This is an interesting experiment: the journal Molecular Ecology sponsored a symposium on the present and future of the field at the Evolution 2012 meeting in Ottawa. Not content with this, or with having all the speakers put their slides and videos of their talks online here, they’re going to gather all the speakers on Oct. 24, 3-6 pm GMT, for a free, live online forum.
Details are here. It’s being hosted by a service called CoverItLive, which I’ve previously seen used to cover major scheduled news events like the announcement of US Supreme Court decisions. A major feature of CoverItLive is the live chat–audience members can instantly post questions for the speakers. The also can submit questions in advance to the organizers via email.
You have to register in advance, so that the organizers can arrange for enough bandwidth. UPDATE: In the comments, organizer Tim Vines says that’s changed, you don’t need to register. I assume that means that this event is costing them some money to organize (?), in which case I’m curious how much. I’m wondering whether organizing something like this would be within the (very limited) financial means available to us here at Dynamic Ecology. (UPDATE: in the comments, Tim says it’s cheap–thanks for the info Tim!)
Besides the money, the major obstacle to organizing something like this is getting the speakers, and a sufficiently large audience, to commit to spending enough time to make the event long enough to be worth it. Kudos to the organizers and speakers for committing the time to this experiment. I’ll be curious to hear what size audience they get–I hope it’s huge!
My Calgary colleague Sean Rogers, who in all seriousness is really good and worth the price of admission all by himself, will be among the forum participants.
UPDATE #2: Here’s the question I posed to Sean, and to any other panelists who wish to address it: How do you respond to Travisano and Shaw’s recent claim in Evolution (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1558-5646.2012.01802.x/full) that recent attempts to understand the genotype-phenotype map of quantitative traits have taught us nothing we didn’t know decades ago, don’t provide the sort of information we need to understand, explain, or predict evolution, and so ought to be abandoned in favor of direct studies of process?
HT Denim and Tweed