Publishers of the Journal of Heredity
Join the AGA

AGA Special Event Award: 53rd Ontario Ecology, Ethology, and Evolution Colloquium – OE3C 2023


About the Blog authors

Joseane Moreira do Nascimento is a postdoc and Jorden Maglov is a PhD student, both from the Grbic lab at Western University. They study all things two-spotted spider mite – TSSM (Tetranychus urticae) genetics. Their research investigates how molecular tools (such as RNAi) can be used to control TSSM crop and greenhouse infestations. They also study the molecular mechanisms that plants (e.g., Arabidopsis thaliana and Solanum lycopersicum) deploy to defend against T. urticae herbivory.












An ambitious group of young researchers at Western University organized the 53rd Ontario Ecology, Ethology, and Evolution Colloquium (OE3C) in May 2023. The colloquium’s co-chairs, Matheus Sanita-Lima (he/him) and Stefane Saruhashi (she/her), led the group to victory, as they successfully returned OE3C to an entirely in-person event for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic.

Following the tradition of the past 52 years, OE3C 2023 selected a theme that would unite the three E’s (Ecology, Ethology, and Evolution). This year’s theme was “Surviving the AnthropOC3nE: future steps for the 3 E’s under pressing planetary issues”. It is no secret that anthropogenic climate change is the most pressing issue facing our society today. This crisis has, and will continue to, generate great difficulties for those researching the 3 E’s. However, the solution to this problem will be neither simple nor quick. We (the organizing committee) aimed to unite young minds passionate about research in their respective fields and to spark research-based discussions and collaborations about novel solutions to the climate crisis.

Group photo of the 53rd Ontario Ecology, Ethology, and Evolution Colloquium – OE3C 2023. The OE3C 2023 attracted 160 participants from across Ontario and abroad. Undergraduate and graduate students, along with post-docs and faculty members had 3 days of stimulating discussions and talks on all three E’s (Ecology, Ethology, and Evolution).

Several new additions to the traditional OE3C programme were added to tackle this goal. One addition, a moderated panel of Western researchers open to the public, was a highlight of the colloquium. Each panelist tackles the climate crisis from a unique research perspective, and discussed pressing issues we face today, and how the 3 E’s will be pivotal in addressing these issues. The panel can be viewed at: Part 1 and Part 2. The 53rd OE3C also featured an all plant-based menu. Diets low in animal-based protein are becoming increasingly popular for their beneficial environmental impact. We hoped to show our attendees that decreasing animal protein intake can be both sustainable and tasty! This feature was a hit with the attendees, and we encourage future organizing committees to consider sustainability when curating future menus.

Organizing the OE3C was a daunting challenge that would not have been possible without the support of our sponsors. The American Genetics Association (AGA) graciously sponsored our event, allowing us to award 56 attendees with travel awards to the colloquium. To show our appreciation, we incorporated an AGA-inspired presentation room in our programme, where awardees conducting cutting-edge genetics research within the 3 E’s could showcase their work. Memorable talks discussed a range of topics, from assessing genetic diversity loss in isolated butterfly populations, to using air-sampled eDNA as a novel technology for biodiversity monitoring, to linking morphology and genetics using morphometrics and DNA barcoding in ant populations in the Galapagos.

The 53rd O3EC is projected to yield several publications, both with publishing opportunities in the Journal of Heredity, and in our research topic in Frontiers of Ecology and Evolution. The colloquium was an overwhelming success, and we hope that attendees had the opportunity to reflect on both this year’s theme, and the potential impact of their own research contributions to the climate crisis we are facing in the Anthropocene today.

Subscribe to Our Blog