The 2009 AIBS annual meeting, "Sustainable Agriculture: Greening the Global Food Supply," will be held 18–19 May at the Westin Arlington Gateway Hotel in Arlington, Virginia. The program chair is 2009 AIBS President May R. Berenbaum, of the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. Registration, poster submission forms, and the preliminary program are online at www.aibs.org/events/annual-meeting/annual_meeting_2009.html.
The meeting will bring together plenary speakers, panelists, and discussion groups from the basic and applied life sciences to examine food sustainability, supply, and security. The two-day program is geared toward the science-policy interface for an audience of scientists, educators, students, representatives of nongovernmental organizations, members of Congress, and the media.
The rest of the meeting's program will be rounded out by, among other events, a contributed poster session; AIBS awards; a teachers' workshop organized by the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study and the National Association of Biology Teachers; and a workshop, led by the AIBS Public Policy Office, on Communicating Science: A Primer for Working with the Media, an AIBS publication.
At a special event to be held at the National Academies' Keck Center on 18 May, Robert Pennock, a professor at Michigan State University and 2009 recipient of the AIBS Outstanding Service Award, will give a lecture titled "Reason Enough for Scientific Researches: Darwin and the Scientific Virtues." The evening will also include a reception and an after-hours tour of the Koshland Science Museum at 6:30 p.m.
The meeting is taking place during Year of Science 2009, a year of activities aimed at engaging the general public in the nature and value of the scientific enterprise. Year of Science 2009, which is co-organized by AIBS and the Coalition on the Public Understanding of Science, involves more than 500 organizations. Recordings of the plenary lectures from the meeting will be available online for free viewing in the AIBS Media Library (www.aibs.org/media-library/) about two months after the meeting. The meeting's speakers and the topics of their presentations are listed below:
Breakout discussion sessions
AIBS is taking another major step forward in its plans to make its meetings available online for worldwide access, on the general principle that doing so reduces energy use and enfranchises individuals and organizations who could not otherwise attend a meeting.
In addition to the archived plenary lectures from past AIBS annual meetings that are currently online in the AIBS Media Library (www.aibs.org/media-library), AIBS will make the plenary lectures of all future annual meetings—starting with the 2009 meeting in May—available as live Webcasts. Offsite participants will have live video and audio feeds of the speakers at the lectern and will be able to view the speakers' slides and submit questions to the moderator in real time. Visit the annual meeting's Web site at www.aibs.org/annual-meeting/annual_meeting_2009.html for information on how to register.
The AIBS council meeting on 20 May, which includes representatives of AIBS member societies and organizations, will also have parts of its agenda presented as a live Webinar event. Offsite participants will see the speakers' slides, hear the audio feed, and be able to submit questions to the moderator in real time. For information on how to register, visit www.aibs.org/council-news.
AIBS has selected Adam Roddy, a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, and Anna Maria Stewart, a graduate student at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF), to receive the 2009 AIBS Emerging Public Policy Leadership Award (EPPLA).
Since 2003, AIBS has recognized the achievements of biology graduate students who have demonstrated an interest in and aptitude for contributing to science and public policy. Roddy and Stewart will receive a certificate; membership in AIBS; several AIBS publications, such as Communicating Science: A Primer for Working with the Media; and a subscription to BioScience. AIBS will also bring Roddy and Stewart to Washington, DC, in April to attend a reception, a federal research budget briefing, and meetings with members of Congress in conjunction with the annual Biological and Ecological Sciences Coalition Congressional Visits Day.
"I am excited to participate in the Congressional Visits Day because...as a scientist, I want to emphasize the importance of funding basic research because of its application to environmental policy and its educational value," Roddy said. "A strong interface between scientists and politicians fosters the development of sound policies."
Roddy's PhD research in integrative biology examines flower physiology and phenology, or the timing of development in relation to climate. Roddy is working to understand how flowers' water requirements may relate to broader ecosystem dynamics, such as the water cycle. He has been active in outreach throughout his academic career: he organized a public seminar series on the teaching of evolution, helped produce science materials for middle-school students, and worked with educators to develop high-quality community schools in Kenya. Roddy earned his bachelor's degree in biology from Swarthmore College in 2006. At Swarthmore, he received the Leo M. Leva award for outstanding biology undergraduates.
Stewart's PhD research in environmental and forest biology focuses on the effects of climate and socioeconomic factors on the distribution of dengue fever. She is developing a model to identify current and future human populations at risk of dengue fever in Ecuador. This research should help public health policymakers to anticipate and mitigate future epidemics. In addition to working toward her PhD in ecology, Stewart is also a master's student in public administration at Syracuse University. Her undergraduate degree from Syracuse is in environmental biology.
"As a young scientist conducting research at the intersection of science and public health policy, participation in the Congressional Visits Day is an invaluable opportunity for me to observe and engage in the public policy process," she said. "The EPPLA is a critical step toward achieving my ultimate goal of becoming a scientist who advises intergovernmental agencies." Stewart said that she strives to conduct transformative, interdisciplinary research that will inform public policy.
Stewart received a National Science Foundation GK–12 teaching fellowship in 2007 to support local high school science education. She mentored students in a class on the global environment and helped develop a guide for high school science research. She is also the vice president of the SUNY–ESF graduate student association, and has served on numerous advisory and planning councils throughout her graduate career. Stewart is a member of the International Society for Ecological Modeling.
"AIBS is committed to fostering a productive dialogue between policymakers and scientists," said AIBS Executive Director Richard O'Grady. "We applaud Adam Roddy and Anna Maria Stewart for exemplifying this commitment through their work."
Robert Gropp, director of public policy at AIBS, said, "By participating in the 2009 congressional visits event, Roddy and Stewart are playing an important role in bridging the communication gap between our nation's policymakers and the scientific community."
Four other graduate students received honorable mention: Kimberly Lellis-Dibble, University of Rhode Island; Jessica Corman, Arizona State University; Jonathan Hickman, Stony Brook University; and Christopher Patrick, Notre Dame University.
AIBS is pleased to host on its YouTube channel the video series "Evolution in the News" from the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in Durham, North Carolina. The series is a collaboration of NESCent and the Understanding Evolution Web site project at the University of California, Berkeley, to produce brief monthly stories and podcasts for the public about current happenings in evolutionary biology. Some recently explored topics are "superbugs," "living fossils," and "HIV's not-so-ancient history." See AIBS's YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/user/rogrady for the videos, and the Understanding Evolution Web site at www.understandingevolution.org for links to background literature and classroom resources.
Original article in English
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Spanish translation of previously posted article