American Society of Naturalists

A membership society whose goal is to advance and to diffuse knowledge of organic evolution and other broad biological principles so as to enhance the conceptual unification of the biological sciences.

ASN Election, 2023

Posted on by ASN

The ASN 2023 Election has opened (as of March 1st) for the offices of President and Vice President. The election will run until the end of March. Email was sent to ASN member to access the election website. Please let us know if you think you are a member and you did not receive the email. The election website randomizes the order for each person voting. The names below are in alphabetical order.


The PRESIDENT leads the ASN Executive Council and selects the membership of the award and officer nomination committees. The President selects the President’s Award for the “best” paper in The American Naturalist in the past year, gives the ASN Presidential Address and presents the Society’s awards at the annual meeting, and represents the ASN in multiple other ways through the year. The President serves on the Executive Council for five years, including one year as President-Elect and three years as a Past-President.

Carol Boggs, University of South Carolina

My research interests are broadly integrative, focusing on evolutionary, behavioral, and functional ecology, working in both field and lab. I use butterflies as a study system to understand how environmental variation affects life histories, population dynamics and species interactions over ecological and evolutionary time scales. Current work in my lab includes: the interface among resource allocation, visual ecology and mating behavior; the biotic and abiotic drivers of the dynamics of small populations; and the genomics underlying maladaptation resulting from non-native plant invasion into a coevolved plant-insect system.

I earned a BA and PhD in zoology from the University of Texas, Austin, with a gap year between the two degrees spent studying ptarmigan behavior at the University of Tromsø, Norway. I did postdoctoral work at Stanford University, where I then held various academic and administrative positions for many years. Ten years ago, I moved to the University of South Carolina as a tenured Professor, where I was the inaugural Director of the School of Earth, Ocean and Environment when it became a tenure-home unit. I have received university-wide awards for undergraduate teaching and research mentoring at both Stanford and the University of South Carolina, and am a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the California Academy of Sciences.

Outside of ASN and my home institutions, I have extensive service to Rocky Mountain Biological Lab, including three terms as President of the Board of Trustees during a major transition period in the lab’s governance and administration (1993-8; 2006-7). I also served as an elected member-at-large of the AAAS Biological Sciences Steering Committee (2018-2022). Among other major professional activities, I have served or currently serve on editorial boards of Current Research in Insect Science (founding editorial board), Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata, Functional Ecology (including founding editorial board), Journal of Insect Conservation (founding editorial board), Ecological Applications, and Evolution.

Within ASN, I served as Secretary (2013-15) and past-Secretary (2016-18), on the Nominating Committee (2005-08), as chairperson of the E. O. Wilson (now Distinguished Naturalist) Award committee (1998-99), and on the local organizing committee for the joint ASN/SSE meeting in Crested Butte, CO in 1984. I have published in and reviewed for The American Naturalist, and attended many a society meeting over the years.

I have long considered ASN as my “home” professional society, due to the broadly integrative focus across ecology, evolution and behavior, as well as lab work, field studies and theory. I believe that breadth makes it uniquely imperative that ASN promotes DEI within our discipline while at the same time fostering the development of younger scientists generally. To that end, I would support and strengthen efforts by the Diversity Committee and the Graduate Council, as well as the Policy Committee. Finally, I would work to improve two-way communication with ASN members and to broaden our membership base.

Daniel Bolnick, University of Connecticut

I am excited by the possibility of continuing to serve the American Society of Naturalists (ASN), should the members elect me as ASN President. This society has a nearly 150-year history of facilitating intellectual mergers between many areas of the natural sciences, reflected in my own values as a researcher. My research concerns the role of ecological interactions in the evolution of intraspecific variation in phenotypes, with a current emphasis on host-parasite interactions driving the evolution of host diet, behavior, and immunity. We draw on methods from genomics, immunology, cell biology, theory, field ecology, gene editing, and more. From this integrative work I have become ever more convinced by the value of unifying biological research.

I received my BA from Williams College (Biology, with a minor in Environmental Studies), which incidentally was the home of the first Secretary of the ASN in the 1870s. I learned of this connection when I started a Naturalists club during my first year in college, only to discover there had been a Williams Naturalists organization during the 1800s, affiliated with the ASN. I taught high school math and biology in Tanzania for the US Peace Corps, then went to graduate school in Population Biology at UC Davis with Peter Wainwright. After a brief postdoc with Michael Turelli, I began a faculty position in Integrative Biology at the University of Texas at Austin, interrupted by a 6-year position as an Early Career Scientist at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. While at UT Austin, I received the ASN Young Investigator Prize, the Dobzhansky Award from SSE, and the George Mercer Award from the Ecological Society of America, a Packard Fellowship, an HHMI Early Career Scientist fellowship, the Edith and Peter O’Donnell Prize in Science from the Texas Academy of Medicine Engineering Science and Technology. In 2018 I moved to the University of Connecticut to enjoy the cooler climate and New England forests.

Through my career I have served the community in a variety of roles. I was the Secretary of the ASN for three years (followed by three additional years on the council as ex-secretary). As secretary I took the lead on organizing the first ASN Asilomar meeting (held in 2014), which was such a success that ASN has continued to hold stand-alone meetings there every other year since, and I was involved in helping with organization for some of these later meetings. I was an Associate Editor for The American Naturalist from 2008 – 2017, then Editor-In-Chief for five years. During my time as EIC I expanded the diversity of our editorial board, and took steps to improve the reproducibility of the science we publish. I pursued some cases of scientific misconduct, and created a team of Data Editors to enforce and ensure quality control for our new policy of requiring both data and code archives. Outside of the context of ASN, I also am serving on the SSE Council, and have been active in starting a very proactive DEI committee in my department in Connecticut.

The ASN plays a unique role at the intersection between biological disciplines, particularly evolution and ecology and behavior. It is first and foremost an intellectual community where people from very different intellectual traditions can trade ideas. Former Editor of Am Nat Robert Bigelow wrote in 1898, “We desire that our pages afford a common meeting-ground where the morphologist, the physiologist, the zoologist, the botanist, the anthropologist, the palaeontologist, the geologist, and the mineralogist may meet to discuss the problems in which they have a common interest”. Although the specific disciplines have changed, the sentiment still holds, that this is a common meeting-ground. This function provides networking and career-building opportunities for early-career scientists, and the generation of new research questions and ideas. So, the fundamental feature of the society ought to be bringing together people from many intellectual and cultural backgrounds for scientific conversation. As president I would prioritize virtual and affordable in-person opportunities for intellectual engagement by diverse members of our intellectual community, including improving opportunities for access and engagement by an increasingly global membership as well as continuing ongoing efforts to support under-represented groups within North America and Europe. I would like to also work with diverse other societies focused on related fields (ecology, behavior, genetics, and even more molecular/cellular groups, etc.) to build more opportunities for collaboration, for instance by pairing our broad conferences with some focused workshops co-sponsored by multiple societies, to improve the diversity of intellectual backgrounds and life experiences that we use to answer fundamental questions of organismal biology.

Vice President

The VICE-PRESIDENT organizes the Vice-President’s Symposium for the annual meeting and edits the special supplement to The American Naturalist that contains the papers derived from the VP Symposium. The Vice-President is also the Society’s liaison for the organizers of the annual meeting. The Vice-President serves as a member of the Executive Council for three years, including one year as Vice-President Elect and one year as a Past Vice President.

Amy Angert, University of British Columbia

I am a population biologist working at the interface of ecology and evolution. Much of my research focuses on the evolutionary ecology of species’ geographic distributions. My lab conducts empirical tests of hypotheses about limits to adaptation at range edges, capacity for evolutionary rescue as environments change, and the interplay of adaptive and non-adaptive evolution during range expansion. We conduct field, greenhouse, and lab studies on plant systems using a variety of tools including demographic models, field and common garden experiments, mesocosms, quantitative genetics, and genomics.

I completed a BA in Biology at Washington University in St. Louis, then moved to University of Washington for doctoral studies. I completed my PhD at Michigan State University, then moved to the University of Arizona to conduct postdoctoral research. In 2012 I became a member of the faculty at UBC, where I am jointly appointed in the departments of Botany and Zoology and hold a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Evolutionary Ecology.

I have been engaged in service in support of scientific societies throughout my career, including as chair of the Plant Population Ecology section of the Ecological Society of America and elected council member to the Society for the Study of Evolution. I have also served as Associate Editor for several journals, including The American Naturalist, Evolution, and Ecology Letters. Within my institution, I lead my department’s committee on equity, diversity, and inclusion and have been involved in faculty- and university-level initiatives to foster institutional change in support of EDI.

I am a member of ASN and I served as an Associate Editor for The American Naturalist from 2018-2021. Since 2018 I have also served on a tri-society committee that is creating a Code of Ethics for ASN, the Society for the Study of Evolution, and Society of Systematic Biologists. I would be honored to serve the ASN in the Vice President’s role because the ASN’s mission to promote conceptual unification in the biological sciences has inspired my integrative approach ever since I was a graduate student. I am particularly excited to help the society implement its Code of Ethics because I am committed to fostering a scientific community that is welcoming, fair, and transparent.

I would organize a VP symposium around the topic of coping with an increasingly extreme and variable world. I would invite speakers who approach this topic from a wide variety of angles, including those who focus on organismal-level functional responses, population-level demographic buffering and evolutionary rescue, and landscape-level changes in species distributions and community structure.

Rafael L. Rodríguez, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

I am broadly interested in behavior and evolution, and in how details of behavioral and natural history are crucial for understanding broad evolutionary and ecological patterns. Most of my work has dealt with sexual selection and mate choice, cognition, and communication in ultrasonic or vibrational insects.

I obtained my BS and MS at the University of Costa Rica. I initially emphasized botany and planned to work in genetic engineering and crop improvement. But in the capstone Organic Evolution course, I encountered a professor that was so enthusiastic and knowledgeable and into natural history and evolution that I decided that was what I wanted to do. Molting from student to researcher was difficult, but I completed my MS and went on to a PhD at the University of Kansas and a postdoc at the University of Missouri. I have been a faculty member (now Professor) at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee since 2007. I was elected Fellow of the Animal Behavior Society in 2021.

I have been Associate Editor for Evolution and guest editor for Animal Behavior, and am Associate Editor for The Quarterly Review of Biology. I have published in, and been rejected by, The American Naturalist. Either way I have always been impressed by how the journal manages to have a review process that is hardcore yet flawlessly courteous. I also particularly appreciate ASN's promotion of the naturalist's approach to discovery—which is, paraphrasing Futuyma's 1998 essay, based on fascination for biological diversity as a goal in itself and as a means to inspire and test novel explanations. This approach is often portrayed as being in opposition to a hypothesis-driven approach, but I think that is a mistake. Even the driest, most hardcore view of science (Popper's philosophy, correct in my view) emphasizes the need for inspiration and creativity to come up with novel explanations and ways to test them. And what better source of inspiration and creativity than natural history?

For the Vice President’s symposium, I would like to propose a topic along the lines of: implications of advances in animal cognition for the evolutionary theory of sexual selection and mate choice.