Nation’s largest organization of ecologists offers expert database

Scientists specializing in climate change, invasive species, urban ecology and more available online
The Ecological Society of America (ESA), the nation’s largest organization of ecological scientists, unveiled its updated resource for policymakers and members of the media today: the Rapid Response Team (RRT) database, an ESA resource for several years that is now fully searchable. Users can find ecological scientists who specialize in a variety of fields, including climate change, invasive species, urban ecology, conservation and biofuels, or can locate an RRT member by name, affiliation or keyword.

Members of the RRT provide on-call ecological expertise in a variety of ways, such as serving as panelists in briefings for congressional staff, providing expert testimony to Congress, analyzing the likely ecological consequences of proposed changes to environmental regulations and providing scientific feedback for news stories.

For example, Rob Jackson from Duke University recently participated in a congressional hearing on geoengineering where he discussed the complexities of such biological, land-based strategies as large-scale tree planting with lawmakers on the House Energy and Environment Subcommittee.

“The same plantation that cools the Earth by removing carbon could warm it by reflecting less light,” Jackson said at the hearing. “And your new plantation affects the Earth in other ways, too. Trees typically use more water than other plants, and this increased evaporation cools land locally, loads energy into the atmosphere and produces clouds that absorb or reflect sunlight and produce rain. Overall, these biophysical changes can affect climate more than carbon removal.”

Rob Jackson is among 13 new RRT members who this spring accepted ESA’s invitation to serve as a valuable resource to policymakers and the media. To browse his and other experts’ profiles, visitwww.esa.org/pao/rrt/.

The RRT is one of several free resources ESA offers to policymakers, journalists and the public through its Public Affairs Office. Policy News Updates – bi-monthly summaries of major environmental and science policy news and press releases are available online at www.esa.org/pao/ or by request. EcoTone, ESA’s blog, is a broad resource for news and commentary about ecologists and ecology; it is online at http://www.esa.org/esablog/. Members of the media can also access ESA’s journals or be added to the press database by contacting Katie Kline at katie@esa.org.

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