New & Noteworthy



Archive for June, 2016

28 Jun 2016

Thirty-One Top Scientific Societies Speak with One Voice on Global Climate Change

In a consensus letter to U.S. policymakers, a partnership of 31 leading nonpartisan scientific societies today reaffirmed the reality of human-caused climate change, noting that greenhouse gas emissions “must be substantially reduced” to minimize negative impacts on the global economy, natural resources, and human health.

“Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research concludes that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver,” the collaborative said in its 28 June letter to Members of Congress. “This conclusion is based on multiple independent lines of evidence and the vast body of peer-reviewed science.”

Climate-change impacts in the United States have already included increased threats of extreme weather events, sea-level rise, water scarcity, heat waves, wildfires, and disturbances to ecosystems and animals, the intersociety group reported. “The severity of climate change impacts is increasing and is expected to increase substantially in the coming decades,” the letter added. It cited the scientific consensus of the vast majority of individual climate scientists and virtually every leading scientific organization in the world, including the U.S. Global Change Research Program, the U.S. National Academies, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Chemical Society, the American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society, the American Statistical Association, the Ecological Society of America, and the Geological Society of America.

“To reduce the risk of the most severe impacts of climate change, greenhouse gas emissions must be substantially reduced,” the group said, adding that adaptation is also necessary to “address unavoidable consequences for human health and safety, food security, water availability, and national security, among others.”

The 28 June letter, representing a broad range of scientific disciplines, reaffirmed the key climate-change messages in a 2009 letter signed by 18 leading scientific organizations. The letter is being released again, by a larger consortium of 31 scientific organizations, to reassert the scientific consensus on climate change, and to provide objective, authoritative information to policymakers who must work toward solutions.

The June 28 letter was signed by leaders of the following organizations:

American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Chemical Society
American Geophysical Union
American Institute of Biological Sciences
American Meteorological Society
American Public Health Association
American Society of Agronomy
American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists
American Society of Naturalists
American Society of Plant Biologists
American Statistical Association
Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography
Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation
Association of Ecosystem Research Centers
BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium
Botanical Society of America
Consortium for Ocean Leadership
Crop Science Society of America
Ecological Society of America
Entomological Society of America
Geological Society of America
National Association of Marine Laboratories
Natural Science Collections Alliance
Organization of Biological Field Stations
Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
Society for Mathematical Biology
Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles
Society of Nematologists
Society of Systematic Biologists
Soil Science Society of America
University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

22 Jun 2016

NSC Alliance Releases New Resources on Importance of Collections to Climate Research

The Natural Science Collections Alliance has prepared two short reports on how natural history collections contribute to climate change research.

“How Thoreau, Walden, and Herbarium Specimens Informed Research” shows how plant collections at the Arnold Arboretum have been used to document changes in the timing of flowering. Since the late 1800’s, plants are blooming eight days earlier in the Boston area. Over the same time period, temperatures warmed by 1.5 degrees Celsius. Download a free copy of the issue brief at http://nscalliance.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/nsca_climate_thoreau.pdf.

“Museum Collections Document a Century of Change” documents the lasting legacy of biological specimens, photographs, and field notes collected by the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at the University of California, Berkeley during the early twentieth century. These resources have been used in present-day research to understand how warming temperatures are impacting species ranges. Download a copy of the issue brief at http://nscalliance.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/nsca-climate-grinnell.pdf.

Access other reports in NSC Alliance’s series “On the Importance of Scientific Collections” at http://nscalliance.org/?page_id=10.

16 Jun 2016

Fellowship Opportunity at Smithsonian Institution

The National Museum of Natural History is offering a fellowship opportunity for graduate students, post-doctoral and professional researchers. The program offers an opportunity to conduct independent research and to collaborate with Smithsonian scientists. Fellows have access to the world’s largest natural and cultural history collections. The fellowship is open to both U.S. and non-U.S. citizens. Learn more here.

08 Jun 2016

NSC Alliance Members Invited to Interact With Lawmakers This Summer

The Natural Science Collections Alliance is pleased to announce that it is joining with the American Institute of Biological Sciences to sponsor the 8th Annual Biological Sciences Congressional District Visits event.

This national initiative is an opportunity for scientists across the country to meet with their federal or state elected officials to showcase the people, facilities, and equipment that are required to support and conduct scientific research.

There is a pressing need for the scientific community to engage with policymakers about the value of natural history collections in research and education. As called for in the recent report from the Biodiversity Collections Network, “The community must do a better job of communicating outcomes and benefits of digitization efforts to policymakers, administrators, other scientists, and the public.”

NSC Alliance is pleased to be playing a leadership role in fostering these efforts by sponsoring this event.

The Biological Sciences Congressional District Visits event enables scientists and graduate students to meet with their elected officials without traveling to Washington, DC. Participants may either invite an elected official to tour their research facility or can meet at the lawmaker’s local office. Meetings will take place between mid-July and October, depending on the participant’s schedule.

NSC Alliance members who participate will receive one-on-one support and online training to prepare them for their tour or meeting.

Participation is free for NSC Alliance members, but registration will close on July 17, 2016. To register, visit https://www.aibs.org/public-policy/congressional_district_visits.html.