2023 Ecology Graduate Student Symposium is Jan. 27-28

Allyson Mann

Contact: tiny@uga.edu

Artwork by Julie Blaze

The 29th annual Odum School of Ecology Graduate Student Symposium will be held Jan. 27-28 in the Ecology building auditorium and online. GSS 2023 is free and open to all.

This year’s symposium, which features oral presentations and posters, will conclude with a keynote address on Saturday by alumnus Jacob Allgeier, assistant professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan. Allgeier earned a doctorate in ecology at UGA in 2013, under the mentorship of Odum School Professor Amy Rosemond.

“Jake sought out new challenges, building on his dissertation research with both large-scale field experiments and quantitative analyses—work that brought him recognition for the rigorous combination of perspectives that he brings to sustainable fisheries,” she said. “His passionate engagement with fishing communities in the Caribbean has given his work relevance and importance. It’s exciting to see him conducting work that is critical for the future of both coastal ecosystems and people’s livelihoods.”

Allgeier studies how human-induced changes alter ecosystem processes and the services they provide. His work is rooted in basic ecological theory, but motivated by increasing need for food security, particularly in coastal societies. Much of his research takes place in tropical coastal ecosystems (mangroves, seagrass beds and coral reefs), where he studies gradients created by anthropogenic impacts to test theory directly within the context of environmental change and biodiversity loss. Allgeier received a David and Lucile Packard Fellowship for Science & Engineering in 2019 and was named an Early Career Fellow of the Ecological Society of America in 2020.

Organized and run by ecology graduate students, GSS is a showcase for original research by ecology students at all levels. GSS 2023 includes 23 talks by graduate students in ecology, conservation ecology and sustainable development, integrative conservation, and the IDEAS doctoral program, as well as 21 posters by undergraduates.

“GSS is one of the School of Ecology’s longest-standing traditions, and it’s always amazing to witness the breadth and depth of graduate student research that is showcased every year,” said Sonia Altizer, interim dean and Georgia Athletic Association Professor of Ecology.

The symposium begins at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 27, with a welcome from Altizer. Research talks from 10:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. will be followed by an undergraduate poster session from 4 to 5:30 p.m. and an evening reception in the Ecology Building lobby and courtyard.

Talks continue on Saturday, Jan. 28, from 10:15 a.m. to 2 p.m. Algeier’s keynote address, “Farming the coastal oceans with fish pee: Applying ecological theory to help sustain ecosystem services in tropical coastal ecosystems,” takes place at 2:15 p.m.

This year, GSS again coincides with the annual John K. Spencer Memorial 5K Run & Walk, which will take place on Saturday, Jan. 28, at 8 a.m. at the Horseshoe Bend Ecological Research site on College Station Road (note: only accessible when traveling west on College Station).

This event honors the memory of the late John Spencer, a graduate student in the Odum School of Ecology and River Basin Center at UGA. An extraordinary individual loved for his humor, generosity, enthusiasm and kindness, John studied urban streams and was passionate about freshwater ecology, conservation and ecological restoration. Participants are encouraged to consider making a donation to the UGA River Basin Center’s John Spencer Research Grant, a program that supports graduate student research with small grants up to $2,000.