The Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF) is an alliance of more than 100 non-profits, universities and scientific societies that advocates for funding to the National Science Foundation in Washington. Each year the coalition hosts an evening exhibition on Capitol Hill to showcase NSF-funded research. Last night’s 15th annual exhibition boasted 34 exhibits from scientists, students and educators across the country.
This year the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, made a special guest appearance and said a few brief words. Following an introduction by Bart Gordon (D-TN), chairman of the House Committee on Science and Technology, the outspoken science proponent repeated her drumbeat catch-phrase of the nation’s domestic agenda: “science, science, science and science.” She thanked the researchers in the room in animated language, commenting that no advances can be made in the nation’s top priorities – education, health care and energy – without science.
ESA member and research exhibitor Travis Huxman of the University of Arizona appreciated Pelosi’s comments, even though he could barely see her over the crowd of an estimated 400. Huxman presented regional-scale data showing a marked reduction in biodiversity and ecosystem function for North American ecosystems under climate change. His most current results show that shrublands, contrary to current belief, may be a source of carbon to the atmosphere.
“A lot of people are trying to replace grasslands with shrublands to increase carbon sequestration,” he said. “But unless those shrubs are in riparian zones, they’ll serve as a source of carbon.”
Among others, Huxman explained his research to Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) and Dahlia Sokolov , the staff director of the Research and Education Subcommittee of the House Science Committee.