Six early-career scientists and two keynote scientists recently came together to present their research surrounding green life and the impacts of climate change during the annual Early Career Scientist Symposium held at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
This year’s theme was “Global Change and Its Consequences for Green Life,” and focused on the Direct and indirect impacts of environmental change on green life survival, reproduction, and distribution, how green life can buffer the impact of global change, evolutionary responses of green life to environmental change/stress, green life functional traits and their environmental correlates, and agroecology.
Early-career scientists, including Daniel Anstett, Constance E. Bolte, Lindsey Kemmerling, James Santangelo, Carrie Tribble, and Meredith Ann Zettlemoyer, and both keynote speakers, Jen Lau and Susana Wadgymar, presented their green life findings to a full audience of over 100 attendees and streaming over Zoom to reach our global audience during the symposium organized by the University of Michigan’s Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department. Keynote speakers included Jen Lau and Susana Wadgymar, two leaders conducting research about plant survival in changing environments.
Anstett, a research associate at Michigan State University, said the symposium felt genuine, networking opportunities were plentiful, and the venue was a welcoming setting to discuss climate science.
“I am not exaggerating when I say that this symposium was one of my favorite events of my academic career,” said Anstett. “I thoroughly enjoyed the talks and posters; presenting my work alongside such other complementary work was truly inspiring.”
This successful symposium took the ECSS committee led by Marjorie Weber about a year to plan. Weber embraced this event head-on by being involved in everything from selecting speakers and venue, organizing logistics, to event setup.
“It was a delight to chair the organizing committee and work with EEB staff: everyone worked together and showed up to make this awesome event happen,” said Weber. "The Early Career Scientist Symposium is such an amazing tradition in the EEB Department. We are so lucky to have the chance to engage with up-and-coming scholars and keynote leaders in different fields each year, and this year was no exception.”
The symposium also proved to be beneficial in multiple ways. First, the presentations gave a unique opportunity for early career scientists to come together and network.
“The ECSS was an inspiring collection of scientists who showcased what I could be doing in the near future (post-graduation),” said Abbey Soule, EEB Ph.D. student and ECSS committee member. “It was [also] insightful being on the organizing committee, even with my small role as a graduate student representative - it truly takes a team even to make a small symposium work!”
Another benefit of this symposium was its inclusive format and guidance from EEB graduate students. Without their input, this symposium wouldn’t be as inclusive of early career biologists.
“As a graduate student and thus a (very!) early career researcher myself, the ECCSS provided a great opportunity to see exciting research being done by people who are just a few career steps ahead of me,” said Rosemary Glos, EEB Ph.D. student.“ Many of the people in that room are likely to be my long-time colleagues – and I finally met in person a member of my undergraduate lab (Carrie Tribble) whom I’d only ever met on Zoom!”
Additionally, early career scientists not speaking at the meeting were encouraged to join in on the ECSS poster session. Students of various levels came together to present their research on a variety of topics in the Matthaei Conservatory.
“The poster session in the MGBNA greenhouse was the most beautiful setting in which I've ever presented research, and the scientific discussion with attendants was very engaging,” said Abbey Soule, EEB Ph.D. student and ECSS committee member.
To learn more about this year’s ECSS event, visit https://sites.lsa.umich.edu/ecss/.
The full ECSS organizing committee includes: