May 2000

ESA Governing Board
May 19-20, 2000
Washington, DC

The May 2000 meeting of the Governing Board was attended by Diana Wall (President), Steve Carpenter (President-Elect); Katherine Gross (Past-President), Lisa Graumlich (Secretary), James Clark (Vice President for Science), Timothy Schowalter (Vice President for Public Affairs), William Schlesinger (Vice President for Finance), Alan Berkowitz (Vice President for Education and Human Resources), Ariel Lugo (Member-at-Large), Rodolfo Dirzo (Member-at-Large), Robin Chazdon (Member-at-Large), Jim Gosz (Member-at-Large elect), Carol Brewer (Vice President for Education and Human Resources–Elect) and Executive Director Katherine McCarter. Editor-in-Chief Robert Peet, Managing Editor David Baldwin, SBI Director Mary Barber, Associate Director for Public Affairs Nadine Lymn, and Financial Manager Elizabeth Biggs were present for parts of the meeting. The meeting was called to order by President Wall at 7:30 pm on Friday, May 19, 2000 and adjourned at 5 pm on Saturday, May 20, 2000.

I. Roll Call

  1. The Governing Board unanimously adopted the Agenda and approved the minutes from the March 2000 meeting.
  2. Ratification of votes taken since March 2000: The Governing Board ratified three votes conducted via email in the period after the March 2000.
    1. A unanimous vote approved the slate of candidates for ESA Governing Board and Board of Certification as recommended by the Nominations Committee as listed below:
      • President-Elect: Ann Bartuska and Peter Morin
      • Vice President for Science: Jim Clark and Nelson Hairston Jr.
      • Secretary: Jill Baron and Jim Reichman
      • Member-at-Large: Sharon Collinge and Jim Grover
      • Certification Board (three to be elected): Carter Johnson, Jeff Klopatek, Jerry Lang, and Bill Mitsch
    2. A unanimous vote approved the recommendation of the Awards Committee for ESA awards as listed below:

      • Distinguished Service Citation: Willliam Robertson IV
      • Eminent Ecologist Award: Robert T. Paine
      • Honorary Member: Norman Owen-Smith
      • Mercer Award: David U. Hooper and Peter M. Vitousek
      • MacArthur Award: Stephen Carpenter
      • William S. Cooper Award: Paul Dayton, Mia Tegner, Peter Edwards, and Kristin Riser
      • Corporate Award: Bill Baker, Environmental Specialist, Reliant Energy of Houston
      • Special Award of Recognition and Merit: Organization of Tropical Studies
  3. A unanimous vote approved the recommendation of the Odum Award Subcommittee to award Peter Feinsinger the first Odum Education Award.

II. Reports

  1. Aldo Leopold Leadership Program Update: President Wall brought to the Governing Board’s attention that the program will soon be in the last year of funding from the Packard Foundation. The Governing Board will invite Jane Lubchenco to its next meeting to discuss the future of this program.
  2. Member-at-Large Chazdon updated the Governing Board on the activities of the Ad Hoc Committee on Membership. The Committee is conducting a survey of 2000 ecologists via email regarding factors that promote or discourage sustained membership in ESA as a professional society. The Committee will present a set of recommendations regarding the future of membership services to the Governing Board at the August 2000 meeting.
  3. Executive Director McCarter presented a set of written reports to the Governing Board summarizing the activities of ESA staff. Highlights of these reports include the following:
    1. McCarter reported that the joint meeting between ESA and the British Ecological Society (ESA/BES 2000) in Orlando was well-received as a scientific meeting. In addition, it did not result in as large a financial loss as anticipated in the months prior to the event. The efforts of ESA staff member Elizabeth Biggs to reduce the attrition amount due to Disney and the work of Ellen Cardwell to minimize expenses were the key factors responsible for the more favorable financial outcome. Gross moved that the Governing Board thank Ellen Cardwell and the other ESA staff members for their efforts to make ESA/BES 2000 a success. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.
    2. Managing Editor Baldwin is making strong progress in reducing the publication backlog for ESA journals by publishing more pages. With the mailing of the June 2000 issue, we will have published 25% more pages in each of the journals, relative to where we stood in June 1999. Baldwin also reported that he and Editor-in-Chief Peet are in discussion with ESA staff member Richard Maturo regarding ESA’s need for a system upgrade to allow electronic submission and review for our journals.
    3. Associate Director for Public Affairs Lymn reported on a range of recent efforts including sponsorship of a Science and Technology Town Meeting for congressional representatives, a briefing for congressional staffers on biocomplexity (in partnership with the American Mathematical Society), and co-organization of the Coalition for National Science Funding’s 6th Annual Capitol Hill Exhibition and Reception. In addition, Public Affairs Office staff continue to develop press releases highlighting ecological research and coordinate education/outreach efforts.
    4. Sustainable Biosphere Initiative Director Barber reported on recent workshops and symposia co-sponsored and co-organized by ESA on topics that include impacts of atmospheric deposition on coastal ecosystems and non-regulatory approaches to species conservation. Barber also provided the Governing Board with the new brochure based on ESA’s White Paper on Land Use.
    5. Vice President for Public Affairs Schowalter reported that public outreach events for the 2000 Annual Meeting will include a workshop with local ecologists and environmental groups and a public plenary given by Dr. David Suzuki. Schowalter is in contact with Stohlgren regarding an ESA White Paper on invasive species that would expand upon the recent Mack and others review in Ecological Applications. Schlesinger moved that the Governing Board approve the invasive species White Paper principle and that the SBI office explore funding options. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.
    6. Vice President for Education and Human Resources Berkowitz updated the Governing Board on the Strategies for Ecology Education, Development and Sustainability project and the Vice President’s Symposium at the 2000 Annual Meeting.

III. Discussion/Action Items

  1. Financial Updates. McCarter reported that the current operating budget is on target with expectations largely because the losses from the ESA/BES 2000 meeting were balanced by various reductions in expenses, including moving costs. Schlesinger reported on the performance of the ESA restricted funds investment. The portion of the funds managed by Towneley Investments continue to underperform relative to various benchmark indices . The funds invested by Riggs Bank under a more growth-oriented investment strategy exhibit more volatile behavior, with strong growth in the first quarter of 2000.
  2. Investment Policy. At its March meeting, the Governing Board agreed to permit ESA’s investment advisors to pursue investments that were at variance with the investment policy adopted in March 1998. The Governing Board requested that Vice President Schlesinger revise the investment policy to reflect these changes. Schlesinger presented a revised investment policy the Governing Board that included provisions for more flexibility in investing in growth oriented equities. Schlesinger moved that the Governing Board approve the revised Guidelines for the Investments of the Restricted Funds of the Ecological Society of America. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.
  3. Proposed FY 2000-2001 ESA Budget. Schlesinger and McCarter presented the fiscal year 2000-2001 proposed budget. Key adjustments in the budget proposal included an increase in the journal print subscriptions for libraries, an increase in membership dues across most membership categories, and an enhancement of the Publications Office computer and an upgraded manuscript tracking system. Schlesinger moved that the Governing Board accept the FY 2000-2001 budget proposal. The motion was seconded and passed by a majority vote. The budget proposal does not provide funds for several projects and activities that the Governing Board has discussed recently, including hiring a fund raising professional. Gross moved that the Governing Board appoint members to the current Fundraising Committee and charge the Committee to report to the Governing Board on the prospects, costs and payback timeline for the services of a development professional. The Committee’s report is requested for the August 2000 Governing Board meeting. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.
  4. Millennium Fund. Secretary Graumlich was asked to develop guidelines for the use of money raised from the Annual Fund for the Millennium. Schlesinger moved that the Governing Board accept the principles as outlined below. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.
    The purpose of ESA’s Annual Fund for the Millennium (AFM) is to invest in innovative and timely activities that promote the science of ecology in ways that are consistent with ESA’s long range planning goals and that cannot be accommodated under ESA’s current operating budget. The following principles should guide decisions about how disbursements from the AFM are made:

    1. Disbursements should support priority activities within the ESA Long Range Plan. A balanced investment among Long Range Plan goals should be sought.
    2. Disbursements should seek to leverage other resources. Ideally, small investments from the AFM will yield substantial returns through strategies such as matching funds from other sources.
    3. Priority should be given to activities and projects where ESA is well suited to make a unique and important contribution.
    4. AFM should be used to support activities that cannot be accommodated under ESA’s current operating budget.
    5. The ESA President can spend up to 10% of the balance of the fund when he/she takes office. Other expenditures need Governing Board approval and should be linked to the larger annual budget strategy. The President should report on AFM expenditures to the Governing Board.

  5. Annual Meeting Issues. The Governing Board discussed a variety of issues related to the annual meetings.
    1. 2000 Annual Meeting. The Governing Board received a report on the 2000 Annual Meeting from Program Chair, Elaine Ingham.
    2. Strategic Role of Annual Meetings for ESA. The Governing Board reviewed Graumlich’s notes from the March 2000 Governing Board Breakout Group which was charged with considering new, expanded and/or continuing strategies for meetings as a component of ESA membership services. Graumlich moved that the Future Meetings Committee involve the incoming Program Chair and Ad Hoc Committee on Membership in evaluating the recommendations of the Breakout Group. The evaluation should be reported to the Governing Board at its January 2001 meeting. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.
    3. Future Meeting Sites. Donald Shure, Chair of the Future Meetings Committee submitted recommendations to 1) approve Savannah, Georgia as the site of year 2003 Annual Meeting, and 2) approve Montreal, Canada as the site of the year 2006 Annual meeting (joint with INTECOL). Schlesinger moved that the Governing Board accept both meeting site recommendations. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.

  6. Editor in Chief, Ecology and Ecological Monographs. The Publications Committee submitted a list of candidates for the Editor in Chief of Ecology and Ecological Monographs to take over when Robert Peet steps down from this post on December 31, 2000. Schlesinger moved that the Governing Board endorse the selection of Donald Strong as Editor in Chief of Ecology and Ecological Monographs. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved. Chazdon moved that the Governing Board acknowledge the effort of Publications Committee Chair Peter Morin in identifying a strong candidate for Editor in Chief. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.

  7. Issues in Ecology—Biodiversity. At the March 2000 meeting the Governing Board discussed inconsistencies in the newly published Issues in Ecology—Biodiversity. The Governing Board asked President-Elect Carpenter and Vice President Clark to investigate the situation and to develop some procedural changes in how editorial and authorship roles are managed. Based on Carpenter’s and Clark’s recommendations the Governing Board passed two motions.

    1. Carpenter moved that the following procedural changes for Issues in Ecology be instituted:
      • In cases where the Editor in Chief is an author of an IIE manuscript, another senior ecologist will be appointed as acting EiC to manage the review process;
      • In cases where the Editorial Board of IIE does not have sufficient expertise or sufficient time to review a report, the EiC will seek reviews from qualified ecologists who are not on the Editorial Board;
      • Require that each author sign a statement agreeing to the content of an IIE prior to publication (IIE).
        The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.
    2. Carpenter moved that the Governing Board will seek funds to appoint a distinguished panel of ecologists to prepare a White Paper on Biodiversity, which will represent a consensus of the scientific community on the role of biodiversity in ecosystem processes. This White Paper should be approved by the Governing Board, should be suitable for publication in Ecological Applications, and should be translated into a non-technical version, which might become an IIE. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.

    3. In a related matter, the Governing Board asked the Publications Committee to address concerns regarding the purpose, audience, and effectiveness of White Papers and Issue in Ecology. These concerns include but are not limited to 1) the nature of the review process and conflicts of interest; and 2) the nature of the audience for each (e.g., Congressional staff vs. K-12 educators vs. scientific community).

  8. ESA Code of Ethics Revision. Kerry Woods and the Professional Ethics and Appeals Committee submitted a revised ESA Code of Ethics. ESA’s corporate lawyer has reviewed the revision. The Governing Board discussed several small changes, including a set of provisions regarding publication issues. Berkowitz moved that the Governing Board accept the revised Code of Ethics contingent upon approval by the ESA lawyer. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.
  9. BioOne. BioOne is a non-profit corporation that proposes to aggregate, cultivate, and disseminate a large computerized collection of peer-reviewed research journals in the biological sciences. A number of uncertainties in the current proposal were pointed out by ESA staff members and by the Publications Committee. Schlesinger moved that ESA decline to join BioOne in the year 2001. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.
  10. K-12 Statement: Vice President for Education and Human Resources Berkowitz brought forward a recommendation from the Education and Human Resources Committee to sign an intersociety statement on K-12 Science, Mathematics, Education and Technology Education. Schlesinger moved that the Governing Board approve the intersociety statement. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.

IV. New Business

  1. Pricing of ESA Online Journals for Institutions. ESA plans to offer online subscriptions to institutions beginning in 2001. McCarter presented a plan developed by ESA staff to price institutional subscriptions. The pricing structure has two goals: 1) it should protect ESA against the possible loss of all member subscriptions; and 2) the price structure would be set at a rate that is feasible for a library to purchase. Carpenter moved that the Governing Board empower McCarter and ESA staff to implement a step change in the pricing of ESA online journals for institutions based on the principles outlined in the May Governing Board report. The pricing structure should include pricing tiers based on institutional size categories similar to those used by JSTOR. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.
  2. The National Parks Ecological Fellowship Program. Gross reported that the National Parks Foundation has received funding from the Mellon Foundation to fund a project to support outstanding post-doctoral research in basic ecological sciences related to the flora of the National Parks. The National Parks Foundation has asked ESA to take responsibility for the post-doctoral fellow selection process. Schlesinger moved that ESA accept the assignment for selecting fellows for the National Parks Ecological Fellowship Program and that Gross be appointed as chair of the selection committee and liaison to ESA. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.

Respectfully Submitted,

Lisa J. Graumlich, Secretary