It has been 8 years since I last attended the Ecological Society of America annual meeting. Now that I have joined the University of Guelph and am starting to move some of my research efforts back towards disease ecology, I thought that it was a great time to attend the meeting to see what I have been missing. The short answer is that I have been missing ALOT!
Back in 2006 (the last year that I attended), there were 2 sessions on disease and epidemiology during the week long meeting. This probably amounted to about 16-18 oral presentations within this area of research. I was really thrilled to find that disease ecology within the society has exploded . There were disease ecology talks throughout the week long meeting including 6 sessions specifically dedicated to disease and epidemiology. The disease ecologists in the society are now so plentiful that they have their own section to join. Even more exciting was that the society awarded the Robert T. MacArthur Award for outstanding contributions to Dr. Mercedes Pascual from the University of Michigan. Dr. Pascual is a theoretical ecologist who works on infectious disease dynamics.
I am looking forward to attending the meeting next year in Baltimore and bringing some of my students with me to present their work.