ESA in Action Newsletter (2016)

annual-report-cover2015 in Review, ESA Annual Report

ESA turned 100 this year. It was a moment to take stock not only of our past, but of the future of ecology, its relevance to the future of the biosphere, and the role of humans as planetary stewards. The 2015 ESA Annual Report captures highlights of our centennial.
There is a significant change to the Annual Report this year. We moved to an online format that allows multimedia content and gives readers an option to click through for more details on specific highlights and projects. Enjoy!

ESA Journals Now on the John Wiley & Sons Publishing Platform

footer-logoBeginning in 2016, ESA's journals began being published in collaboration with John Wiley & Sons. ESA members now have complimentary online access to all ESA journals through the ESA membership services site - just sign in using your ESA member number and password.


2016 Climate Science Hill Days

Team IN-MI
Jeff Dukes and Knute Nadelhoffer
(left to right).

Team OR-NM
Jeff Rubin and Matthew Hurteau
(left to right).

Team NY-CT
Emily Smith and Adam Rosenblatt
(left to right).

ESA members participated in Climate Science Days, an annual event sponsored by the Climate Science Working Group (CSWG) to advance understanding of climate change research among lawmakers on Capitol Hill. ESA is a CSWG member as are other scientific associations.

In teams paired by geographic location, scientists from six associations met with over 100 House and Senate offices and committee staff. Meetings with Republican Senate and House members were given priority along with lawmakers who serve on committees with jurisdiction over climate science issues.

ESA member participants included Matthew Hurteau (University of New Mexico), Knute Nadelhoffer  (University of Michigan), and Adam Rosenblatt (Yale University). All three were seasoned veterans of Capitol Hill. Hurteau had previously met with Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA), chairman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Forestry to discuss prescribed burns. Nadelhoffer testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee during a 2011 hearing examining climate science. Rosenblatt is a 2012 recipient of the ESA Graduate Student Policy Award.

Graduate Student Policy Awards

ESA selected the 2016 recipients of its annual Graduate Student Policy Award.

Pictured left to right: Brian Kastl (University of California),Kristen Lear (University of Georgia), Matthew Pintar (University of Mississippi),Timothy Treuer (Princeton University),Jessica Nicole Welch (University of Tennessee), and Samantha Lynn Werner (University of New Hampshire).

The six students will travel to Washington, DC on April 27-28 and participate in policy training sessions in preparation for meetings with their US Representative and Senators. On Capitol Hill, they will team with other scientists to discuss with lawmakers the importance of federal funding for the biological sciences, particularly the National Science Foundation.

Since the award's establishment in 2007, GSPA alumi have gone onto careers that routinely involve policy or public outreach. Others have obtained AAAS fellowships to work in federal agencies and congressional offices.

FY 2017 Appropriations

ESA penned or joined in signing multiple letters or testimony highlighting the importance of funding federal investment in ecological research and education in the Fiscal Year 2017 budget. Members received an Action Alert asking them to contact their congressional members to ask for continued support for the National Science Foundation.

House Science Committee Inquiry

ESA was among seven scientific societies that sent a letter of concern (pdf) to House Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) over his continued inquiries for internal emails between scientists about a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration climate study. The letter gained press attention and a front page article in the Washington Post.




For the past 20 years, the ESA Panel on Vegetation Classification has been part of a  collaborative effort to develop the  US National Vegetation Classification (USNVC). In February of 2016, the full content of the classification was released to the public. The USNVC is a national framework organized around ecological principles for the study of plant communities. It is the first dynamic classification, designed to adapt as new ecological knowledge becomes available.

The ESA Panel has worked to ensure the scientific rigor of the classification and facilitate its development, collaborating with other organizations and agencies in the USNVC Partnership (the US Forest Service, USGS Core Science Systems, NatureServe , and the Vegetation Subcommittee of the Federal Geographic Data Committee). Visit to explore the classification and learn how to contribute to the USNVC peer review process.

Issues in Ecology #20, "Species Recovery in the United States: Increasing the Effectiveness of the Endangered Species Act," was published in January. The Issue was led by Dan Evans, a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow. 


The 3rd Life Discovery -Doing Science Education Conference was held from March 18-19, at CCMIT in Baltimore MD. Participants from academia and federal agencies attended more than 30 sessions and workshops about strategies that engage students to think like scientists.




Members in Action

Elena Bennett (McGill University) was interviewed by the Montreal Gazette about the lack of representation of women in fields of science.
Erle Ellis (University of Maryland-Baltimore) was interviewed in articles featured in Christian Science Monitor, the Guardian, Reuters and Smithsonian Magazine on a recent study he coauthored suggesting the level of global impact of humanity on Earth's ecosystems over the past several thousand years is significant enough to be worthy of a new Epoch. He also wrote articles posted in Social Evolution Forum and the Nature of Cities.
Gary Grossman (University of Georgia) testified before House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans for a hearing entitled, "The Costly Impacts of Predation and Conflicting Federal Statutes on Native and Endangered Fish Species."
ESA Past-President Simon Levin (1990-1991) is among eight recipients of the National Science Foundation's (NSF) National Medal of Science award. Click here to view all the recipients.
The UC Davis Division of the Academic Senate honored Don Strong (UC Davis) with its highest accolade, the Faculty Research Lecture award.View the press release » 

ESA 2016 Annual Meeting: Novel Ecosystems in the Anthropocene

Building on the theme of ESA's 2015 Centennial meeting - Ecological Science at the Frontier - The 101st Annual Meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Florida will support sessions that explore how ecosystem structure and function respond to multiple drivers of change. The preliminary program is available for viewing. Registration and housing open on April 1.

Congratulations to the ESA members elected in the fall of 2015 for major positions in the ESA leadership!

Board of Professional Certification (assumed office on January 1, 2016)

Margaret Kalin (Jan. 2016-Dec. 2018)
Dale Strickland (Jan. 2016-Dec. 2018)

Governing Board (to take office after the 2016 annual meeting)

Rich Pouyat (Aug. 2016-Aug. 2017)
Vice President for Science
Jayne Belnap (Aug. 2016- Aug. 2019)
Jessica Gurevitch (Aug. 2016- Aug. 2019)
Member at Large
Emily Cloyd (Aug. 2016- Aug. 2018) Sharon Hall (Aug. 2016- Aug. 2018)


ESA's blog is soliciting guest contributions about citizen science as well as posts highlighting ecology and its connections to policy and society. To learn about contributing a post, contact ESA Communications Officer, Liza Lester:


The Ecologist Goes to Washington podcast provides a venue to communicate experiences in public policy. For more information, contact ESA Policy Analyst, Terence Houston:

ESA in Action (summer 2016)

If you have an interesting story about sharing your work beyond the ecological community or are actively involved in policy or media communication, we'd like to hear from you. Please send updates to ESA's Public Affairs Office at Keep track of science and policy developments, news about your fellow ecologists.