September 1, 2008
|Robert Gropp (left), Mark Henry Sabaj PÃ©rez, Representative Dennis Kucinich (D–OH), and John Sullivan discuss findings from the National Science Foundation–funded All Catfish Species Inventory research project. Photograph: Cristina Sabaj Perez.|
CNSF is an alliance of more than 100 organizations united by a concern for the future vitality of the national science, mathematics, and engineering enterprise. The coalition supports the goal of increasing the national investment in the research and education programs of the National Science Foundation (NSF) in response to the unprecedented scientific, technological, and economic opportunities facing the United States.
The 2008 reception drew a large crowd, which included members of Congress and their staffs and a number of top NSF officials, including Director Arden L. Bement Jr., Deputy Director Kathie L. Olsen, and Assistant Director for Biology James Collins.
In addition to cosponsoring the exhibition and reception, AIBS teamed with the NSC Alliance to sponsor an exhibit. The AIBS–NSC Alliance exhibit showcased the vitally important role the NSF Biological Sciences Directorate plays in supporting natural science collectionsâ€“based research and fundamental bioÂdiversity research. The exhibit, presented by John Sullivan and Mark Henry Sabaj PÃ©rez from the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, showcased the NSF-funded All Catfish Species Inventory (ACSI). The ACSI research effort also includes principal investigators at the University of Florida, Auburn University, and Cornell University. The $4.68 million effort has involved 422 participants in 53 countries.
The ACSI research is one of seven large-scale projects funded by the NSFâ€™s Planetary Biodiversity Inventories Program, which seeks to empower international teams of scientists and institutions to assemble a comprehensive framework for understanding Earthâ€™s biodiversity through worldwide, species-level inventories of major groups of organisms.
Before the exhibit and reception, Sullivan and Perez met with staff from the offices of Senator Bob Casey (D–PA) and Representative Robert Brady (D–PA). These meetings, arranged by the AIBS Public Policy Office, allowed congressional staff to learn about NSF–funded research being conducted in their state. The meetings were also an important opportunity to remind members of Congress that the NSF is centrally important to the nationâ€™s biological research enterpriseâ€”providing more than 65 percent of the federal funding for fundamental environmental biology research.