Steward T.A. Pickett named President of the Ecological Society of America (2011-2012)

Steward T.A. Pickett, a plant ecologist with the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies has been named President of the Ecological Society of America (ESA).

Elected by the members of ESA for a one-year term, Pickett presides over the world’s largest professional society of ecologists. Its membership comprises of 10,000 researchers, educators, natural resource managers, and students representing over 20 topical sections and seven regional chapters, reflecting the diverse interests and activities of the Society.

“I’m immensely pleased to have been chosen by the membership to help lead this important organization,” said Pickett.  “ESA has three linked roles. First it provides a crucial forum and publications to help ecologists communicate about research. Second, ESA nurtures the community of researchers itself, ensuring a critical mass, intellectual and demographic diversity, and encouraging the next generation.  Finally, the Society is an indispensible tool that promotes the effective use of ecological knowledge in society’s decision making processes, whether by individual land holders, private organizations, or governments.  These three roles are equally important and good science requires all three.”

ESA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization of scientists founded in 1915 to convey ecological science through public engagement, promote scientific research and improve communication among ecologists. Members’ expertise ranges across the fields of biology, zoology, aquatic science, forestry, wildlife conservation, agricultural science, earth and environmental sciences, toxicology and biotechnology. The Society’s Annual Meeting attracts over 3,000 attendees and features the most recent advances in ecological science.

Pickett’s work at the Cary Institute focuses on the role of spatial heterogeneity in community and landscape structure and dynamics. These projects include research on urban ecosystems, function of landscape boundaries, and plant community succession. In addition to his work at the Cary Institute, Pickett currently serves as project director of the Baltimore Ecosystem Study, which works to improve understanding of how a large urban region functions as an ecosystem.

The ESA President serves consecutive one-year terms as President-elect, President, and Past President. As President, Pickett will chair the ESA Governing Board, the elected governing body of the Society, which provides vision and guidance on ESA initiatives and future direction.