ESA 2009 Agenda

I’ve just arrived in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for the Ecological Society of American meeting. Before heading out to explore town I’ve been putting the final touches to my presentation (Monday, 4.40pm, Sendero Ballroom III) and working out what I’m going to do this week. Here’s what I think I’ll be doing:

i) Importantly, on Monday at 2.30 I’ll be going to support Megan Matonis as she talks about the work she’s been doing on our UP project: ‘Gap-, stand-, and landscape-scale factors affecting tree regeneration in harvest gaps’.

ii) Monday morning I think I’ll attend the special session ‘What is Sustainability Science and Can It Make Us Sustainable?’ [“What is sustainability science and can it make us sustainable? If sustainability science requires interdisciplinarity, how do these diverse disciplines integrate the insights that each brings? How do we reconcile differing basic assumptions to solve an urgent and global problem? How do we ensure that research outputs of ecology and other disciplines lead toward sustainability?”]

iii) Tuesday, amongst other things, I’ll check out the symposium entitled; ‘Global Sustainability in the Face of Uncertainty: How to More Effectively Translate Ecological Knowledge to Policy Makers, Managers, and the Public’. [“The basic nature of science, as well as life, is that there will always be uncertainty. We define uncertainty as a situation in which a decision-maker (scientist, manager, or policy maker) has neither certainty nor reasonable probability estimates available to make a decision. In ecological science we have the added burden of dealing with the inherent complexity of ecological systems. In addition, ecological systems are greatly affected by chance events, further muddying our ability to make predictions based on empirical data. Therefore, one of the most difficult aspects of translating ecological and environmental science into policy is the uncertainty that bounds the interpretation of scientific results.”]

iv) Wednesday I plan on attending the symposium ‘What Should Ecology Education Look Like in the Year 2020?’ [“How should ecology education be structured to meet the needs of the next generation, and to ensure that Americans prioritize sustainability and sound ecological stewardship in their actions? What balance between virtual and hands-on ecology should be taught in a cutting-edge ecological curriculum? How can we tackle the creation versus evolution controversy that is gaining momentum?”]

v) Being a geographer (amongst other things) on Thursday I’d like to participate in the discussion regarding place; ‘The Ecology of Place: Charting a Course for Understanding the Planet’ [“The diversity, complexity, and contingency of ecological systems both bless and challenge ecologists. They bless us with beauty and endless fascination; our subject is never boring. But they also challenge us with a difficult task: to develop general and useful understanding even though the outcomes of our studies typically depend on a host of factors unique to the focal system as well as the particular location and time of the study. Ecologists address this central methodological dilemma in various ways. … Given the pressing environmental challenges facing the planet, it is critical that ecologists develop an arsenal of effective strategies for generating knowledge useful for solving real-world problems. This symposium inaugurates discussion of one such strategy – The Ecology of Place.”]

vi) Also on Thursday I think I’ll see what’s going on in the session; ‘Transcending Tradition to Understand and Model Complex Interactions in Ecology’. [“Ecology intersects with the study of complex systems, and our toolboxes must grow to meet interdisciplinary needs.”]

vii) Not sure about Friday yet…

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