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NCEAS 2.0 as a society with an annual member fee.
5000 former participants in NCEAS in some capacity each pay $100 per year. That’s half-a-million for NCEAS per year. Membership has privileges. Access to all former data, data archiving process, advice via blogs or online from ecoinformatic and statistical experts, and a real network of other ecologists. All the things that NCEAS does not but in a distributed, open way.
Could NCEAS 2.0 challenge the model of who are the best ecologists? The current and very successful model assumes that the best ecologists come from certain places, have certain sets of common experiences, and end up at a relatively small set of institutions. ESA SEEDS program , MANRRS http://www.manrrs.org/, and SACNAS http://sacnas.org/ suggest alternatives to the origins of the where the best ecologists come from. Working with these groups might diversify the pool of applicants for NCEAS graduate fellowships and post docs. Academic ecologists work at a variety of institutions including minority serving institutions, historically black colleges and universities, tribal colleges, and small public universities. NCEAS 2.0 might intentionally seek to engage a more diverse group of ecologists by explicitly encourage ideas for working groups from these institutions.
April 2, 2012
To: NCEAS TREAS blog
From: Jim Brown
One thing that I decided to leave out of my lunch-time talk, but should probably go into the memory bank.
By many measures the most successful working group that I was involved it was “Future of Biogeography”. Largely owing to the inspired leadership of Mark Lomolino and Dov Sax this working group accomplished three important things:
1) It brought together representatives of three very different research programs: i) ecological biogeography (including geographic patterns of biodiversity, island biogeography, and macroecology); ii) phylogeography (so mapping the history of lineages onto the geography of the earth); and iii) paleobiogeography (so mapping the past distributions of organisms, as represented in the fossil record, onto the past history of the earth). Prior to this working group, the relationships between these sub-disciplines had been competitive and antagonistic. This marked the start of a very successful effort in communication, collaboration, cooperation, and synthesis. It contributed importantly to the emergence of biogeography in the last decade as a vibrant discipline at the intersection of pre-existing disciplines (geography, ecology, phylogenetics, paleobiology, and the earth sciences) with much to contribute to understanding the basic science underlying the distribution of life on earth and to applied and conservation issues related to human-caused environmental change.
2) Production of a book: i) Lomolino, M.V., D.F. Sax, and J.H. Brown, eds. 2004. Foundations of Biogeography. University of Chicago Press, Chicago. This collection of classic works has helped to unify the field. Also, it brought Brett Riddle and Robert Whittaker together with Lomolino and Brown, with the result that all four co-authored the 4th edition of Biogeography, putting more balance into the leading textbook in the field.
3) Founding of The International Biogeography Society. This was a direct outgrowth of the working group. IBS, founded in 2003, has been a great success, attracting a truly international membership, assuming editorial responsibility for four important peer-reviewed journals (Journal of Biogeography, Global Ecology and Biogeography, Diversity and Distributions, and Ecography), publishing a series of books on Frontiers of Biogeography, and holding meetings throughout the world well attended by representatives of all sub-disciplines (10th anniversary meeting in Florida in January 2013). See http://www.biogeography.org/html/About%20IBS/about_ibs.html.