2022 Ecology Graduate Student Symposium is Feb. 11-12

Beth Gavrilles, bethgav@uga.edu

Contact: Megan Tomamichel, Megan.Tomamichel@uga.edu; Andrew Nagy, Andrew.Nagy@uga.edu

Black and white illustration of a tree with fungus and hand-drawn text: 2022 Odum School of Ecology Graduate Student Symposium. Artist: Isabel Wargowsky.

The twenty-eighth annual Odum School of Ecology Graduate Student Symposium has been tentatively rescheduled for Feb. 11-12 in the Ecology building auditorium and online. GSS 2022 is free and open to all. To attend via Zoom, please register here. For those who attend in person, masks are strongly encouraged while inside UGA facilities.

This year’s symposium, which features oral presentations and posters, will conclude with a keynote address by alumnus Marcelo Ardón Sayao. An associate professor in the North Carolina State University College of Natural Resources, Ardón received his doctorate in ecology from UGA in 2006, working under the mentorship of professor Catherine Pringle. His dissertation, “Effects of leaf litter quality on decomposition dynamics in lowland Neotropical streams,” focused on the effects of leaf carbon-quality and nutrient content on leaf breakdown in streams at La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica.

GSS, organized and run by ecology graduate students, is a showcase for original research by ecology students at all levels. GSS 2022 includes 26 talks by graduate students in ecology, conservation ecology and sustainable development, integrative conservation, and the IDEAS doctoral program, and 13 posters by undergraduates.

The symposium begins at 10 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 11, with a welcome from Interim Dean Sonia Altizer. Research talks from 10:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. will be followed by an undergraduate poster session from 4 to 5 p.m.

Talks continue on Saturday, Feb. 12, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The keynote address, “Biogeochemical signals in tropical streams and temperate coastal wetlands,” by Marcelo Ardón takes place at 2:15 p.m.

Ardón and his students study how wetland and stream ecosystems respond to environmental changes accelerated by human activity, and whether management tools can restore their ecological functioning. His research projects include studying the resilience of forested wetlands in coastal North Carolina, long-term patterns in stream biogeochemistry in Costa Rica, and the impacts of saltwater intrusion on nutrient cycling in wetlands.

He has published more than 40 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters, and is the recipient of the Mercer Award from the Ecological Society of America for the best paper by an ecologist under 40, a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation, and the NC State University Graduate School’s Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award.

Download the complete schedule of talks and posters.

This year, GSS again coincides with the annual John K. Spencer Memorial 5K Run & Walk, which will take place on Saturday, Feb. 12 at 8:00 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. Participation is free, but donations will be accepted for the River Basin Center’s John K. Spencer research grants. You can donate online using this link; please include “JKS Small Grants” in the “Special Instructions/Comments” field.

This story was updated on Jan. 10, 2022, to reflect the new GSS dates, and Feb. 7, 2022 to include the registration link.