November 2010

What's New

Frank Davis was recently appointed to the National Research Council’s Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology. He also completed two years as chair of the NRC's Committee on Independent Scientific Review of Everglades Restoration Progress. The Committee's report is available online. 

Steven Handel has received the Rutgers University 2010 "Sustained Research Excellence and Impact Award." It recognized his many efforts to have ecological principles and processes applied to landscape architecture projects across the country.

Steve Jackson has stepped into a two-year term as President of the American Quaternary Association, an interdisciplinary group of geologists, ecologists, archeologists, paleontologists, oceanographers, climatologists and others concerned with the past two million years of Earth history and its implications for society.

In early November Steve was a plenary speaker and panelist at the National Conservation Leadership Forum III in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. The group, which includes planners and managers from several federal and state agencies and NGOs, has been charged with developing a national climate-change adaptation strategy for conservation. Steve’s talk, “Climate Change and Biodiversity: Getting Beyond Predictions,” emphasized the potential for identifying and leveraging natural adaptive capacity that has allowed species to survive climate changes of the past.

Steve was a keynote speaker at the 2010 Whitney and Anna Harris Conservation Forum in St. Louis, sponsored jointly by the University of Missouri-St. Louis, the Missouri Botanical Garden, and the St. Louis Zoo.  He spoke on the implications of climate change for biodiversity and conservation.

He was also a co-organizer, plenary speaker and panelist in a workshop, “Living on the Edge: Integrating Science into the Management of Range-Margin Populations,” held at the University of Wyoming campus. The workshop, sponsored by the Bureau of Land Management, the Society of America Foresters, and the University of Wyoming, drew more than 65 participants from four states, including academic scientists and graduate students, resource managers from state and federal agencies (BLM, FS, NPS), and personnel from NGOs, natural heritage programs, and state governors’ offices.  The lively plenary discussions focused on effective multiway communication among scientists, managers, and policymakers. The disconnects between these groups, particularly between scientists and the other groups, continue, and are clearly noticed by agency personnel.  A major “ALLP-ish” conclusion was that scientists need to engage managers, policymakers, and other stakeholders in their native habitats and on their terms.  The primary organizer and convener for the workshop was Mark Lesser, a doctoral student in Steve’s lab. 

Nancy Knowlton recently published a book with National Geographic, Citizens of the Sea: Wondrous Creatures from the Census of Marine Life. It features color photos of a wide range of sea life taken by underwater photographers from National Geographic and the Census of Marine Life.

Meg Lowman recently co-chaired a national summit entitled “Environmental Literacy for a Sustainable World” in Washington D.C., with leaders of over 150 environmental education organizations to discuss best practices in STEM education. Meg heads to India in early 2011 as the recipient of a Fulbright Senior Specialist Award to design a decadal plan on canopy research, forest conservation, and science education outreach. 

Emir Macari was appointed to the California Seismic Safety Commission by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in November. The commission makes recommendations to the governor and the legislature about reducing risks from earthquakes.

Adina Paytan developed a graduate course, "Communicating Science," where students learn skills for talking about their science with a range of audiences, including reporters, community groups, family members, and younger students. Participants also learn teaching skills and are matched with high school interns who assist them in their lab work. One of Adina's goals for the course is to prepare her students to incorporate outreach and education into their careers.

Adina also received two grants recently to study climate impacts on soil P-cycling and impacts of ocean acidification on coral reef systems.

Rashid Sumaila was interviewed for a World Science Podcast on the question, “Can consumer awareness alone stop overfishing and protect the livelihoods of millions of fishermen around the world?” It was co-produced by the BBC World Service, Public Radio International, and WGBH. The World Science Forum provides an opportunity for listeners to chat online with science experts. Hear Rashid’s interview and participate in the online discussion until December 2.

Events and Opportunities

Please visit the website of Stanford’s Woods Institute for information about Steve Schneider’s memorial service, which will be held December 12, 2010 at Stanford. If you have not already done so, RSVP to Sarah Jo Chadwick at

Curt Meine has published a new edition of Aldo Leopold: His Life and Work, the biography of Leopold he wrote in 1988. The Aldo Leopold Foundation is also completing a documentary film about Leopold and is planning a premiere for February.

Visit the Graduate Student Portal for early-career job announcements and fellowships, including the 2011 Switzer Environmental Fellowships and the Environmental Leadership Program Fellowships, which are now accepting applications.