Symposium 1: Latitudinal Gradients in Species Diversity: 50 years since Pianka
January 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of Eric Pianka’s classic paper, published in the American Naturalist, entitled “Latitudinal Gradients in Species Diversity: A Review of Concepts”. This groundbreaking paper provided the first synthesis of the major hypotheses for the latitudinal diversity gradient (LDG), and stimulated the research trajectories of legions of naturalists. Fifty years ago, one could have reasonably argued that the six hypotheses for the LDG reviewed by Pianka were largely untestable. At that time we could not have imagined the revolutionary impact of molecular phylogenetic analysis in allowing us to test evolutionary hypotheses and explore geographical variation in rates of diversification. Owing to these and other advances, we may now be on the cusp of solving this enduring puzzle. Taken together, the speakers in this symposium provide expertise in phylogenetic, ecological, paleontological and evolutionary approaches. They will draw on the 50th anniversary of the publication of Pianka’s classic paper to show just how far we have come in solving “the major unexplained pattern in natural history” (Ricklefs 1989). Moreover, the diversity of opinions among our speakers will spark productive debate, promoting new approaches towards a synthesis.

Organizers: Douglas W. Schemske & Gary G. Mittelbach

Confirmed speakers:
David Jablonski Department of the Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago.
    "Shaping the latitudinal gradient: Origination, extinction, and range shifts in the fossil record."
Sean Mullen Department of Biology, Boston University.
    “Rapid diversification associated with ecological specialization among Neotropical Adelpha butterflies.”
Amy Freestone Department of Biology, Temple University.
    "Latitudinal gradients in species interactions"
Paul Fine Department of Integrative Biology, University of California.
    "Ecological and evolutionary drivers of the geographic variation in species diversity"
Hélène Morlon CNRS, Institut de Biologie de l’Ecole Normale Supérieure.
    "Out of the tropics, into the tropics, tracking the tropics: insights from molecular phylogenies and recent phylogenetic comparative methods"
Robert Ricklefs Department of Biology, University of Missouri at St. Louis.
    “Reconciling pattern and process with respect to the latitudinal gradient in species richness”

Symposium 2: The Role of Animal Personality in Speciation
Recognizing that individual animals can possess personalities (defined as consistent individual differences in behavior over time and across contexts) has had a profound impact on several disciplines in ecology and evolutionary biology. Theoretical and empirical results demonstrate the importance of considering individual personality in fields as diverse as invasion and dispersal dynamics, social evolution, life history evolution, and ecological transmission dynamics. Likewise, the past decade has also seen renewed interest in research focused on processes that contribute to speciation. It is surprising, however, that researchers have only recently begun to explore the potential links between personality traits and speciation. Although the role of behavior in speciation is well established (e.g., sexual selection), how personality contributes to speciation (either promoting or constraining divergence) remains relatively poorly understood. However, several researchers have begun to explore links between personality and major processes involved in speciation (e.g., sexual selection, non-random habitat use, and geographic isolation). The symposium covers an emerging field that is ripe for synthesis: the role of animal personality in speciation. Specifically, this symposium will highlight recent research and theoretical advances that provide an emerging picture of the role of personality in the speciation process.

Organizer: Spencer J. Ingley

Confirmed speakers: (talk titles are provisional)
Spencer J. Ingley
    Introduction: "The role of animal personality in the speciation process"
Renee Duckworth
    "The role of personality in dispersal, colonization, and allopatric divergence and speciation"
Alison Bell
    "The role that animal personalities play in non‐random spatial distribution within species, and the implications for spatial/habitat reproductive isolation"
Gil Rosenthal
    "Animal personalities and sexual selection/isolation, with a focus on the role of personality traits in mate choice"
Jonathan Pruitt
    "Exploring the effects of social selection and colony extinction events on immigrant viability in the wild"
Denis Réale
    "Theoretical models on population differentiation and evolution of personality traits"

Symposium 3: Using population genomics to predict evolutionary responses to environmental change
As contemporary environments change at an unprecedented rate, persistence of species will increasingly depend on their ability to adapt to novel environmental conditions. Currently, models used to predict species responses to environmental change often assume static environmental tolerance over time. Decades of evolution and physiology research contradict this assumption, however; we know that tolerance to environmental stress varies between individuals, between populations, and across species. The question of whether adaptation can keep up with environmental change, and whether this ability varies between species, populations, and ecosystems remains an essential and unresolved problem in evolutionary biology. Our goal is to begin a discussion that will ultimately result in a principled and predictive theoretical basis for the interpretation of population genomic data to identify which species and populations are most resilient and most vulnerable to environmental change.

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Organizers: Rachel Bay & Noah Rose

Confirmed speakers: (titles TBA)
Rachael Bay & Noah Rose (shared talk)
    "Using population genomics to predict the responses of coral reefs to climate change"
Cameron Ghalambor
    "The role of phenotypic plasticity in rapid evolutionary responses to environmental change"
Louis Bernatchez
Rowan Barrett
    "The genetic consequences of selection in natural populations"
Rachel Brem
    "Polygenic cis-regulatory evolution in fungi"
Peter Ralph
    "Adaptation to changing environments across real geographies"