Sage grouse losing habitat to fire as endangered species decision looms

Post-wildfire stabilization treatment has not aided habitat restoration for the imperiled Great Plains birds.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, 2 April 2014
Contact: Liza Lester (202) 833-8773 x 211; llester@esa.org

 

A summer storm passes over sagebrush country near Hollister, Idaho. The area has not burned in the last 30 years and features mature sagebrush, but also non-native cheatgrass, mustard, and crested wheatgrass, and barbed-wire fencing, which provides perches for predatory birds. Non-native plants and human infrastructure diminish the quality of the habitat for sage grouse.

An early summer storm passes over sagebrush country near Hollister, Idaho. The area has not burned within the 20 year time frame of the study. It features mature sagebrush, but also non-native cheatgrass, mustard, and crested wheatgrass, and barbed-wire fencing, which provides perches for predatory birds. Non-native plants and human infrastructure diminish the quality of the habitat for sage grouse. Credit, Robert Arkle, June 2011.

As fires sweep more frequently across the American Great Basin, the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has been tasked with reseeding the burned landscapes to stabilize soils. BLM’s interventions have not helped to restore habitat for the greater sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) reported scientists from the US Geological Survey (USGS) and US Forest Service in the Ecological Society of America’s journal Ecosphere last week, but outlier project sites with good grouse habitat may yield clues to successful management scenarios.

Their report arrives in the shadow of a pending decision by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to protect the sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act, and efforts by BLM and FWS to establish voluntary conservation and restoration management plans in lieu of endangered species listing mandates.

Protection of sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act could affect the management of 250,000 square miles of land in the western US. FWS must decide on the grouse’s protection status by the end of FY 2015.

Wildfire is the predominant cause of habitat loss in the Great Basin. The sagebrush ecosystem is not adapted to frequent fires like some forests in California and the central Rockies, and fires have increased in frequency and in size over the last half century.

“The most common species, big sagebrush, doesn’t re-sprout from the stump. After it burns, it’s dead and it has to reseed, and it’s not very good at dispersing seeds long distance,” said author Robert Arkle, a supervisory ecologist for the USGS Forest & Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center at the Snake River Field Station in Idaho. “Seeds aren’t viable very long. Some years they don’t reproduce at all, without the right spring conditions. Getting sage established out in the middle of these big burned areas is a difficult task.”

Arkle emphasized that recovery of sage grouse habitat is not part of BLM’s wildfire response directive. BLM’s Emergency Stabilization and Rehabilitation (ESR) program is designed to reestablish perennial plant cover following wildfire, preventing erosion and limiting the spread of non-native species.

“Accomplishing those goals certainly wouldn’t hurt sage grouse, but whether or not these treatments provide a benefit for sage grouse doesn’t have bearing on the success of the ESR program,” said Arkle. “It’s important to recognize the difficulty of what the land management community is trying to do.”

A sea of non-native crested wheatgrass (left) fills the path of the Poison Creek fire, which burned on Idaho’s remote Owyhee High Plateau in 1996. An abrupt transition to healthy sagebrush marks the edge of the fire. The Jarbidge Mountains sit on the horizon. Credit, Robert Arkle.

A sea of non-native crested wheatgrass (left) fills the path of the Poison Creek fire, which burned on the remote Owyhee High Plateau, tucked into the southwest corner of Idaho, in 1996. Nearly two decades later, an abrupt transition to healthy sagebrush marks the edge of the fire. The Jarbidge Mountains sit on the horizon. Credit, Robert Arkle, June 2011.

Historically, the Great Basin burned in smaller, patchier conflagrations, at intervals on the order of once per century. Managers are now seeing sagebrush country burn every 20 years in parts of the Great Basin, fueled by drought and vigorous non-natives like cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum).

 “Almost a million acres burn each year in the Great Basin and, since 1990, about 6% of the Great Basin has been treated with these ESR projects. Almost all treated acres occur in historic sage grouse habitat,” said Arkle. That’s why the team chose to look at ESR project sites. “We have this problem with non-native plants coming in, changing the fire cycle, and promoting more frequent fires. We wanted to know if ESR treatments had improved conditions for grouse in these vast burned areas.”

The average ESR project encompasses 4 square miles. In 2007, the Murphy Complex Fire burned 653,000 square miles in south-central Idaho. To cover such large areas, BLM spreads seed from aircraft or with tractor and rangeland drill seeders, usually in the fall or early winter. They customize a mix of forb, bunchgrass, and shrub seeds to the site. In recent years, BLM has moved to using native species when possible.

Arkle and colleagues examined 101 sites that burned once between 1990 and 2003. To select their sites, they compiled a database of fires and ESR projects from which they randomly chose a set of project sites with a gradient of precipitation and annual temperatures but similar soil types.

“Treated plots were not much more likely to be used by sage grouse than the burned and untreated, on average, but there were outliers. Those are important, because they are sites where the treatments were more effective, in terms of sage grouse habitat,” said Arkle.

Sage grouse prefer land that has not burned at all in recent decades. Arkle and his colleagues found little sagebrush cover at burned sites, whether treated or not.

“I think that’s the most important finding, because some sites burned 20 years ago and still haven’t recovered,” said Arkle. “We did not see a trend of increasing sagebrush cover with time, so time is not the limiting factor in this 20 year window.” If not time, then what does sagebrush need to recover? The limiting factor could be related to climate, or prevalence of non-native plants. It is a question the researchers hope to address in the future.

Robert Arkle collected data at Clover Creek in 2009, near perimeter of a fire that burned on Idaho’s Owyhee High Plateau in 1994. Credit (co-author) David Pilliod.

Robert Arkle collected data at Clover Creek in 2009, near the perimeter of a fire that burned on Idaho’s Owyhee High Plateau in 1994. Credit (co-author) David Pilliod, July 2009.

Sage grouse are picky birds, Arkle and colleagues found, preferring a sagebrush steppe environment featuring very little human development and dwarf sagebrush (Artemisia arbuscula, A. nova, or A. tripartita) but not cheatgrass or other non-native plants. Even in otherwise primo landscapes, if just 2.5% of the land is developed within five kilometers of a site, the birds will be half as likely to use it. If any development, including paved roads, can be seen, they don’t want be there. Seemingly low impact structures like fences and livestock watering stations provide predatory ravens with high perches from which to spy sage grouse nests.

The outlier ESR sites preferred by sage grouse had healthier sagebrush and shared common climate and post-treatment weather conditions. Sagebrush recovery fared better in more northerly, higher elevation sites, with relatively cool, moist springs. Spring weather has big role in successful germination and growth of sagebrush during the crucial first growing season. Sagebrush biology and physiology can be the biggest hurdle for restoration managers.

To Arkle’s mind, the study results argue for maintaining and protecting existing expanses of intact, high quality habitat, and only secondarily trying to fix what’s broken.

Experimental techniques have some promise, and include multiple seedings when the first try fails, out-planting pods of seedlings, and using different types of drill seeding equipment. Reseeding burns with local varietals or close genetic matches could improve recruitment. Controlling non-native plants with herbicides and fungal infections has been tried, with mixed results.

But the factors that ultimately determine the survival of the sagebrush ecosystem may be out of managers’ control. The study, and another tracking the recovery of mountain big sagebrush (A. tridentata subsp. vaseyana) at high elevation, suggest that climate may play a role in the failure of big sage germination and establishment in hotter locations. Managers can try to work with and around climate and weather constraints, but impending climate changes will likely make this task more difficult. Some sites are more resilient than others. It’s possible that parts of the Great Basin will cross a tipping point of climate and species representation, from which they cannot return.

“There is potential for sites to move into a new plant community state,” said Arkle. “It’s possible that some have gone past a threshold. We could have a really difficult time trying to move them back to plant communities that existed historically.”

 

Robert S. Arkle, David S. Pilliod, Steven E. Hanser, Matthew L. Brooks, Jeanne C. Chambers, James B. Grace, Kevin C. Knutson, David A. Pyke, Justin L. Welty, and Troy A. Wirth 2014. Quantifying restoration effectiveness using multi-scale habitat models: implications for sage-grouse in the Great Basin. Ecosphere 5:art31.

This open access report was funded by the US Geological Survey, the Bureau of Land Management, and the US Forest Service.

USGS press release: Post-Fire Stabilization Seedings Have Not Developed Into Sage-grouse Habitat. Released: 3/24/2014 9:34:33 AM

ESA Announces 2014 Graduate Student Policy Award Winners

WASHINGTON, DC – The Ecological Society of America has selected the 2014 recipients of its annual Graduate Student Policy Award: Sarah Anderson (Washington State University), Andrew Bingham (Colorado State University), Amber Childress (Colorado State University), Brittany West Marsden (University of Maryland) and Johanna Varner (University of Utah). The five students will travel to Washington, DC in April to participate in policy training sessions as well as meetings with decision-makers on Capitol Hill.

Anderson

Anderson complements her research into atmospheric nitrogen deposition with participation in a National Science Foundation-Interdisciplinary Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT), focused on training scientists in policy. Through IGERT, she served as a Science Policy Fellow with the US Global Change Research Program. IGERT has offered her the opportunity to collaborate with non-governmental organization scientists, cabinet advisors and policy analysts. She has also attended several workshops on communicating with policymakers and the media.

BinghamBingham, a Geographic Information Specialist with the National Park Service (NPS), has collaborated with scientists and policy experts in using geospatial data to analyze air quality for use in NPS in-house studies, peer-reviewed journals, congressional reports and interagency sharing. Bingham’s geospatial data work with NPS over the past decade has included service as a resource advisor during the BP gulf oil spill. In his master’s work at the University of Colorado he studies biogeochemical cycling and science-policy interactions.

ChildressAfter spending years in DC immersed in policy engagement, Childress decided to pursue an Ecology Ph.D. to further her understanding of climate change mitigation. During her graduate studies, she contributed to the National Climate Assessment through her work with the Great Plains Climate Assessment Technical Report. Childress’s time in Washington, DC included service as a page in the US House of Representatives and an intern for the Speaker of the House. In recent years, she has also served in the H. John Heinz Center for Science, Economics and the Environment.

MarsdenMarsden was inspired to apply her research on aquatic vegetation populations towards policy after stints as an environmental educator at the US Fish and Wildlife Service Patuxent Research Refuge and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. She’s also been a recipient of the Environmental Protection Agency Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Fellowship among other awards. Her close vicinity to the DC region coupled with her frequent usage of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration environmental records in referencing for her research gave Marsden a unique understanding of how ecological research can be hampered by sequestration and federal government shutdowns.

VarnerVarner’s graduate research focuses on the American Pika, which shares the same species order as rabbits and hares. She is currently working with the Oregon Zoo, the US Forest Service, USGS, and US Fish and Wildlife Service to document pika status and distribution. She also studied the impacts of Hantavirus the effects of human disturbance on rodent populations in Utah. . Her fieldwork allotted her the opportunity to discuss the importance of her research with a diverse assortment of local residents and stakeholders.

These students have demonstrated their commitment to engaging in public policy and the ESA Award will allow them to build on their experiences. This April, Anderson, Bingham, Childress, Marsden, and Varner will participate in a congressional visits event in Washington, DC, sponsored by the Biological Ecological Sciences Coalition (BESC) and co-chaired by ESA. The two-day event will focus on the need for sustained federal investment in biological research and education for key science agencies like the National Science Foundation. Joined by other scientists from across the nation, the students will also be briefed by policy leaders on current issues, including fiscal policy debates and the future of federal investment in science.

The ESA Graduate Student Policy Award is one of several ways the Society works to offer its graduate student members opportunities to gain public policy experience. The Society also provides policy training during its annual meeting and by request throughout the year. ESA graduate student members serve on several ESA standing committees, including the Public Affairs Committee, which works closely with ESA’s Washington, DC-based Public Affairs Office and focuses on activities to engage ecological scientists with policymakers and the media. Students may run for committee positions through ESA’s Student Section.

Special issue of ESA Frontiers assesses the impacts of climate change on people and ecosystems, and strategies for adaptation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, 4 November, 2013
Contact: Liza Lester (202) 833-8773 x 211; llester@esa.org

 

Mangrove islands like these along the upper Lostman’s River in Everglades National Park protect coastlines from stormy waves, storm surge, and erosion – expected to increasingly threaten coastal cities and townships as sea levels rise. Investments in “soft” engineering protections against storm damage, like wetlands and oyster reef restoration, can be cheaper in the long run than seawalls, breakwaters, and groins, and offer benefits for wildlife, fisheries,  and recreation. Credit, Paul Nelson, USGS.

Mangrove islands like these along the upper Lostman’s River in Everglades National Park protect coastlines from stormy waves, storm surge, and erosion – expected to increasingly threaten coastal cities and townships as sea levels rise. Investments in “soft” engineering protections against storm damage, like wetlands and oyster reef restoration, can be cheaper in the long run than seawalls, breakwaters, and groins, and offer benefits for wildlife, fisheries, and recreation. Credit, Paul Nelson, USGS.

President Obama marked the anniversary of Superstorm Sandy with an executive order last Friday “preparing the United States for the impacts of climate change.”

The coming century will bring many changes for natural systems and for the human societies that depend on them, as changing climate conditions ripple outward to changing rainfall patterns, soil nutrient cycles, species ranges, seasonal timing, and a multitude of other interconnected factors. Many of these changes have already begun. Preparing for a future of unpredictable change will require, as the President suggests, the coordinated action of people across all sectors of society, as well as good information from the research community.

The November 2013 issue of the Ecological Society of America’s journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment is devoted to an assessment of climate change effects on ecosystems, and the consequences for people.

The Special Issue tackles five major topics of concern:

Biodiversity

Ecologists have predicted that species will move out of their historic ranges as climate changes and their old territories become inhospitable. This is already occurring. Past predictions that species would seek out historic temperature conditions by moving up latitudes, uphill, or into deeper waters have turned out to be too simple, as species movements have proven to be idiosyncratic.  Because some species can move and cope with change more easily than others, relationships between species are changing, sometimes in ways that threaten viability, as interdependent species are separated in time and space.

Ecosystem functionality

Living things have powerful influences on the lands and waters they occupy. As existing ecosystems unravel, we are seeing the chemistry and hydrology of the physical environment change, with further feedback effects on the ecosystem.  Ecosystem changes, in turn, feed back to climate.

Ecosystem Services

Impacts on natural systems have direct consequences for crop and seafood production, water quality and availability, storm damage, and fire intensity. Working with rather than against, ecosystems may help society to adapt to changes, like sea-level rise and storm surge, that threaten lives and property.

Combined effects of climate and other pressures

Species will be hard pressed to adapt to rapidly changing physical conditions without room to move. Ecosystems are already stressed by habitat loss and fragmentation, pollution, and natural resource extraction.

Preparation for change

Adaptation efforts may need to think beyond the preservation of current or historic natural communities. Existing relationships between species and the landscapes they inhabit will inevitably change. We may need to consider managing the changing landscapes to maintain biodiversity and the functional attributes of ecosystems, rather than specific species.

 

“The impacts that climate change has had and will have on people are interwoven with the impacts on ecosystems. I think that we instinctively know that. In this assessment, we try to draw that connection,” said guest editor Nancy Grimm, a professor in the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University.

To produce this Special Issue of ESA’s Frontiers, a diverse group of over 50 ecological scientists and other stakeholders condensed and illustrated the work they had done for a technical input report on biodiversity, ecosystems, and ecosystem services for the US National Climate Assessment. The Assessment is due to be released in 2014.

The collection is aimed at both ecologists and practitioners. The authors hope to demonstrate the potential for researchers to collaborate with practitioners in identifying “policy relevant questions”—information that practitioners need to make science-based decisions about management of natural resources. Grimm would like to see more academic researchers designing “policy-relevant questions” into their research programs, so that research projects may address the data needs of managers while tackling basic science questions.

The authors designed the collection of reports to demonstrate the interrelationships of human and ecosystem productivity, as well as the interrelationships of species, climate, and landscape. By properly managing ecosystems, they say, we are also managing their potential to harm or help society. The variability of the natural world demands equal creativity and flexibility in considering a range of complementary solutions to environmental problems.

 

Special Issue: Impacts of climate change on biodiversity, ecosystems, and ecosystem services. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 11(9) November, 2013

 

Contents:

  • Evaluating climate impacts on people and ecosystems
    NB Grimm and KL Jacobs 455
  • Climate-change impacts on ecological systems: introduction to a US assessment
    NB Grimm, MD Staudinger, A Staudt, SL Carter, FS Chapin III, P Kareiva, M Ruckelshaus, and BA Stein 456
  • Biodiversity in a changing climate: a synthesis of current and projected trends in the US
    MD Staudinger, SL Carter, MS Cross, NS Dubois, JE Duffy, C Enquist, R Griffis, JJ Hellmann, JJ Lawler, J O’Leary, SA Morrison, L Sneddon, BA Stein, LM Thompson, and W Turner 465
  • The impacts of climate change on ecosystem structure and function
    NB Grimm, FS Chapin III, B Bierwagen, P Gonzalez, PM Groffman, Y Luo, F Melton, K Nadelhoffer, A Pairis, PA Raymond, J Schimel, and CE Williamson 474
  • Climate change’s impact on key ecosystem services and the human well-being they support in the US
    EJ Nelson, P Kareiva, M Ruckelshaus, K Arkema, G Geller, E Girvetz, D Goodrich, V Matzek, M Pinsky, W Reid, M Saunders, D Semmens, and H Tallis 483
  • The added complications of climate change: understanding and managing biodiversity and ecosystems
    A Staudt, AK Leidner, J Howard, KA Brauman, JS Dukes, LJ Hansen, C Paukert, J Sabo, and LA Solórzano 494
  • Preparing for and managing change: climate adaptation for biodiversity and ecosystems
    BA Stein, A Staudt, MS Cross, NS Dubois, C Enquist, R Griffis, LJ Hansen, JJ Hellmann, JJ Lawler, EJ Nelson, and A Pairis 502

 

 

This open access Special Issue was generously funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the US Geological Survey, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

 


The Ecological Society of America is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge. ESA is committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 10,000 member Society publishes five journals, convenes an annual scientific conference, and broadly shares ecological information through policy and media outreach and education initiatives. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org.

Journalists and public information officers can gain access to full texts of all ESA publications by contacting the public affairs office. Email Liza Lester, llester@esa.org.

To subscribe to ESA press releases, contact Liza Lester at llester@esa.org.

USGS scientist named Ecological Society of America president

For immediate release:  Monday, 9 September 2013                        

Contact: Terence Houston (202) 833-8773 x 224; terence@esa.org

ESA president Jill Baron. Credit: ESA file photo.

ESA president Jill Baron. Credit: ESA file photo.

Jill Baron, an ecosystem ecologist with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and a senior research ecologist with Colorado State University’s Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory, has been named President of the Ecological Society of America (ESA), the world’s largest organization of professional ecologists. As president, Baron now chairs ESA’s governing board, which lays out the vision for overall goals and objectives for the Society. 

“Ecologists explore the organisms and processes that make up the living world, but we also evaluate the environmental and societal consequences of human activities,” said Baron.  “For many of us, this knowledge drives us to seek solutions and promote better stewardship of our natural resources. As well we should: the funding that supports our work comes with the expectation that we will give back to the public that subsidizes us; this is something I, as a civil servant, am keenly aware of. The Ecological Society of America is a tremendously effective vehicle for discharging our responsibility to society.  ESA’s rich portfolio of activities, from its influential journals, public affairs and communication activities, education, science office, and vibrant meetings, reflect how the Society both promotes the science and its application.  It is an honor and a privilege for me to help lead these tasks.”  

Baron is co-Director of the John Wesley Powell Center for Earth System Science Analysis and Syntheisis, a center founded to promote the emergence of new knowledge through interdisciplinary collaboration.  Baron’s own research has helped inform policy related to air-quality issues in the state of Colorado. For over three decades, she has researched the effects of atmospheric deposition and climate change on Rocky mountain lakes, forests, and soils.    Her work has garnered recognition from a swath of federal agencies. Most recently, she was recognized with two National Park Service awards: the 2012 Intermountain Region Regional Director’s Natural Resource Award and the 2011 Rocky Mountain National Park Stewardship Award. She was also honored with Department of Interior Meritorious Service Award in 2002.

Baron was editor of ESA’s Issues in Ecology for several years and previously served as Member at Large on ESA’s governing board. Baron was lead author of the US Climate Change Science Program report on Climate Change Adaption Options for National Parks, and a contributor to the National Climate Assessment.  She has served on the Department of Interior’s Climate Change Task Force and was part of the Science Strategy Team that structured the scientific direction of the USGS. She has authored over 140 publications and edited two books, including Rocky Mountain Futures, an ecological perspective that addresses past, present, and future human-environment interactions.

 

The Ecological Society of America is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and the trusted source of ecological knowledge.  ESA is committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth.  The 10,000 member Society publishes five journals, convenes an annual scientific conference, and broadly shares ecological information through policy and media outreach and education initiatives. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org or find experts in ecological science at http://www.esa.org/pao/rrt/.

Female tiger sharks migrate from Northwestern to Main Hawaiian Islands during fall pupping season

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, 5 September, 2013
Contact: Liza Lester (202) 833-8773 x 211; llester@esa.org

 

A tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier) photographed by Wayne Levin in Hawaiian waters.

A tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier) photographed off the Big Island of Hawaii by Wayne Levin.

A quarter of the mature female tiger sharks plying the waters around the remote coral atolls of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands decamp for the populated Main Hawaiian Islands in the late summer and fall, swimming as far as 2,500 kilometers (1,500 miles) according to new research from University of Florida and the University of Hawaii. Their report is scheduled for publication in the November 2013 issue of Ecological Society of America’s journal Ecology. The authors’ manuscript is available as a preprint.

“When we think of animal migrations, we tend to think of all individuals in a populations getting up and leaving at the same time, but it’s not as simple as that,” said first author Yannis Papastamatiou of the University of Florida. “Some are resident and some are transient.”

Among all migrating animals, from birds to elk to 15-ft ocean predators, some portion of the population remains behind when the rest leave on their seasonal journeys. Animals have choice. On what factors does choice depend? The answers are important to conservation efforts and the management of our own interactions with the animals as they pass around, over, and through human communities.

Tiger sharks are present throughout the islands at all times of year.  The female sharks’ migration from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands dovetails with the tiger shark birth season in September to early November – and with the months of highest shark bite risk. Though rare, shark bites have historically been most frequent from October to December.  Traditional Hawaiian knowledge also warns of danger during the fall months.

“Both the timing of this migration and tiger shark pupping season coincide with Hawaiian oral traditions suggesting that late summer and fall, when the wiliwili tree blooms, are a period of increased risk of shark bites,” said co-author Carl Meyer of the University of Hawaii.

Papastamatiou and Meyer urge people not to leap to the conclusion that this movement of female sharks is directly related to recent shark bites around Maui, Oahu, and the Big Island. Many factors might influence shark behavior in ways that would lead to more frequent encounters with people, Papastamatiou said. Scientists have almost no data on the attributes or particular behaviors of tiger sharks that bite people because bloody conflicts with humanity, though dramatic, are rare.

Papastamatiou thinks there is a more likely connection to pupping, with female sharks swimming down to preferred nursery sites in the Main Hawaiian Islands. The Main Hawaiian Islands may offer different foods, protection from ocean waves, or some other, unknown factor.

Papastamatiou is careful to distinguish between what he knows and what he can only hypothesize based on the patterns of shark location data and shark natural history. He knows that one quarter of the mature females are moving to the main isles at the time when pupping is known to occur. He knows tiger shark females mostly likely pup every three years, so only one third are pregnant in the Fall.

Discussions of tiger shark behavior and natural history are often laced with caveats because the sharks are rare and swim through very large home ranges. They are not easy to observe systematically.

Papastamatiou and colleagues tracked more than 100 tiger sharks over the course of 7 years by tagging each animal with a transmitter that emitted high frequency sound in a unique code. When the sharks swam within range of one of 143 underwater “listening stations” arrayed throughout the islands and atolls of the Hawaiian Archipelago, the station made a record of time, date, and the identity of the shark. The tags last for a minimum of 3 years.

The researchers caught only glimpses of each animal. For months between those glimpses, the sharks’ movements and behavior remained mysterious. “They could leave Hawaii altogether, and we wouldn’t know,” said Papastamatiou. Like many good studies, their results offered more new questions than answers. But the research team could detect a few patterns.

“One that stands out: although sharks show preference for certain islands, they don’t stay resident in specific bays for long periods,” said Papastamatiou. “It debunks the old idea of territoriality.”

This research and other studies like it have solidly overturned mid-twentieth century ideas that tiger sharks stick to chosen territories in specific coves and bays. The territoriality hypothesis led to culls during the 1960s and ‘70s under the belief that killing sharks in locations where people had been hurt meant killing the shark that had attacked them, eliminating a “problem” shark.

But Papastamatiou said his data show that tiger sharks don’t hang around the same bit of coastline for more than a few weeks. With concerns acute in the wake of recent shark bites and the death of a German tourist, Hawaiians are anxious to do something to respond.

“The one thing I hope they don’t do is try to initiate a cull as was done in the 60s and 70s. I don’t think it works. There is no measurable reduction in attacks after a cull,” said Papastamatiou.

Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources commissioned a two-year, $186,000 study last year of tiger shark movements in the islands, headed by study co-author Carl Meyer. The study will begin this month.

 

Telemetry and random walk models reveal complex patterns of partial migration in a large marine predator. Yannis Peter Papastamatiou, Carl Gustav Meyer, Felipe Carvalho, Jonathon Dale, Melanie Hutchinson, and Kim Holland. Ecology (2013, in press)

 

Journalists and public information officers can gain access to full texts of all ESA publications by contacting the public affairs office. Email Liza Lester, llester@esa.org.

 

Author Contacts:

 Yannis Peter Papastamatiou (first author), University of Florida, Florida Museum of Natural History ypapastamatiou@gmail.com; 352-392-2360 extension 3-1955

Carl Meyer, University of Hawaii, Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology [contact Talia Ogliore, Public Information Officer, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa; togliore@hawaii.edu; 808-956-4531]

 

 

The Ecological Society of America is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge. ESA is committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 10,000 member Society publishes five journals, convenes an annual scientific conference, and broadly shares ecological information through policy and media outreach and education initiatives. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org.

Scientists, practitioners, religious communities urge collaborative action to save our planet

For immediate release:  Tuesday, 3 September 2013                           

Contact: Nadine Lymn (202) 833-8773 x 205; nadine@esa.org

Big global questions face us, among them: How will we feed a growing global population without ruining the soil and polluting freshwater?  Or meet our burgeoning energy demands while curbing the greenhouse gas emissions that fuel rising sea levels, flooding, drought, disease and wildfire? And what can we do to stem the extinction of thousands of other species that share the planet with us?

These daunting “environmental” problems are not only in the domain of ecologists and environmental scientists. Other natural scientists, social, behavioral and economic researchers, urban designers and planners, and religious groups are also grappling with ways to turn around our sobering collective trajectory. And, in what marks a significant shift, ecologists are recognizing that generating and distributing scientific data is not enough. They see the need to embrace the social and ethical dimensions of scientific practice and to join with a wide variety of allies to solve these real-world problems.

September’s Special Issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment brings together the perspectives of anthropologists, architects, city planners, ecologists, engineers, ranchers, members of religious communities and others on ways to foster Earth Stewardship—defined here as taking action to sustain life in a rapidly changing world. 

 Anthropologist Laura Ogden and colleagues highlight socio-ecological drivers of global change that create patterns of environmental injustice and economic inequalities. 

 Architect Frederick Steiner and colleagues address the need to make urban areas more resilient to natural disasters and they highlight the potential of “green” infrastructure. Alex Felson et al. offer four practical examples that emphasize interactions between urban designers and ecologists. 

Specially marked bins invite anglers to dispose of used fishing lines. Credit: Susan Clayton.

Specially marked bins invite anglers to dispose of used fishing lines. Credit: Susan Clayton.

Psychologist Susan Clayton and co-authors review ways to encourage people to change a behavior that causes unintended damage. For example, old fishing lines that wash into the sea can entangle marine mammals, often leading to severe injury or death. A successful initiative invites anglers to dispose of their unwanted fishing tackle in specially marked bins placed in popular fishing areas. “The relative ease of performing this behavior as well as the large potential audience for the intervention makes it worth targeting,” say the authors.

Gregory Hitzhusen and Mary Tucker explore the potential of religion to advance Earth Stewardship.  “Religions play a central role in formulating worldviews that orient humans to the natural world and in articulating ethics that guide human behavior,” say the authors. 

Often overlooked and undervalued, rangelands are subject to degradation, conversion to other land uses and fragmentation worldwide. Noting that rangelands support the livelihoods of some 1 billion people and provide the animal protein, water and other resources to twice as many, Nathan Sayre and co-authors argue that rangelands are in dire need of Earth Stewardship.

The next generation of scientists, Ricardo Colon-Rivera and colleagues, bring attention to the desire of an increasing number of graduate students in science fields to integrate civic concerns with their research.

This Frontiers Special Issue and the workshop on the ecological dimensions of Earth Stewardship were generously funded by the National Science Foundation. The September issue is open access, as are all Frontiers Special Issues and may be accessed at: http://www.esajournals.org/toc/fron/11/7

 Review article titles in the ES Special Issue below:

 Global assemblages, resilience, and Earth Stewardship in the Anthropocene

 Earth Stewardship of rangelands: coping with ecological, economic, and political marginality

 The ecological imperative for environmental design and planning

 Promoting Earth Stewardship through urban design experiments

 The potential of religion for Earth Stewardship

  Psychological science, conservation, and environmental sustainability

 Moving forward: fostering the next generation of Earth stewards in STEM disciplines

The Ecological Society of America is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and the trusted source of ecological knowledge.  ESA is committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth.  The 10,000 member Society publishes five journals, convenes an annual scientific conference, and broadly shares ecological information through policy and media outreach and education initiatives. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org or find experts in ecological science at http://www.esa.org/pao/rrt/.

 To subscribe to ESA press releases, contact Liza Lester at llester@esa.org.

Using fire to manage fire-prone regions around the world

Inaugural online-only Special Issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment

 Media Advisory

For immediate release 14 August 2013

Contact: Nadine Lymn, (202) 833-8773, ext. 205; nadine@esa.org

Prescribed burn in Klamath National Forest CA. Credit: E. Knapp

Prescribed burn in Klamath National Forest CA. Credit: E. Knapp

 

The Ecological Society of America’s first online-only Special Issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment showcases prescribed burns around the globe, some of them drawing on historical practices to manage forests and grasslands in fire-prone regions.

The Online Special Issue looks at fire practices in the United States, Australia, southern Europe, South Africa and South America. One review article focuses on the cooperative efforts of US ranchers in the Great Plains using fire to beat back juniper encroachment on native grasslands.  Another features traditional Aboriginal approaches to minimize greenhouse-gas emissions from savanna fires in northern Australia.  In South America, traditional Mayan practices to produce “forest gardens” are applied to create spaces within the forest for different kinds of crops while contributing to soil fertility and sustaining wildlife.  And in southern Europe, a significant challenge is contending with stringent laws that create obstacles for using managed burns to decrease wildfire risk and manage habitats for grazing and wildlife.

The August online-only issue of Frontiers is open access, as are all Frontiers Special Issues. Access Prescribed burning in fire-prone landscapes here or click on the titles below to go directly to an article.

Prescribed burning in southern Europe: developing fire management in a dynamic landscape

Prescribed fire in North American forests and woodlands: history, current practice, and challenges

Prescribed burning in southwestern Australian forests

Fire management in species-rich Cape fynbos shrublands

The Maya milpa: fire and the legacy of living soil

Managing fire regimes in north Australian savannas: applying Aboriginal approaches to contemporary global problems

The rising Great Plains fire campaign: citizens’ response to woody plant encroachment

 

 

 

 

 

Rattlesnakes and ticks, competition and cannibalistic salamanders, and beneficial, predatory, parasitic Fungi

Presentations on species interactions figure large at ESA’s 2013 annual meeting

 

Media Advisory2013 ESA Logo

For immediate release:  Monday, 29 July 2013

Contact: Nadine Lymn (202) 833-8773 x 205; nadine@esa.org

 

Viper tick removal service

Human cases of Lyme disease continue to rise in the United States. The bacterial disease—which, if untreated can cause significant neurological problems—is transmitted to people by black-legged ticks, which pick up the pathogen by feeding on infected animals, primarily small mammals such as mice.

Timber Rattler Kabay

Timber rattlesnake. Credit: Ed Kabay

Previous studies have shown that when fewer predators of small mammals are present, the abundance of ticks goes up, resulting in an increase of Lyme infections in people. Edward Kabay, at East Chapel Hill High School, together with Nicholas Caruso at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa and Karen Lips with the University of Maryland, explored how timber rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus) might play a key role in the prevalence of Lyme disease in humans.

They modeled what and how much timber rattlesnakes ate based on published data on snake gut contents for four northeastern localities and determined the number of infected ticks removed from each location. Kabay, Caruso and Lips’ models showed that by eating mammalian prey, the snakes removed some 2,500 – 4,500 ticks from each site annually.  Rattlesnakes eradicated more ticks in areas with greater prey diversity than in habitats with less mammalian diversity. The trio’s research suggests that top predators like the timber rattlesnake play an important role in regulating the incidence of Lyme disease. But decreasing habitat and overharvesting of the snakes is driving their populations down, particularly in northern and upper midwestern areas, where the incidence of Lyme disease is highest. 

The presentation Timber Rattlesnakes may reduce incidence of Lyme disease in the Northeastern United States will take place on Tuesday, August 6, 2013: 4:40 PM in 101 I of the Minneapolis Convention Center.

Presenter contacts:

Edward Kabay, East Chapel Hill High School, ekabay@gmail.com

Nicolas Caruso, University of Alabama, nmcaruso@crimson.ua.edu

Karen Lips, University of Maryland, klips@umd.edu

Unexpected cannibals

Kyle McLean, an Environmental & Conservation Sciences graduate student at North Dakota State University, and his team looked at the two different types of juvenile barred tiger salamanders: the ‘typical’ variety and the rarer, cannibalistic morph.  A morph occurs when the same species exhibits different physical characteristics.  The cannibalistic morph is believed to be a result of plasticity; it’s changed its physical appearance due to environmental pressures.  The typical morph has a smaller head and smaller peg-like teeth compared to the cannibalistic morph’s broader head and sharper recurved teeth, allowing the cannibalistic morph to eat larger prey and, in many cases, other salamanders of the same species.  In water bodies where the morphs occur, they have been observed at less than 30 percent of the local population.  McLean thinks cannibalistic morphs occur at the larval stage when competition for food is highest. 

cannibal morph vomerine teeth by Keith McLean

Cannibal morph vomerine teeth. Credit: Kyle McLean

During the summer of 2012, McLean’s team collected 54 barred tiger salamanders (Ambystoma mavortium diaboli) from a North Dakota lake with a high concentration of fathead minnows that likely compete with larval salamanders for prey. The team measured the salamanders’ body length, skull, and teeth. They concluded that all were cannibalistic. Their snout length was not significantly different from that of typical barred tiger salamanders from a nearby lake, but the cannibalistic morphs had longer and wider skulls and larger, sharp teeth. Typical morphs came from a lake with a low abundance of competitors for food, possibly indicating that the cannibalistic morph occurs where there is a high concentration of predatory competition.

“The presence of cannibal morphs occurring in the barred tiger salamander was an unexpected discovery, but being that that every individual captured from the lake was a cannibal morph and they appear to not be in competition with each other but thousands of fathead minnows is the intriguing story, said McLean. “With future experimentation and data collection hopefully we will be able to better understand the abnormalities of this unique population.”

McLean’s poster session, Characteristics of cannibalistic morph barred tiger salamanders in a prairie pothole lake will take place on Wednesday, August 7, 20113 in Exhibit Hall B of the Minneapolis Convention Center.

Presenter contact:         

Kyle McLean, North Dakota State University; kyle.mclean@my.ndsu.edu

 Slime, spores…fungi!

Helvella by Roo Vandegrift

Illustration of the slate grey saddle (Helvella lacunosa) by Roo Vandegrift.

As different from plants as plants are from animals, Fungi feature varieties that decompose dead organisms, engage in mutually beneficial relationships with other species, cause disease to plants and animals, and act as predators and parasites.  Mycologists—those who study fungi and their relationships with other organisms—note that only a fraction of Fungal species are known and that modern mycology’s potential applications to engineering and other possible contributions remain largely untapped. 

Part of the organized poster session Current Perspectives on the History of Ecology, Getting freaky with fungi: A historical perspective on the emergence of mycology, will take place on Wednesday, August 7, 2013, from 4:30 – 6:30 PM in Exhibit Hall B of the Minneapolis Convention Center. 

Presenter contacts: 

Sydney Glassman, University of California, Berkeley, sglassman@berkeley.edu

Roo Vandegift, University of Oregon, awv@uoregon.edu

 Media Attendance

The Ecological Society of America’s Annual Meeting, Aug. 4-9, 2013 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is free for reporters with a recognized press card and institutional press officers. Registration is also waived for current members of the National Association of Science Writers, the Canadian Science Writers Association, the International Science Writers Association and the Society of Environmental Journalists. Interested press should contact Liza Lester at llester@esa.org or 202-833-8773 x 211 to register.  In a break from previous policy, meeting presentations are not embargoed.

The Ecological Society of America is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and the trusted source of ecological knowledge.  ESA is committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth.  The 10,000 member Society publishes five journals, convenes an annual scientific conference, and broadly shares ecological information through policy and media outreach and education initiatives. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org or find experts in ecological science at http://www.esa.org/pao/rrt/.

 To subscribe to ESA press releases, contact Liza Lester at llester@esa.org

 

Ecology in Agricultural Landscapes: seeking solutions for food, water, wildlife

A compendium of agro-ecology sessions at the 2013 annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America

2013 ESA Logo

Media advisory

For Immediate Release:  Tuesday, 23 July 2013
Contact: Liza Lester (202) 833-8773 x 211; llester@esa.org

 

Agriculture alters the landscape more than any other human activity, with trickle-down effects on water, soil, climate, plant and wildlife diversity, wildfire, and human health. Crop and rangeland occupies nearly 40 percent of earth’s ice-free land, and mountains and deserts make much of the remaining surface unwelcoming to agriculture. Our increasing population applies constant pressure for further conversion of wild lands to agricultural production. With yields plateauing in many parts of the world, managers, both private and public, are looking for new ideas to get the most out of agricultural lands, sustain production into the future, and protect natural resources.

Multiple sessions will address the ecological study of agricultural systems at the Ecological Society of America’s 98th Annual Meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 4 – 9.

Presenting scientists will examine routes to improved soil, water, and nutrient retention, pollinator support, and pest suppression by natural enemies. They will discuss opportunities to increase biodiversity in agricultural areas and mitigate runoff.

 

Land sharing

Soil erosion….or not. STRIPs project - LIsa Schulte Moore presents at the Aster Cafe on Wednesday August 7 at 5:30pm

Soil erosion….or not. Even small amounts of perennials can have a dramatic impact on the environmental benefits provided by row-cropped agricultural lands. This image depicts the ability of native prairie to keep soil in farm fields, where it can produce crops, as opposed to allowing it to move into streams, where it becomes a serious pollutant.
Lisa Schulte Moore won the inaugural ESA2013 Science Cafe Prize with her vision for change in modern agriculture based on ecological knowledge and experimentation. Schulte Moore, a professor of landscape ecology at Iowa State University, will speak at a public event at the Aster Cafe on the riverfront in Minneapolis, at 5:30pm on Wednesday August 7. Photo, Dave Williams.

OOS 23: Bridging The Public-Private Land Divide – Supporting Biodiversity Conservation and Ecosystem Services By Tapping The Ingenuity In Social-Ecological Systems.
Thursday, August 8, 2013: 8:00 AM-11:30 AM, room 101A

For much of the world, high-intensity industrial farming produces food with high efficiency, but puts the squeeze on other plant and animal life. Wildlife is mostly sequestered on preserves. But is this the best way to maximize food and biodiversity? Or are there other configurations that might improve mobility of wildlife and benefit other ecosystem services without cost (and possibly with benefit) to private land owners?

“We are probably not going to be able to achieve landscape conservation goals for soil, water, and wildlife, specifically grasslands and birds, working on publically-owned lands alone. We will need to incorporate private lands,” said session moderator Chris Woodson, a private lands biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Missouri.

Conservation biologists are looking for conservation-supportive practices that have potential to augment protected areas on public lands and aid existing programs. Private landowners and entrepreneurs are looking for contributions that they can make to conservation and still make a living.

This session brings together managers, scientists, private land owners, and entrepreneurs to discuss ideas, pilot projects, and existing public-private partnerships, and seek areas of mission overlap and opportunities for collective action.

“Lower case c conservation is what we want to see happen,” said session co-organizer Paul Charland, a wildland firefighter with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “Capital C Conservation is official business; it’s the movement as an organizational process. Lower case conservation is all efforts to keep native species. We want to provide a mechanism for everyone to do that.”

 

Organizers:         Patrica Heglund (Patricia_Heglund@fws.gov); Paul Charland (paul_charland@fws.gov); Carol Williams; Chris Woodson   (chris_woodson@fws.gov)

 


 

Connecting the global to the local – agricultural landscapes from field to orbit

SYMP 20: Integrating Agro-Ecological Research Across Spatial and Temporal Scales
Thursday, August 8, 2013: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM

Kate Brauman integrating eco-agro research scales ESA2013

Collage assembled by Kate Brauman. Image Credits – Globe: Reto Stöckli, Robert Simmon, MODIS teams, NASA. Satellite images: shrimp aquaculture in Honduras, Landsat 7, 1999, Jesse Allen, NASA Earth Observatory. Small photos: Kate Brauman.

Big changes in agriculture are visible on the global scale – changes in crop yields, dietary choices, water use, fertilizer application, soil retention, and nutrient pollution. In some parts of the world, yield lags, revealing opportunities to get more out of land already in production. In others, crop production has sagged or plateaued. Will yields keep increasing as they have in the past? It’s hard to see trajectories without local context, said session organizer Kate Brauman of the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment. Site-specific field work fills in details.

“Agronomy has been working very successfully for a long time, and it’s been focused on practitioners,” said Brauman. “And global analysis can be hard for someone in the field to interpret. How can we take insights from the local to the global scale and make them useful?”

Ecology has great scientists studying the very local, applied art and science of getting more yield out of our crops and the local ecological effects of agriculture, and great scientists studying global trends, said Bauman. It does not have much of a history of cross-pollination between the groups. This session aims to bridge gulfs of scientific culture and of scale, connecting the satellite’s eye view of global change to the view from the field; computational modeling to on-the-ground experimentation; and snapshot observations to daily, seasonal, annual, and decadal change.

 

Organizer: Kate Brauman (kbrauman@umn.edu)

 


 

Resilient future

Two “Ignite” sessions offer a series of 5-minute introductions to ideas for the future interdependency of conservation and agriculture, from plant breeding and field design, to farm policy.

 


 

More…

  • PS-29: Agriculture            Tuesday, August 6, 2013: 4:30 PM-6:30 PM, Exhibit Hall B
    (Poster session)
  • COS 1: Agriculture I         Monday, August 5, 2013: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM, room L100I
    Grasslands, coffee, excess nitrogen fertilizer
  • COS 18: Agriculture II      Tuesday, August 6, 2013: 8:00 AM-11:30 AM, room 101C
    Biodiversity, weeds, spatial organization
  • COS 80: Soil Ecology        Wednesday, August 7, 2013: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM, room M100GD
    Includes soybean symbiosis, prairie grazing gradients, and bioenergy constraints.
  • COS 77: Land-Use And Land-Use History               Wednesday, August 7, 2013: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM, room L100H
    Consequences of armed conflict, restoration ecology, and shifting away from beef(?).
  • OOS 24: Managing Belowground Processes In Agroecosystems  Thursday, August 8, 2013: 8:00 AM-11:30 AM, room 101B
    The invisible world of roots, fungi, insects, arthropods, microbes, and decomposing plants matter matter very much to crop success and environmental health. This session will evaluate the state of the science and “alternative” agro-ecological systems, and discuss management opportunities.
  • COS 126: Pollination        Friday, August 9, 2013: 8:00 AM-11:30 AM, room L100G
    Cranberries, blueberries, and parasitoid wasps.

 


 

Press Registration for the Annual Meeting, August 4 – 9, 2013:

We waive registration fees for reporters with a recognized press card and for current members of the National Association of Science Writers, the Canadian Science Writers Association, the International Science Writers Association and the Society of Environmental Journalists. Email Liza Lester, llester@esa.org.

Meeting abstracts are not embargoed.


 

The Ecological Society of America is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge. ESA is committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 10,000 member Society publishes five journals, convenes an annual scientific conference, and broadly shares ecological information through policy and media outreach and education initiatives. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org.

 

To subscribe to ESA press releases, contact Liza Lester at llester@esa.org.

Minnesota Energy & Environment Senior Advisor Ellen Anderson to receive ESA Regional Policy Award

For immediate release: 16 July 20132013 ESA Logo

Media contacts:

ESA: Nadine Lymn (202) 833-8773 x205; nadine@esa.org

MN Dept. of Ag.: Margaret Hart (651) 201-6131; Margaret.hart@state.mn.us

On Sunday, August 4, 2013, the Ecological Society of America (ESA) will present its sixth annual Regional Policy Award to Ellen Anderson, Energy and Environment Senior Advisor to Minnesota’s Governor Dayton, during the Society’s conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The ESA award recognizes an elected or appointed local policymaker who has an outstanding record of informing policy decisions with ecological science.

“Ellen Anderson exemplifies leadership in promoting sustainability” said ESA President Scott Collins.  “As a Minnesota state senator she championed bills to foster renewable energy, clean water and parks and in her current capacity she’s working to advance Minnesota’s environmental quality initiatives. She sets a high standard for policy makers everywhere.”

Ellen Anderson photo

Ellen Anderson

Anderson served in the Minnesota Senate for eighteen years, where she was the chief author of the 25 percent by 2025 legislation, which requires Minnesota energy companies to generate at least 25 percent of their energy from renewable sources by the year 2025.  She also co-authored numerous bills related to energy, natural areas, and many other environmental issues. Since February 2012, Anderson has served as senior advisor on energy and environment to Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton.  Anderson works on clean energy, environmental policy issues, and public outreach for numerous state agencies and the Governor.   

“Sustainability is the headliner of our time,” said Anderson.  “I feel incredibly honored to receive this award from the Ecological Society of America whose members have spearheaded and helped shape our thinking about how we manage our ecosystems—from agricultural to urban—to sustain them for future generations.”  

ESA, which holds its Annual Meeting in a different city each year, established its Regional Policy Award in 2008 to recognize an elected or appointed local policymaker who has integrated environmental science into policy initiatives that foster more sustainable communities. Past recipients of the ESA award are Ken Bierly, with the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, Karen Hixon, with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, Braddock, Pennsylvania Mayor John Fetterman, Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico and former Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle.

ESA President Collins will present Anderson with the 2013 ESA Regional Policy Award at the start of the Opening Plenary on Sunday, August 4 at 5 PM in the auditorium of the Minneapolis Convention Center. ESA’s conference is expected to draw 3,000 scientists, educators, and policymakers from across the nation and around the world.    

Media Attendance

The Ecological Society of America’s Annual Meeting, Aug. 4 – 9, 2013 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is free for reporters with a recognized press card and institutional press officers. Registration is also waived for current members of the National Association of Science Writers, the Canadian Science Writers Association, the International Science Writers Association and the Society of Environmental Journalists. Interested press should contact Liza Lester at llester@esa.org or 202-833-8773 x211 to register.  In a break from previous policy, meeting presentations are not embargoed.

The Ecological Society of America is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and the trusted source of ecological knowledge.  ESA is committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth.  The 10,000 member Society publishes five journals, convenes an annual scientific conference, and broadly shares ecological information through policy and media outreach and education initiatives. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org or find experts in ecological science at http://www.esa.org/pao/rrt/.