Ecological Society of America

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Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: NAT ECOLOGICAL OBSERVATORY NET | Award Amount: 170.27K | Year: 2012

Opportunities to address new scientific questions at continental scales have been growing enormously over the past decade or so, as new networks and knowledgebases are developed and deployed at a rapid rate. While ecosystem ecologists are used to addressing questions on such scales (productivity of biomes, global nitrogen cycles), population and community ecologists have less experience working at these spatial scales. The award provides funds to support two joint, co-occurring workshops, one for early-career population and community ecologists to develop research plans for continental scale questions on population and community ecology, and the other for undergraduate students to explore ways to apply continental and regional scale knowledgebases and tools to environmental policy issues. The proposed workshops would bring large scale data and analytical tools to the attention of young career scientists and undergraduates in population and community ecology. Practitioners at landscape and ecosystem levels are more comfortable with these tools, but population and community ecologists need to be encourages to explore questions at larger scales than plots and transects. The award will enable a broader movement in ecology towards the use of networks, global knowledgebases and distributed public data. The workshops will provide training, ideas, and collaborative network for students and early career scientists who wish to scale-up in the questions addressed in community and population ecology.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: BIOLOGICAL RESEARCH COLLECTION | Award Amount: 94.19K | Year: 2016

Natural history museums are a treasured resource for public education and enjoyment. Less well-known to the general public, but critically for American science, they house millions of specimens and large quantities of data that are used by researchers to answer a range of questions relating to human health, agriculture, land management, conservation, and national security. Collectively, they form one of the largest scientific research facilities in the world, but the majority of the operating expenses of this national system are born by nonfederal organizations, both private and public, which in many cases struggle to meet these costs. If museum collections are to rise to the challenges facing society in the 21st Century, there is an urgent need to develop new economic models of operation.

This workshop brings together a diverse, interdisciplinary group of natural history museum curators and collections staff, collections users (both current and potential), sustainability experts, management research specialists, and future studies experts to discuss the potential for developing (1) quantitative measures of collections value and (2) economic models for translating this value into support for collections, based on tangible benefits. The agenda will foster an entrepreneurial approach to sustainability, encouraging participants to develop a variety of new business models in the context of long-term trends shaping society in order to secure the future of natural history museums and collections. The results of this project, including a white paper, will be available at www.esa.org.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: ECOSYSTEM STUDIES | Award Amount: 291.35K | Year: 2015

The Ecological Society of America (ESA) represents over 10,000 members committed to a broad and deep understanding of life on Earth. In 1996, ESA launched the first phase of a new program, called Strategies for Ecology Education, Diversity and Sustainability (SEEDS), intentionally designed to retain underrepresented minority undergraduate students in the field of ecology through intensive mentoring at the individual and small group levels. Since then SEEDS has grown and expanded to include field trips to ecological research sites, a leadership workshop, a research fellowship program, and partnerships with other organizations and networks. Over 500 minority students have been served by SEEDS over the years. The current project is Phase IV of SEEDS and is based on results of an independent program evaluation in 2014. In this phase a set of structured workshops and conferences will be integrated into a sequence of activities that build upon previous student experiences and a designed support infrastructure. Three dimensions of experience and support, personal, cultural and institutional, are interwoven during and between proposed program activities. SEEDS students will work with mentors to identify opportunities in five areas that will help them advance in science careers: research experiences, skills workshops, presentations at scientific meetings, community projects, and completed LinkedIn profiles and active participation in social media.

SEEDS ecology field experiences serve primarily freshmen and sophomores or those who have no prior research background. In this way, students are introduced to ecology earlier in their undergraduate careers and motivated to consider the wide variety of research and career options available. Travel awards to ESA annual meetings support more advanced students who aspire to careers in ecology by more fully integrating them into the large family of professional ecologists. New dimensions in Phase IV include increased support for the development of SEEDS chapters at institutions across the U.S., formal partnerships with specific field-based research organizations and networks, and longer-term mentoring of individual SEEDS students. SEEDS is a cohesive, focused and future-looking program, critically important for enhancing the participation of under-represented groups where agency support, and real progress, has historically been weak.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ECOSYSTEM STUDIES | Award Amount: 125.00K | Year: 2012

The Ecological Society of America (ESA) will hold an interdisciplinary workshop to engage many disciplines and types of practitioners to co-design the scientific framework for Earth Stewardship, an effort to engage scientific knowledge in societal decision making about sustainable futures. ESA has hosted four meetings involving academics and practitioners in social, psychological and physical sciences, religion and ethics, urban design and regional planning, and civil engineering. These exploratory meetings revealed a widespread professional concern with stewardship of the Earth?s life support and socio-ecological systems. This award will support a workshop to leverage efforts in Earth stewardship. The objectives are to bring together academics within the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities along with practitioners in planning, design, engineering, government and civil society to develop a strategic plan for Earth stewardship and develop a strategy for learning, communicating and teaching about Earth stewardship. This effort is designed to complement the emerging science of sustainability by facilitating substantive intellectual exchange among disciplines concerned with the scholarship supporting stewardship.

Many current efforts are aimed at applying scientific principles to solving problems of sustainability. The focus of this workshop is on stewardship, rather than on applying basic knowledge. Such stewardship is especially crucial with mounting global changes in the form of urbanization, human migration, population growth, global eutrophication and toxification, land use conversion on continental scales, and economic and resource dependency that cross international borders. The knowledge shared and pilot projects to be identified at the workshop will contribute to science, education, and the civic dialogue in ways that can shape more sustainable trajectories in an uncertain world.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Research Coordination Networks | Award Amount: 48.17K | Year: 2015

The Ecological Society of America, in collaboration with the Society for Conservation Biology, has received a Research Coordination Network - Undergraduate Biology Education award for their project entitled Next Generation Careers - Innovations in Environmental Biology Education. The PI team is forming a network to support workforce development for college graduate career progression into environmental biology, including fields such as ecology, evolution, conservation, plant biology, and natural resource management. The network is forging connections among academic faculty and administrators and the private sector, government, and non-governmental organizations. Next Generation Careers is bringing 40 representatives from across these sectors to a workshop to identify potential resource needs, training courses, workforce development and alignment, and directions in environmental biology teaching.

To inform participants, Next Generation Careers is surveying the chairs of Biology departments, undergraduate career development officers, biology faculty and faculty at the nexus of mathematics and biology. Examination of job ads for entry level positions in related jobs is providing further information concerning the most commonly sought skills for graduates with Associates or Bachelors degrees. In addition, eight interactive sessions at collaborating disciplinary society and professional association meetings are providing input into the work of the network. Assessment of the level of participation, the network space, including electronic platforms for information and document exchange, and project outcomes is informing both the process of effective network development and the design of valuable undergraduate career progressions. This project is funded jointly by the Directorate for Biological Sciences, Division of Biological Infrastructure and the Directorate for Education and Human Resources, Division of Undergraduate Education in support of efforts to address the challenges posed in Vision and Change in Undergraduate Education: A Call to Action http://visionandchange.org/finalreport/.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: NAT ECOLOGICAL OBSERVATORY NET | Award Amount: 35.26K | Year: 2013

This award will provide funds to build a more diverse ecological science workforce trained to undertake trans-disciplinary research and educational outreach at several of the Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) by leveraging the expertiseband knowledge of large ecological projects such as the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) and ESAs Future of Environmental Decisions (FED) education activities. The Science and Engineering Alliance, Inc. (SEA) and the Ecological Society of America (ESA) propose to conduct two workshops that will bring faculty and graduate students from Minority Serving Insitutions to the next Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting. The first workshop will provide a forum for faculty to gain knowledge of infrastructure enabled continental scale research, technologies and protocols to implement local research that dovetails with large projects like NEON, and develop collaborative partnerships with other MSIs and Ecologists. The second workshop will focus on Engaging HBCUs and MSIs in Education Using Large Scale Datasets. Participants will gain knowledge of data analysis and systems eduction in the context of Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education, common student misconceptions of key ecological concepts, and assessment strategies associated with introducing large scale data analysis in the classroom. The workshops strategically target underserved communities to increase their training and research capabilities in continental scale ecology. Through participation in the workshops and participation in the ESA Annual Meeting, the participants will increase their knowledge, skills, and ability to conduct large scale research and prepare students for a research future at the lead edge of a new field of ecology.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 45.00K | Year: 2015

In August 2015, the Ecological Society of America (ESA) celebrates its centennial year with a major conference in Baltimore, MD. The meeting theme, Ecological Science at the Frontier, reflects back 100 years on ESA as a scientific society, as well as into the uncharted future of the planet. This award will provide partial support for one of the main products of that meeting, a centennial special issue of the ESA membership journal, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, that looks forward to the next 100 years of life on Earth. Future generations will have to increasingly deal with the impacts of a changing climate in a wide range of practical ways. Many countries are already constructing or evaluating a range of new infrastructure prototypes, with the aim of supporting ecosystems and ecosystem services, and protecting human lives and property. It is critical that scientists are engaged in this discussion as investments are projected to increase dramatically over the next century. Therefore, ESA invited the authors to showcase the most interesting innovations around the world that address predicted future trajectories of change in ecosystems as climates change, and how humans might respond to those changes. Because all special issues of Frontiers are gold open access on the ESA website, this publication will be fully accessible to all interested readers. Authors are also welcome to post copies of their papers to their own personal or institutional websites, further increasing accessibility. Since Frontiers is designed to be understandable to a very broad audience, one way that scientists use it is as explanatory material when meeting with non-scientists, particularly resource managers and policy makers. As the planet changes, both the scientists and their stakeholder communities will benefit from having information on these infrastructural developments in one understandable package. Finally, this special issue will provide scientists with an early opportunity to develop related research agendas for addressing the challenges presented, the results of which will be critical to public policy as most regions of the world prepare to invest in adaptation.

Specific topics for this special issue of Frontiers include how infrastructure systems will respond to increased temperatures in cities, accelerating rates of sea level rise, long-term droughts, increased flooding, and species movements towards northern latitudes and higher elevations. Other topics focus on the changes in scientific understanding required for tracking and predicting major changes in ecosystems, in the form of both new statistical analyses and integrated models that cross scales from local populations of organisms to continents. Finally, this issue will also describe key modeling efforts that may influence our thinking about ecosystems in a changing climate and catalyze the development of new ideas related to coastal ecosystems, river and watershed dynamics, continental-scale biogeographic responses to climate change, and urban heat island effects related to human health.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 183.16K | Year: 2013

This project, Diverse People for a Diverse Science, takes the Ecological Society of Americas Strategies for Ecology Education, Diversity and Sustainability (SEEDS) program into Phase IV of its mission. It integrates a set of existing and new programs into a sequence of activities that build upon previous experiences and an infrastructure of support designed to retain minorities in ecology. Specifically, students from groups underrepresented in science will be recruited to participate in multi-day field trips to sites of long-term environmental research, where they will meet scientists and learn firsthand about ecological research. SEEDS will help these students and their mentors build and strengthen SEEDS chapters on their college campuses. Students will be able to apply through SEEDS competitions for funds to support their own research and to attend the annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America (ESA), where they can present their work and meet a wide diversity of ecologists. This suite of activities provides students with mentoring support and exposure to a broad spectrum of career development opportunities. Effectiveness of these activities for recruiting students from underrepresented groups into the field of ecology will be assessed by independent evaluators.

By expanding and fostering the interaction of students across ESAs members and partners, SEEDS is well-positioned to enhance the visibility and value of diversity for the next generation of scientists. Through developing student leadership and community outreach skills, the project provides outlets for students to share the value of ecological science on campuses, in local schools and in communities. More broadly, SEEDS helps to ensure a diverse workforce, which will be necessary to solve the many ecological problems faced by practically all societies in the 21st century.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ADVANCES IN BIO INFORMATICS | Award Amount: 358.38K | Year: 2013

The Ecological Society of America (ESA) is awarded a grant to develop a training program, Sustaining Biological Infrastructure: Strategies for Success, to provide directors of biological research infrastructure projects with training in strategic business planning, marketing, and communication. Successful biological research relies on access to a wide range of supporting infrastructure resources, including databases, living stocks collections, museum collections, and field stations. These resources in turn require informed planning to maintain their long-term financial sustainability and capacity to innovate to meet the research communitys constantly changing needs. The intellectual merit of this program, which will conduct an annual training workshop for three years, consists in providing research infrastructure directors with the skills they need to integrate long-term financial sustainability and innovation into their management and continuing development of these essential resources.

Biological research, including research in fields of direct societal relevance such as agriculture, genetics, environmental science, and human diseases, depends on infrastructure. Examples of this infrastructure include collections of living organisms with documented provenance and genetic histories, data repositories with information about gene sequences and protein structures, and field stations with environmental monitoring equipment. Directors of these resources need in-depth knowledge of strategic business planning to ensure the long-term sustainability of infrastructure vital to scientific development and innovation. Workshop organizers will encourage participation by a wide range of scientists, including those from groups underrepresented in science, and participants will have the opportunity to exchange information about their challenges and experiences, successes and failures. The broader impacts of this program thus lie in its contribution to the long-term sustainability of biological research and to the development of a community of scientist-program directors who can in turn pass along their new knowledge to the next generation of scientists. Additional information about this workshop will be made available in the Science Programs section of ESAs website, www.esa.org.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ADVANCES IN BIO INFORMATICS | Award Amount: 213.40K | Year: 2014

The Intergovernmental Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), an international body established in 2012, is intended to strengthen the role of science in decision-making as it relates to the conservation and sustainable management of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Over the next several years, IPBES will conduct assessments addressing biodiversity and ecosystem services at global to subregional scales. The U.S. government and members of the scientific community have been involved from the start in the conception and establishment of IPBES, which can enhance the value of U.S. science initiatives such as the Long Term Ecological Research Network, National Ecological Observatory Network, and others to global and national science-based decision making. Furthermore, IPBES assessments can provide data and knowledge to proposed policy initiatives, for example, the Quadrennial Ecosystems Services Trends Assessment, which would periodically assess conditions, trends, and challenges to sustainability of U.S. ecosystems; and the Ecoinformatics-based Open Resources and Machine Accessibility initiative, which would facilitate integration and use of biodiversity and ecosystems data across the federal government.

In order to strengthen U.S. engagement in IPBES, it is critically important to effectively inform the scientific community about the wide range of opportunities for contributing to and benefiting from IPBES activities. The Ecological Society of America (ESA) is awarded a grant to support that engagement. ESA will develop and implement a process for identifying possible U.S. nominees for IPBES expert panels, working groups, and reviews; network with other professional societies, nongovernmental organizations, and trade groups; publicize opportunities to participate in IPBES; recommend nominees for participation in IPBES activities; and assist in developing webinars and conference sessions on IPBES assessments and other activities.

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