New & Noteworthy



Archive for February, 2010

26 Feb 2010

FWS Requests Comments on Fish and Wildlife Import/Export Permits

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) requests public comments regarding the agency’s application and reporting requirements for the importation and exportation of fish and wildlife products.

Two permits issued by the FWS that regulate the international trade of wildlife, FWS Form 3-200-2 and Form 3-200-3, are scheduled for government review this year.  Of potential interest to natural history collection caretakers is FWS Form 3-200-2, which allows permit holders to import or export wildlife or wildlife products at a nondesignated port if the wildlife or wildlife products will be used as scientific specimens.  Form 3-200-3 regulates the commercial trade of wildlife and wildlife products.

The FWS seeks comments about the necessity of the collection of information, ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected, and ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents.

Comments must be submitted by April 26, 2010.  For more information, please visit http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/2010-3888.htm.

23 Feb 2010

Register for the Informatics for Phylogenetics, Evolution, and Biodiversity Conference

Registration is now open for the inaugural conference on Informatics for Phylogenetics, Evolution, and Biodiversity (iEvoBio).

iEvoBio aims to bring together biologists working in evolution, systematics, and biodiversity, with software developers, and mathematicians, both to develop new tools, and to increase awareness of existing technologies (ranging from standards and reusable toolkits to mega-scale data analysis to rich visualization).

The 2-day meeting will take place June 29-30, 2010, in Portland, Oregon.  The event will feature traditional elements, including a keynote presentation at the beginning of each day and contributed talks, as well as more dynamic and interactive elements, including a challenge, lightning talk-style sessions, a software bazaar, and Birds-of-a-Feather gatherings.

More details about the program and guidelines for contributing content are available at http://ievobio.org.  To register, please visit http://www.evolutionsociety.org/SSE2010/.

17 Feb 2010

National Park Service Seeks Climate Fellows

The National Park Service is now accepting applications for the George Melendez Wright Climate Change Fellowship.  This student fellowship program aims to support new and innovative research on climate change impacts to protected areas and to increase science-based management of natural resources.

Award recipients receive a grant in the range of $5,000 to $20,000 for research, which must be conducted on or around National Park lands during the 2010 calendar year.  Applications are welcomed for pro¬posed research in any area relevant to the natural and cultural resourc¬es of units of the National Park System.  Examples include projects addressing vulnerability and risk assessment; adaptation strategies; public perceptions and values; and impacts to cultural landscapes and ethnographic resources.

The fellowship is open to graduate students or superior upper-level undergraduate students (3.5 GPA or above) currently enrolled in a U.S. accredited college or university.

Research proposals must be received by March 15, 2010.

Download the fellowship application (190 KB PDF)

05 Feb 2010

A Budget Bump for the Smithsonian: Collections, Biodiversity are Beneficiaries

For fiscal year (FY) 2011, the President has requested a $36 million budget increase for the Smithsonian Institution (SI).  If provided by Congress, SI would operate with approximately $797.6 million of federal funds.  Within this amount, roughly $661 million (an increase of $27 million) would be allocated to Salaries and Expenses with the balance of $136.8 million allocated to the Facilities Capital budget.

The Salary and Expenses budget line reflects Smithsonian’s new strategic plan.  According to SI budget documents, increases are allocated according to the “following categories, or four grand challenges, of the plan: $8 million for Biodiversity, which includes funds for biodiversity and climate change research, DNA barcoding and the Encyclopedia of Life Web site; $1 million for Understanding the American Experience; $500,000 for Unlocking the Mysteries of the Universe; and $500,000 for World Cultures.”

The budget request also proposes to invest an additional “$2.4 million to improve the preservation, storage, documentation and accessibility to the Institution’s collections and for the care of the animals at the National Zoo.  The term ‘broadening access’ in the strategic plan refers to making the collections accessible to researchers and people who cannot visit the museums by using the Internet and other technologies.  A total of $1.5 million will be dedicated to staff and computer equipment to continue the process of digitizing the Smithsonian collections.”

Funding for collections would grow to $73 million, up from roughly $69 million for FY 2010 and the $64 million appropriated for FY 2009.  The President has also requested important new funding for SI research.  If the requested $86 million is appropriated, the federal investment in SI research would be roughly $15 million higher than the FY 2009 appropriation and nearly $12 million above the estimated funding for FY 2010.

The President’s budget also includes funding to provide for an increase of nearly 70 civilian full time equivalent (FTE) positions across SI.

From the approximately $137 million proposed for Facilities Capital, the President would  “provide funds for critical infrastructure improvements at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum; research facilities at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute; and to continue the design of the National Museum.”

The SI conducts research in the natural and physical sciences and in the history of cultures, technology, and the arts.  The Institution acquires and preserves for reference and study purposes over one hundred and thirty-six million items of scientific, cultural, and historic importance.  It maintains public exhibits in a variety of fields.  The Institution operates and maintains 19 museums and galleries; a zoological park and animal conservation and research center; research facilities; and supporting facilities. Included in the presentation of the Salaries and Expenses account are data for the Canal Zone biological area fund.