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

Posted on by ASN

The ASN 2020 Elections are open through April 30 for the offices of President and Vice President. 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.

Judith Bronstein

The ASN represents everything I love most in science. From the first time I opened Am Nat as a college junior and realized how an ecologist could spend her life, to the ASN stand-alone meetings that have energized and reinvigorated my research, to the final paper I handled as Am Nat Editor in Chief, the ASN has occupied the center of my career. My research focuses on the ecology and evolution of interspecific interactions, particularly on mutualisms. My career-long goal has been to build a solid conceptual foundation for the study of these poorly understood interactions. Using a combination of field observations, experiments, and theory, my lab examines how population processes, abiotic conditions, and the community context determine net effects of interactions for each participant species.

I received my BA from Brown University, and my MSc and PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Michigan. I currently hold the rank of University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona, with a joint appointment in the Department of Entomology. I’ve received several other university honors, including a Distinguished Career Teaching Award, as well as a Distinguished Service Award from the National Science Foundation. I was elected Fellow of the Ecological Society of America in 2016. I’ve served as an NSF Program Officer and in leadership positions for the Ecological Society of America and the Smithsonian Institution, but my most relevant service has been to the ASN. I served as Secretary in 2004-2006. I joined the American Naturalist Editorial Board in 2004, became one of the three Editors in 2010, and then served as the (first and only female) Editor in Chief from 2013 to 2017. I’m particularly proud of the efforts we made to diversify the Editorial Board during this period. I initiated the popular “Countdown” series that highlights significant but overlooked Am Nat papers of the past. Melding my interests in diversity and Am Nat’s own history, I was lead author on a 2018 paper highlighting the biographies and contributions of its earliest women authors.

The landscape of science, scientific societies, publishing, and the world itself are all changing rapidly. ASN can and must continue to show the intellectual leadership it’s been demonstrating so effectively in recent years, while remaining the model egalitarian and diverse organization that it’s recently become. Further, we will be experiencing some critical personnel transitions in the next few years, notably in both the Managing Editor and Editor in Chief positions at Am Nat. I think it’s fair to say that I know ASN and our flagship journal inside and out. I believe that I can gently spearhead pragmatic responses to the challenges and opportunities ahead.

Rebecca Safran

It is a tremendous honor to be nominated to serve as the President of ASN. I view ASN as my home society, given its focus on integrative research in ecology, evolution, behavior and genetics and its emphasis on natural history. As an integrative evolutionary ecologist, my research program is broadly centered on the question of how population differentiation and reproductive isolation evolves through individual-level comparative and experimental studies. For this work, I have the pleasure of working with a talented group of student researchers at the University of Colorado and a large network of collaborators who, in collection, enable us to combine a variety of tools and perspectives to address questions related to evolutionary process and resulting pattern at different scales of analysis. Our field work is primarily focused on one of the most widespread species of bird: the barn swallow, where we are able to conduct work as far away as small villages in the Gansu Province of China, kibbutzim in Israel, centuries-old barns in central Europe and in barns, bridges, and culverts just north of our campus here in Boulder, Colorado.

I have been proud to be in service to ASN through ongoing membership of the editorial board of the American Naturalist since 2014, organization of an ASN Spotlight Session at a recent annual meeting [2017], and as a committee member and chair of the Young Investigator Award [2014 -2017, chaired in 2017]. As far as other leadership and organizational experiences, I have also had the pleasure of co-leading two National Evolutionary Synthesis Center working groups [2000 – 2014] as well as to co-chair [2017] and chair [2019] the second and third Gordon Research Conferences on Speciation. I also co-founded and currently co-direct an initiative on Science Communication [Inside the Greenhouse] which is associated with several integrative courses (e.g., I have been teaching a film and climate change class for the past ten years) as well as internship opportunities, and public events that highlight diverse and inclusive ways of adaptation to climate change. Through these endeavors, I have come to appreciate and value truly integrative and interdisciplinary endeavors, which to me, characterizes our society as a whole.

If elected, I would be committed to expanding resources for professional development, including workshops and financial support for meeting attendance. Professional development workshops could include, for example, topics related to publishing, science communication, diversity and inclusion, and data management. Further, I would like to provide opportunities for integrating across fields, the stated mission of the ASN. This may involve the establishment of working groups focused on synthesis projects, and help with forming cross-disciplinary collaborations.

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, two as a regular member and one as ex officio member. 

Deepa Agashe

I want to know how organisms adapt to new environments, and how adaptive processes influence molecular evolution. Current themes in my lab include understanding: (1) dietary niche shifts in insect pests, (2) the evolution of the bacterial translation machinery, (3) the evolutionary consequences of new mutations, and (4) the evolution of host-bacterial associations.

I completed my Bachelors in Microbiology at Abasaheb Garware College Pune, India (2003); and my PhD in Ecology, Evolution and Behaviour at the University of Texas at Austin (2009). After a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University, I started my independent group in Bangalore in 2012. I recently received a Women Excellence Award (for female scientists under 40) from the President of India and have successfully competed for several national and international research grants and fellowships.

I count my efforts to increase the visibility of evolutionary biology in India as my most important service. I have organized several meetings and student workshops (e.g. the long-running ICTS Schools on Population Genetics and Evolution), and participated in various outreach efforts (e.g. public Science Café talks, radio and television programs, and talks at smaller colleges and Universities in the country). I also serve as associate editor of Molecular Biology and Evolution (since 2015) and Evolution (since 2020); on the diversity committee of the ASN (since 2018); and the international committee of the SSE (since 2018).

The ASN and the American Naturalist are quite special for me: my first paper was published in the American Naturalist, and experiencing peer review at its best (thanks to AE George Gilchrist) shaped how I approach my current roles as reviewer and editor. I also won the Editor’s award for best student paper, and the book grant from ASN let me buy truly beautiful books that I could not otherwise afford. Since then, I have continued to enjoy the high quality of science that is discussed at ASN meetings and published in the American Naturalist.

I hope to connect the ASN to the Indian community and increase the breadth and reach of the ASN. This link would be mutually beneficial, given the incredible biodiversity in my part of the world but the relatively small local community of evolutionary biologists and ecologists. For the VP symposium, I would like to consider two areas: how to bridge across micro and macro-evolution, and the early evolution and establishment of host-microbiome interactions.

.Stuart West

I am an evolutionary biologist who studies social behaviours such as cooperation, altruism, spite and sex allocation. I use a mixture of techniques including theory, experiments and across species comparative studies, across organisms ranging from bacteria to birds.

I am the Professor of Evolutionary Biology, Oxford, UK. I have spent my research career at Oxford, Imperial College London (UK), Cambridge (UK) and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (Panama). I have been awarded EMBO Membership (2014), Society for the Study of Evolution, Non-North American Vice President (2007), Zoological Society of London Scientific Medal (2007), Phillip Leverhulme Prize (2006), Royal Society University Research Fellowship (2002) and a BBSRC David Phillips Research Fellowship (1998).

I have had editorial duties at: American Naturalist; Animal Behaviour; Annu. Rev. Ecol. Evol & Syst.; Behavioural Ecology; Evolution; Evolution and Human Behaviour; Journal of Evolutionary Biology; and Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society (special editions). My panel activities have included the Athena Swan (Equality Challenge Unit, UK), European Research Council, Natural Environment Research Council (UK) and Zoology Society London Awards Committee (UK).

I have served two terms as an Associate Editor at the American Naturalist (2005-2008 & 2008-2011), and am a regular contributor to the journal.

It would be an honour to serve the ASN. I would suggest a VP symposium that brings together researchers examining the genetic architecture and population genetics of social traits, with those using behavioural and evolutionary ecology (phenotypic) approaches. We have recently had success in communicating complex ideas with short animations on YouTube, and I would like to apply this to the symposium.