For now, forget biofuels in reserves

Ethanol as the next generation of alternative fuels has stirred significant controversy. While some tout its lower-than-gasoline greenhouse-gas emissions and its usefulness in creating carbon sinks in its agricultural fields, many other ecologists call ethanol production the most inefficient of alternative fuel options. Even the most optimistic scenarios still show that using current technologies, it can take years – in some...

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Ecosystems and the public good, Darwin style

This week there has been no shortage of Darwin-related events to attend about town in Washington, D.C., as science and environmental  groups have clamored to put on talks, events and celebrations commemorating Darwin’s legacy. Today I attended a symposium sponsored by the National Academies , titled “Twenty-first Century Ecosystems: Systemic Risk and the Public Good.”  The session I attended on biodiversity gave...

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Alternate stimulus bill suggests cutting NSF funds

The stimulus bill that was passed by the House of Representatives last week includes $3 billion for the National Science Foundation, among other large sums set aside for NOAA and the USGS. The bill is having trouble gaining support in the Senate, however, because many lawmakers believe that the bill includes too many long-term projects that would do little to immediately boost the nation’s economy. Another bill, put forth by...

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ESA’s letter to Obama

ESA sent a letter today to president-elect Barack Obama recommending top priorities where ecological science should inform policy decisions in the new administration. Obama has already pledged his commitment to curbing climate change during his term. ESA applauded that commitment and outlined four other priorities for the next administration: ▪ Protecting water quality and quantity, especially in conjunction with worldwide agriculture...

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In defense of evolution

From the first college introductory biology class, budding biologists are taught the fundamentals of evolution by natural selection. The field of study is soundly rooted in the concept…so soundly, in fact, that scientists often take for granted its validity, snubbing their noses at and refusing to engage in any debate on the topic. But the issue has come to the fore in recent years, with proponents for intelligent design and...

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ESA Blog Revamped

Hear ye, hear ye, friends of ecology! I’m pleased to announce that the ESA blog is taking a new direction, has a new look, and has a new name. Meet EcoTone.

For the past two years, ESA News and Views has served as a forum for voicing ideas about the

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ESA Bulletin now out

The October issue of the Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America is now available. With over 200 pages, it is one of the biggest issues ever published. Look for the six reports on symposia held at the annual meeting in Milwaukee in August. The cover is a colorful picture of MacArthur’s warblers, which is a part of a 50th anniversary discussion of his 1958 paper. Ed Johnson, Editor in...

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Summer comes to ecology and the ESA Bulletin

Summer means two things for ecologists: fieldwork or lab work and the ESA Annual Meeting. I am particularly aware of the diversity of research done by ecologists as the Director of an Institute which has two field stations and a research watershed. Early in May the snow researchers are shutting down their research and the bird and mammal people are arriving to keep track of nesting

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