F. Stuart “Terry” Chapin, III, Professor of Ecology from the Institute for Arctic Biology at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks has been named President of the Ecological Society of America (ESA). Elected by the members of ESA for a one-year term, Chapin presides over the world’s largest professional organization of ecologists—representing some 10,000 scientists in the United States and around the globe.
“The most pressing issue ecologists face right now is reducing the risks associated with global change,” said Chapin. “As scientists we are responsible for exploring how local actions contribute to the trajectory of planetary change; we have the responsibility of tracking and analyzing ecosystem services around the world so that society can prepare for future changes.”
Founded in 1915, the Society works to convey the science of ecology through reports, journals, research, education and expert testimony to policymakers. The Society’s Annual Meeting attracts more than three thousand attendees and features the most recent advances in ecological science. Members conduct research that ranges across the fields of biology, zoology, aquatic science, forestry, wildlife conservation, agricultural science, earth and environmental sciences, toxicology and biotechnology.
“At the intersection of ecology and society is planetary stewardship,” continued Chapin. “Planetary stewardship is not simply an ecological issue, but a human one as well, and as President of the ESA I hope to help the Society take steps to explore how we can advance this critical issue.”
Chapin, who also serves as principal investigator of the Bonanza Creek Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) program, has a background in plant physiological ecology and ecosystem ecology. His current research interests focus on the resilience of social-ecological systems. As director of the graduate educational program in Resilience and Adaptation at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Chapin studies human-fire interactions in the boreal forest.