Brian, Meg, and I all skipped the ESA meeting this year. So you tell us–how was it? What’s new and exciting in ecology this year?
Below the fold: brief comments on choice of site. What are your favorite past sites? Where would you like to see ESA meet in future?
I hear this year’s ESA was a small meeting, which I think was widely expected. Of course, sometimes attendees end up liking sites they weren’t excited about in advance. I know many attendees were pleasantly surprised by Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis (though personally, I was looking forward to all three in advance). But I think the combination of extreme heat + unexciting downtown is something ESA should try to avoid if it can. I recognize that the meeting needs to move around the country. I just think the heat in the south makes it especially important that southern sites have interesting, walkable, vibrant downtowns. Austin was great!
Where would you like to see ESA meet in future? Would you like to see the meeting rotate between 4-5 favorite sites, and if so, which ones? That idea’s been mooted, though personally I think it’d get boring after a while. But if we were gonna do it, off the top of my head I’d say (in no particular order): Portland, Austin, Minneapolis, Madison, Pittsburgh.
UPDATE: ESA just mailed a survey to people who didn’t attend this year’s meeting but have attended in the past. One of the questions indicated that ESA is considering rotating predictably among several “popular” sites, and asked how likely you would be to attend a meeting at each of them. The list (and my off the cuff reactions): Portland (great!), Austin (great!), Sacramento (really?), New Orleans (hopefully will be great), Salt Lake City (
really?maybe), and Baltimore (wouldn’t be my pick, but sure).
Are there cities to which ESA hasn’t been (at least, not recently) to which you’d like to see it go, recognizing that we probably can’t afford NYC/Boston/etc.? How about Denver? Kansas City? Columbus, OH? Is Boulder too small? Meg, can ESA do Ann Arbor, and if so can we all crash at your place? 🙂 Can ESA afford Seattle? What about Canadian cities–Montreal (again), Vancouver, Ottawa, Quebec City, Victoria? Odds are that ESA and most attendees would make out like bandits on the exchange rate with a Canadian site. Would the exchange rate difference make Toronto feasible? Just spitballin’ here, I’ve never been to most of these cities. Maybe some of them are poor choices or non-options for reasons I’m not aware of.
I’m looking forward to Portland, Louisville, and New Orleans. Not sure about Salt Lake City. (UPDATE:
on further reflection, and notwithstanding a commenter who says SLC will pleasantly surprise people, I’m increasingly unsure about SLC. Where will we all eat on Sunday night? And SLC is very much not a beer town, thanks to state restrictions on beer availability and alcohol content, which seems like it could well hold down attendance. Lots of ecologists like beer, it’s a big reason why Portland was such a hit.) (UPDATE #2: Peter Adler comments that my previous update is based on outdated information, reporting that the downtown restaurant scene has really taken off in the last 5 years and the alcohol laws have been liberalized. So I withdraw my skepticism of of SLC as a destination and am looking forward to giving it a try.)