Am Nat 2020

The American Society of Naturalists invites graduate students, postdocs, faculty and other professionals from ecology, evolution, behavior, genetics, physiology, and associated fields to a stand alone meeting at the Asilomar Conference Grounds on January 3-7, 2020.

This meeting will celebrate the unique ability of The American Naturalist and ASN to unify broad conceptual themes across biology by integrating theory with data and by using new technological tools to address long-standing questions. In short, this conference will showcase what it means to be a naturalist and researcher in the 21st century.

A diverse array of biologists who might not normally encounter one another at various discipline-specific meetings will gather to create a public forum where graduate students, postdocs, faculty and other professionals can define new research directions that work towards unifying the biological sciences. The meeting is not restricted to ASN members, but newcomers are encouraged to join the society. The conference will be kept small (~200 people) to encourage interaction and conversation in the naturally beautiful setting of the Monterey Peninsula at the Asilomar Conference Grounds.

In March, 1867, four graduate assistants in the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard College published the first issue of The American Naturalist. You can read more about the history here. The introductory article in AmNat describes the mission of their new journal in the following terms.

“If the reader, however slight his intercourse with nature may have been, shall find something in these pages to stimulate his zeal, and direct his mind to the right methods of investigation, and also teach him new facts concerning the haunts and habits of his favorites of the wood, the lake and the seashore, the great aim of this journal will be accomplished.
… Such, then, shall be the leading object of the journal—to amuse the reader, perhaps decoy him within the temple of nature; and, if he be a willing student, instruct him in some of its mysteries.”

This conference of the American Society of Naturalists—itself founded 16 years later in 1883—celebrates over 150 years of rich history of The American Naturalist and hopefully in some small measure accomplishes the aspirations of the founders.


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