AGU B April 2016 Newsletter

Dear Biogeosciences members,

Submit a Session Proposal for the 2016 Fall Meeting

Thinking about submitting a session proposal for the 2016 Fall Meeting? Take the time to review this flowchart to determine if your session should be co-organized, cross-listed, or co-sponsored, and if it should be part of a SWIRL (an interdisciplinary track across sessions). The deadline for session proposals is 20 April.

Last Fall Meeting we experimented with new session formats to encourage more discussion. Two sessions were chosen to try out experimental formats in 2015.

One of the unique sessions, “Vulnerability of Permafrost Carbon to Climate Change,” included a panel discussion with representatives from the Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiments in the Arctic, the Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment, and the Permafrost Carbon Network. Each project was briefly introduced, and the rest of the session provided a platform for questions, discussion, and outreach related to permafrost carbon and climate change. Session chair Christina Schaedel commented, “We thought it was great to have this opportunity and to be able to mix things up a little and to give the audience the chance to interact. We particularly appreciated the attendance of representatives from government agencies, scientific editorial boards and the press. During regular sessions filled with talks, there usually is very little interaction with the audience and so we really appreciated all the stimulating questions and great interaction among the panelists.”

The session “Understanding Phenology Across Scales and Improving Linkages to ecosystem function” linked ideas across author presentations and identified key priorities for research focused on scaling, ecosystem function, and adaptation and management for phenology. Each oral session featured four 20-minute invited and contributing author oral presentations, four lightning talks by selected poster session authors to summarize key ideas from their poster discussions, and a panel discussion. Session chair Heidi Steltzer reflected, “This session format worked well and the accidental poster session before the oral sessions ended up being ideal. With the posters first, students learned more about their results through their poster discussion, which helped them identify key results to share in their lightning talk. Also with the practice of talking about their research at the posters, they were more confident presenting their 5-minute lightning talks. Students and postdocs giving the lightning talks appreciated the opportunity to have their research featured in the oral session. Given similarity of methods in many of the studies, it was also a great way to have the oral session include a more engaging presentation of research—in 5 minute talks, people skipped the methods. I provided a structure for these presentations by asking presenters to use a common PowerPoint template, so they could be combined into a single file.”

We look forward to seeing more interactive sessions in the next Fall Meeting. Submit your session proposals by April 20th


AGU Centennial Celebration

We are looking for advisers and oral historians of Biogeosciences section history, in addition to mid-career and early career AGU biogeoscientists who are looking to make the centennial an outstanding event. Dork Sahagian has volunteered to help us start this effort.


Now accepting nominations for AGU Recognition

The Sulzman Award for Excellence in Education and Mentoring is given annually to one mid-career female scientist (no more than 15 years post-degree) for significant contributions as a role model and mentor for the next generation of biogeoscientists. The deadline for nominations is 15 April.


In 2016, Biogeosciences will be sponsoring the Carl Sagan Lecture. The Sagan Lecture is invitation only- nominations are not accepted, but recommendations are welcomed by section leadership.


New Geohealth Initiative

Of particular interest to Biogeosciences members, the AGU Council recently passed a motion for AGU to develop programs focused on a geohealth initiative at the intersection of geosciences and health sciences. Specifically, “the AGU Council endorses the opportunity for AGU to develop programs focused on geohealth that would begin with development of a journal and topically focused meeting. The Council will be asked to provide input as needed to the Publications and Meetings Committees as they further develop a journal and meeting.” This concept will next be considered by the AGU Board. See Chris McEntee’s From the Prow post from November 2015 on this theme.


Give to AGU Biogeosciences

Biogeosciences section members are doing fairly well for giving donations to AGU—at least 11% of our primary members are giving something to the society. That is great, but for really good news, we need more of you to consider and then act on giving $50+ in 2016. Why? AGU has a new policy that if at least 5% of a section’s membership donates $50+, AGU will give $1000 back to the section. If we get 15% to give at least $50, then we get $5000 from AGU! This translates into better event support at Fall Meeting, potentially new support for postdoc travel, increased student support, and new initiatives for the Centennial Project—just to name a few ideas. We need at least 98 of you to give $50+ to reach 5% of our membership participation goal.


Criteria 2014 2015
Number of primary affiliated membersa 2390 2406
Total donors of $50+ 68 76
Rate of participation of members giving $50+ 2.85% 3.16%
$50+ Rate of participation ranking among S/FG (1–high; 23–low) 18 of 23 17 of 23
Payout from AGU (based on rate of participation of $50+) b N/A N/A
Total donors of $49 or less 195 210
Number of total donors (all amounts) 263 286
Overall rate of participation 11.00% 11.89%


aAll figures are as of 31 December 15 (excluding student members).

bPayouts are only made to sections and focus groups (S/FG) that have at least 5% of primary affiliated donors (not including students) making contributions of $50+.  The S/FG Incentive Program was launched in 2015; therefore, no 2014 payouts were made.


We look forward to hearing from you!


Marilyn Fogel,

AGU Section President, Biogeosciences


Ariel Anbar,

AGU Section President-Elect, Biogeosciences