May 2002

ESA Governing Board
May 17-18, 2002
Washington, D.C.

The May 2002 meeting of the Governing Board was attended by Pamela Matson (President), Steve Carpenter (Past President), Ann Bartuska (President-Elect), Jill Baron (Secretary), James Clark (Vice President for Science), Timothy Schowalter (Vice President for Public Affairs), William Schlesinger (Vice President for Finance), Carol Brewer (Vice President for Education and Human Resources), Jim Gosz (Member-at-Large), Julie Denslow (Member-at-Large), Sharon Collinge (Member-at-Large), and Executive Director Katherine McCarter. Managing Editor David Baldwin, SBI Director Mary Barber, Director for Public Affairs Nadine Lymn, Financial Manager Elizabeth Biggs, and Frontiers Editor-in-Chief Sue Silver were present for parts of the meeting. Incoming Members-at-Large Ed Johnson and Oswaldo Sala attended as non-voting participants. The meeting was called to order by President Matson at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, May 17, 2002, and adjourned at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 18, 2002.

I. Roll Call

    1. The Governing Board unanimously adopted the Agenda.
    2. Ratification of votes taken via email since November 2001: 
      Governing Board unanimously ratified minutes from the May 2001 and November 2001 meetings, Awards Nominations, appointment of the MacArthur Award Subcommittee Chair (Rob Colwell), and the slate of nominations for new officers.

Nominations for awards are as follows:

W.S. Cooper Award to N.C.A. Pitman, J.W. Terborgh, M.R. Silman, P.V. Nuñez, D.A. Neill C.E. Cern, W.E. Palacios, and M. Aulestia, for the paper “Dominance and distribution of tree species in upper Amazonian terra firme forests.” Ecology 82:2101-2117.

George Mercer Award to Jonathan M. Levine for “Species diversity and biological invasions: relating local process to community pattern.” Science 288:852-854.

Eugene P. Odum Award to Margaret D. Lowman, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Sarasota, FL.

Honorary Member Award to Carlos Herrera, University of Seville, Spain.

Distinguished Service Citation to H. Ron Pulliam, University of Georgia.

Eminent Ecologist Award to Charles Krebs, University of British Columbia.

Corporate Award to Adam Davis formerly of Natural Strategies, LLC, San Rafael CA.

Award of Special Recognition and Merit to the Department of Utilities and Energy Management at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.

Robert H. MacArthur Award to James H. Brown, University of New Mexico.

Nominations for New Officers are as follows: 

President-Elect (2002-2003)
Bruce Hayden
Jerry Melillo

Vice-President for Education and Human Resources (2003-2006)
Carol Brewer
Guy McPherson

Member-at-Large (2003-2005)
Margaret Palmer
Daniel Schindler

Board of Professional Certification (Calendar Year 1/03-12/04)
Alan Carpenter
Garry Barrett
Patricia Flebbe
Steven Handel

  1. Email Voting:
    There was agreement that topics requiring votes can be brought to the attention of the GB via email, where a discussion period is followed by an email vote. If votes are not unanimous, the subject is brought to the next GB meeting, where debate and voting will take place in person.

II. Reports

  1. Written Reports 
    1. Sections and Chapters: Secretary Baron presented a summary of discussions with most chairpeople of ESA Sections and Chapters. Discussions covered the state of the sections and chapters, and possible future directions. VP Brewer proposed a committee of Section and Chapter members interested in education topics to foster better integration of education activities within disciplines. Member-at-Large-elect Sala proposed Chapters and Sections amend their bylaws to include a 5-year renewal requirement, such that the purpose and focus of each Section and Chapter is reviewed by its members on a regular basis. 
    2. Vice President for Education and Human Resources Update: VP Brewer presented a written report listing the awardees for 2002, arrangements for recognition of awardees at the Annual Meeting, and updates on Buell and Braun award criteria, Professional Certification Committee activities, and the Education and Human Resources Committee. Activities that will take place at the Annual Meeting and on-going Initiatives of EHRC were itemized. Vice President Brewer made special note of the outstanding efforts of HQ staff Jason Taylor and Katherine Hoffman in supporting the EHR Program. 
    3. SEEDS2 Update: ESA staff worked with Vice President Brewer to develop and submit a proposal to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for an ESA-managed program to increase the number and role of minorities within the field of ecology. Notice of whether the proposal is successful will be made in June 2002.
    4. Update from the Program Chair: The joint Society for Ecological Restoration and ESA meeting in Tucson is coming together well. 
    5. SBI Committee Update: Mary Barber presented the written report from Cathy Pringle and the SBI Committee. It announced a special ESA Symposium, the results of a discussion about the future of the Issues in Ecology report series, and the state of Memoranda of Understanding between ESA and outside organizations (such as UCS, NRCS, BLM, NOAA, and USDA Forest Service). The Committee acknowledged the phenomenal activity of SBI staff Barber, Kranz, and Hidinger, and discussed options for obtaining greater financial resources.
  2. Report of the Executive Director and Staff 
    Executive Director McCarter presented a set of written reports to the Governing Board summarizing the activities of ESA staff. Highlights of staff reports include the following:
    1. Sue Silver, Editor-in-Chief of ESA’s new publication: Frontiers in Ecology and Environment, is hard at work designing the new journal and lining up a Science Advisory Board, editorial committee, and authors and titles for the first issues. An office in Silver Spring, MD is now staffed with Silver and Assistant Editor Julian Smith.
    2. Several sections and chapters have accepted the HQ offer of web page software and a small amount of funds to update their web sites. The Rangeland Section and the Agroecology Sections were awarded long-range planning grants. 
    3. ESA will meet with INTECOL in Montreal in 2005.
    4. JSTOR sales of journal archives to libraries has been successful to the point where investment costs have been met and profits will now be shared with participating publishers, including ESA.
    5. SBI/Science Programs: a) The Joint Weed Science Society of America and ESA meeting: “Conference on Invasive Plants in Natural and Managed Systems: Linking Science and Management,” is scheduled for Nov 3-7, 2003 in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Carla D’Antonio has agreed to serve as ESA Co-Chair; b) The 2nd International Nitrogen Conference, held in October 2001, was successful, both scientifically and financially. Followups to the meeting have included briefings at the NAS, on Capitol Hill, the March 2002 issues of AMBIO (vol 31(2)), proceedings available online in TheScientificWorld , and a conference summary statement brochure; c) ESA is cooperating with the National Park Service and the National Parks Foundation to administer the National Parks Ecological Research Fellowship Program, funded generously by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; d) the Symposium on Effects of Fishing Activities on Benthic Habitats has attracted about 145 invited and contributor abstracts; e) ESA will support a USDA Forest Service review of eight assessments of the historic range of variability of Rocky Mountain ecosystems. Duncan Patten (Montana State University) will chair the committee, Tim Seastedt (University of Colorado), and Jay Anderson (Idaho State University) will serve as core reviewers of all assessments, along with additional reviewers; f) SBI is supporting several meetings and committees to help the National Science Foundation develop the foundations for the NEON (National Ecological Observing Network) initiative. 
    6. Public Affairs/Education: a) Annie Drinkard will return to ESA as the Public Affairs Officer, and Katherine Hoffman will be working with ESA staff to coordinate SEEDS and other educational activities; b) ESA issued a statement on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge that was delivered to all Senate offices prior to the vote on the issue, and also posted it online. ESA members were additionally alerted to upcoming ANWR Senate vote and advised to write their representatives requesting the EPA STAR fellowships program be re-instated; c) ESA co-sponsored a Bioterrorism Roundtable, a Nitrogen Briefing, and Biodiversity Seminar (jointly with the US National Committee for DIVERSITAS); d) A proposal was submitted to the National Science Foundation for Cycle 2 funding for the BioScience Education Network (BEN). The BEN website is up and running, and introductions to it were made at the National Association of Biology Teachers meeting. 
    7. Publications Managing Editor Baldwin introduced Rachel Lodder (in abstentia) as a new half-time copy editor. All journals and publications are on schedule. The ISI Journal Citation report ranks ESA journals among the top 15 in terms of “impact factor,” as follows: Ecological Monographs (2), Ecology (7) and Ecological Applications (9). Online journal submission and peer review remains a top priority, hopefully to be implemented in 2002. The last paper issue of the ESA Bulletin will be mailed in October, after which much of it will go on-line.
    8. Information Systems: ESA servers, firewalls, and PCs have been updated, upgraded, or replaced. 
    9. Finance and Membership: a) As of March 31, ESA had 6868 members, 8% of whom are new members. There were 2096 institutional subscribers, 5% of whom were new. These numbers are comparable to memberships from last year; b) An online and secure credit-card system has been set up for instantaneous renewals and meeting registration; c) The Madison Annual Meeting in 2001 was financially successful, as was the N2001 meeting. The Tucson annual meeting is proceeding on schedule and contracts have been signed for meeting in Savannah GA in 2002.
    10. The Tucson annual meeting is proceeding on schedule and contracts have been signed for meeting in Savannah GA in 2003. 
  3. Report of the Editor-in-Chief, Frontiers in Ecology and Environment
    Sue Silver introduced the specifics of the new journal: 56-pages produced 10 times/yr. Formats of the journal, including sample cover pages and Tables of Contents were presented and discussed. 
  4. Vice-President for Finance Schlesinger reported that restricted funds managed by ESA are behaving similarly to the rest of the US financial markets and have not recovered from the recent recession. 15% of funds managed by J. Bush are in “green” accounts. First quarter finances presented by Executive Director McCarter showed that the Society budget is sound and as expected. Fifty thousand dollars was added to the unrestricted funds account. 
  5. A request was made that the staff add additional detail to the financial updates presented to Board.

III. Discussion/Action items

  1. A proposed FY2002-2003 budget was presented. Noteworthy items include funding for an on-line manuscript tracking system for ESA journals, a full time webmaster added to HQ staff, a full time education person added to HQ staff (funded by the SEEDS2 project), and 3 full time positions added for Frontiers (funded by Packard and Mellon Foundations) and half-time salary for the SBI/Science Director is added from core ESA funds. A request was made that the staff add more detail to the budgets presented to Board. The Board voted unanimously to advertise for and support a Congressional Fellow who will be interviewed and selected to begin in the fall of 2003. The Board then moved, seconded, and voted to take the budget with the modifications for adding support for the Congressional Fellow to Council for approval. 
  2. President Matson introduced a prospectus for assessing priorities and needs for ecological research in the first decade of the 21st century. The assessment project builds on the efforts of the SBI Research Agenda and other more recent agenda-setting efforts. It proposes ESA organize and seek funding for an ad hoc committee to represent the broad interests of ecology. Its objectives will be to assess research needs and goals, develop a strategy including ecological education and communication, to accomplish these goals. A motion to move forward with the committee to develop a research needs assessment was accepted unanimously.
  3. The term of the Editor in Chief of Issues in Ecology will expire in August, 2002. The Board asked the President to appoint an Ad Hoc Committee to make a recommendation to the Publications Board for a new Editor in Chief for Issues in Ecology and to explore and make recommendations for a new model for the selection, peer review, and editing of the series. The current Editor in Chief will be asked to remain in position through the transition. 
    The Board once again discussed the importance of translating Issues into Spanish, emphasizing the importance of reaching audiences through the Americas and other largely Spanish-speaking countries. 
  4. Several Section Chairs have requested an increase in annual Section or Chapter dues. A proposal for an increase of dues will be brought to Council meeting in August.
  5. Ron Carroll was appointed as local host for the Savanna 2003 meeting. The Board voted unanimously to alter the schedule for the Savannah meeting to place the Awards Ceremony within the first 24 hours of the meeting, perhaps in conjunction with an opening welcome and public plenary session. GB discussed and strongly recommends a change in the meeting registration form so that annual meeting activities that are officially sponsored by ESA are specifically designated, as separate from other activities that ESA coordinates for non-ESA groups. The Past President’s address will undergo metamorphosis according to the desires of the Past President: closing thoughts, welcome ceremony, symposium are all possible means of meeting the conditions of the ESA Bylaws, which merely state the Past President will address the membership. The Past President will work with the Program Chair to develop these alternatives. 
  6. Memphis, Tennessee was approved as the locale for the 2006 ESA Annual Meeting. The Board raised the possibility of holding the 2007 meeting in Mexico. 
  7. A discussion regarding possible re-organization of the Future Meetings and Program Committee ended with a recommendation that the Board ask Steve Chaplin, chair of the Future meetings committee, to write a proposal for restructuring, followed by a conference call.
  8. Three position papers are currently in progress: Biodiversity and Ecosystem Function; Ecological Principles and Tools to Guide Policy and Management of Invasive Species (Member-at-Large Denslow is monitor for both); and Ecological Risks and benefits Associated with Environmental Release of GMOs (Member-at-Large Collinge is monitor). Vice-President Schowalter will talk with Ecological Applications Editor in Chief Schimel about appointing an editorial board member to work with position papers when they are ready for review by the Public Affairs Committee. Secretary Baron will solicit ideas from Sections and Chapters for new position papers. A possible topic raised during a visit with Senator Feinstein’s staff is the Ecological Impacts of Alternative Energy Sources. 
  9. Vice-President Brewer presented several initiatives for the Education and Human Resources Committee to pursue: 1) Women and Minorities in Ecology – a 10 year Comparison (to re-survey ESA members to determine what changes have occurred since the first survey). A report will be produced; 2) The Status of Ecology in Undergraduate and Graduate Education (to report on said status in America), again producing a report; 3) The Ecologist Project, to be developed in two pieces. The first is Biographies Web Project providing biographies and photos selected from a wide diversity of ecologists, prominently displayed on the ESA website. The second is an Ecology “recruiting” poster developed as a promoting tool and distributed to teachers and members. The Board expressed support for these initiatives and approved moving forward with the re-survey of Women and Minorities report. 
  10. President-elect Bartuska and President Matson updated Board members on the Aldo Leopold Leadership Program and plans for the next grant proposal. The Board noted that one of the most important aspects of the program was the intensive media training given to the Fellows. ESA will suggest to ALLP that in the next grant cycle they consider expanding this invaluable experience to a larger number of scientists by offering an abbreviated version of professional media training to non-ALLP Fellows during the ESA Annual Meeting.
  11. Vice President Brewer recommended, and the Board approved, that Sandy Tartowski become Chair of the Honorary Member Award Subcommittee.

IV. New Business

  1. Possible themes for the Savannah 2003 annual meeting were submitted by Program Chair Tom Swetnam. After some debate the Governing Board asked Swetnam to develop a theme that includes coastal issues. 
  2. Vice President Clark presented an essay on Challenges and Research Priorities for the Decade 2000, Ecological Society of America that was developed at a recent meeting of the Research Committee. This document will serve as one platform for the needs assessment project (noted in IIIB). 
  3. Vice President Clark presented nominations of scientists to serve on the ESA Panel on Vegetation, and all 20 names were approved.
  4. The development of an ESA Biogeosciences Section was wholeheartedly encouraged. Vice President Schlesinger will develop by-laws for the new section, Secretary Baron will initiate the petition of names for developing a new section, and organize a planning meeting in Tucson.

Respectfully Submitted,

Jill Baron, Secretary