Past Workshops and Conferences

Developing Ecologically-Based Conservation Targets Under Global Change: The 2nd ESA Emerging Issues Conference

Feb. 27 - Mar. 1, 2012 at the National Conservation Training Center, Shepherdstown, WV

This conference brought together ecologists, land and conservation managers, and students to 1) identify both existing and novel conservation targets that are ecologically sound in light of rapid global change, and 2) develop a framework for assessing the inherent tradeoffs, risks, and benefits involved in achieving those conservation targets. The ultimate objective was to provide science-based, practical decision tools for those charged with implementing conservation strategies throughout North America and internationally.

Water-Ecosystem Services, Drought, and Environmental Justice: The 1st ESA Emerging Issues Conference

Nov. 9-12, 2009 at The Georgia Center, Athens, GA

The goal of this Conference was to bring together ecological and social scientists and students to explore the development of scientifically and socially sound solutions to water allocation in times of drought. The ultimate objective was to reduce conflicts among water users, enhance environmental justice, and more effectively manage public responses to water scarcity. 100 scientists and students attended the 4-day Conference, which included plenary presentations, 40 poster presentations, breakout groups, field trips and eleven video case studies, which were made available on YouTube. All plenary sessions were made available via live webcast.

Conference and Workshop on the Ecological Dimensions of Biofuels

March 10 - 12, 2008 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, Washington, D.C.

Production of fuels from plants and agricultural and forestry wastes can reduce both society’s dependence on fossil fuels and net emissions of atmospheric carbon dioxide, the major contributor to global warming. Expanded use of this bioenergy requires assuring that its production and consumption are truly sustainable. ESA explored biofuels and sustainability in a one-day conference, which attracted approximately 330 attendees, and a two-day workshop, with 45 participants. Conference attendees heard invited presentations by leading scientists on a variety of topics related to the ecological dimensions of biofuels. Workshop participants developed a report summarizing opportunities for additional research and strategies for how key stakeholders could respond to those needs. Details, including links to conference products and other sources of information on the ecological dimensions of biofuels, are available at You may also contact Dr. Clifford Duke, ESA Director of Science Programs, (202-833-8773 ext. 202,

Workshop on Agricultural Air Quality

June 5 - 8, 2006, Potomac, Maryland

This workshop, which brought together 345 scientists from 25 countries, featured a plenary address by Dr. Ralph Cicerone, President of the National Academy of Sciences, 88 oral presentations, and more than 190 posters on agricultural emissions, monitoring and measurements, biomass burning, best management practices, and public policy. The scientific program was developed by a team led by Dr. Viney Aneja, of North Carolina State University, and former ESA President Bill Schlesinger, of Duke University. Workshop proceedings have been published and an Assessment Report and several special issues of journals with papers by Workshop presenters are in preparation. Drs. Bette Stallman and Clifford Duke of the Science Office served on the workshop steering committee and planned and managed workshop logistics.

Ecology in an Era of Globalization

January 8 - 12, 2006, Merida, Mexico

This conference was designed to develop strategies to increase international access to ecological knowledge and to increase collaboration among environmental scientists. The conference was organized around three sub-themes: Invasive species, Human Migration, and Production Systems. Science Office staff helped raise and manage grant funds, including travel support for 130 graduate students from Latin America and the U.S.; plan the program; and manage the abstract submission and review process. The conference attracted more than 480 attendees, including 200 students, from 20 countries. A special issue of ESA’s journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, dedicated to the conference, was published in May 2007.

Emerging Issues Along Urban/Rural Interfaces: Linking Science and Society

March 13 - 16, 2005, Atlanta, Georgia

This conference, developed by Auburn University’s Forest Policy Center, Center for Forest Sustainability, and Environmental Institute, and cosponsored by ESA, brought together researchers, practitioners, and policy makers to share current research results and to identify knowledge gaps regarding the interaction between urbanization and natural resources. In particular, approaches that focus on integrating socioeconomic and ecological research were highlighted. Science Director Clifford Duke presented an invited plenary talk, “Blurring the Boundaries: The Urban Rural Interface and the Need for Cultural Change in Ecology, Planning, and Management.” Information about the Urban/Rural Interface conference series, including proceedings of the 2005 conference, is available at

Invasive Plants in Natural and Managed Systems: Linking Science and Management

November 3 – 7, 2003, Fort Lauderdale Florida

This conference, held jointly with the seventh international conference on the Ecology and Management of Alien Plant Invasions (EMAPI-7), was a cooperative effort with the Weed Science Society of America and many other scientific societies, Federal and state agencies, and nongovernmental organizations. The objectives were to: (1) promote interdisciplinary exchange of scientific information among researchers working with harmful invasive plants in both managed and natural ecosystems; (2) enhance dialogue between scientists and resource managers for the purpose of identifying research gaps and of accelerating implementation of new science for the management of invasive plants; and (3) foster broad cooperation on the science and management of invasive plants. The Science Office led ESA efforts for this conference, which attracted more than 750 scientists. Science roles included fundraising and management, participation in program development, and logistics.

The Second International Nitrogen Conference (2001) and Publications

The Second International Nitrogen Conference (N2001) took place October 14-18, 2001, in Potomac, Maryland, USA. Over 400 scientists, engineers, resource managers, decision makers, and policy analysts from 30 countries attended with the goals of helping nations make optimal choices about nitrogen management in food production, energy production and use and environmental protection. The Science Office coordinated planning, outreach, post-conference publications, including a nontechnical summary of the major findings of the conference, and financial management.

National Marine Classification Workshop (2000)

ESA and NOAA organized this two and a half day workshop in Long Key, FL. The session brought together 22 aquatic biologists, managers, and mapping experts from around the country to develop the first steps in a national classification system for marine and estuarine ecosystems. The objectives of the workshop were to: (1) formulate the first steps in the development of a nationally consistent and compatible habitat classification system that will provide a framework to identify and map marine and estuarine communities, characterize the condition of key habitat types in terms of their biological integrity, and identify gaps in conservation; and (2) identify the components of an implementation plan for developing the full classification system. A review of the workshop was published in the July 2000 ESA Bulletin (81(3): 218-219), and the full report was published as NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-F/SPO-43.

Atmospheric Deposition to the West Coast (2000)

The Science Office organized a two-day workshop to outline the state-of-the-knowledge on atmospheric deposition of toxic substances to Pacific Coast ecosystems and discuss and prioritize how it can be assessed and managed. A workshop report, Where Air and Water Meet: Atmospheric Deposition to the Pacific Coast, was completed. Cosponsors included the EPA's Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds, the University of California at Los Angeles Institute of the Environment, the University of California Toxic Substances Research and Teaching Program, and the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project. It is one of a series of workshops investigating atmospheric inputs to coastal waters held jointly by the EPA and ESA. (See also Atmospheric Deposition to the Gulf of Mexico Hypoxic Zone (1999).

Ecological Forecasting (2000)

This workshop was held at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) in October 2000, and a summary paper “ Ecological Forecasts: An Emerging Imperative” was published in Science (293:657-660) in 2001.

Atmospheric Deposition to the Gulf of Mexico Hypoxic Zone (1999)

The Science Office organized a one-day workshop at the Estuarine Research Federation Annual Meeting to begin to answer questions about the role of atmospheric inputs to the hypoxic zone of the Gulf of Mexico. The purpose of the workshop was to review our knowledge about the contribution of atmospheric deposition to the Gulf hypoxic zone and identify additional information needed to fully understand the significance of the relationship. A workshop report, Where Air and Water Meet: The Role of Atmospheric Deposition in the Gulf of Mexico Hypoxic Zone, was completed. Cosponsors included EPA's Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, and Gulf of Mexico Program . It was one of a series of workshops focused on atmospheric inputs to coastal waters being undertaken jointly by EPA and ESA . (See also Atmospheric Deposition to the Pacific Coast (2000).

Atmospheric Deposition: The Ecological Response (1999)

The Science Office joined EPA, USGS, USFS, NOAA, and the Institute of Ecosystem Studies to convene this workshop, attended by leading scientists in atmospheric deposition research, to facilitate a scientific review of the ecological effects of atmospheric deposition on aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. The goals of the workshop were to (1) evaluate the status and trends of various types of ecosystems in response to acid deposition; (2) determine whether and how the extent of ecological damage from this disturbance has evolved since observed, projected, and reported in the 1990 National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program (NAPAP) Report; and (3) ascertain whether some properties of certain ecosystems are showing signs of recovery.

Crossing the Moat: Using Ecosystem Services to Communicate Ecological Ideas beyond the Ivory Tower (1999)

ESA 's Science Office and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) co-organized a workshop for the 1999 ESA Annual Meeting. The goal of the workshop was to present and solicit feedback on the initial results of the Ecosystem Services Communication Project, a joint project of ESA and UCS.

ASLO/ ESA Meeting "The Land-Water Interface" (1998)

The Science Office co-organized a joint meeting between the Association of Limnology and Oceanography and ESA focused on the Land-Water Interface. The meeting included invited plenary speakers and contributed sessions. The plenary speakers published papers as a Special Feature in Ecological Applications, " Managing the Land-Water Interface," (August 2000)

Aquatic Restoration and Conservation Partnership for Marine, Estuarine, and Freshwater Living Resources (1998)

The Science Office worked with NOAA, USGS, the American Fisheries Society, the International Fish and Wildlife Society, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and The Nature Conservancy to organize a September 1998 workshop to develop and plan a new program, ARC, The Aquatic Restoration and Conservation Partnership for Marine, Estuarine and Freshwater Living Resources.

National Estuarine Research Reserves (1998)

The Science Office co-organized and helped facilitate a NOAA sponsored workshop held October 14-17, 1998, to develop a set of biological monitoring activities for NOAA's marine estuarine reserves. The workshop brought together marine scientists and research coordinators from NOAA National Estuarine Research Reserves to identify a set of biological monitoring activities that will complement current physical monitoring activities and can be performed under the technical and resource constraints of the reserves.

Interdisciplinary Science at USGS (1998)

A workshop focused on "Enhancing Integrated Science" was jointly sponsored by ESA, the Geological Society of America, and USGS, November 4-5, 1998. Invited participants developed principles for interdisciplinary science and recommendations to the USGS and the broader scientific community as a means of enhancing integrated science. The summary report of the workshop was presented to the Director of the USGS in January 1998 and is available at The workshop was supplemented by an electronic dialogue to gather perspectives about integrated science from a wider range of interested parties.

Urban Ecology (1998)

This workshop at the 1998 ESA Annual Meeting, cosponsored with the LTER Network and ESA Applied Ecology Section, focused on the two new urban LTER sites with special attention paid to information users such as land managers and urban planners.

Ecological Assessments and Land Use Planning (1997)

This workshop at the 1997 ESA Annual Meeting explored the development of ecological assessment methodologies and their use in conservation reserve site selection, design, planning, and management.

Ecological Resource Monitoring: Change and Trend Detection (1995 – 1997)

The Science Office co-organized a workshop with ESA 's Statistical Ecology section, the American Statistical Association, and the Environmental Protection Agency's EMAP program. Products included workshop recommendations submitted to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Committee on Environment and Natural Resources (National Science and Technology Council), and other relevant agencies; and a May 1998 Ecological Applications Special Feature “Measuring Ecological Change”.

Atmospheric Deposition of Nitrogen to Coastal Watersheds (1996 – 1997)

In cooperation with NOAA and EPA, the Science Office organized this workshop gathering researchers from the ecological and atmospheric sciences communities, along with policymakers and coastal managers. The workshop produced a set of recommendations that were disseminated to workshop participants, at two Capitol Hill policy fora organized by the Center for Clean Air Policy, and to all members of U.S. Senate, accompanied by a letter from Sen. Moynihan. In addition, the Science Office organized a special session at the 1997 biennial meeting of the Estuarine Research Federation.

Scientific Opportunities From NBS/USGS Merger (1996)

The Science Office and the Geological Society of America jointly convened two workshops to identify the scientific research opportunities arising from the merger of the USGS and the National Biological Service (NBS). Workshop reports and recommendations were presented to the Department of the Interior, USGS, and NBS. A summary article was published in the April 1997 ESA Bulletin. (Kearns, F.R. 1997. Scientific Opportunities Created by the Newly Consolidated U.S. Geological Survey and National Biological Service.)

Research Strategies for Sustainability-Based Environmental Management (1993)

The Science Office served on the steering committee for this workshop, organized in cooperation with the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC). The workshop proceedings (Sustainable Environmental Management: Proceedings of the Pellston Workshop on Sustainability-Based Environmental Management, 25-31 August, 1993, Pellston, Michigan, Editors L.W. Barnthouse, J. F. Fava, J.H. Gillett, T. F. Yosie, and W. E. Cooper, SETAC Press, 1998) considered the general topic of sustainable systems and toxic chemicals, integrating SETAC perspectives within the SBI framework and the broader ecological research community.

National Park Service Strategic Ecological Science Workshop (1992)

The Science Office played an integral role in organizing an evaluation of National Park Service future research and management needs. The published workshop report recommended incorporating Science Office priorities in key resource management policies.

International Conference on the Definition and Measurement of Sustainability: The Biophysical Foundations (1992)

The Science Office organized this conference in cooperation with the United Nations University and the Smithsonian Institution, which attempted to reach consensus on a preferred set of measurements and indicators for use at the landscape, regional, and global levels. The conference volume, Defining and Measuring Sustainability: the Biogeophysical Foundations was published by the World Bank in 1995.

Modeling Sustainable Forest Ecosystems Workshop (1992)

The Science Office served on the steering committee, identified participants, and organized ecological modeling presentations. The workshop stimulated interaction among ecologists, economists, and other scientists developing and testing predictive, simulation, and impact assessment models of sustainable forest ecosystems, and synthesized existing knowledge on sustainable forest ecosystems modeling at the landscape level.