November 2014


Message from the President:

Despite my original intention to provide a monthly message about ASM activities, it looks like the newsletter is quickly becoming a bi-monthly effort!

I’d like to update you on some of the emerging plans for our 2015 annual meeting, which will take place 12-16 June in Jacksonville, Florida. As many of you know, the model for ASM meetings has undergone a number of changes in recent years, including changes in venue type and changes to the meeting program. This is a work in progress as the Society continues to define the structure and content of its annual meetings. Detailed information regarding our next meeting will be available soon on the ASM website.

In 2015, one of the more conspicuous changes to the program will occur at the end of the meeting. Rather than hold the traditional, formal sit-down banquet, we will conclude the meeting with an informal social that includes our annual awards ceremony. The intent is to greatly reduce the cost of this event, thereby increasing participation if our closing celebration. The Program Committee has worked hard to organize an evening that will include extensive hors d’oeuvres and drinks for no more than $25 per person. We are also working to arrange for a bit of entertainment during the closing social. We hope that you will join us and help us to inaugurate this new style of celebrating the conclusion of our annual get together.


- Eileen A. Lacey, ASM President 

Recent highlights:

ASM member Joe Cook was featured in a recent blog entry by Scientific Collections International (http://blog.scicoll.org/2014_11_01_archive.html). The blog highlights a talk that Joe gave at a SciColl workshop in which he described the critical importance of mammal collections in helping epidemiologists and virologists to determine the origins of the hantavirus outbreak that occurred in the southwestern US during the 1990s. Building upon this example, Joe outlined the compelling need for collecting efforts that are taxonomically broad, digitally documented, and archived as part of publicly accessible databases that link physical specimens to all subsequent information (e.g., genetic sequences) derived from those materials.

ASM member Jake Goheen is the co-author of a recent Science article (10.1126/science.1252753) that outlines the potential effects of loss of large carnivores on the structure of plant communities in eastern Africa. Jake and colleagues provide evidence that as carnivore populations have declined, herbivores such as impala have changed their foraging locations to make greater use of preferred food items that grow in areas previously subject to high predation risk. As a result, less preferred food species in low-risk areas are experiencing reduced foraging by herbivores, allowing these less preferred species to spread. In sum, declines in carnivore abundance appear to be driving losses in plant diversity through their effects on herbivore foraging behavior, underscoring the complexity of interactions associated with changes in biodiversity.

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American Society of Mammalogists
Contact Us: cclassi@mammalsociety.org
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