Top Scientists Challenge Others: Join Biodiversity Year

Human activities now dominate the natural systems of the planet, according to Stanford ecologist Harold Mooney. "In a very real sense, we cannot escape responsibility for managing our impact on those systems. It's time for scientists to take stock of what we know, and what we need to learn, so society can act on that responsibility."

That is why Mooney and four other internationally prominent scientists are calling on their colleagues worldwide to join forces in a one- to two-year assessment of the state of biodiversity on Earth. On Friday, Feb. 13, at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Philadelphia, the five including two past presidents of AAAS will introduce plans for the International Biodiversity Observation Year, to begin in 2001. "We're asking the world's best scientists to take a year or two to put their minds to this problem: How can biodiversity science be elevated to the forefront of the scientific agenda?" said Mooney, who is professor of biological sciences at Stanford and secretary-general of the International Council of Scientific Unions. Mooney is co-organizer of the AAAS symposium with population ecologist Jos Sarukhn, professor and former rector of UNAM, the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Sarukhn, currently a visiting professor at the Center for Conservation Biology and the Center for Latin American Studies at Stanford, is the chair of a committee of scientists who have volunteered to organize the International Biodiversity Observation Year dubbed IBOY.

He and Mooney will be joined in the symposium by three other prominent scientists. Microbiologist Rita Colwell is past president of AAAS and current president of the Biotechnology Institute at the University of Maryland; President Clinton recently announced his intention to nominate her as deputy director of the National Science Foundation. AAAS past president Jane Lubchenco, a marine ecologist at Oregon State U

Contact: Janet Basu
Stanford University

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