Workshop I: Holistic Specimen Collection: Small Mammal Parasite Sampling, Preservation, and Identification

Instructors: Ralph Eckerlin, Kurt Galbreath, Stephen Greiman, Andrew Hope, and Agustin Jimenez

Wild mammals support a high diversity of associated parasites and pathogens that are beginning to reveal, through integrated cross-disciplinary research, the inherent complexity of ecological and evolutionary dynamics within inter-related communities. Modern field collecting of mammals includes a variety of techniques for extracting samples that may provide more holistic perspectives of associated biodiversity. This workshop will summarize major areas of mammal-parasite research, provide hands-on experience with field sampling protocols, and train participants in proper long-term preservation of parasites and in identification methods for major parasite groups.  Participants will be taught methods that have been refined by mammalogists and parasitologists to maximize efficiency in the field and to ensure curation of high-quality specimens and associated data. This workshop on integrated biodiversity sampling should be of interest to many ASM attendees and provide useful training that can be immediately incorporated into active research programs. The workshop is designed to take place over the course of a full day (8 hours) so that it can address the topic of parasites of wild mammals with sufficient detail to give participants a solid foundation in the methods that will be taught. The workshop instructors have broad expertise in field and laboratory parasitology and experience teaching the value of a holistic host-parasite perspective for increasing the impact of eco-evolutionary research. Organizers: Kurt Galbreath and Andrew Hope.

Workshop II: Biological Applications with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Instructors: Travis Balthazor & Kurt Carraway

Details forthcoming…

Organizer: Drew Ricketts

Workshop III: Non-Academic Careers for Mammalogists

Instructors: Brad Blood, Daniel Green, John Hanson, Ann Johnston

The purpose of the workshop is to provide ASM graduate and undergraduate students with an understanding of career opportunities outside of academics. With limited academic positions available, many students in mammalogy finish their degrees and then leave mammalogy and the ASM. Many opportunities exist outside of academics where students in mammalogy can continue in the field of biology and mammalogy and put the skills they have learned to good use. The positive to this is hopefully they will then remain as contributing members to ASM. Organizers: Brad Blood & John Hanson.

Workshop IV: Professional Interview Strategies – Crafting Your Message

Instructors: Brad Blood, John Koprowski, Susan Loeb, and Karen Munroe

This workshop will provide attendees an overview of different types of interview processes, what to expect, what search committees are looking for, and what attributes make a candidate stand out both in person and on applications and cover letters. The workshop will also address how to prepare for the various presentations and seminars an interviewee may be asked to give, what works, and what doesn’t. Our aim is to make the workshop useful to undergraduate, MS, and PhD students as well as post-docs. We envision that topics such as crafting cover letters, strategies for fielding interview questions, and what makes applicants stand out to search committees and potential hires will be of interest to students and early career professionals alike. The workshop will end with a round-table, informal question and answer session where attendees will be able to ask about specific details of interest to them or applicable to their particular job searches. Our four confirmed speakers bring different perspectives to the table – from a seasoned interviewee and participant in many faculty search committees, a mid-career professor at a Primarily Undergraduate Institute that landed her first tenure-track position after enduring the grueling application and interview process and has now hired over a dozen candidates, and a USDA Forest Service Research Ecologist operating in an academic setting, and a Wildlife Biologist with years of experience working in the realm of private ecological/environmental consulting firms. If accepted, this workshop would complement a workshop on non-academic jobs proposed by Brad Blood and John Hansen and ideally the two workshops would not be scheduled concurrently so that participants have the opportunity to attend both. Organizers: Melissa Merrick & Karen Munroe.

Workshop V: Wallace: A New Modular GUI Software for Modeling Species Niches and Distributions

Instructors: Jamie M. Kass, Gonzalo E. Pinilla-Buitrago, and Robert P. Anderson

This workshop will introduce attendees to Wallace, a new modular software for modeling species niches and distributions.  Currently, many analyses in ecology are implemented with: 1) “black box” graphical user interfaces that lack flexibility; or 2) via command-line interfaces that are infrequently used by non-specialists. Wallace helps remedy this situation. It is an open-source modular application with a richly documented graphical user interface to underlying R scripts that is flexible and highly interactive. Wallace guides users from acquiring and processing data to building models and examining predictions. Additionally, it is designed to grow via community contributions of new modules to expand functionality. All results are downloadable, along with code to reproduce the analysis. Wallace builds upon the long tradition of biodiversity informatics fostered by the ASM, providing an example of an innovative platform to increase access to cutting-edge methods and encourage plurality in science and collaboration in software development. In this workshop, instructors will present the overview and qualities of Wallace, followed by the run-through of an analysis using the software.  Participants will not conduct analyses on their own during the workshop, but rather will leave oriented and aware of the software and associated resources (CRAN package, Github repository, software note, webpage, google users group, Wallace email, and forthcoming vignette). Organizer: Jamie M. Kass and Robert P. Anderson