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We are excited to host the 50th Ontario Ecology, Ethology, and Evolution Colloquium (OE3C) at the University of Waterloo, May 2-4 2024! Here, we have compiled a brief history of this event. 

The OE3C was preceded by ‘Ontario Technical sessions’ that was also focused on student presentations; for example, in February 1965 it was held at Queen’s University. The Colloquium was first held in 1974 at York University and at that time was called the Ontario Ecology (or Ecological) Colloquium (OEC). It was organized by Assistant Professors Don McQueen and Larry Dill and included around 100 attendees and 30 talks (plus some invited talks). For many years the Colloquium was organized by a Steering Committee made up of professors. For example, David Noakes (University of Guelph) was a Committee member from 1974-2005 and Gray Merriam (Carleton University) was on the Committee 1983-93. Other members included Paul Hebert (University of Guelph) and Bill Taylor (University of Waterloo). The Committee selected the host university each year and therefore the local host professor. Most professors involved in the early years of the Colloquium also founded and ran the Ontario field course program.

In 1977 the third Colloquium (it was not held in 1975) was hosted at the University of Western Ontario. The second ‘e’ was added at this time at the request of behavioural ecologists Miles Keenleyside and Ben Seghers in the Collip building at Western and Patrick Colgan at Queens, and from then on it was known as the Ontario Ecology and Ethology Colloquium (OEEC). The third ‘e’, for evolution, was added in 2011.

Over the years, uncertainty about the founding year, and possibly math errors, were compounded. For example, the 1990 OEEC at Brock University was advertised as the 15th Colloquium when it was the 16th. By 2016, the Colloquium was advertised as the 46th event when it was the 42nd.

The Colloquium is now primarily organized by graduate students who are responsible for venue arrangements, catering, event promotion, speaker scheduling, inviting plenary speakers, organizing local field trips, and securing sponsors. Previous sponsors include each host university, Canadian Botanical Association, Canadian Society of Zoologists (Zoological Education Trust), American Genetic Association, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, Canadian Herpetological Society, Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution, Esri Canada, Dillon Consulting, Facets, Qiagen, The Company of Biologists, American Ornithological Society, American Fisheries Society (Ontario Chapter), American Society of Naturalists, New England Biolabs, Cell Signaling Technology, Sugarbomb, Mountain Equipment Co-op, Coca-Cola, and the Comparative Cognition Society.

With that, we thank Don McQueen, Larry Dill, Robert Montgomerie, Brock Fenton, Gray Merriam, Ron Brooks, Laurence Packer, Tom Nudds, Paul Hebert, Robert McLaughlin, Raleigh Robertson, Ted Armstrong, Jim Bogart, and Norman Yan for sifting through their memories, computers, and files to help in assembling the early years of the colloquium.

Past Logos

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Summary of hosting universities (and one government ministry) since the Colloquium's inception in 1974 at York University.


The First OE Colloquium Letter


More Past Logos

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Thanks also to Maydianne Andrade, Elena Choleris, Beth Clare, Kevin Kerr, Tristan Long, and David Lesbarreres for helping with the history of more recent decades.

If you have any further details on the history or past programs, please email

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