May 1, 2009


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

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 ( about two months after the meeting. The meeting's speakers and the topics of their presentations are listed below:

  • Bruce Alberts (Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of California, San Francisco; Science editor-in-chief): "Why Redefining Science Education Is the Key to Enhancing the Public Understanding of Science"
  • May R. Berenbaum (Department of Entomology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign); sustainable agriculture and greening the global food supply
  • Fred Gould (Department of Entomology, North Carolina State University): "From Transgenic Crops to Transgenic Pests: How Can AgBiotech Be Green?"
  • Hans R. Herren (Millennium Institute, Arlington, Virginia): "Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security: The Wake-up Call for Change"
  • Louise E. Jackson (Department of Land, Air, and Water Resources, University of California, Davis): "Biodiversity-friendly Agriculture: Why Scale Matters" (in collaboration with the National Council for Science and the Environment)
  • Taylor Ricketts (Conservation Science Program, World Wildlife Fund–USA); agriculture and conservation
  • Scott M. Swinton (Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics, Michigan State University); agriculture and ecosystem services
  • Robert Tauxe (National Center for Zoonotic, Vectorborne, and Enteric Diseases; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention); foodborne diseases

Breakout discussion sessions

  • "What Does the Public Learn from the Media about Sustainable Agriculture?" Cathlyn Stylinski (senior agent, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science) and Martin Storksdieck (director of project development, Institute of Learning Innovation, Annapolis, Maryland)
  • "The Science and Technology of Biofuels"; Sheri Potter (COPUS Network Manager, AIBS), Alan Hecht (US Environmental Protection Agency [EPA]), John Regalbuto (National Science Foundation), Donna Perla (US EPA), and Robert Larson (US EPA)
  • "The ABCs of Agriculture, Biodiversity, and Climate Change"; David E. Blockstein (National Council for Science and the Environment)
  • "NAS Report on Agriculture and Undergraduate Science Education"; Adam P. Fagen (senior program officer, National Academies Board on Life Sciences)
  • "Changing the Way We Talk about Science: Understanding Science and Year of Science 2009"; Sheri Potter (COPUS Network project manager, AIBS)
  • "Agroecology of Biofuels"; Tom Simpson (Water Stewardship), Daniel De La Torre (University of Tennessee at Knoxville), and Thomas W. Gray (US Department of Agriculture Rural Development/RBS)


  • The National Association of Biology Teachers and the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS): "Fuels for the Future? Helping Students Use a Systems Approach to Analyze Biofuel Production"; Paul Beardsley (BSCS, University of Washington)
  • AIBS Public Policy Office: Communicating Science: A Primer for Working with the Media; Robert Gropp (director of public policy, AIBS)
  • "Professional Science Master's: Connecting to the Business Side of Science"; Ursula Bechert (president, National Professional Science Master's Association, Oregon State University)

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