Laura Kubatko, Professor of Statistics and of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology and Co-Director of OSU’s Mathematical Biosciences Institute, has been elected as the next President of the Society of Systematic Biologists (SSB). Kubatko will serve as President-Elect during 2020 before assuming the office of President for a one-year term beginning in January 2021.
Systematic biology is the study of biological diversity and its origins, with a focus on understanding evolutionary relationships among organisms, species, higher taxa, or other biological entities, such as genes, and the evolution of the properties of these entities, including intrinsic traits, ecological interactions, and geographic distributions. The objective of the SSB is the advancement of the science of systematic biology in all its aspects of theory, principles, methodology, and practice, for both living and fossil organisms, with emphasis on areas of common interest to all systematic biologists regardless of organismal specialization. The SSB publishes the journal Systematic Biology, widely regarded as the premier journal in the area of evolutionary biology.
Kubatko’s initiatives during her term include a continued emphasis on the inclusion of those from differing scientific, racial, ethnic, and geographic backgrounds in the activities of the SSB, increased development of the society’s role in the communication of science to society, and development of activities to enhance early science education.