UGA Ecology Graduate Student Symposium is Jan. 31-Feb. 1

by Beth Gavrilles,
Contact: Kaylee Arnold,; David Vasquez Jr.,

Rebeca De Jesús Crespo

Athens, Ga. – The twenty-sixth annual Ecology Graduate Student Symposium, showcasing the latest research from University of Georgia ecology students at all levels, will take place Jan. 31-Feb. 1 in the Odum School of Ecology auditorium. It is free and open to all.

Organized and run by Odum graduate students, GSS 2020 reflects the depth and breadth of ecological research at UGA, with oral presentations by graduate students in ecology, conservation ecology and sustainable development, integrative conservation and the IDEAS doctoral program, as well as undergraduate research posters.

The symposium will conclude with a keynote address, “Zooming out and in: Applying geospatial technology and stakeholder engagement to study eco-health linkages in coastal communities,” by alumna Rebeca de Jesús Crespo.

The symposium opens with an informal breakfast from 9-10 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 31, with oral presentations from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 2 to 5:20 p.m., followed by the undergraduate poster session from 5:20 to 7:15 p.m.

On Saturday, Feb. 1, the symposium continues following the annual John Spencer 5K Run/Walk, which starts at 9 a.m. in the S-14 parking lot adjacent to the Carlton Street Parking Deck on the UGA campus at 125 Smith St., Athens. The suggested $10 donation to participate will go to fund the John Spencer Research Grants at the UGA River Basin Center.

Saturday’s oral sessions are scheduled from 1 to 4:15 p.m., and the keynote address by Rebeca de Jesús Crespo takes place at 4:30 p.m.

De Jesús Crespo, who received her doctorate in integrative conservation and ecology in 2015, is an assistant professor of environmental science at Louisiana State University. She is the recipient of the Environmental Justice Award from the U.S. EPA Office for Research and Development in 2018 and was named Scientist of the Year by the U.S. EPA Office for Research and Development, National Health and Environmental Research Laboratory, Gulf Ecology Division in 2017. As a student at UGA she received a Fulbright scholarship and dissertation completion fellowships from the Ford Foundation and the American Association for University.

“A common theme through my career has been the use of geo-spatial technologies to describe trends at the landscape level (zooming out) and engaging with stakeholders (zooming in) to help define research priorities and the practical implications of research findings,” she said. “I have applied these approaches for the study of watershed management to improve stream integrity, and more recently, to study the linkages between ecosystem services with human health and well-being.”

Her talk will describe projects developed for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Sustainable and Healthy communities program to better understand eco-health linkages in coastal communities in Puerto Rico.

More information, including the complete schedule of talks and posters, is available online at