New Web site for biogeoscience community announced

03/01/04

The emerging field of biogeoscience will soon have a new home on the World Wide Web. In January 2004 the Geological Society of America was awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation to develop and maintain a Web site dedicated to furthering this rapidly evolving scientific discipline.

The Web site, due to launch in late spring of 2004, will be a focal point for information and discussion, as well as a resource clearinghouse. Content will include articles addressing growth and changes in the field, reports on leading research, and information on upcoming meetings, conferences, and programs. It is anticipated that funding agencies, program managers, and scientific societies will regularly submit material. The site is expected to attract a diverse audience of scientists, students, teachers, and media personnel, as well as interested individuals from the general public.

In 2002, the National Science Foundation recognized the scientific need to bridge the earth and life sciences and announced a Biogeoscience Program that coordinates with all the divisions in NSF's Geosciences Directorate. A Biogeoscience Working Group, with members from a variety of scientific disciplines, was created and has been supported through a grant to the American Geophysical Union.

The Biogeoscience Working Group envisioned a Web site that would further establish and support the discipline. "For the practitioners of biogeoscience, a Web site will be of immense help, and it will also reach out to potential contributors from all levels of the educational spectrum," says Greg Cutter, Professor of Oceanography at Old Dominion University and chair of the Biogeoscience Working Group. The group subsequently invited the Geological Society of America to produce this new venture in collaboration with other earth science and ecological scientific societies.

A fundamental role of the Web site is defining and recording the development of biogeoscience. One of its unique features will be a discussion forum. This forum will serve as a platform for new ideas and discussion, supporting scientists in defining the field and addressing its future. "The Working Group is particularly excited about facilitating web-based, interactive communications that will allow biogeoscience to rapidly mature," Cutter says. Another interactive feature is an image gallery where users can share pictures for educational purposes.

Due to the inherently interdisciplinary nature of biogeoscience, resources such as funding opportunities, research programs, job announcements, conferences, deadlines, publications, and graduate, summer, and outreach programs are presently scattered. The Web site will collect and organize these resources.

Science writers are encouraged to use the site to research biogeoscience topics. The Web site will also feature a place for science writers to post articles that may be of interest to the biogeoscience community or the public.

"We're delighted that NSF is supporting this project," says Jack Hess, Executive Director of the Geological Society of America. "The collaboration of scientific societies will help make this a comprehensive biogeoscience resource on the Web and continue to shape the evolving field."

Interested parties are encouraged to sign up and receive periodic electronic updates on the progress of the Biogeoscience Web site. All inquires should be directed to Jay Chapman, Biogeoscience Web Site Coordinator, Geological Society of America (jchapman@geosociety.org).

Source: Eurekalert & others

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