August 9, 2014

Minutes of the ESA Governing Board,
August 9-10, 2014
Sacramento, CA 

Members Present
Jill Baron                     President
Scott Collins               Past-President
David Inouye              President-Elect
Leslie Real                  VP for Finance
Sharon Collinge          VP for Public Affairs
Valerie Eviner             VP for Science
Julie Reynolds            VP for Education and Human Resources
Charles Canham         Secretary
Carmen Cid                 Member at Large
Stephen Jackson        Member at Large
Michelle Mack             Member at Large

Staff Present
Katherine McCarter    Executive Director
Elizabeth Biggs          Directory of Finance
Cliff Duke                   Director, Science
Michelle Horton          Director, Administration and Meetings
Teresa Mourad           Director, Education and Diversity
David Baldwin            Managing Editor
Sue Silver                   Editor-in-Chief, Frontiers
Alison  Mize                Director, Public Affairs
Regina Przygocki       Publications Office

Incoming Board Members
Evan Delucia
Monica Turner
Ana Elisa Perez Quintero

Guests Sunday, August 10, 2014
Hal Balbach    2014 Program Chair
Carol Brewer   2015 Program Chair
Jing Duan        EHS Managing Editor for China
Aaron Ellison  Editor in Chief, Ecological Monographs
Nancy Huntly Centennial Implementation Committee
Ed Johnson     Editor in Chief, ESA Bulletin
Debra Peters    Editor in Chief, Ecosphere
Josh Schimel   Publications Committee Chair
Don Strong     Editor in Chief, Ecology
Yonglong Lu   Editor in Chief, Ecosystem Health and Sustainability

9:00 am, August 9, 2014, meeting called to order by President Jill Baron 

  1. Roll Call and Agenda
  1. Adopt Agenda
    Sharon Collinge moved and David Inouye seconded a motion to approve the agenda.  All aye.
  2. Ratification of Vote-Minutes from May 2014
    David Inouye moved and Sharon Collinge seconded ratification of the minutes of the May 2014 meeting.  All aye.


  1. Reports


  1. Report of the President

Jill Baron reserved comments for later in the meeting, and thanked ESA staff for all of their efforts on behalf of the Society.  She also stressed the importance of retention and recruitment of members.


  1. Report of the ESA Staff

Katherine McCarter previewed reports that will be provided by staff during the meeting.

Alison Mize summarized efforts of the Public Affairs office, particularly with reference to activities in Congress.  David Inouye suggested doing more to inform members of letters sent to Congress from the Society.  Sue Silver thanked the Frontiers editorial board for their efforts to keep the quality of articles high.  David Baldwin has been on leave in Mexico, and thanked Regina Przygocki and Publication Office staff for the smooth running of the journals in his absence.   Cliff Duke reviewed efforts by the Science Office, focusing on the new program on “Sustaining Biological Infrastructure” to offer short courses on non-profit management.  He also updated the board on activities related to the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.   Michelle Horton gave the board an update on the Sacramento meeting.  Growth in the size of the meeting program has required use of nearby hotels for some sessions.  Teresa Mourad noted that approximately 30 SEEDS students will be participating in the 2014 meetings.  She provided details of the recent SEEDS program review and noted that results will be presented in both a poster and an oral session during the meetings.  She summarized approaches for funding the program. A video will be shown in the opening plenary to encourage member donations to the program.  Regina Przygocki reviewed activities in the Publications Office, including major updates in the software infrastructure for the journals.  Elizabeth Biggs reviewed membership trends over the past 18 years.  There was an increase in membership following the launch of Frontiers in 2003.  Since then membership has fluctuated, but dropped below 9000 in 2013.  There was discussion of a number of new initiatives to strengthen the sense of community among professional ecologists, and recent efforts to increase participation by students and early career ecologists in activities of the Society.


  1. Financial Update


  1. Fourth Quarter Financials

Elizabeth Biggs and Katherine McCarter reviewed the budget and fourth quarter financial report.   Katherine noted that this is the first budget in many years that does not include a surplus that can be allocated to reserves.  Financial challenges with scientific publications continue to put pressure on the budget.  Subscription revenue over the past year was significantly below budget, in part because of restructuring of subscription fees that reduced subscription costs to a number of institutional subscribers.  Total revenue was more than $400,000 below budget, but expenses were lower by a similar amount, so it is anticipated that there may only be a small draw on unrestricted funds to balance the budget.


III. Discussion/Action Items


  1. FY 2014-2015 ESA Budget


  1. Proposed ESA FY 2014-2015 Budget

Les Real moved and Sharon Collinge seconded recommending to the Council the approval of a revised 2014-2015 budget.  All aye.


  1. Board Strategic Initiatives

There was discussion of two specific ideas for use of board strategic initiative funds, as well as discussion of the process by which resources from the Opportunity Fund are used for strategic initiatives.  There was sentiment that the topic should be discussed each year, but without a sense that the funds need to be used each year rather than accumulated over time for more substantive initiatives (such as the strategic review of publications).


Sharon Collinge moved and Steve Jackson seconded that $5,500 be allocated to support the Ad Hoc Certification Committee and $4,500 be allocated to complete SEEDS fundraising efforts begun last year.  All aye.


  1. Long-Range Planning Grant Subcommittee

Katherine McCarter reviewed guidelines the governing board adopted last year for awarding long-range planning grants to sections, chapters and committees.  Jill Baron appointed the Governing Board Members-at-Large to serve as the committee to review proposals for long-range planning grants.


  1. Discussion of Council Presentation

Katherine reviewed topics to be presented at the Council meeting on Aug. 10, 2014.


  1. Fundraising

Charlie Canham reviewed the fundraising strategy, with particular emphasis on the Opportunity Fund.  Discussion focused on identifying a limited list of the most compelling needs.   Coordinating fundraising efforts with Centennial activities was also discussed.


  1. Review of Governing Board Annual Meeting Activities

Katherine reviewed the schedule of events for the Governing Board during the Sacramento meeting.


  1. Sustainability Science Award

Sharon Collinge moved and Julie Reynolds seconded that the Society accept the recommendation of the Sustainability Science Award subcommittee to establish a second award in this category, entitled “The ESA Innovation in Sustainability Science Award”.  All aye.


  1. Annual Meeting 2019 – Recommendation

Meetings Co-Chair Kiyoko Miyanishi joined the meeting to present the recommendation that New Orleans be selected as the site for the 2019 Annual Meeting.  She summarized the pros and cons of the site.  In particular, the hotels are willing to guarantee room rates in 2019 that are lower than current hotel rates in Sacramento.  Valerie Eviner moved and Sharon Collinge seconded a motion to approve the selection of New Orleans as the site for the 2019 Annual Meeting.   All aye. There appears to be a consensus that the most popular meeting sites should be used repeatedly.


  1. Environmental Offsets

Susan Ustin, local host for the 2014 meetings has recommended that the environmental offset funds generated by the Sacramento meeting be awarded to the Yolo Basin Foundation, a local non-profit founded to assist in establishing the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area located in the flood bypass for the Sacramento River.  Steve Jackson moved and Julie Reynolds seconded awarding the environmental offset funds to the Yolo Basin Foundation.  All aye.

Julie Reynolds offered to draft a paragraph to provide more guidance to the local hosts about the environmental offsets.  She will have it for the fall meeting.


  1. Public Policy Recommendations

Sharon Collinge introduced the recommendations of the Public Affairs Office and Public Affairs Committee for public policy priorities for the coming year.  The Committee met in May and generated a list of issues in eight general areas: (1) energy and climate, (2) water quality and quantity, (3) disasters affecting ecosystems, (4) STEM education, (5) endangered species, (6) invasive species, (7) urban ecosystems, and (8) federal investment in natural resource and research agencies.  The list is not designed to exclude action on other issues.

Charlie Canham moved and Les Real seconded adopting the public policy priorities.  All aye.


  1. Earth Stewardship Update

Jill Baron reviewed the history of ESA activities that led to the Earth Stewardship Initiative, and summarized activities at the 2014 Annual Meeting that are motivated by the Initiative.


  1. Ad Hoc Certification Committee

During the May 2014 Governing Board meeting, the Board asked President Jill Baron to name and charge an ad hoc committee to review ESA’s certification program.  This request resulted from a discussion that was initiated by Linda Heath, former chair of the Board of Professional Certification. She noted that the program had not been reviewed since its inception in the 1980’s. Carmen Cid was appointed chair of the committee, and presented a synopsis of the charge to the committee, and a timeline for their work.


  1. Strategic Review of Publications

ESA has engaged Rising Tide to conduct a strategic review of ESA publications.  Katherine McCarter provided an update on the effort.


  1. Actively Engaging with NEON—Discussion

Jill Baron discussed the idea of creating an ad hoc committee to provide input from the ecological community to NEON.


The Governing Board went into Executive Session at 4:00 pm, and adjourned at 5:00 pm.


Sunday, August 10, 2014 – meeting called to order at 8:30 am


III. Discussion/Action Items (continued)


  1. 2014 Annual Meeting

Hal Balbach, 2014 Program Chair, gave an update on changes in the program planning process.  He thanked Susan Ustin for serving as the local host and coordinating field trips.  Jill Baron thanked Jennifer Riem for her extraordinary work on the program.


  1. Centennial

Nancy Huntly, Chair of the Centennial Implementation Committee, reported on activities related to the Centennial year.  A call for proposals has been distributed for funding available to Sections and Chapters for activities they would like to propose.   Huntly and Carol Brewer, 2015 Program Chair discussed changes to the meeting structure for the Centennial.  The Board encouraged them to be creative but cautioned that changes should not reduce the opportunities for members to make presentations.


  1. Publications Meetings


  1. Publications Committee

Josh Schimel gave an update on work of the Publications Committee during the past year. Several editors-in-chief were reviewed and reappointed during the year, and an effort is underway to recruit a new editor-in-chief for Ecological Monographs.  Dr. Yonglong Lu, Editor-in-Chief of the new journal Ecosystem Health and Sustainability, was introduced.


  1. Ecology

Don Strong, Editor-in-Chief of Ecology reported that Ecology is on an even keel, and that submission, acceptance, and rejection rates are stable, with acceptance rates in low to mid-20% level.  He is concerned about staffing support in the Publication Office and publication delays for the Journal.  He feels that the problems are structural and related to staffing.  He thinks there is an opportunity to pursue tighter linkages between Ecology and Ecosphere.


  1. Ecological Monographs

Aaron Ellison, Editor-in-Chief of Ecological Monographs echoed Don Strong’s comments that acceptance, and rejection rates are typical of 5-year averages, but that submission rates are down substantially during the past year.  The journal has experimented with Twitter, with some success.


  1. Ecological Applications

David Baldwin gave a report on Ecological Applications, including announcement of the first paper in a new format for “virtual invited features”, in which papers in invited features are published as they are ready, and will then be linked into a virtual special feature electronically.  Submissions during 2013 were up 15% over the previous year, and have been steady during the first half of 2014.   Ecological Applications has instituted a data archiving requirement for accepted papers.


  1. Ecosphere

Debra Peters, Editor-in-Chief of Ecosphere noted that the journal has its first impact factor to report.  Submissions are increasing, and the first special feature has been published, and can be done as “virtual” features that are linked once all of the individual papers have been published.


  1. Ecosystem Health and Sustainability

Dr. Lu gave a thorough presentation on the status and future of the new journal, with the first issue slated for January, 2015.  There was extensive discussion of the challenges of launching the new journal and achieving the goals of rapid publication of very high quality research.


  1. Frontiers

Sue Silver, Editor-in-Chief of Frontiers reviewed the year at Frontiers, including efforts to reduce costs.


  1. Bulletin

Ed Johnson, Editor-in-Chief of the Bulletin reviewed plans for the next 4 issues of the Bulletin related to the Centennial celebration.  He would like to receive histories from sections and chapters.


Meeting adjourned at 12:00 pm.




Minutes of the ESA Governing Board,

August 15, 2014

Sacramento, CA


Members Present

David Inouye              President

Jill Baron                     Past-President

Evan Delucia               VP for Finance

Valerie Eviner             VP for Science

Julie Reynolds             VP for Education and Human Resources

Charles Canham          Secretary

Carmen Cid                 Member at Large

Ana Elise Perez Quintero        Member at Large


Members Absent

Monica Turner President-Elect

Scott Collins               VP for Public Affairs

Leah Gerber                Member at Large


Staff Present

Katherine McCarter    Executive Director

Cliff Duke                   Director, Science

Michelle Horton          Director, Administration and Meetings

Teresa Mourad            Director, Education and Diversity

Sue Silver                    Editor-in-Chief, Frontiers

Alison  Mize                Director, Public Affairs



Kate Gallagher            Student Section Co-Chair


Meeting called to order by President David Inouye at 8:30 am


  1. Information

David Inouye welcomed new board members, and thanked Jill Baron for her service during the past year.  He reviewed 2014-2015 meeting dates.  He described early planning for the program for the Centennial meeting.   Kate Gallagher described plans by the Student Section for a monthly newsletter, and liaisons with other sections.


  1. Discussion/Action Items


  1. Audit Committee

David Inouye appointed Jill Baron to serve on the Audit Committee.


  1. Meetings Format Recommendations

There was discussion of ideas for increasing the numbers of early and mid-career members attending the meetings, including high-profile named (and sponsored) lectures.


  1. Current Issues


  1. Centennial Celebration

Evan Delucia described fundraising efforts with foundations and corporations for support of activities at the Centennial meeting.


  1. Earth Stewardship

The landscape design project led by Alex Felson was a very active and visible activity during the meeting.   There is hope that a similar activity will be scheduled for the Centennial meeting.  Carmen Cid mentioned that the faith communities are expected to be active in the coming year in activities related to earth stewardship.


  1. Publications Strategic Review

An initial report from the strategic review of publications is expected for the November board meeting.


III. Other


Jill Baron mentioned contacts from other professional societies requesting that ESA provide booths at their annual meetings.


Meeting adjourned at 9:45 am


November 7-8, 2013

Minutes of the ESA Governing Board,
November 7-8, 2013
Washington, DC

Members Present
ill Baron                     President
Scott Collins               Past-President
David Inouye              President-Elect
Leslie Real                  VP for Finance
Sharon Collinge          VP for Public Affairs
Valerie Eviner             VP for Science
Charles Canham          Secretary
Michelle Mack            Member at Large

Staff Present
Katherine McCarter    Executive Director
Elizabeth Biggs           Chief Financial Officer
Cliff Duke                   Director, Science
Michelle Horton          Director, Administration and Meetings
Teresa Mourad            Director, Education and Diversity
David Baldwin           Managing Editor
Sue Silver                    Editor-in-Chief, Frontiers 

Kika Tarsi                    Chair, Student Section

Members Absent
Julie Reynolds             VP for Education and Human Resources
Carmen Cid                 Member at Large
Stephen Jackson          Member at Large

9:00 am, November 7, 2013:  meeting called to order by President Jill Baron


I. Agenda and Approval of Minutes

A. Adopt Agenda

Sharon Collinge moved and Les Real seconded adopting the agenda.  All aye.

B. Approval of the Minutes of the August 2013 Governing Board Meetings.

Scott Collins moved and Sharon Collinge seconded approval of the August 2013 minutes.   All aye.

II. Reports 

A. Report of the President

Jill Baron reported on activities related to the Earth Stewardship Initiative, including the project entitled “Integrating Ecological Science into Landscape and Urban Design” to be conducted during the 2014 meetings in Sacramento.  There is also continued effort on strengthening ties to the business community.   The issue of automatically signing members up for section membership will be discussed at the May meeting.

B. Report of the Executive Director and Staff

Katherine McCarter summarized the report from the Executive Director and staff, and reminded the Board of the scheduled conference call with the newly appointed Editor-in-Chief of the ESC/ESA journal.  Long-range planning grant proposals have been received.  Guidelines for the grants were revised at the August meeting, and far fewer proposals were submitted than in the past.  The search for a new Director of Public Affairs is underway.

Michelle Horton gave an update on the past Minneapolis meeting and the upcoming Sacramento meeting.  She also reported that there is a new online process for applying for status as a Certified Ecologist.  Membership renewal efforts are underway.  An ad hoc committee has been meeting regularly to devise ways to increase renewal rates.   This stimulated a lot of discussion of the challenges and opportunities for increasing overall membership.

David Baldwin summarized the report from the Publication Office.  One highlight was that Ecosphere has been accepted for inclusion in Web of Science.

Teresa Mourad reported on the SEEDS evaluation process that is underway.  She also summarized efforts to connect with faculty at minority-serving institutions.

Elizabeth Biggs reported that the auditors completed their site visit recently, and that the Audit Committee should be receiving the report soon.

C. Financial Updates

1. First Quarter Financials

Katherine McCarter and Elizabeth Biggs reviewed first quarter financials.  First quarter FY 2014 revenue was below first quarter FY 2013 because the revenue from the Minneapolis meeting was below revenue from the Portland meeting.  Membership dues and subscription income have declined in the past year, but year-end expenses and revenues are still expected to be close to budgeted.

2. Investment Updates

Les Real summarized performance of the Society’s investment portfolio.  There was discussion of the process of reviewing the investment policy, including the challenges of socially responsible investing.  There was a suggestion that there should be a regularly scheduled review of the investment policy, timed with the election of new Vice Presidents for Finance.

III. Discussion/Action Items

A. New Disease Ecology Section

Katherine McCarter summarized a proposal submitted by Jason Rohr for formation of a Disease Ecology section.  Staff have confirmed that the petition contains the required signatures of 50 ESA members.  The proposal included draft bylaws.  Scott Collins moved and David Inouye seconded a motion to recommend to the Council the formation of the Disease Ecology section.  All aye.

The recommendation will be sent to Council members for an e-mail vote.

B. Conversation with EiC of Joint ESA/ESC Journal (Dr. Yonglong Lu, EiC and Jing Duan, ESC.)

There was a conference call with Dr. Yonglong Lu, the newly appointed Editor-in-Chief of the joint ESA/ESC journal.  He summarized his vision and goals for the new journal, which will focus on “applying principles and concepts of ecology to support sustainable development, especially in regions undergoing rapid human change”.

C. Dryad Payment Plans

Dryad instituted charges for archiving data in September, 2013.  Ecological Monographs requires authors to deposit their data in Dryad prior to publication, and the Editorial Board of Ecological Applications voted at its August 2013 meeting to do the same with that journal.  David Baldwin summarized options for payments, ranging from requiring individual authors to handle the payments without involvement of the Publication Office, to a subscription plan whereby the Society pays a flat annual fee per journal based on the total number of papers published by the journal in a year.  Under the subscription plan entered into for Monographs, the Publications Office proposes to charge authors a $50 fee to cover costs of the subscription and the overhead associated with administering the program.  The publication office has paid a subscription fee for the next two years to cover the existing archiving requirement with Monographs.

There was considerable discussion of issues related to data archiving in general and ways to cover the costs with Dryad in particular for the other ESA journals.  Some authors will either already have their data archived under a different system, or will chose one of the alternative data portals, and no conclusion was reached on the appropriateness of charging a flat fee of all authors to cover a Dryad subscription for ESA’s other journals.  The Board agreed that Ecological Applications would mandate data deposits starting in January 2014. They decided that ESA will not enter into a Dryad subscription plan for Ecological Applications and that authors will be free to deposit their data in any repository of their choice,

D. Program Review – Science Programs

VP for Science Valerie Eviner introduced the program review for the science program.  Cliff Duke reviewed the history, goals and functioning of the Science program.  The Science Office depends heavily on outside funding for both a portion of staff salaries and other program expenses.  The board books contained details of specific program activities.  Cliff described several programs in detail, including the ongoing vegetation classification work and a June 2013 workshop on scaling up population and community ecology to continental scale for early career scientists.  The Science Program organizes periodic Emerging Issues conferences.  The next topic will be on “Integrated Landscape Science for Agriculture, Biodiversity Conservation, and Poverty Alleviation”, pending successful fundraising.  The office also coordinates the Issues In Ecology series.  Eighteen issues have been published to date, and several more are currently in progress.

Topics considered for future directions in the Science Office include (1) environmental change and natural disasters, (2) management responses to environmental change, (3) ecosystem services monitoring, and (4) linking science, policy and management to tackle ecological challenges.  Activities are being planned in each of these areas in conjunction with the 2014 Annual Meeting in Sacramento.

E. Editor-in-Chief Reviews

The Publications Committee submitted reviews of two Editors-in-Chief, and a request from Aaron Ellison, Editor-in-Chief of Ecological Monographs.   The reviews of both Dave Schimel and Deb Peters were overwhelmingly positive.  David Inouye moved and Charles Canham seconded a motion to appoint both Dave Schimel and Deb Peters to new 3-year terms effective January 1, 2014.  All aye.

The Governing Board expressed its deep appreciation for all of their efforts on behalf of the Society.  The Board also expressed its thanks to the Publications Committee and the editorial board members who contributed to the reviews.

David Inouye moved and Scott Collins seconded a motion to approve Aaron Ellison’s request to extend his current term as Editor-in-Chief of Monographs by 1 year (to December 31, 2015).  All aye.

The governing board will ask the Publications Committee to submit nominations for the new Editor-in-Chief by December 31, 2014, so that a new editor can be chosen before Aaron completes his term.

F. Mid Term Program Review – Publications

David Baldwin kicked-off the mid-term program review of the publications program.  Acceptance rates across the journals are back up to pre-2011 levels after the low rates of 2012.  Ecosphere has been approved by Thompson-Reuters for inclusion in Web of Science.  Ads are now included with Issue Alerts, providing a modest new source of potential revenue.   He reviewed goals and needs in the next few years, including implementation of the new ESA/ESC journal, and a new production module to replace outdated DOS-based software.  Concerns include erosion of subscriptions, impacts of data and open access mandates, and how to pay for innovations.

Sue Silver provided the mid-term review for Frontiers.  The number of manuscripts received by the journal continues to increase, necessitating a continuing decline in acceptance rate (to ~ 12% currently).  There have been 3 recent special issues, including an online-only issue on fire ecology. The journal is now in its 11th year.   She reviewed data from a number of sources assessing the impact and use of the journal, and the nature of both the authors and audience for the journal.  She described the use of a new system  – altmetrics – for assessing the social media buzz associated with individual publications.

G. Board Fundraising Update

Charles Canham provided an update on the effort to involve GB members in personalizing appeals for support of the Fund for the Future.   The personalized e-mails will be sent to lists of individuals identified by each GB member once the overall appeal letters have gone out from Katherine McCarter.   David Inouye will approach a contact in the University of Maryland development office about meeting with select staff and board members to get advice on development strategies.

H. Board Strategic Funds

Julie Reynolds and Teresa Mourad submitted a budget to support fundraising efforts related to SEEDS.  The Governing Board at the August 2013 meeting approved use of the funds for this purpose.  The Board would like to make sure that these efforts are coordinated with Society-wide development efforts and also requested more detail about the proposed plan.

I. National Park Service Science Sites

Jill Baron described an effort by the National Park Service and other organizations to identify and protect sites of important scientific discoveries.  ESA has been asked to participate in the nomination process for identifying sites once criteria are developed.

New Business

David Inouye suggested including information on meeting registration badges that recognizes how long individuals have been members of the Society.

Meeting adjourned at 5:15 pm, Thursday, November 7

Meeting called to order 11:15 am, Friday, November 8

III. Discussion and Action Items (Continued)

 J. Student Section Requests

Kika Tarsi, Chair of the Student Section, presented three proposals related to section and membership and funding: (1) automatic membership in the Student Section, (2) providing stable annual funding for the section, and (3) routine Section budget updates.  Over the past 10 years Section membership has ranged from 14-24% of student members.  The issue of folding a section membership in overall society membership (for all members) will be considered at the May 2014 Governing Board meeting.  This would still leave open the question of whether all student members were automatically enrolled in the Student Section.  Elizabeth Biggs pointed out that she provides budget details on demand whenever Section Chairs request it, and that the Society used to provide these details on a routine schedule but that Section Chairs still routinely asked for updates at other times.

The Governing Board strongly supports the recent initiatives of the Student Section.  A variety of proposals were advanced to provide funding for those activities.

Charles Canham moved and Sharon Collinge seconded a motion to recommend to the Council  increasing the Student Membership by $2, with the additional funding dedicated to Student Section activities.  All aye.


Meeting Adjourned at 12:00.

May 5, 2014

Minutes of the ESA Governing Board,
May 5-6, 2014
Washington, DC

Members Present
Jill Baron                     President
Scott Collins               Past-President
David Inouye              President-Elect
Leslie Real                  VP for Finance
Sharon Collinge          VP for Public Affairs
Valerie Eviner             VP for Science
Julie Reynolds             VP for Education and Human Resources
Charles Canham          Secretary
Carmen Cid                 Member at Large
Stephen Jackson          Member at Large
Michelle Mack            Member at Large

Staff Present
Katherine McCarter    Executive Director
Elizabeth Biggs           Directory of Finance
Cliff Duke                   Director, Science
Michelle Horton          Director, Administration and Meetings
Teresa Mourad            Director, Education and Diversity
Sue Silver                   Editor-in-Chief, Frontiers
Alison  Mize                Director, Public Affairs
Regina Przygocki         Publications Office

9:00 am, May 5, 2014, meeting called to order by President Jill Baron

I. Agenda and Approval of Minutes 

  1. Adopt Agenda
    David Inouye moved and Carmen Cid seconded adopting the agenda.  All aye.
  2. Approval of the Minutes of the August 2013 Governing Board Meetings.
    David Inouye moved and Val Eviner seconded approval of the November 2013 minutes.   All aye.
  3. Ratify vote – Regional Policy Award
    Steve Jackson moved and Scott Collins seconded a motion to approve the recommendation of Darrell Steinberg, California State Senate Majority Leader as the winner of the 2014 Regional Policy Award.   All aye.

II. Reports

  1. Report of the President
    Jill Baron reported on activities related to the Earth Stewardship Initiative, including the project entitled “Integrating Ecological Science into Landscape and Urban Design” to be conducted during the 2014 meetings in Sacramento.
  2. Report of the Executive Director and Staff
    Katherine McCarter introduced the staff reports contained in the board packet.  Cliff Duke highlighted several new projects, including a 2-year grant to increase the visibility of the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services within the scientific community.  Michelle Horton gave an update on preparation for the 2014 annual meeting.  They have retained a company to prepare an iPhone, Droid, and tablet app for the program of the meeting.   Alison Mize, the new Director of the Public Affairs program, reviewed recent efforts, including bringing graduate students to DC for meetings with congressional representatives.   She noted that The National Climate Assessment will be released this week.

Sue Silver reported on recent special issues of Frontiers.  They are introducing new open access components of Frontiers.  Teresa Mourad presented highlights of the Office of Education and Diversity Programs.  She summarized a recent SEEDS leadership meeting, and thanked Jill Baron for her help with the meeting.  There are several field trips scheduled for students in the program, including to the Trout Lake and Mountain Lake field stations.  Results of the SEEDS evaluation report will be presented later in the board meeting.  Regina Przygocki reported on activities of the Publication Office while David Baldwin is working part time from Mexico.  The Office is looking for new software for management of the production process.  Elizabeth Biggs gave a brief update on finances, since there will be an in-depth review of finances later in the meeting. Membership numbers and institutional subscriptions are both up slightly over the same time last year.

  • Financial Update
    Elizabeth Biggs, Director of Finance, reviewed the Society’s third quarter financial status.  Both dues and subscription revenue are going to be below budget for the fiscal year.  But both salary and benefits are also below budget, in part because the position of Director of the Public Affairs Program was vacant for part of the year.  As a result, total revenue was above expenses but at a much lower level than at the same time last year.  Liz also reported on the status of our investment accounts.  The Society has investments managed by both Merrill Lynch and Towneley Capital Management and both portfolios are performing well.


III. Discussion/Action Items

  • Report of the Audit Committee
    Steve Jackson moved and Sharon Collinge seconded a motion to accept the Audit Committee report.  All aye.
  • Program Review – Financial Status
    Liz Biggs reviewed the financial status of the Society, focusing on sources of unrestricted net income.  She began by reviewing the balance of income (less investments) versus expenses for the past 9 years.  Balances have been positive in all years from 2005-2013.  Including investments, the cumulative effect has been a $2.3M net balance which has resulted in unrestricted net assets of $2.9M.  In contrast, as recently as 1999, the society’s unrestricted net assets were negative ($126,363).   The Governing Board has set a goal of $5M in unrestricted net assets.  Liz then reviewed how the different categories of revenue and expenses have changed since 2005.  Dues revenue varies significantly year-to-year, largely because of variation in meeting attendance, while the long-term average has increased slightly because of built-in and gradual increases in membership dues.  Subscription revenue has declined slightly from a peak in 2009, despite increases in institutional subscription rates.  The numbers of institutional subscriptions has declined in 6 of the 7 last years, from a peak of 2,015 in 2006 to 1,791 in 2013.  Member subscriptions have also dropped, in part attributed to online institutional subscriptions.  There was extensive discussion of strategies for retaining and expanding institutional subscriptions, particularly at smaller institutions and government agencies.  The Annual Meeting is an important source of net income.  The Board has set a target of a minimum of $80,000 in net income from the meetings, and this target has been met in each of the last 9 years.  The actual net income varies from $96,000 to $432,000, and is a function of both attendance and expenses associated with the site.  Julie Reynolds suggested that the Board increase the expected net income from meetings.  There was discussion of the perennial issue of selecting locations for meetings to balance issues related to maximizing attendance and net revenue versus geographic diversity.  Scott Collins noted that the most fundamental goal of the meeting is to encourage the largest number of members to attend and interact.  There has been strong sentiment to set up a rotation in which certain cities are used repeatedly.

    Les Real moved and Sharon Collinge seconded a motion to set the minimum expected net income from the annual meeting at $125,000, beginning in 2019.  All aye.

    Liz Biggs then reviewed page charge revenue.  This typically amounts to close to $500,000/yr (including income from special features in Frontiers).  Income relative to expense for Ecosphere is projected at about $20,000 for 2014.

  • Proposed FY 2014-2015 ESA Budget

    1.Budget and Assumptions
    Katherine McCarter introduced the Fiscal Year 2014-2015 Budget Proposal.  Highlights include changes in journal subscription policies that are designed to bring institutional subscription revenue back to 2012 levels.  Membership dues are also expected to increase based on anticipated annual meeting attendance.   Per Council vote of August 2007, membership dues will increase by 2% for all members in 2015.  In lieu of the normal annual allocation of $50,000 to unrestricted funds, that money will be devoted to Centennial activities.  There are no significant capital expenses in the draft budget.   The budget will be reviewed again at the August meeting before bringing it to the Council for approval.
    2. Board Strategic Initiatives
    There was discussion of a number of ideas for use of the Board Strategic Initiative funds, including reserving the monies so that they accumulate in the Opportunity Fund for future initiatives.  The strategic review of ESA journals being considered during this meeting would likely be funded from the Opportunity Fund.

  • Strategic Review of the ESA Journals
    For several years, the Governing Board has been discussing the future of ESA’s publication program. Stresses on journal publishing include open access, declining library subscriptions, and the demand for new technology. The publication program has been a major source of funding for ESA and the Board is aware of the decline in revenue due to fewer institutional subscriptions.

    As a follow up to these conversations, President Jill Baron and Executive Director Katherine McCarter are recommending that Bill Burke of Rising Tide be engaged to do a Strategic Review of ESA’s journals. The effort will take no less than three months and no more than six months. The review would:

    * Review ESA’s publication portfolio (peer review, production practices, use of technology, mode of access, etc)
    * Conduct a competitive review of the standing of ESA’s journals in relation to their direct and major competitors
    * Benchmark ESA against like publishers and identify practices that have led to their success
    * Determine what actions ESA needs to take to be successful in the future – include a range of operational options to pursue

    Bill Burke joined the meeting via speakerphone to summarize their proposal and take questions from the Governing Board.  There was extensive discussion of the review.  Julie Reynolds noted that it would be desirable to have bids from other sources.

    Charles Canham moved and Sharon Collinge seconded a motion to approve soliciting a formal bid from Rising Tide, with a maximum budget of $75,000.  All aye.

  • Ecosystem Health and Sustainability Update
    Sue Silver and Regina Przygocki updated the Board on progress with the development of the joint journal with the Ecological Society of China, Ecosystem Health and Sustainability.  A journal website was launched in March 2014 and the Ecotrack portion of the journal is to be available by June 2014.  They hope to have the first papers published in January 2015.
  • Fundraising Update
    Charles Canham reviewed efforts to increase the number and average size of donations to the Fund for the Future.  He thanked board members for the e-mails they sent to ESA members last winter.  In the coming year fundraising efforts will be coordinated with planning for the Centennial year.  Michelle Mack suggested developing posters that can be displayed at the annual meeting to illustrate the need for and use of donations to the Fund for the Future.
  • Mid-term Review – Education
    Teresa Mourad, Director of Diversity and Education and Julie Reynolds, Vice President for Education and Human Resources updated the Board about education and diversity program priorities since the last review.  She presented initial results from the NSF-funded review of the SEEDS program, including surveys and compilation of data from both current students and alumnae.  She reviewed 2013-2014 priorities for the Committee for Diversity and Education.  These include preparing for the Centennial, the annual diversity luncheon, the sustainability of SEEDS funding, and vision and change in undergraduate biology education.
  • New Generation Report – Implementation Update
    The Ecology for a New Generation Committee made its final report to the Governing Board at its May 2012 meeting. While the Board did not specifically approve all the recommendations, it encouraged ESA staff, sections and chapters to review the report and implement the recommendations as appropriate. Director of Education and Diversity Teresa Mourad has sent a survey to sections and others to gather information for the update. She presented results to the Board, noting that many of the recommendations are being addressed by the Society and by individual sections, chapters, and committees.
  • Early Career Ecologist Section Petition
    Daniel Scholes and an organizing committee have submitted a petition to establish an Early Career Ecologist Section. The petition contains a statement of general scope, proposed bylaws, and the names of at least 50 members.

    Staff review of the proposed bylaws indicates that they are in accordance with the requirements of the ESA Constitution and Bylaws and also confirm that 50 members have signed the petition.

    Scott Collins moved and Julie Reynolds seconded approval of the Bylaws of the Early Career Ecologist Section.  All aye.

    Scott Collins moved and Julie Reynolds seconded recommending that the Council approve the formation of the Early Career Ecologist Section.  All aye.

  • Proceedings of the National Vegetation Classification
    The ESA Panel on Vegetation Classification has been collaborating to develop the standards for a national classification and construction of the classification itself since 1994. In 2009, the ESA Council amended the ESA By-laws to grant the Panel standing committee status.

    ESA’s panel on Vegetation Classification is proposing that ESA agree to house the Proceedings of the National Vegetation Classification (NVC), an online resource that would document changes in the NVC.

    The National Vegetation Classification is dynamic—it can be changed in response to new information from the field. In the last several years, the Federal Government has relied on ESA’s Vegetation Panel to develop a peer review process to review proposed changes. ESA is being asked to house the review materials and products. After completion of the NVC (anticipated in 2015) proposed changes will begin to be submitted and the ESA Panel will maintain the leadership of the review process.

    Scott Collins moved and Les Real seconded a motion to approve that ESA will house the Proceedings of the National Vegetation Classification in an online format.  All Aye.

    Tuesday, May 6, 2014
    The Governing Board met in executive session from 8:00 – 9:00 am.

  • ESA Professional Certification – Review
    Linda Heath, former chair of the ESA Certification Program has provided a background document on the Professional Certification program and a suggestion that the program, established in 1981, would benefit from a review including an update of its criteria and consideration of new directions.   Heath’s document not only contains the argument for the need for an update of the certification program, but also contains the kinds of questions and concerns that should be addressed.

    Steve Jackson moved and Julie Reynolds seconded a motion to approve the appointment by ESA President Jill Baron of an Ad Hoc Committee to review the certification program. A charge, time frame, and selection of members will be determined by the President.

  • Automatic Section Membership
    During the November 2013 Governing Board meeting, the Board approved a motion to “recommend to the Council increasing the Student Membership by $2, with the additional funding dedicated to Student section activities”.   There was also discussion of the issue of whether all student members should be automatically enrolled in the Student Section, and whether all membership classes should include membership in a section of the member’s choice.  Currently about 60% of ESA members pay the $5 fee to join a section.  Attendees of the annual meetings will, beginning this year, be able to join a section while at the meeting.

    Julie Reynolds moved and Val Eviner seconded that the Board recommend to the Council that all membership categories be increased by $5 and that all members are invited to select one section or chapter as part of their basic membership.  Additional section or chapter memberships can still be selected for $5 each.  Student dues would increase by the $2.00 going to the student section and the $5.00 fee for a section or chapter of their choice. All aye.

  • Centennial Implementation – Update
    The Centennial Implementation Committee, chaired by Nancy Huntly, was charged to oversee the implementation of various activities approved for funding by the Governing Board as part of the Centennial celebration during 2015. These activities include Centennial Papers in ESA journals, a video production, efforts by the Past Presidents and Historical Records Committees, and allocation of funds for activities organized by Chapters, Sections, and Students. The Committee Chair also communicates with ESA Staff, the 2015 Program Chair, the Historical Records Committee Chair, the Past Presidents Chair, and Section Chairs to coordinate and promote the Centennial.

    Nancy Huntly provided a written update on activities of the committee.

  • 2015 Centennial Theme
    Carol Brewer, Program Chair for 2015, in consultation with Nancy Huntly, Chair of the Centennial Implementation Committee, and others has submitted a suggested theme for the ESA 2015 Centennial meeting in Baltimore, Maryland.   The board discussed feedback to provide to the Program Chair for revision of the theme.  Jill Baron will pass on comments from Governing Board members to Carol Brewer.
  • Report of the Nominations Committee
    Scott Collins announced the slate of candidates for the 2014 ESA Governing Board elections.  Steve Jackson moved and David Inouye seconded approving the slate of candidates.  All aye.

    Les Real moved and Charlie Canham seconded the motion to appoint Scott Collins to serve a one-year term as Vice President of Public Affairs, to fill the vacancy from 2014-2015.  All aye.

  • Report of the Awards Committee
    The Awards Committee, chaired by Alan Hastings, has provided its recommendations for the ESA-wide awards to be presented during the Scientific Plenary at the 2014 Sacramento Annual Meeting. These recommendations also contain nominations for Fellows and Early Career Fellows and the Whittaker and Shreve awards.

    Scott Collins moved and Valerie Eviner seconded approving the slate of candidates for the awards.    10 votes aye, 1 abstention.

Meeting adjourned at 11:30 am,  May 6, 2014


Forest Global Earth Observatory -
The Center for Tropical Forest Science
Smithsonian Institution 

The Smithsonian’s Forest Global Earth Observatory - Center for Tropical Forest Science (ForestGEO-CTFS) is a global network of research plots focused on the dynamics and diversity of forests. Over the past three decades, the ForestGEO-CTFS network, involving hundreds of scientists from dozens of institutions, has established 53 standardized large-scale long-term forest monitoring plots in 23 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. This international collaboration is now monitoring the growth and survival of over 5 million trees in 10,000 species. 

One post-doctoral fellow is sought by ForestGEO-CTFS to conduct analyses of data from the network of large forest plots, focusing on the dynamics of Asian forests. Candidates should have a strong analytical background, an established record of research and scholarly publication in forest science. Research topics may include any related to the dynamics of tropical or temperate forests, emphasizing comparative studies among forests. For more information on ForestGEO-CTFS see

Applications should include a brief statement of research interests, a curriculum vitae, and the names of three references. Submit applications by e-mail to: Delaney Rakosnik, ForestGEO-CTFS Program Assistant ( The successful applicants will be based at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. 

This announcement will stay open until the positions are filled.

 Questions can be addressed to Stuart Davies, ForestGEO-CTFS Director ( 

 The Smithsonian Institution is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

Data-Intensive Analysis & Modeling for Socio-Environmental Synthesis


The landscape of socio-environmental research is evolving. Understanding the factors and processes that influence the dynamics of coupled socio-environmental systems (SESs) requires research that harnesses a diversity of data sources and types (quantitative and qualitative) for use with sophisticated analytical and modeling tools. Consequently, data-intensive analytic and modeling approaches have emerged as critical needs for supporting socio-environmental research.

The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) announces a special invitation for proposals for data-intensive or modeling projects that can advance socio-environmental research. Successful proposals will pursue questions critical to understanding the social or ecological dynamics of SESs by:

•integrating large and/or heterogeneous data sets OR
•developing innovative data integration, organization, and/or visualization approaches for use with computationally-intensive data analysis and/or modeling efforts.

Support Details

SESYNC has significant modeling, data analysis, and database management expertise to guide teams that need assistance with the technical aspects of data mining, processing, integration, visualization and/or modeling.

In addition, we may cover the costs of a research assistant to support project activities. Projects that will utilize a SESYNC research assistant must include a detailed description of the expected responsibilities and desired skills required of the position. A research assistant position could be filled by a graduate research assistant, postdoc, programmer, or database technician depending on the technical skills required. If merited, SESYNC will alternatively support a project team member at his or her home institution. Project team members receiving salary support from SESYNC are required to attend SESYNC's 2014 Computational Summer Institute. Attendance of additional team members is not required, but is encouraged.

Funded projects will gain access to SESYNC’s advanced cyberinfrastructure, including use of and support for scalable cluster computing and substantial storage capacity (10’s of terabytes per project). Funded projects also receive support for meetings at SESYNC in Annapolis, MD, including travel and group facilitation.

Project Details 

This funding opportunity covers two types of projects (not mutually exclusive):

1.Data Integration and Analysis: Addressing challenging questions on SESs often requires the integration of heterogeneous, large-scale, or highly detailed data sets from multiple regions and disciplines, yet many natural and social science scholars lack the informatics skills, time, or resources to undertake these tasks. Since this is often a major obstacle for answering critical research questions, SESYNC invites projects that will combine large and/or heterogeneous social and environmental data to address novel and actionable socio-environmental questions. SESYNC will provide support for teams whose socio-environmental research programs will be substantially enhanced through the use of data mining, processing, integration, and/or visualization technologies. We also invite proposals to develop innovative informatics approaches and/or tools that will advance socio-environmental synthesis.

2.Data-Intensive Modeling Methodology and Applications: Given the complexity and cross-scale nature of many SESs, field-based experimental research may not be feasible, making modeling and/or analysis of multi-scale and multi-sector data essential for generating and testing new hypotheses in socio-environmental research. SESYNC invites projects that will develop new models and/or modeling methodologies that utilize large and/or multidisciplinary data sources, the integration of which might be computationally-intensive and/or analytically challenging. Quantitative tools and approaches that facilitate the integration of social and biophysical models and data at local, regional, and global scales in a spatially explicit framework are particularly important for investigating multifaceted socio-environmental issues. Such tools and approaches should also provide insights into the structure and dynamics of current SESs, as well as improve capacity to understand and respond to future scenarios. Projects that combine advances in modeling and analytic methods, such as the assimilation of large and/or heterogeneous data to improve model performance, are especially welcome.

Successful candidates will lead strongly data and/or modeling-driven research efforts that synthesize understanding at the interface of the social and environmental sciences. Competitive proposals will:

1.bring together social and environmental data in novel ways to address critical socio-environmental research questions that are also actionable or

2.attempt to advance modeling and/or analytical techniques beyond current applications, which may be limited to a single scale of analysis, type of data, and/or disciplinary lense.

Below, we provide examples of topics that could be addressed under this theme. These examples are meant only to illustrate the diversity of potential topics related to this call for proposals, rather than the full extent of relevant topics. Data-intensive analysis and/or quantitative modeling projects could involve:

•Integration, organization, and/or visualization of "big data" or highly heterogeneous data to answer socio-environmental research questions;
•Development of spatially-explicit data sets by harmonizing remote sensing products with detailed socio-economic data;
•Novel integration of multi-disciplinary datasets and/or quantitative models for cross-site comparisons;
•Scaling-up of modeling or analytical techniques currently limited to site-based application or small datasets, respectively;
•Adaptation or advancement of high-performance computing methods for socio-environmental applications;
•Capture and analysis of ambient geographic information from geo-tagged social media data to inform analysis and/or modeling of human-environment interactions;
•Assimilation of complex data into simulation models at the design, parameterization, and/or evaluation stages; or
•Development of ‘best practices’ for use of heterogeneous, multi-disciplinary, large-scale, and/or highly detailed data sets.

Submission Details

SESYNC hopes to catalyze collaborations across a broad range of areas. Proposals are welcome from Principal Investigator(s) (PIs) at any career stage—faculty, postdoctoral, or senior graduate students. Project teams might include experts from domains traditionally engaged in social and environmental sciences with quantitative and/or qualitative skills.

Proposals will be evaluated bi-annually. The inaugural deadline is January 31, 2014, at 5 p.m. (EST), and every six months thereafter.

All funding decisions will be based on external peer review by an international panel.

Questions regarding the content or scope of possible projects should be directed to Dr. Nicholas Magliocca at

Submission Instructions

Proposal Criteria

Proposals should include and will be ranked based on:

•novelty, creativity, and/or urgency of socio-environmental research question(s) and/or advancement of data-intensive analysis or modeling;
•clear descriptions of:
•data sources: accessibility, structure, and storage requirements,
•analysis: methodology, assumptions, and data and software requirements, and
•models: theoretical foundations, purpose, and structure;
•feasibility of producing meaningful synthetic research, including identifying and showing ability to access appropriate data;
•potential to translate findings into actionable solutions;
•qualifications, appropriate diversity of scientific backgrounds, and experience of the proposed participants;
•inclusion of diversity to broaden the participation of underrepresented groups with respect to gender, ethnicity, disability and geographic location; and
•explanation of why SESYNC is the most appropriate way to support the activity.

What to Include

Applications are composed of two parts to be submitted via SESYNC's online submission system: 1) an online cover sheet submitted via webform and 2) a single PDF file containing the major components of your application. These two parts are described below:

Online cover sheet (Do not include in application document)

•Descriptive title or proposed project type (e.g., "Pursuit...")
•Short title (25 characters max)
•Name and contact information for up to two PIs
•Project summary (250 words) - appropriate for the public; posted on the SESYNC web site
•Keywords (up to 5 keywords different from those used in the title)
•Proposed start and end dates; number and duration of meetings as well as the estimated number of participants
•Potential conflicts of interest with members of the SESYNC External Advisory Board, Scientific Review Committee or Leadership

Application PDF (Use single spacing, 12-pt type fonts, and 1-inch margins.

Main body (5 pages max including references)

•Problem statement: Clear and concise statement of how the project will address a novel socio-environmental research question, what technical barriers need to be overcome to perform the research, and how the proposed data synthesis or innovations in data-intensive analysis and/or modeling can lead to the advancement of SES research.
•Conceptual framework: Graphical and/or textual formats should be used to show how the synthesis approach and various components of the work are linked together to address the problem of interest.
•Proposed activities: Description of the synthesis project to be undertaken. Provide the technical specifications of the data sources (and their permissions needed for use), analytical methods, and/or modeling approaches that will be used, as well as the scope of work for any technical support personnel that are requested.
•Suitability for SESYNC: Brief description of why the proposed synthesis activities are appropriate for funding by SESYNC as opposed to another funding program, such as the National Science Foundation's (NSF's) core programs.
•Expected results: Description of new data sets, analytical/modeling tools, and/or insights into SESs resulting from the proposed activities.
•Metrics of success: Descripton of which metrics are the most appropriate for evaluating the success of the proposed project (e.g., papers, policy-directed efforts, databases, models, development of new resources, etc). If successful, who would most likely use the knowledge or tools developed?
•Cyberinfrastructure needs: Brief description of any anticipated needs for cyberinfrastructure support, which could include descriptions of new data sets or software/databases to be developed; high performance computing needs; data aggregation or fusion required; types of visualization; and description of technical support personnel. Applicants should review SESYNC's IT and data sharing policies and are encouraged to contact SESYNC prior to submission to discuss the project's technical requirements relative to SESYNC's expertise, cyberinfrastructure, and personnel.

Potential Participants (1 page)

Complete a table with the following column headers for all participants:

•Last name
•First name
•Affiliation (include department)
•Website address
•Primary area of expertise
•Secondary area of expertise
•Confirmed (Y/N)
•Prior collaboration with applicants (Y/N)
•Diversity statement: Include a paragraph describing the aspects of diversity in your participant list. Diversity is considered in all its aspects, social and scientific, including gender, ethnicity, scientific field, disability status, career stage, geography, and type of home institution.

Additional Information (1 page)

•Complete description of the expected responsibilities and required skills of technical support staff, and whether the project will rely on SESYNC staff or an individual at one of the project team member's home institutions. Applicants are encouraged to contact SESYNC prior to submitting a proposal if they are unsure how their technical support personnel needs will be met.
•Work plan with budgetary needs: This is not in dollars, but do provide: 1) numbers of trips by year to SESYNC (broken down by number of US domestic and international participants and days of local support) and 2) other anticipated support. 

Short CVs of the Pursuit Leads (2 pages for each) 

Do not include talks, society memberships, or papers in preparation. 


The University of Maryland is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Minorities and Women Are Encouraged to Apply

Graduate Fellowship Opportunities at UC Riverside

The Department of Environmental Sciences at UC Riverside is seeking graduate students to work on NSF-sponsored investigations of paleolimnology, aquatic ecology and isotope biogeochemistry of Sierra Nevada lakes. This work builds on the more than 30-year record of limnological and watershed research conducted at Emerald Lake in Sequoia National Park ( These Fellowships (MS and Ph.D) include a monthly stipend, full tuition and fees and funds to conduct research.

Education and experience – An MS or BS degree in aquatic ecology, hydrology, limnology, or similar discipline is required. Experience in aquatic ecology, paleolimnology and stable isotopes desired. Candidates must have the ability to work at remote field sites. Applicants should e-mail, in a single pdf file, to Dr. James Sickman at UC Riverside ( i) a cover letter describing their education, research experience and career goals, ii) a CV and iii) list of references including contact information.

For more information about the position please contact:
James O. Sickman
Associate Professor and Vice Chair
Department of Environmental Sciences
University of California, Riverside
Room 2324 Geology
Riverside, California 92521
Office: (951) 827-4552
Fax: (951) 827-3993

Facility for Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (FIRMS):

August 3-4, 2013

Minutes of the ESA Governing Board,
August 3-4, 2013
Minneapolis, MN

Members Present
Scott Collins               President
Steward Pickett          Past-President
Jill Baron                    President-Elect
Leslie Real                 VP for Finance
Sharon Collinge         VP for Public Affairs
Deborah Goldberg     VP for Science
Julie Reynolds            VP for Education and Human Resources
Charles Canham        Secretary
Mimi Lam                   Member-at-Large
Stephen Jackson       Member-at-Large
Michelle Mack            Member at Large 

Staff Present
Katherine McCarter    Executive Director
Elizabeth Biggs           Chief Financial Officer
Nadine Lymn              Director, Public Affairs
Cliff Duke                   Director, Science
Michelle Horton          Director, Administration and Meetings
Teresa Mourad           Director, Education and Diversity
David Baldwin           Managing Editor
Sue Silver                   Editor-in-Chief, Frontiers
David Gooding           Asst. Managing Editor

Guests – Saturday, August 3
Joey Bernhardt            Chair, Student Section                  
Valerie Eviner             VP-Elect for Science
Carmen Cid                 Member-at-Large Elect                                              

Guests – Sunday, August 4
Valerie Eviner             VP-Elect for Science
Carmen Cid                Member-at-Large Elect                                          
David Inouye              Incoming President-Elect
Don Strong                 Editor-in-Chief, Ecology
Aaron Ellison              Editor-in-Chief, Ecological Monographs
Brian Inouye               Associate Editor-in-Chief, Ecological Applications
Debra Peters              Meeting Program Chair, and Editor-in-Chief, Ecosphere
David Schimel             Editor-in-Chief, Ecological Applications
Edward Johnson         Editor –in –Chief, ESA Bulletin
Nancy Huntly             Centennial Committee

9:05 am, August 3, 2013:  meeting called to order by President Scott Collins 

I. Roll Call and Agenda

 A. Adopt Agenda

Deborah Goldberg moved and Stephen Jackson seconded adopting the agenda.  All aye.

B. Ratification of Votes taken since May Meeting 

1. Minutes, May

            Stephen Jackson moved and Sharon Collinge seconded ratification of the e-mail vote to approve the minutes of the May 2013 meeting.   All aye.

II. Reports

A. Report of the President

            President Collins summarized the fine-tuning of the functioning of the Society in the past year by staff and the Governing Board, including adopting recommendations from the Committee for a New Generation, and keeping the society responsive to members.  He also reviewed the status of a number of larger issues, including open access for journals and the structure of the annual meeting.  Centennial planning proceeds apace.  Other major activities in the past year include initiation of the ESA Fellows program, and expansion of the Professional Certification program.

B. Report of the Executive Director and Staff

            Executive Director Katherine McCarter summarized the report from the staff.  She provided an update on the status of the formation of the joint ESA/ESC journal, including the search for a managing editor. 

Nadine Lymn reported on press coverage of the annual meeting.  There will be a celebration Monday, Aug. 5, of 30 years of the Public Affairs program.  There will be an inaugural science café at this year’s annual meeting.  Teresa Mourad reminded members of the diversity program celebration Wednesday Aug. 7. 

Michelle Horton summarized the status of the meeting.  There were approximately 3000 registrants, and another 200-300 walk-in registrants are expected.  These numbers are in line with expectations and the budget for the meeting. 

Cliff Duke reviewed activities in the science program, including the ongoing and energetic efforts of the Vegetation Classification panel.   A number of volumes in the Issues in Ecology series will be released soon, including one on citizen science and one on threatened and endangered species management.  Both of these are supported by workshops funded by the U.S. Forest Service. 

David Baldwin summarized opportunities for future changes in production of the subscription journals.  Ecosphere is now 3 years old, but there is still no formal word from Thompson-Reuters on when it will be indexed.  The Bulletin is gearing up for the Centennial celebration (and its own centennial). 

Sue Silver highlighted activities at Frontiers, including the relatively unsuccessful launch of a digital edition.  This fall will see the first online-only special feature, on prescribed burning in fire-prone landscapes.  They will publicize the issue vigorously.  The August issue contains the first installment of the eco-literacy section. 

Liz Biggs gave a brief history of ESA finances since both she and Katherine arrived in 1997, when it had a negative net asset balance of ~ $800,000.  In the past 15 years, in part because of gradual increases in subscription rates, the Society has gone to a positive net asset balance of $2.6M.  She feels that era of asset growth is ending, in large part because of constraints on subscription revenue.  We should expect that budgets going forward will be much tighter.

C. Financial Update

1. Fourth Quarter Financials

Katherine McCarter and Liz Biggs summarized the fourth quarter financial report.  For the year, revenue exceeded expenses by $52,493 in a budget of $6.5M.  While this is positive, this is a smaller balance than in previous years, and is only this large because of a very successful annual meeting in Portland in 2012.  Membership dues were close to (but slightly under) budget, but again this was buoyed by Portland.  Subscription revenue came in $162,779 under budget, offset partly by a reduction in printing expenses of $98,959.  Individual subscriptions represent a very small faction of total subscription revenue, and continue to decline as expected.  Manuscript charges were also under budget, in part because of lower than expected revenue from Ecosphere.  There was extensive discussion of the challenges of maintaining revenue and minimizing expenses associated with the publications.  There was also discussion of the need to maintain excitement about the meetings, including the need to accommodate evolution in modes of communication.                  

2. Investments

VP for Finance Les Real commended Liz and Katherine for their management of the Society’s finances.  The Society’s two investment accounts are doing well at ~ 5-7% annual return in conservatively invested portfolios. 

III. Discussion/Action Items

A. FY 2013-2014 ESA Budget

1. Approve Budget for Council Meeting

            A draft budget was discussed and approved at the May 2013 Governing Board meeting.  Sharon Collinge moved and Mimi Lam seconded recommending the adoption of the budget by the Council at their annual meeting on Aug. 4, 2013.

2. New Membership Category

            New membership categories were discussed at the May 2013 Governing Board meeting.  In response to that discussion, staff were asked to propose new membership categories at the upper income levels.   Deborah Goldberg moved and Julie Reynolds seconded recommending that the Council adopt the new membership categories.  All aye.

3. Board Strategic Initiatives

            Board members discussed a number of suggestions for use of Board strategic initiative funds.  The main proposals were to add three additional Graduate Student Policy Awards ($1000 each) and to provide funding for the SEEDS leadership program.  There was discussion of whether either of these really met the definition of “strategic initiatives”.  Additional support for the Graduate Student Policy Awards is expected to be available from the previous monies raised for AAAS Congressional Fellows, so the proposal to use board strategic initiative funds for that purpose was withdrawn. 

            No decision to allocate funds was made.  Julie Reynolds would like to develop a proposal for future consideration in the area of the sustainability of SEEDS funding.

4. Long Range Planning Grant Subcommittee

            Members-at-Large have traditionally reviewed applications from sections, chapters, and committees for Long Range Planning Grants.   The board agreed that this practice should continue.

5. Discussion of Council Presentation

            The board discussed the importance of updating the Council on the long-term challenges in Society finances, particularly the issues of declining library subscriptions and new, more cost-effective models for publications.

B. Impacts of Open Access Mandates

            ESA’s subscription journals are already “green” open access (and have been for many years), and Ecosphere is “gold” open access.  There is still uncertainty about what sort of federal mandates might be coming, and what impact these would have on institutional subscriptions and society finances.  Even a 10% decline in subscriptions would have a dramatic impact on the Society’s budget.

C. Yearly Policy Priorities Recommendations

            Each year the Public Affairs office reviews public policy priorities for the coming year, and asks the Governing Board to formally adopt those priorities.  Priority areas for the coming year are (1) energy and climate, (2) water quality and quantity, (3) disasters affecting ecosystems, (4) STEM education, (5) endangered species, (6) urban ecosystems, and (7) federal investment in research agencies. 

D. Fundraising

There was lots of enthusiasm for the plan outlined by Charles Canham to involve the Governing Board in building the donor base for the Society through personal contact.   Further discussion included suggestions for matching funds specifically for student donations.  Teresa Mourad volunteered to be staff liason for SEEDS donations.

E. Earth Stewardship Application Ecological Action Plan: Designed Ecological Transect

            Jill Baron reviewed a proposal for a series of activities to incorporate ecological science into landscape and urban design, using earth stewardship as a framework, in concert with the 2014 ESA meetings in Sacramento and Baltimore.  Alex Felson at Yale University is the lead on the proposal with Jill Baron, assisted by an advisory committee of Steward Pickett, Sharon Collinge, Mary Cadenasso, Joe Brown, and Fritz Steiner. 

F. Awards – Distinguished Service Award

            The bylaws establishing the Distinguished Service Citation do not specify whether the recipient must be an ESA member, although the citation with the first award in 1975 mentions that the award is to honor “members”.  There was discussion of whether the award committee should be given explicit guidance on whether the recipient should be an ESA member.  The Governing Board recommends establishing a separate committee charged with making recommendations for this award (rather than combined with the Eminent Ecologist award), and that the committee should have a preference for nominations of ESA members.

G. Congressional Fellow/Policy Fellows

            In past years there has been an option for donations as a part of membership dues to support a AAAS Congressional Fellow.  The option raises relatively little money, and the costs of a AAAS Congressional Fellow are very high.  There is a proposal to change the donations to support Graduate Student Policy Fellowships (~ $1000, versus $100,000 per AAAS Fellow).  Deborah Goldberg moved and Sharon Collinge seconded changing the donation option to support Graduate Student Policy Fellowships.  All aye.  Prior donors will be notified of this change and will be able to request a refund if they desire.

H. Developing Country Awards and Shreve Award

            Jessica Gurevitch, chair of the Grants and Fellowships Committee, has recommended changes to the use of funds collected from the “Support for Developing Countries” option on the membership form.  Specifically, the committee recommends that the Grants for Membership include a free year of membership, a subscription to one journal, and travel funds.  The committee provided several alternate suggestions regarding the Grants for Libraries, and has requested feedback from the Governing Board. 

            Funds have been accumulating in these accounts for a number of years, with very low rates of annual contributions, and few if any applications for use of the funds.  The goals of this program overlap very closely with the Whittaker travel awards, and there was a proposal to merge the funds raised for “grants for membership” with the Whittaker travel awards, while ensuring that funds from the developing country membership pool used for awards under the Whittaker program go to an applicant from a developing country. The corpus of the funds for developing country libraries will remain intact, while interest from the corpus will be used to support Whittaker travel awards.  Deborah Goldberg suggested that the funds be viewed as an award rather than as research support, given the very small amount of funds involved. 

            Deborah Goldberg moved and Steve Jackson seconded a proposal to remove the developing country check-off donations from the membership form.  All aye. 

            Deborah Goldberg moved and Les Real seconded the recommendation from the committee to award the Shreve Award to Anny Chung from the University of New Mexico.  All aye.

I. Update on Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education

            Teresa Mourad provided an update on ESA activities related to the Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education Summit organized by NSF and AAAS in 2009.  Later this month she will be attending a conference organized to review progress toward the goals of the original summit.   There was discussion of the role of professional science societies in changes in undergraduate general biology education.

J. Long Range Planning Grant – review Guidelines

            At the May 2013 meeting, a request was made to review the guidelines used in awarding Long Range Planning Grants.  Katherine McCarter contacted former Members-at-Large for their opinions on these guidelines.  There was discussion of whether travel grants really fall within the purview of either “long range” or “planning” grants.  But these funds are the primary source of monies used by sections and chapters for building capacity.  The current cap of $2500 on proposals may be limiting the ambitiousness of the activities.  Julie Reynolds proposed that we revise the guidelines to emphasize strategic activities and raise the cap on the maximum amount of the proposal.  Steve Jackson will work with the other members-at-large to revise the current guidelines.

K. Ecology for a New Generation

            Teresa Mourad reminded the board that the final report of the Ecology for a New Generation Committee was presented at the May 2012 meeting.  The board encourages ESA staff, sections, and chairs to review the report and implement the recommendations as appropriate.

L. Earth Stewardship Business Communications

            Jill Baron gave an update on recent efforts to train ecologists in effective communication with business leaders on the topic of sustainability. She specifically noted a “trial” training that will take place in London (for selected ESA members attending INTECOL2013) and will be hosted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers London.

M. Bulletin Request

            Bulletin Editor-in-Chief Ed Johnson has requested input from the Governing Board on names of individuals who should be solicited for contributions on papers which have had particular influence on their ideas and approaches to ecology.  Members are asked to send names to Scott Collins who will collate the names and forward them to Ed Johnson

N. Executive Session (Governing Board Members only)

            The Governing Board met in Executive Session at 5:25, and adjourned at 6:00 pm.

Meeting called to order at 9:00, Sunday, August 04, 2013

III. Discussion/Action Items

N. 2013 Annual Meeting

            Debra Peters gave an update on the 2013 Annual Meeting.  New features include the Ignite sessions.  More Ignite sessions than expected were proposed.  There was extensive discussion of use of Internet access, social media and Twitter use during the meeting.

O. Centennial

            Nancy Huntly gave an update on efforts of the Centennial Implementation Committee.  They will be meeting this week, and are looking for input on the theme and logo for the meeting (in coordination with the meeting committee).  They are also interested in suggestions for symposia and special sessions.  2015 will be the year of the MacArthur Award plenary.  They think an additional science plenary should be planned.  The Committee hopes to have most of the Past Presidents attend the meeting, and there was a request that the Governing Board consider ways to encourage their attendance.  Les Real and Charlie Canham will explore fundraising opportunities to support their attendance, particularly for retired past presidents. 

P. Publications Meetings  

1. Ecology                                         

            Editor-in-Chief Don Strong summarized his report.  Current acceptance rate is running approximately 21%.   The editorial board is quite large (~125 members), with a relatively low turnover rate.   The work load varies enormously among the editorial board.

2. Ecological Monographs

            Editor-in-Chief Aaron Ellison gave an update on Ecological Monographs.  Submissions in the past year ran ~136, and published 26 articles.  Roughly half of submissions are not sent out for review, and overall acceptance rate is approximately 20%.

3. Ecological Applications

            Editor-in-Chief Dave Schimel reported on the year in Ecological Applications.  Submissions are up slightly this year.  There have been no major changes in procedures and processes in the past year.  A social scientist has been appointed as an assigning editor.  Many of the papers handled by that editor examine economic and ecological tradeoffs in conservation.  A number of papers have been commissioned as part of the Centennial celebration.  The editorial board also spent time discussing the issue of data availability and requirements for publicly posting data.  Data availability is seen as increasingly important for papers with policy and decision-making implications. 

4. Ecosphere

            Debra Peters, Editor-in-Chief of Ecosphere reported on the status of that journal.  The editorial board has reached 50, with a goal of 70-80.   There have been close to 400 submissions during the past year, with 144 papers published in the past year.  Time to first decision from initial submission is roughly 50 days.  Weekly content alerts are now being generated by Allen Press.  Two virtual special feature issues have been generated (published separately and linked by keywords).  They are pursuing a set of 6-10 papers as part of the Centennial celebration.

5. Frontiers

            Sue Silver, Editor-in-Chief summarized the year in Frontiers.  The submission rate continues to increase, although as many of 70% are returned without review because they do not fit the goals and format of the journal. 

6. Bulletin

            Ed Johnson, Editor-in-Chief of the Bulletin summarized activities at the Bulletin, which is the Society’s oldest journal.  There are a number of efforts related to the Cenntennial celebration, including collating all of the Society’s Resolution of Respect.

Meeting adjourned at 12:00 pm, August 4, 2013


ALEXANDRIA, VA, November 7, 2013—The Department of Defense’s (DoD) Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) is seeking to fund environmental research and development in the Resource Conservation and Climate Change program area. SERDP invests across the broad spectrum of basic and applied research, as well as advanced technology development. The development and application of innovative environmental technologies will reduce the costs, environmental risks, and time required to resolve environmental problems while, at the same time, enhancing and sustaining military readiness.

The Resource Conservation and Climate Change program area supports the development of the science, technologies, and methods needed to manage DoD’s installation infrastructure in a sustainable way. SERDP is requesting proposals that respond to the following focused Statements of Need (SON) in Resource Conservation and Climate Change: 

  • New Paradigms for Managing Species and Ecosystems in a Non-Stationary World 
  • Adapting to Changes in the Hydrologic Cycle under Non-Stationary Climate Conditions 

Proposals responding to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 SONs will be selected through a competitive process. All pre-proposals are due to SERDP by Thursday, January 9, 2014. The SONs and detailed instructions are available on the SERDP web site at


Participate in the webinar “SERDP Funding Opportunities” conducted by the SERDP Executive Director on Tuesday, November 19, 2013, from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. EST. This “how to play” briefing will offer valuable information for those who are interested in new funding opportunities with SERDP. During the online seminar, participants may ask questions about the funding process, the current SERDP
solicitation, and the proposal submission process. Pre-registration for this webinar is required. To register, visit If you have difficulty registering, please contact the SERDP Support Office at or by telephone at 703-736-4547.

Earthwatch Institute – Request For Proposals

Earthwatch is currently seeking submissions from scientists for field-based projects. Concept Notes for projects starting in 2015 will be accepted through Monday, December 9, 2013.

Program Description

Earthwatch aims to create opportunities for teams of adults and students (age 15-18) to participate and assist in the research and data collection of scientists working on active research projects. Earthwatch participants are highly motivated citizens from around the world who are dedicated to improving environmental understanding.

There is a wide range of potential field research topics appropriate for these grants. Projects should display a set of clearly identified research questions, with appropriate research design and methodology. Earthwatch is looking to support projects with outputs/impacts that will either: a) lead to significant advancement in scientific understanding or b) make significant contributions to environmental policies or management plans.

Areas of Interest

  • Caribbean Coral Reef Ecosystems – Topics include, but are not limited to:
    • Impacts of global change on coral reefs, and how this is affecting the local community
    • The role of coral reefs in coastal ecosystem function, interactions with key habitats such as mangroves and sea grass beds, and how integrated ecosystem management can mitigate against human impacts
    • The effects of fisheries (including fish and shellfish; and aquaculture practices) on coral reefs and how they can be managed effectively to ensure sustainable fish stocks and  healthy coral reef ecosystem
  • Cold Climate Environments – Topics include, but are not limited to:
    • Conservation biology – restoration ecology, measures for depleted species, conservation genetics, behavioural ecology, population dynamics, landscape scale conservation/ networks/ corridors.
    • Research with a connection to polar bears, bears, bison, caribou, or reindeer.
    • Climate Change – understanding the impacts of global change on permafrost, snowpack, glaciers.
  • Biodiversity – We are particularly interested in research focused on sustainable management of biodiversity including ecosystems with high species endemism, biodiversity value, and those that are important as a human resource. Locations of interest include the continental USA, Asia, Slovenia, Poland, and along the Mediterranean. Topics include, but are not limited to:
    • People and wildlife – human-wildlife conflict, competition for resources, habitat degradation/ fragmentation, ecosystem service value of biodiversity, stakeholder perceptions, sustainable livelihoods, environmental education.
    • Conservation biology – effective adaptive management for protected areas, measures for depleted species, conservation genetics, behavioral ecology, population dynamics, landscape scale conservation/ networks/ corridors.
    • Climate change and species conservation – impacts on composition and functioning of ecological communities, distribution and future land use planning.
  • Patagonia region – Topics include, but are not limited to:
    • Conservation biology – restoration ecology, measures for depleted species, conservation genetics, behavioural ecology, population dynamics, landscape scale conservation/ networks/ corridors.
    • Climate Change – understanding the impacts on composition and functioning of ecological communities, distribution, and future land use planning.

Concept Notes and Proposals

Concept Notes for projects starting in spring or summer 2015 will be accepted through Monday, December 9, 2013. Invitations for full Research Proposals will be communicated in late December.  

Details of the request for proposals and information about how to apply can be found on our website:

You can submit a Concept Note here:

Specifications include:

  • Research tasks in which non-specialists (i.e. member of the public or students) can participate in data collection or scientific observation
  • Project should meaningfully engage a minimum of 4 and up to 20 Earthwatch participants per team on 4 to 10 teams per year. Each team spends 7-14 days in the field. 
  • Comfortable accommodations for the proposed project must be located a reasonable travel distance from the research site in order to travel back and forth daily.
  • Ability to conduct fieldwork in March, April, June, July, and August is preferable
  • Students are a key participant group for Earthwatch; it is advantageous for applicants to be open to student participants (age 15-18).
  • Applications are to be submitted in English and project must be conducted in English. 


Annual grants cover expenses for the project while in the field including: equipment (under US$1000), tools, supplies, research permits, scientist transport to the field, support staff, and food and accommodation for PIs, staff, and Earthwatch participants. The grants do not cover scientist salaries, overhead, capital equipment, and post-expedition data analysis. For successful proposal a budget will be negotiated in partnership with Earthwatch, but usually average around US$20,000. The research proposals are tenable for four years, and potentially renewable.

Questions can be directed to: Gitte Venicx, or