I’ve just returned to NZ from the 99th annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America, held in Sacramento, CA. It was a busy and fruitful meeting, where I was able to reconnect with colleagues from my undergraduate institution (Colgate U.), graduate school (Oregon State U.) and previous post-doc at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). I presented some of my first results from my post-doc here at Landcare Research, exploring how evolutionary priority effects in forest communities of the Murchison Mtns. vary in strength along environmental gradients and for different groups of species with different timescales of arrival to NZ. And a former undergrad from the lab in which I worked at CWRU, Angela Kaczowka, presented her first ESA poster, where she documented spatio-temporal heterogeneity in soil moisture and germination in our field experiment that manipulated soil heterogeneity using a plant-soil feedbacks framework. Both projects are in our high priority list to be written up and submitted, which is exciting for me as I’ve found it incredibly rewarding to continue working with the students from CWRU as they develop as scientists. For example, Angela K. has just moved to Tucson to begin her Ph.D. at the University of Arizona — congrats, Angela!