Elton Prize Early Career Researcher Shortlist Announced

The Elton Prize is awarded each year for the best paper in the Journal of Animal Ecology written by an early career author at the start of their research career.

The overall winner is selected by the Senior Editors of the journal, and will be announced in the coming weeks. Watch this space! This year’s shortlisted candidates are announced below.

The shortlisted candidates are:

Santiago Agustín Parra, Interaction fidelity is less common than expected in plant-pollinator communities

Dylan Jones, Latitudinal gradient in species diversity provides high niche opportunities for a range-expanding phytophagous insect – Why not check out Dylan’s blog post?

Paulina Arancibia, Network topology and patch connectivity affect dynamics in experimental and model metapopulations – Why not check out Paulina’s blog post about her research.

Ana Payo-Payo, Modelling the responses of partially-migratory metapopulations to changing seasonal migration rates: from theory to data. 

Robert Semmler, Reef fishes weaken dietary preferences after coral mortality, altering resource overlap

Vinícius Caldart, Function of a multimodal signal: a multiple hypothesis test using a robot frog

Pablo Antiqueira Warming and top predator loss drive direct and indirect effects on multiple trophic groups within and across ecosystems

Mélanie Thierry Multiple parasitoid species enhance top-down control, but parasitoid performance is context dependent – why not check out Mélanie’s blog post about her research.

Congratulations to all of our shortlisted candidates! We have received a high volume of excellent applications – those selected above should be extremely proud of their work! Thank you to all authors who submitted an application for the award.

Elton Prize 2021: winner announced

We are delighted to announce Kate P. Maia as the 2021 winner of our Elton Prize early career researcher award for the article Interaction generalisation and demographic feedbacks drive the resilience of plant–insect networks to extinctions.
In this post, Kate shares her #StoryBehindThePaper.

The research

Ecological communities can be depicted as networks in which species are connected by interactions. These ecological networks have far-from-random structures, which may not only hide information about the natural history of the system represented but can also affect how resistant ecological communities are to different types of perturbations.

Using computer simulations to investigate how resistant plant-pollinator and plant-herbivore networks are to the loss of species, we sought to understand which properties of these systems affect their resistance.

We found that, because plant-pollinator interactions benefit both plants and insects – as opposed to herbivory, which only benefits insects – pollination networks undergo long and frequent co-extinction cascades and are less resistant than herbivory networks.

On the other hand, pollination networks benefit from containing species that have many interactions, as well as from their structure. This gives them interaction flexibility, allowing pollinators to rewire their interactions to new plants and hence escape co-extinction. Whereas the structure of herbivory networks limits the interaction flexibility of insect herbivores.

We have thus shown how, for two types of high-biodiversity plant-insect assemblages, their natural history and network structures contribute to their resilience to extinctions.

Kate’s experience

I very much enjoyed the coding challenge – since this was my first experience with this level of modelling – and designing the different scenarios for each of the questions.

One surprising discovery in this research was finding that rewiring can have a negative (even if small) effect on the robustness of antagonistic networks with theoretical structures. Because we didn’t find the same negative effect for herbivory networks, this suggests that the empiric structure of antagonistic systems could act as a buffer against co-extinction cascades. 

Read the winning paper and all of those shortlisted for the 2021 award (free for a limited time) in this Virtual Issue.

This work marked a milestone in Kate’s PhD thesis, which was awarded in January 2019 by the University of Bristol, UK. At the time of the manuscript’s submission, Kate was a second-year postdoc at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil and, even if working on different systems and approaches, has broadly continued with this research. She is currently looking for different structural patterns across networks of several interaction types and exploring how they influence the spread of effects across species.

Shortlist Announced for Elton Prize Early Career Researcher Award

Each year Journal of Animal Ecology awards the Elton Prize to the best Research Article in the journal by an early career researcher. Today we present the shortlisted papers for this year’s award, based on the 2021 (90th) volume of the journal.
The winner will be selected in the coming weeks so follow the blog and watch this space for future announcements!
This year’s shortlisted candidates are:

Cristina Botías, Multiple stressors interact to impair the performance of bumblebee Bombus terrestris colonies

Ellen Brandell, Group density, disease, and season shape territory size and overlap of social carnivores

Joseph Burant, Early warning indicators of population collapse in a seasonal environment

Félicie Dhellemmes, Personality-driven life history trade-offs differ in two subpopulations of free-ranging predators

Phoebe Edwards, A mechanism for population self-regulation: Social density suppresses GnRH expression and reduces reproductivity in voles

Emily Le Sage, Preparatory immunity: Seasonality of mucosal skin defences and Batrachochytrium infections in Southern leopard frogs

Tamika Lunn, Spatial dynamics of pathogen transmission in communally roosting species: Impacts of changing habitats on bat-virus dynamics

Kate Pereira Maia, Interaction generalisation and demographic feedbacks drive the resilience of plant–insect networks to extinctions

Allison M. Roth, Sexual selection and personality: Individual and group-level effects on mating behaviour in red junglefowl

Sidnie Manton Award for early career ecologists – Submit your proposals now!

87_i3_CoverWe are excited to announce that the Sidnie Manton Award is open for proposals.  With this award, we aim to inspire early career researchers working on any aspect of animal ecology to publish review or synthesis papers that might either summarize their dissertation work, provide new insights into classic areas of animal ecology, or shed light on emerging fields.

The British Ecological Society and Journal of Animal Ecology have championed the research of early career ecologists for a very long time and though the Sidnie Manton Award we aim to continue this tradition. This is the second time the journal has run the competition and presented the Sidnie Manton Award, more about Sidnie Manton and the 2018 winner, Ben Weinstein, is available in this Editorial.

To enter, please submit an abstract of your proposed Review or a Synthesis paper here. DEADLINE EXTENDED TO by Sunday 7 October 2018.

Proposed papers should fit the Aims and Scope of the Journal and be a timely and novel contribution to the study of animal ecology.

Applicants should have commenced their PhD no more than 7 years prior to the deadline, although reasonable exceptions will be considered (e.g. career breaks, part-time study or substantial shift in research area).

The award will be presented to the early career researcher who proposed the article and who should take responsibility for leading and writing the paper.

The Senior Editors will evaluate the proposals and invite authors of papers showing exceptional promise to submit their paper by January 2019. All papers that successfully pass the review process will be published.

The winning paper will feature prominently in the Journal and the recipient of the award will receive £250, a 12-month membership of the British Ecological Society (BES) and free registration for the BES annual meeting if they choose to attend to present their current research.

Enter Now