April 20, 2004


Diana H. Wall
Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory
200 West Lake, Dept. 1499
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1499
(970) 491-2504

Scott L. Collins
Sevilleta Field Station
Department of Biology
University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-1091
(505) 277-2265

Robin Graham
Environmental Sciences Division
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
PO Box 2008
Oak Ridge, TN 37831-6036
(865) 576-7756

Amelia K. Ward
Center for Freshwater Studies
Box 870206
University of Alabama
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0206
(205) 348-1796

Members at Large
Thomas E. Jordan
Smithsonian Environmental
   Research Center
PO Box 28
647 Contees Wharf Road
Edgewater, MD 21037
(443) 482-2209

Jim Coleman
Office of Research
University of Columbia-Missouri
205 Jesse Hall
Columbia, MO 65211-1150
(573) 882-9500

Knute Nadelhoffer
University of Michigan
   Biological Station
Dept. of Ecology & Evolutionary Biol.
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1048
(734) 615-4917

Past President
Louis F. Pitelka
Appalachian Laboratory
University of Maryland Center
   for Environmental Science
301 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD 21532-2307
(301) 687-7101

Dear Colleagues:

I am writing to inform you and your ecosystem research center about current activities and plans of the AERC. Overall, our goal is to increase the visibility and effectiveness of AERC in promoting ecosystem science. Our Board is continually energized by contact from members and additions of new centers, and, as a result AERC is aggressively working in many areas to advance ecosystem science and research centers. See http://www.ecosystemresearch.org for details.

This year, we have increased our activities in the Washington arena in support of ecosystem science by:
     • Joining the USGS Coalition to help preserve the budget and research programs;
     Alerting and advising members to act on the EPA Star program cuts;
     Funding the efforts of the AIBS Public Policy Office to create a database to track ecosystem research funding;
     Conducting a Congressional Hill briefing in November 2003 on lessons learned from ecosystem science;
     Hosting our annual meeting symposium at the Smithsonian on "Lessons from Long-term Studies of Natural Ecosystems";
     Continuing to work for support of NEON.

Re: NEON. The AIBS project on Infrastructure for Biology at Regional to Continental Scales (IBRCS) has been supporting the ecological community in developing the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON). During the past two years, AERC has been an active participant in the AIBS project. Former AERC President, Lou Pitelka, is a member of the IBRCS working group, which last year produced a white paper on NEON. In addition, AIBS staff present project results and NEON status reports at each AERC annual meeting, so please attend our meeting this year!

Please send us your ideas and suggestions on how we can support and promote the value of ecosystem research. Also, please send me your suggestions for topics for the AERC annual symposium and Hill briefing. Mark your calendar for the AERC annual symposium, Thursday, November 18, 2004, which will be held in DC at the S. D. Ripley Center of the Smithsonian Institution. The business meeting will be on Friday morning, November 19, also in the Ripley Center. We look forward to seeing you there!

Best regards,

Diana Wall
AERC President for 2004