International ecology conference to address integrating science, society, and education for sustainability

Ecology researchers to share ideas and discuss results from long term research

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (September 9, 2009)—Interactions among ecosystem services and human behavior, how to influence policy makers, and teaching ecological complexity through field science inquiry, are just a few of the subjects to be addressed at the 7th Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) All-Scientists Meeting (ASM), to be held from September 13-16, 2009, in Estes Park, CO. The meeting is sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), which funds LTER.

About 800 scientists who conduct long-term ecological research are expected to attend the meeting, whose theme is “Integrating Science and Society in an Ever-Changing World.” The theme derives directly from LTER’s current Decadal Science Plan, which recognizes and is working to enhance understanding of the interactions between ecology and social-economic human conditions.

The ASM is held every three years to enable LTER and collaborating ecological scientists a chance to get together and share ideas and results, and plan for the future of long term ecological research. “The triennial All Scientists Meeting is the town hall meeting for the LTER Network,” observed Robert B. Waide, Executive Director of the LTER Network Office, which is coordinating the meeting. “The ideas that drive new experiments and observations are often formalized at these meetings through peer interactions and brainstorming.”

Participants include U.S. LTER researchers and students, as well as international researchers from 38 national LTER networks around the globe. Among those scheduled to speak are James Collins, NSF Assistant Director for Biological Sciences, and Henry Gholz, the LTER Program Director at NSF.

The highlights include special plenary sessions, among them: “Pre-History of LTER” by Dave Coleman (the Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia); “Thirty years of long-term ecological research” by Phil Robertson (chair of the LTER Science Council); “Integrating science, society, and education” by William Clark (Harvey Brooks Professor of International Science, Public Policy and Human Development at Harvard University); "Continental-scale network level research” by David Schimel (CEO of the National Ecological Observatory Network, NEON); “Successful integration of ecological and social sciences within the LTER” by Laura Ogden (Florida Coastal Everglades LTER/Florida International University); “How to Inform, Influence, and Communicate with Policymakers” by Jenna Jadin (American Institute of Biological Sciences, AIBS); and “Science and education” by Carol Brewer (University of Montana).

Over 75 workshops and working group sessions will also be held. For a complete agenda and schedule please visit the 2009 ASM website at

The LTER Network comprises 26 sites located in the world's major biomes, from the coldest desert to tropical coral reefs. The network also includes sites that address the range of human influence on ecosystems, from almost none in Antarctica to significant in urban Phoenix and Baltimore. The research is funded primarily by NSF's Directorate for Biological Sciences, with additional support from the Directorate for Geosciences, Office of Polar Programs, and Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences.