Reunion & Symposium

Join us in Athens for the weekend of Jan. 12-14, 2018, for an alumni reunion and symposium weekend to celebrate 50 years of ecology at the University of Georgia!

There’ll be plenty of time to catch up with friends and colleagues as we honor our community’s major contributions to the discipline, explore emerging ideas and challenges, and look toward creating a stronger, more diverse and inclusive future for our program and the field of ecology itself.


Register Here:

Check Registration:

Early Registration Policy

Early Registration is until December 15, 2017 and Late Registration runs from December 15, 2017 – January 5, 2018.

All Access - Includes all receptions, lunch, dinner, breakfast and symposium

Cost: $130 (increases to $150 on December 15, 2017)

All Access Early Career - Those who have graduated within the last five years; includes all receptions, lunch, dinner, breakfast and symposium

Cost: $50 (increases to $70 on December 15, 2017)

All Access Student - Currently enrolled students at all levels; includes all receptions, lunch, dinner, breakfast and symposium

Cost: $20 (increases to $30 on December 15, 2017)

Social Only - Includes all receptions, lunch, dinner, breakfast

Cost: $60 (increases to $80 on December 15, 2017)

Travel/Hotel information

Special room rates are available at the following hotels:

Marriott Hotel

Hotel Indigo

Georgia Center Hotel *

*Call to book at Reunion Weekend reduced rate.

Cancellation and Refund Policy:

A non-refundable $7 registration fee is charged per attendee.

Before November 15th: Full Refund

November 15th- December 15th: 3/4 Refund

December 15- January 1st: 1/2 Refund

January 1st (& After): No Refund


Download Our Tentative Schedule


4:00-7:00 p.m.

“First” Friday Welcoming Reception

The reunion symposium officially begins in the Ecology Building with a welcome reception featuring food, beverages, music and the opportunity to catch up with friends and classmates. (OK, it’s technically second Friday.)

6:00 p.m.

A slideshow featuring alumni, faculty, and staff will be running continuously in the Ecology auditorium and an exhibit of artwork by alumni, students, faculty, and staff will be on view throughout the building.

Communal Art Activity

Registration and packet pick-up will be available in the Ecology lobby.


 8:00-8:30 a.m.

Breakfast & Registration at the Odum School of Ecology.

8:30-10:00 a.m.

Opening Plenary Session in Forestry Auditorium

Welcome from Dean John Gittleman

Remarks by Provost Pamela Whitten

Introduction by Peter Raven, President Emeritus of the Missouri Botanical Garden and former Home Secretary of the National Academy of Sciences

Plenary Address by Monica Turner, PhD ’85, Eugene P. Odum Professor of Ecology and Vilas Research Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison

10:00-10:15 a.m.

Coffee Break

10:15-11:30 a.m.

Session I: Past Meets Present: Linking Foundational Discoveries to Modern Challenges in Ecology

Christopher D’Elia, PhD ‘74

Weixin Cheng, PhD ‘89

Evelyn Gaiser, PhD ‘97

Christina Faust, BS/MS ’09

11:30-12:00 p.m.

Jere Morehead, President, University of Georgia

12:00-1:30 p.m.


Pick up a boxed lunch in the Ecology building lobby and find a spot to meet with friends for lunch.

1:30-2:15 p.m.

Session II: Past Meets Present: Linking Foundational Discoveries to Modern Challenges in Ecology

Current Odum School faculty TBA

2:15-3:15 p.m.

Moving Forward to a Stronger, More Diverse and Inclusive Ecology

Panel discussion featuring faculty, students, alumni

3:15-3:30 p.m.

Coffee Break

3:30-4:30 p.m.

Alumni Rapid-fire Updates

Here’s a chance to share what you’re up to these days with a short talk—3 minutes max!

4:30-6:00 p.m.

Student Poster Session

Communal Art Activity

Ecology Careers Drop-in Networking

This session provides alumni an opportunity to present information about careers in their organization or general field of interest to current students in an informal setting.

6:30 p.m.

Alumni Weekend Banquet and Closing Plenary Session in the Magnolia Banquet Hall

Welcome from Dean John Gittleman

Introduction to alumni and development initiatives

Plenary Address by Beth Shapiro, BS/MS ’99, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California Santa Cruz


7:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m

Drop-in Brunch in the Ecology building

9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

John K. Spencer Memorial 5K Run-Walk

Join the Odum School Graduate Student Association for this annual fun run-walk held in memory of John K. Spencer, MS ’17. Proceeds support the Spencer Memorial small grants fund.

10:00-11:00 a.m.

Optional guided tours of the Georgia Museum of Natural History, Georgia Museum of Art, State Botanical Garden of Georgia, and HorseShoe Bend

Keynote Speakers

Monica Turner, PhD ’85

Dissertation: Ecological Effects of Multiple Perturbations on a Georgia Salt Marsh

Monica Turner, a member of the National Academy of Sciences since 2004 and immediate past president of the Ecological Society of America, is a landscape ecologist who studies the ecosystem effects of fire and other disturbances and the ecological effects of climate and land use change.

Changing Ecosystems and the Ecology of Change
"Ecosystems and ecology change constantly, but accelerating rates of environmental change challenge science and society. Understanding when, where, and why abrupt and fundamental changes occur is among the most pressing challenges in contemporary ecology. Holistic, collaborative, and pioneering research–hallmarks of Georgia ecology–is key to meeting the myriad challenges of a no-analogue world."

Beth Shapiro, BS/MS ’99

Dissertation: Rainfall and Parasitic Wasp (Hymenoptera Ichneumonoidea) Activity in Successional Stages of Two Neotropical Forests: Barro Colorado Nature Monument, Pannama, and La Selva Biological Station, Costa Rica

Beth Shapiro, who received a MacArthur “genius” grant in 2009, studies molecular and genetic evolution and ancient DNA to understand how populations and species change through time in response to environmental change. Her most recent book, How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction, was published in 2015 by Princeton University Press.

Why (paleo)ecology matters.
"As ecologists, we aim to understand how the living world works. We ask how organisms interact as populations and communities, how life is shaped by the physical world, and what we can do to preserve earth’s ecosystems while meeting our resource needs. It is, however, a painful time to be an ecologist: our political climate is one of disregard and sometimes derision for our work. It is crucial in this climate that we speak up in defense of science, especially if our work's relevance may not be obvious to those with the power to be dismissive. Tonight, I will talk about my work to study ecosystems of the past, which I admit falls into the realm of not-so-obvious relevance. I will show how lessons from the past can inform decisions that we make in the present. And I will talk about the growing importance effective communication of science, a skill in which I was first trained as a student at UGA and that now forms a core part of my own teaching."