint Congress on Evolutionary Biology in August in the beautiful city of Montpellier, France. With ASN and SSB, we continued to improve our support for parents attending our annual meetings, offering free childcare at Evolution 2019 and additional dependent-care funding for invited SSE symposium speakers. We introduced a new tier of Graduate Research Excellence Grants and contributed well over $100K to student research and travel support. We also launched a monthly series of New Faculty Profiles and grew our SSE twitter account (;@sse_evolution) to nearly 5000 followers. We continued to have a voice in public policy and to strive to make our community more international, diverse, and inclusive, including establishing the tri-society Safe Evolution program and a Code of Conduct for our meetings. Finally, we started new initiatives that are just underway, such as hiring an SSE Blog Editor Fellow and forming a new Code of Ethics committee (see below).
It has been an immense pleasure to serve alongside an incredibly engaged and hardworking SSE Council as well as our partner societies, ASN, SSB, and ESEB, to continue to build a strong, diverse, and active evolutionary biology community. I would like to thank those who have served, welcome our newly elected Council members, and hand the reins to Mark Rausher, our incoming President. Here’s to continued success in 2019!
Congratulations to our newly elected members of the SSE Council: Ruth Shaw (President-elect), Aneil Agrawal (North American Vice President), Suzanne Edmands (Councilor), and Stacey Smith (Councilor). These positions will officially start January 1, with these new leaders joining Council at our mid-year Council meeting in February.
We’d like to thank our outgoing leadership for their outstanding service to SSE: Sally Otto (Past President), Jenny Boughman (North American Vice President), Susan Alberts (Councilor), and Becky Fuller (Councilor). Thank you for all of your time, effort, and dedication to the Society!
SSE Council is pleased to announce the launch of a tri-society initiative between SSE, ASN, and SSB to draft a Code of Ethics. While behavior at the annual meeting falls under our Code of Conduct, the societies currently have no policy regarding conduct outside of our meetings. Establishing a Code of Ethics will allow the societies to set criteria for membership, leadership, and meeting attendance that are fair to all involved. Currently, committee members representing SSE (Amy Angert), SSB (Rayna Bell), ASN (Emilio Bruna), and grads/postdocs (Emlyn Resetariats) are tasked with researching existing societal Codes and producing a framework for ours. After this initial phase, each society will form its own internal committee to draft its Code of Ethics. Finally, the tri-society committee will reconvene to ensure compatibility of the individual Codes as they pertain to joint meetings. We welcome input from the community. Feedback and ideas can be sent to SSE Councilor Amy Angert at email@example.com.
Earlier this year, SSE Council voted to co-sponsor the European Meeting of Ph.D. Students in Evolutionary Biology (EMPSEB) through the SSE International Committee’s “Co-sponsorship of symposia organized by non-US based evolution societies” award. The goal of this award is to foster communication between scientists from different countries by stimulating scientific dialogue through co-sponsored symposia. Continue reading to hear from the conference organizers Carolina Osuna Mascaró and María Martín Peciña, PhD students at the University of Granada.
Earlier this year, SSE sponsored the third Evolution, Ecology, and Environment National Symposium, held October 1-5, 2018 in Tunja, Colombia through the SSE Evolution International Events Awards. This symposium was presented by the Evolutionary and Epistemological Biology Investigation group (BIEVEP, by its Spanish acronym) and the BIEVEP Foundation. Continue reading for a statement from José Luis Cómbita (Delegate Representative – BIEVEP Study Group and Director of the BIEVEP Foundation, Tunja-Colombia).
Congratulations to Frances Arnold, George Smith, and Greg Winter on receiving the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry! Half of the award goes to Dr. Arnold for her work on directed evolution of enzymes. The other half is awarded to Dr. Smith and Dr. Winter for their research on the phage display of peptides and antibodies. We are pleased to offer these three outstanding researchers, who use evolutionary principles to engineer proteins, lifetime membership in SSE. Read more about their award-winning work on the Nobel Prize site.
The Society for the Study of Evolution (SSE) is pleased to announce a call for applicants to the position of Blog Editor Fellow to begin January 1, 2019. The Blog Editor Fellow will create and curate a blog highlighting the effective and essential work SSE members are doing to engage and educate the public and to interface with other SSE members. The Blog Editor Fellow will solicit, manage, and publish at least three articles per month from regular contributors, and will write one editorial per month on a topic of their choosing. The fellowship stipend will be $6,000 USD per year. Applications close October 1, 2018. Continue reading for more information.
Please continue reading for a statement from the SSE Council regarding the investigation of one of our long-time members, Dr. Francisco Ayala, and the SSE Code of Conduct.
Registration is now open for the new Employment Acquisition Skills Boot Camp with the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) on December 17-18 in Washington, DC. This program provides graduate students to senior scientists with the information, tools, and resources required to successfully identify and secure employment in a diversity of career pathways. SSE members can receive the discounted rate by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with their intent to register.
We recently updated our policy on data privacy and transparency. Read the full policy here.
From 2010 to 2017, SSE offered one research award for early career students – the Rosemary Grant Award. SSE has since implemented a new awards program, the Graduate Research Excellence Grants, which include the Rosemary Grant Advanced Award for PhD candidates and the R. C. Lewontin Early Award for students in the first two years of their PhD. Continue reading to hear from past recipients of the original Rosemary Grant Award on how the award helped their graduate research work.
Thanks to additional donations received earlier this year, SSE and ASN were able to award financial aid to seven additional graduate students in Puerto Rico whose research was impacted by Hurricane Maria last year. Thank you to all who donated!
On February 8, the National Science Foundation (NSF) posted an important notice to presidents of universities and colleges and heads of other NSF grantee organizations stating that the NSF does not tolerate sexual harassment, or any kind of harassment, within the agency, at grantee organizations, field sites, or anywhere NSF-funded science and education are conducted. Read the full notice here.
Every year SSE celebrates Darwin’s birthday (February 12th) with the Darwin Day Roadshow, an SSE and BEACON program to bring hands-on science activities to K–12 students. This year we also engaged with other scientists and the public on social media to celebrate the diversity of researchers, questions, approaches and study organisms in our community—the breadth and depth of which Darwin never could have imagined. Thank you to everyone who joined the conversation on Twitter! Search the hashtag #IStudyEvolution to see the great variety of exciting research happening in this field.
Last month the SSE Council met in New Orleans to welcome the new leaders, share updates on committee activities, and discuss plans for 2018. For the first time the votes included graduate student members (from GSAC), Chair Jodie Wiggins and Past Chair Megan Kobiela. Plans discussed for 2018 included launching an online member database, establishing an SSE blog, and implementing a demographic survey of members to inform future diversity initiatives. Stay tuned for more news on these items in the next few months!
Does your research involve biological materials? The Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefits Sharing was adopted in 2010 as part of the international treaty known as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The aim of the Nagoya Protocol is to ensure that the benefits associated with genetic resources, and also with traditional knowledge of biodiversity, are shared fairly and equitably. If you export biological materials from one of the 100 countries party to the Nagoya Protocol, you will need a Genetic Resource Access Permit. Continue reading to learn how you may be affected.
Please contribute to our fundraising drive to offer financial support for graduate students in evolutionary biology who were affected by the devastating hurricanes in Puerto Rico this past summer: https://subfill.uchicago.edu/JournalPubs/Donation.aspx?webpub=ANX. We are coordinating funding with ASN. So far, more than 50 students have applied for grants to help replace lost lab equipment, cover travel to host labs, or help meet basic living expenses. Thank you to those members who have already donated! The first rounds of grants have now been issued, and I know that the funds will make a huge difference to these students.
The election results are in! We welcome Mark Rausher as the new president-elect, Tracey Chapman as the new Non-North American VP, John Stinchcombe as the new Secretary, and Amy Angert and Andrea Sweigart as the new Councilors (class of 2020). Congratulations to our newly elected officers, and thank you for being willing to contribute your time and energy to serving the Society! The amendment to include two members of the Graduate Student Advisory Council (GSAC) as voting members on the SSE Council also passed -- congratulations and thank you to GSAC members for their commitment to the society!
We are creating a database of researchers who would be willing to be contacted by the media to comment on others’ research in their area of expertise. With increasing specialization of research, it can be difficult for science communicators to find appropriate sources to comment on new research. By joining this database, you can be a resource for science communicators and contribute to accurate science reporting. To sign up, fill out this survey.
If you are a science communicator and would like access to the database, please contact Kati Moore at email@example.com.
SSE has started a new initiative to help student and postdoc researchers in Puerto Rico whose research was affected by Hurricane Maria. In addition to providing funding for students, we are looking to connect students with host labs. If you would like to host a student researcher in your lab, please fill out the form here. If you know of an affected student in need of funding and/or a host lab, please send them the application form here.
The election of 2018 candidates for SSE offices (President, Secretary, Non-NA Vice President, and Council members) is now open. Elected candidates will serve beginning January 1. The SSE council is also proposing an amendment to Article 4 of the Society Constitution and Bylaws to 1) add two GSAC representatives to the Council as voting members with three-year terms and 2) conduct Council business via email. Voting will close on November 21.