Address of the BSA President-Elect - Dr. Stephen Weller
Weller, Stephen .
Broadening Horizons in the Botanical Society of America.
The Botanical Society of America is well known for the strong organismal focus of its members, but our interests are expanding and we impact diverse areas of research. An analysis of the papers published in the American Journal of Botany indicates that ecology, reproductive biology, systematics, population biology, and anatomy and morphology are well represented. But the influence of BSA members goes well beyond the papers published in the American Journal of Botany. We impact a very broad spectrum of research ranging from genomic approaches addressing causes for the dominance of flowering plants, to factors underlying profound ecosystem changes resulting from species invasions. Symposia at our national meetings address questions in genomics, community ecology, and global change. We have diverse research interests, and we influence many disciplines in science. For the BSA to maintain its influential position, we must work hard to reach out to a wider spectrum of our country and ensure the broadest representation possible in the Botanical Society of America. Demographic trends indicate that minority groups will increase dramatically in the United States in the near future. At present, minority representation in the Botanical Society is extremely low. If we wish botanical research to remain a vital part of the scientific community of the future, we must do all we can to encourage greater participation of underrepresented groups. Without this encouragement, the work we value will be relegated to an increasingly smaller part of the workforce and we will miss the potential contributions of some of the brightest minds of the future. BSA programs such as PlantingScience engage middle school students from diverse communities, and our PLANTS program encourages undergraduate minority representation at meetings. These efforts to broaden participation in the society are critical to maintaining the strength of science in our country. We need to take steps at our home institutions as well to engage the broadest possible diversity of students in botanical education and research.
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1 - University Of California Irvine, Department Of Ecology And Evolutionary Biology, 321 Steinhaus Hall, Irvine, CA, 92697, USA
Presentation Type: Special Presentation
Location: Starlight Ballroom/Chase Park Plaza
Date: Wednesday, July 13th, 2011
Time: 8:00 PM